It’s so unfair, but summer’s a stingy bastard. Run into the open arms of fall. Blow the dust off your driver’s license or take the Jitney to the short ferry to the plot of land nestled between Long Island’s two forks.
Shelter Island is one-third nature conservancy, and a woodsy spirit abounds. A walk around Mashomack does the body good with eleven miles of marked trails and ten miles of coastline (79 South Ferry Road; 631-749-1001). Or go for a dip — watch for giant turtles — at Fresh Pond off Lake Drive.
Mornings, residents migrate to the Shelter Island Pharmacy (19 Grand Avenue; 631-749-0445) for the paper and a seat at the soda fountain. Island gossip comes free of charge.
Locals use superlatives when describing croissants and quiches from Mark It with G (11 Grand Avenue; 631-749-5288), and we swear by the French macaroons ordered through a Dutch door in an alleyway (now closed). In October, they’ll open a bakery plus bar (genius) offering cheeses, crepes, and champagne at 27 North Ferry Road.
Reddings Market (184 North Ferry Road; 631-504-6080) is a new old-fashioned grocer run by former Per Se chefs. Pack a picnic of oyster po’boys, rock shrimp tacos, and raved-about Crescent Farm duck. Bike to Hay Beach off Menhaden Lane (only residents can park their cars). Swing back around for a gelato.
For a jolt of contemporary culture, stop by Boltax Gallery (21 North Ferry Road; 631-749-4062), where they think globally and act locally with exhibitions like next week’s Border Walls, which focuses on living within boundaries (like on an island).
Pop into new, quiet Orabella Scarano (21 North Ferry Road; 631-749-5440) next door for Italian swimwear, legwear, and sleepwear (now closed). Home 114 (21 North Ferry Road; 888-521-8073) is impeccably curated with midcentury treasures. For down-home antiques at good prices, hit Marika’s (6 South Ferry Road; 631-749-1168). Marie Eiffel houses special retail gems and proper European hospitality (8 Grand Avenue; 631-749-0707).
Go inside for a bite at Mediterranean resto Luna (85 North Ferry Road; 631-749-5091). Moule frites and the Friday night bass special at Vine Street Cafe (41 South Ferry Road; 631-749-3210) feel particularly rewarding after a long trek on the LIE.
Sleep? Right. Space is limited on this hunk of land, especially at glamorous Sunset Beach (35 Shore Road; 631-749-2001), open only through September. Things ease up after Labor Day, and it’s worth the wait for the cocktails and room balconies. If charming old Ram’s Head Inn (108 Ram Island Drive, Big Ram Island; 631-749-0811) is booked, renting a house is a good move, too.
Be sure to squeeze in a sunset kayak paddle at Wade’s Beach (South Midway Road).
Before your weekend recedes like the tide.