The Shoals Hotel opens on the North Fork of Long Island
The Shoals opened in May on the North Fork of Long Island, New York.
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gcustomers arriving by car the shoals hotel in Southold, Long Island, about 95 miles east of New York, you’ll quickly notice the many boats moored on the water just across the hotel’s grassy lawn. A self-proclaimed “boatel,” the Shoals has 20 slides and 20 rooms, allowing guests to arrive by land or sea. But in addition to accommodating boats — and having its own Chris-Craft speedboat available for hire — the new hotel, which opened in May 2022, pays homage to the sea in subtle ways.
Architect Thomas Juul-Hanson designed the hotel to hint at the property’s nautical history without relying on corny wooden ship wheels or string art. Instead, guests might notice the building’s cedar-shingled exterior and that both floors of bedrooms are situated for sweeping views of Peconic Bay and the marina. All apartment-style rooms have private outdoor spaces, equipped kitchenettes, open-concept living areas with modern sofas and lounge chairs reminiscent of yacht seats, as well as built-in beds and modular furniture in materials natural materials such as light wood, braided jute and linen.
Book now: The shoals
But it’s what’s outside the rooms that excites us the most: Besides the boats, there is an expansive lawn area with plenty of lounge chairs, fire pits and a food truck which serves lobster rolls, chicken fillets, ice buckets of rosé wine and freshly shucked oysters. These oysters come from the squat building just after the truck which is the new land facility of Small ram oystersa women-owned oyster business established in 2018.
The Little Ram Oysters farm is underwater (of course), right next to Little Ram Island (hence the name), across Peconic Bay from the shoals. Until recently, owners Elizabeth Peeples and Stefanie Bassett, who are partners in business and life, ran their oyster business from their boat, hoisting the cages and tumbling the oysters by hand before returning them to the sea. water until they are large enough to harvest. and sell to restaurants and locals. (Tumbling helps give oysters a cleaner, rounder, harder shell with a meatier oyster inside.)
Chef John Fraser, who took over the neighbor’s kitchen North Fork Table and Inn last year championed Little Ram oysters and serves them exclusively at its restaurant. He became involved with the Shoals project a few years ago and discovered that one of the buildings on the property was specifically licensed by New York State for agriculture and specifically aquaculture. It used to be a scallop shack, where fishermen’s wives shelled scallops, but it had been vacant for years.
“We love that the building has always had women working there.”
“If the owner wanted to somehow change the use of that space, they would have to go through a whole process to do that,” Bassett says. “So it was just that wonderful moment when [the Shoals owners] wanted to encourage and embrace the waterfront and we needed a space to work, and it was a beautiful union. And we love that the building has always had women working there.
Now women house their electronic cup and sorting machine inside. They offer visits space where hotel guests and visitors can see the machine in action, have hands-on experience with their floating nursery outside, and learn how the hatchery works. Visitors will also learn how to shell oysters and have a tasting outside near the Shoals Food Truck. Or guests can forgo the tour and just take the shelling course.
Explore the North Fork beyond the hotel
Once you leave the hotel grounds, it’s tempting to turn right and continue east until you reach Greenport, the best-known town in the North Fork (Long Island’s sleepier, friendlier neighbor to the hoity-toity Hamptons). But if you turn left you will come to the charming Main Road in Southold town centre. First, you’ll pass Fraser’s North Fork Table & Inn, which underwent some changes when Fraser bought it with some of the same Shoals investors in 2020. (This chef has an impressive track record of acclaimed Manhattan restaurants like Iris and 701West and the now closed Dovetail and Nix.) But the focus on local sourcing and impeccably cooked food remains the same. And while the design is more modern now, it still has that same bucolic farmhouse appeal.
Keep driving and you’ll see the brand new Southold social by Payard, which opened June 10 and is run by Adam Lovett (of local spots a Lure and aMano) and chef Francois Payard, who began spending time on Long Island when his namesake Manhattan Patisseries closed in 2018. Southold Social is the first project with his name on it since then. The renovated space is sleek and minimalist, with nature-focused paintings by local artist Charles Wildbank adorning the walls and a large tented patio out back. The menu skews French, although there is a pasta section and plenty of seafood – this is the North Fork after all.
Further down the road is maroni, a favorite in the town of Northport which opened a second location here during the pandemic. Come hungry and splurge on the tasting menu – be prepared for nearly 20 fun and creative Italian and Asian American-inspired bites like Korean-style ribs topped with gummy bears (really), scampi with shrimp, truffle grilled cheese, lobster chowder and its Defeat Bobby Flay– winning meatballs. Across the street is General of Southold, another recent venture by Payard’s and the owners of the Shoals, where customers can purchase pastries, sandwiches and salads, as well as browse locally made groceries. Sit in Einstein Square (so named because Albert Einstein spent time there) while you savor your treats.
No visit to the North Fork is complete without a stop at a winery or two (or five, but who’s counting?). If you continue on Main Road you will see Duck Walk Vineyardswhich has been family run since 1994. Around the corner is Sparkling tipa superb winery specializing in sparkling wines of the Champagne method, and down the road is A womanowned by Claudia Purita, who grew up in Calabria and now produces wines including Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Grüner Veltliner.
Finish your excursion with a walk on the beach or a dip in the sea at Southold Town Beach. After all, here it always comes down to water.
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