Plan an Enchanting Visit to Historic Stony Brook Village
Historic Stony Brook Village on Long Island’s North Shore is an undiscovered gem that has all the grace and charm of the Hamptons, but isn’t as pricey or showy, and definitely not as crowded or as far. And now is a great time to visit for an enchanting getaway.
You can stay in a historic waterfront inn, walk to amazing restaurants, and visit the trendy shops and historic sites and museums. Everything is all in one place so it’s extremely manageable and easy to plan.
And it’s easy to get to from the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry, the Long Island Rail Road, or by car (which you probably won’t need if you stay in the village).
Check into the c.1751 Three Village Inn, with 21 guestrooms and country cottages overlooking the harbor, many with names such as the Brewster Cottage, the Tallmadge Cottage and the Woodhull Cottage, referencing the Revolutionary War-era spy heroes who operated out of the area to ferry secrets about British movements in the area to General Washington. As depicted in the AMC series, Turn, they are largely credited with helping to win the Revolutionary War, and their history and their secrets are embraced by the Village.
After unpacking, walk over to Robinson’s Tea Room, for authentic British high tea and scones. This casual spot offers over 50 varieties of loose tea served British style, with the loose leaf infuser in a teapot. Tea is served with fine china cups and saucers. Open seven days/week, 10:30-4:00. 97 Main St, Stony Brook. On the way there from the hotel, take a selfie with Hercules at the waterfront Hercules Pavilion. The impressive statue was originally a nautical figurehead on the bow of the U.S.S. Ohio, placed on the ship to protect it and inspire fear in the hearts of enemies. It’s also said he brings good luck in love.
Afterwards, wander around and browse the village, which include Madison’s Niche, a home décor and women’s clothing store; Chocolate Works for one-of-a-kind confections; Village Coffee Market (try the Greek Frappeh, an iced espresso combined with Frappuccino); Crushed Olive where you can sample and buy over 50 varieties of flavored extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar); Cottontails children’s shop, and other gourmet specialty food, clothing and gift shops. It’s a great place to do holiday shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Find a complete list of the quaint and trendy shops here.
It’s an easy walk to the c. 1699 Stony Brook grist mill and pond. On the National Register of Historic Places, this is Long Island’s most completely equipped working mills. You can hike up the trails behind the pond to walk the hilltop labyrinth at Avalon Park, where you can contemplate the ‘creative force in all living things.’ Open until dusk. 200 Harbor Rd., Stony Brook, NY.
Plan dinner at Country House restaurant, a c.1710 inn voted the ‘most romantic restaurant on Long Island’ (AOL City Guide). In addition to having amazing food and seasonally changing décor, the inn was formerly a private home that has its own Revolutionary War-era ghost story, published in the book, “Ghosts of Long Island.” The Inn is known for its dry-aged steaks and chops. Enjoy dining outdoors in the warmer months. 1175 N. Country Rd., Stony Brook, NY.
Check the schedule ahead of time for live performances at the Jazz Loft. This museum, with an extraordinary collection of jazz ephemera that opened in May 2016 inside a former firehouse (recently given Landmark status), hosts regular performances and has been featured in the NY Times. Conveniently located next to the Three Village Inn, you can easily walk back to your room for the night. 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook, NY.
The next day you can visit the Smithsonian-affiliated Long Island Museum’s collection of over 200 carriages. They have original horse drawn wagons, even a ‘bus-type’ drawn wagon, Studebaker and Graves Bothers carriages. The settings and exhibits of pre-automobile life are fascinating, and be sure to see the ornately decorated ‘gypsy’ caravans.
Walking back to the hotel notice the All Souls Episcopal Church c.1889, on Main St. Designed by famed Gilded Age NY architect Stanford White, who lived nearby and who designed such NYC greats as Washington Square Arch and Boston Public Library. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s a little gem.
For lunch, Sweet Mama’s restaurant in the village has an updated country charm, an outdoor deck, and over 24 flavors of ice cream (including old-fashioned egg creams, ice cream sodas and root beer floats) to choose from (121 Main St., Stony Brook, NY), or Crazy Beans serves breakfast, lunch and light dinners as well as fresh baked goods, coffee beans, cappuccino, espresso, sandwiches and wraps. 97 A/B Main St., Stony Brook, NY. Fratelli’s Italian Eatery in the village serves amazing brick oven pizza, but they also have a gourmet deli, Italian pastries, espresso, cappuccino and specialty items. 77 Main St., Stony Brook, NY.
Pentimento Restaurant, features innovative Italian cuisine and tapas. 93 Main Street, Stony Brook, NY.
During your stay in Stony Brook, be sure to check the schedule of events for the village center, which includes concerts and special programs at the Cultural Center and Jazz Loft, including a special luncheon theater performance featuring the work of Ethel Merman and Zero Mostel at the WMHO Cultural Center.
Stony Brook Village has close ties to the Revolutionary War era. The c.1665 Brewster House, a tavern where British soldiers would hang out while Caleb Brewster (a member of the Washington Spy Ring) might have overheard some secrets. Then the Thompson House, c.1709, a doctor’s house where members of the Revolutionary-era spy ring are listed in Dr. Thompson’s cash receipt book.
The Stony Brook/Setauket area was at the epi-center of spy activity, as the area British occupation here was of an especially hostile and obnoxious nature. Ride past the Setauket Presbyterian Church on Caroline Ave., where the British had a garrison quartered.
Dinner at the Four Star Mirabelle Tavern at the Three Village Inn will be a memorable experience. Chef Guy Reuge is amazing and his Duck Mirabelle is probably one of the most perfect interpretations of duck you’ll have.
Stony Brook is the kind of place that could make you easily forget about the nearby hustle and bustle of Long Island and NYC. There’s a beautiful air about the waterfront village here, steeped in a proud history and preserved for visitors to explore.
When you’re here, you feel like you’re ‘away.’
Transportation Tips: Long Island Expressway to exit 62. Follow directions here.
Or take the Long Island Rail Road from NYC’s Penn Station to Stony Brook station.
From Connecticut: Take the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry.
Here’s a map of the attractions in Stony Brook.
Find more information on Places to Stay and Things to Do at: www.stonybrookvillage.com
By Kristen Matejka