Once again the wineries, chefs and artists of eastern Long Island are thinking of you and what you’re going to do in the depths of winter. For the next five weekends the East End–and a few points closer to home–are throwing Winterfest, a collaborative,cross-cultural effort to lure you out East. Sure, the Hudson Valley has those foothills, but this semi-agrarian vacation-land is just a short trip up the LIE or the LIRR. Why not spend a chilly day warming up with local wine? Snuggle up in front of a crackling fireplace at a quiet Hamptons bed-and-breakfast? Listen to jazz with a view of the vineyards? Or find some great deals on true farm-to-table restaurant meals?
That’s the whole point of the fifth annual Winterfest, a cultural program sponsored by Suffolk County, the East End Arts Council, the Long Island Wine Council and Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. The main focus of the festival is a series of jazz concerts held at local wineries; all tickets are $15 and include a glass of wine for ticket holders over 21. Concerts start in the early afternoon at wineries from Baiting Hollow to Southold, and each Saturday night is capped off with a jam session at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead, right before the island splits into its two forks. A complete calendar is here.
There are also plenty of local restaurants, livery cab drivers and businesses with specials, like Bonnie Jean’s in Southold, where diners who bring in a cork from a local winery receive 15 percent off the check. The Village Cheese Shop (it’s actually much more than that) on Love Lane in Mattituck will give you your second glass of wine for free and, if you sign up for a tour with Long Island Brewery Tours, all your tastings are complimentary. (Why not let someone else drive?) A complete list is here.
More importantly for Manhattanites, getaway packages from hotels, motels and B&Bs offer special rates, including meals or transportation to Winterfest events. More specials on places to stay are listed here, and check out this short-list below:
Andrew’s Legacy B&B, Cutchogue: 2/20-4/2 – Two Nights $295, tax incl. Over 40% off reg. rates. Walk to 6 major wineries and receive coupons for free tastings and wine discounts! Full breakfast incl. Tel: 631-734-6052. andrewslegacy.com
Arbor View House B&B and Spa, East Marion: 2/10- 3/31 – Special Gift – Show proof of purchase of Winterfest 2012 ticket at registration and get a bottle of local champagne with a two night stay. Tel: 631-477-8440. arborviewhouse.com
Blue Iris B&B, Cutchogue: Spend a weekend and dinner is on us (100.00 gift certificate to restaurant of your choice). Chilled Champagne, chocolates and cheese platter on arrival. $590.00 plus tax for weekend. Tel: 631-734-7126. blueirisbedandbreakfast.com
The Greenporter Hotel, Greenport: 2/17-4/5 – Weekend rates start at $139/night. Stay two nights and receive a complimentary 3-course dinner for two* in our restaurant on Friday night. *Exceptions apply. Call for reservations and details. Tel: 631-477-0066. greenporterhotel.com
Harborfront Inn, Greenport: Stay for two weekend nights (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun) and receive 20% off of our regular rates OR receive an additional 10% off any of our weekend getaway packages. (exceptions apply). Tel: 631-477-0707. theharborfrontinn.com
Hilton Garden Inn, Riverhead: Special Winterfest rate: 99.00 for one night, comp luxury transport to 1 select Jazz on the Vine Event and unlimited use of our spa. ALSO: Winterfest Wine Tasting Tour: $199 incl. one night and comp tasting for 2 at 3 select vineyards! Must mention Winterfest when booking! Tel: 631-727-2733. riverheadhgi.com
Holiday Inn Express East End, Riverhead: Overnight stay with complimentary breakfast – $99.00. Only minutes from Wine Country. Tel: 631-548-1000. hieeastend.com
Hotel Indigo, Riverhead: Special rate of $149+tax with breakfast for two if you mention LI Winterfest/Jazz On The Vine. Also $279+tax incl. accommodations, 2 Live at the Indigo, 4-course dinners, 2 comp cocktails, and 2 tickets to any Jazz on The Vine performance. Phone: 631-369-2200. indigoeastend.com
Sannino Vineyard B&B, Cutchogue: Feb-Mar-$600 plus tax-Stay 2 wknd nights and get a $25 certificate towards dinner, a bottle of wine, comp. tasting/tour at our winery and a discount card to 24 wineries. Tel: 631-734-8282. sanninovineyard.com/bed-and-
Shorecrest B&B, Southold: Feb-4/15: $399 – 2-night Winterfest package includes $25 towards dinner, $50 per person towards a 1-hour aromatherapy massage, discount card to 24 wineries, and wine class or champagne picnic. Ask about our Winter Romance Special. Tel:631-765-1570. shorecrestbedandbreakfast.com
Southampton Inn, Southampton: Jan- Mar – $129 plus tax – Please mention Jazz on the Vine. Cozy Winter Getaway $199 per couple (please call to reserve). Tel: 800-832-6500 –southamptoninn.com
The Stirling House, Greenport: The only wine licensed B&B offers its Winterfest Guests a comp bottle of LI wine and 15% off on 2+ night stays.$50 off total stayVine Time Package. Ask about our other offers. Mention Winterfest when you book!
Tel: 800-551-0654 or 631-477-0654. thestirlinghouse.com