My perfect day, Riverhead, would start by stopping by a landmark I’ve always been fascinated with, The Big Duck in nearby Flanders. Where I would pick up — you guessed it — some farm fresh organic eggs.
The Big Duck is a National Landmark. The structure was the vision of Long Island duck farmer Martin Maurer and was designed by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, in 1931. According to the Big Duck website, “Roadside architecture designed to promote what is sold inside is now commonly known as ‘Duck Architecture,’ in honor of the whimsical grand-daddy of them all.”
Next up, I’d head to an East End favorite, and continue with the “duck” theme of the morning, the Blue Duck Bakery on East Main Street, for a cappuccino and a scone. In addition to the bakery selection, the café offers a selection of delicious soups, sandwiches, salads, and quiches. The café is also home to Poetry Street. Gather from 2 to 4 PM on the fourth Sunday of each month for an open mic forum with poets, storytellers, and stand-up comedians.
Riverhead has always been a shopping destination on the East End, especially for those located east of the town that may not have as many shopping options. I do love a good day at Tanger Outlets or a trip to Home Depot. But for my perfect day in Riverhead, I’m not going to need to stray too far from Main Street. I would be sure to stop by Taste the East End Boutique, located on East Main Street. The gift shop includes products from local vendors, farmers, and artisans. Find food products, jewelry, clothing, art, and home décor; perfect for gift items.
Downtown Riverhead has been identified as both a historic and arts district. Next, I would visit the East End Arts Gallery on East Main Street. The organization enriches community through the arts and promotes economic and cultural revitalization.
Currently, the East End Arts Juried show “Rescue: People • Pets • Predicaments” is on display through July 25. The next show is the seventh annual national show: “INK.” Juror is Sara De Luca, the owner and director of ILLE Arts in Amagansett. The show opens on Friday, August 3, with a reception from 5 to 7 PM.
The Suffolk County Historical Society, on West Main Street, presents the exhibit “The Silver Screens of Suffolk” which celebrates the history of film from the 1900s to 1960s and the role that Suffolk County played in the silent film industry. The show exhibits private collections of movie posters, heralds, programs, and theater window cards.
For lunch, Spicy’s Bar-B-Que. The wings with Spicy’s sauce are, themselves, a work of art. The iconic BBQ spot has been open, and a neighborhood favorite, for 40 years. Specialties also include sweet potato pie, ribs, and clam rolls.
When located at the gateway to the North Fork, wines and brews are plentiful. I’d make sure to stop by the Riverhead Cider House for naturally harvested apple ciders, local wine, and beer. My perfect day would also include a wine tasting at Martha Clara Vineyards.
I would end the day with a show at one of Riverhead’s historic venues — like Suffolk Theater or the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall — if only to marvel at the architecture. The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall is Long Island’s oldest theater, built in 1881.
In 2013, the historic Suffolk Theater’s Art Deco cinema space was renovated and restored to create the performing arts center it is today. These historic theaters offer great options for entertainment.
Catch The Smithereens on August 24 or Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marvis Staples on August 10 at Suffolk Theater. Dinner and a show at the Suffolk Theater is also a great option now that noah’s in Greenport’s has opened noah’s at Suffolk Theater.
The “My Perfect Day” series features a different East End village each week.