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"Travel Blog: Long Island & The Hamptons"
Author:  planetpurl
Join us at this summer playground for a little sightseeing and yarn shopping.
07/14/2009 - Miller Place and "Knitter's Knitche"




Our last Long Island shop was a bit inland, in Miller Place, New York.  But the drive from Greenport to Miller Place was beautiful. 

Maybe you will not be as surprised as we were to learn this, but Long Island has its own wine country bursting with a seemingly endless lineup of vineyards and wineries.  Some of the towns, with their mix of antique stores, coffee shops, and boutiques, look like they could have been transported whole from Napa.  Palmer Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, and Martha Clara Vineyards are three stops on the “North Fork Wine Trail” that come particularly recommended.

The highways are also dotted with roadside flower, fruit, and vegetable stands.  The produce was fresh and smelled great.  In addition to the fruit sellers, there were a number of farms where you can pick your own fresh strawberries and raspberries.  The farms seemed to stretch on forever, and the huge green spaces are a big contrast to nearby New York City.

If you need a moment to regain your composure after a day of either wine-tasting or of screaming children at the Splish Splash Water Park nearby, Knitter’s Knitche is a fine place to stop.  Their emphasis is on teaching, and Knitter’s Knitche has a large open space to do so.  They also have a huge selection of Cascade, Berroco, Skacel, Manos, and Malabrigo-- not to mention a ton of Rowan (which Long Islanders seem to love, and we love them for that).  They were very friendly, and a nice way to end our day out on the Island.

Knitter’s Knitche
745 Rte 25A
Miller Place.NY.11764
(631) 849-4684

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07/14/2009 - Greenport and "Now and Zen Fiber Arts"


Now and Zen

Now and Zen

Now and Zen

The village of Greenport looks like a movie set.  The old-fashioned downtown is centered around a beautifully maintained wharf- complete with its own waterside restaurant, Claudio’s.  Greenport feels more like a town in New England, which it faces just 17 miles away by ferry across the Long Island Sound.  In fact, in just an hour and a half you can be in Mystic, Connecticut which is its own mari-time-warp tourist attraction. 

At one side of their downtown, Greenport has a beautiful antique carousel on the water.  It has a Louvre-like glass housing that makes it accessible year-round, and easy to recognize.  There’s also a restored Art Deco movie theatre, and bustling ice cream shops stretching down to the wharf where the ferries shuttle tourists and townspeople to Shelter Island.

Less than a football field away from the docks, we found the lovely Now and Zen Fiber Arts.  A family-operated business, they pack a lot of punch into a small space.  They stock mostly high end yarns- Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Diakeito, Cascade, Simply Shetland, Koigu, Classic Elite, and Sublime, but they have a focus on creating original patterns and kits for travelers.  The owner designs really nice looking self-contained bundles so the traveler who shows up in town with just a swimsuit and a tube of sunscreen can head home knitting something fabulous. 

Now and Zen is also an authorized Schact spindle dealer, and the only shop we visited that specialized in spinning.  They also sell their own line of handcrafted spindles. 

Now and Zen Fiber Arts
15 Front St
Greenport, NY 11944
(631) 477-2585

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07/14/2009 - The Hamptons & Rainbow Yarn

Rainbow Yarn

Rainbow Yarns

Rainbow Yarns

The Hamptons have gained a reputation as a glitzy playground for the tanned, rich, beautiful, and famous, but even in East Hampton, the toniest of the “hamlets”, they do a nice job of preserving the feel of a country village Main Street-- right down to the 200 year-old working Old Hook Windmill.  Charming and quaint might seem difficult to manage surrounded by the likes of Hermes and Tiffany’s, but the Hamptons swing it.

Hampton Bays-- the home of Rainbow Yarns-- has recently become a hub for nightlife in the area, even if it’s significantly less famous than its neighbors.  It’s home to Long Island’s largest nightclub, CPI, in case you get too relaxed from all your knitting, and need to get a little pumped up afterward. While it has a recently glamorous history, Hampton Bays has been around a long time and one of the original settlement’s landmarks-- the Canoe Place Inn-- still stands after over 250 years. 

Rainbow Yarns has shown a similar staying power (relative to the LYS business), staying open for over 30 years.  Good work.  Rainbow has a select amount of Pingouin, Patons, Cascade, and Universal Yarns-- just enough to keep the traveling knitter happily occupied. 

Their collection of books is definitely worth a peek.  They have a huge amount of older titles that may be out of print and the pages are a lot easier to skim in person than they are on eBay.  Rainbow also carries a really nice selection of cross-stitch and needlepoint canvasses.

What kept Hampton Bays alive before celebrities and late-night parties?  The sea.  Hampton Bays is full of active marinas, and it’s the second-largest commercial fishing port in New York, meaning lots and lots of fresh and tasty seafood.  At the Indian Cove Restaurant & Marina you can have your clams and lobsters on a suspended deck with a 300 degree view over the bay.  Or, if you want something more casual, there are a number of roadside seafood shacks on the Montauk Highway that seemed to be very popular on a Friday afternoon.

Rainbow Yarns & Framing
13 Ponquogue Ave
Hampton Bays, NY
(631) 728-3085
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07/14/2009 - Montauk and "Purl by the Sea"

Montauk Lighthouse

Purl by the Sea

Purl by the Sea

Purl by the Sea

Our first stop in Long Island was in Montauk, on the far eastern point of the island.  At the end of the shore is the beautiful Montauk Point Lighthouse-- commissioned by George Washington, and the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country-- it’s one of the town’s must-see attractions.  From there it’s only a five minute drive back into Montauk’s cute little downtown and shopping district, where Purl By the Sea is located.

Tucked down in the lower level of a building just off the main street, Purl By the Sea has a quiet hidden away feel that keeps nicely with the beach town atmosphere.  When we walked in we heard a woman exclaiming about a sock kit, “It’s so cute I can’t stand it,” and we felt the same way about the shop.  They had lots of Farmhouse Yarns and Sheep Shop in stock-- two brands we don’t see as much of, along with selections from Malabrigo, Blue Sky Alpacas, Manos, Lamb’s Pride, and enough Rowan alone to get our seal of approval. 

There’s a big table in the center that was already busy in the early morning, and the yarn is absolutely stacked up to the ceiling.  Any more yarn and, “We’re going to need a bigger shop!” (to paraphrase “Jaws”, whose story was inspired by a shark caught off the Montauk shore).

Don’t let shark tales keep you away from the beaches though.  The town is sandwiched between the Long Island Sound and the open ocean.  The summer brings surfers, swimmers, fishers, and seal-watchers together on the coast.  Locals recommended Nick’s, a bar and restaurant right on the beach that sometimes has live music, and provides instant access to the water, where people spend their nights around fires.  While summers are busiest, Montauk still has activities in the winter, like cross-country skiing or hiking in one of the many state parks, and Purl By the Sea is also open year-round.

Purl By the Sea
34 S Erie Ave
Montauk, NY 11954-5199
(631) 668-7875
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07/14/2009 - Beaches, Movie Stars & Yarn.
It's summer and it's hot, hot, hot.  So of course our thoughts turn to heading to the beach to cool off.  But we always have time to shop for yarn on the way.

Long Island, New York has some really beautiful beaches, including the famous "Hamptons," summer playground of the rich and famous.  Pretty much every big name in Hollywood has a home here and the stars come out in the daytime here, as well as at night.

For knitters looking for a new project for the car (the weekend traffic on the 2 lane road that connects most of the beach towns can be brutal), there are some great places to stop and stock up.  So grab your swimsuit,a beach towel and your knitting bag and let's get going already!

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