Port Jefferson being “Exit Six” of our annual Exit stories off the Long Island Sound is located about 15 miles east of Huntington Bay and 26 miles west of Mattituck inlet. It is near the center of the Long Island’s north shore and offers easy cruising from much of Connecticut.
This port is one of our favorite cruising destinations and a place we call upon almost every season. It is a fun nautical town with good food, entertainment and convenient dockage. It is also a fine harbor with quiet coves to splash the day away and then spend a quiet night on the hook away from it all.
Getting into this two-mile long harbor is easy as long as you pay attention to the first red and green buoy as well as give way to the ferries near its narrow entrance. For those that want to spend a quiet afternoon or night at anchor turn to starboard when you see the red “CN2” after the entrance and follow the rest of the buoys until you find a place to set the hook. On this west side, you are protected better than when you anchor on the east side of the entrance. The east side on weekends can get crowded and you are not as protected from any southern winds that may pick up.
For our cruising weekend we took the scenic two-mile ride down to Danfords Hotel and Marina.
(www.danfords.com) We chose their docks for the next two nights because it is a full marina complete with restaurant, outdoor bar and entertainment and has full spa facilities. Dock staff here could not have been more helpful upon arrival. Other dock options available near town are the Port Jefferson Town Dock as well as the mooring balls at the Setauket Yacht Club.
Everything you would want to see, do, eat, drink, shop and be entertained by is within a 10-minute walk from the docks. These services can be found on Main and East Main Street as well as West and East Broadway. To start our visit, it was decided to quench our thirst after a hot day on the Sound. This was easily done at the Port Jeff Brewery and at the Pindar Wine Shop across the street. (www.portjeffbrewering.com and www.pindar.net) The Port Jeff Brewery during our visit had 11 beers on tap where we enjoyed a flight of samples and a pint. Pindar, for our wine drinkers, were able to buy a flight sample and a have a glass of north fork produced wine. Both places offer onsite purchasing. For a snack, we walked up the street to the Smoke Shack for an order of their tasty smoked wings. After being rested and fueled up the ladies in the crew called for some well-needed shopping time. Port Jefferson has a couple of dozen shops and boutiques worth strolling into. One shop worth noting is the Home Kingdom which carries all kinds of nautical themed items. In the same shopping area, we liked the East End Shirt Company for their unique designs and higher quality shirts. All along the downtown area you will find galleries, antiques, sweet shops and ice cream places. The Harbor Square Mall has a few specialty shops including what may be Long Island’s oldest hot sauce store.
For people that enjoy history, a visit to the Port Jefferson Historical Society is a must on Prospect Avenue. (www.portjeffhistorical.org) Here you can tour this small museum complex with its home that was built between 1840 and 1860. Port Jefferson has nearly 100 homes and structures built between 1800 and 1910. To view some of the pretty homes stroll the following streets near the museum: Prospect, High, South, Thompson and East Main Street. Here you will see many Greek Revival and Italianate designed homes. Several homes have signs with the year built and who the owner was at the time. At the end of East Main Street you will see the Maritime Explorium (www.longislandexplorium.org). Here Port Jefferson shows off its nautical heritage at the park and at the Bayles Boat Shop. At Bayles you can view the volunteers building and restoring wooden boats.
For evening entertainment you find music at the dock at Danford’s on weekends as well as at s
ome of the village’s pubs. Ask the concierge at the Danfords lobby, the brewery or any pub you pass by where the live music is. For good local theatre see what is playing at Theatre Three by clicking www.theatrethree.com with shows changing regularly. Their Second Stage has improvisation comedy every Friday.
Port Jefferson does not lack for places to dine. The food here ranges from casual counter service to fine dining in all ethnicities. A full list of restaurants can be found at www.portjeff.com/restaurants-eateries/. A stand out place for breakfast to consider before shoving off is at the Toast Coffee House for their creative and large portion meals. For very calorie worthy donuts visit the EMM Donut shop. I rank their taste, variety and quality of the best on Long Island. (www.eastmainandmain.com)
If You Go:
Port Jefferson has different events during the season. This includes downtown movies, concerts, festivals and farmers markets. For a unique time in the harbor consider visiting here during the Dragon Boat Festival (portjeffdragonracefest.com) For events and dates go to http://portjeff.com/calendar/
For information on everything about the town go to http://portjeff.com/restaurants-eateries/
Danfords Hotel and Marina can be reached at www.danfords.com