Last week, we shut down A Butler’s Manor for a few days for our first days off since March 15, to enjoy a “playcation” here on the East End with my cousins from the West Coast. Their visit gave us a chance to check in with many of the activities we often recommend to guests but haven’t been able to experience for a while. Among the highlights: We visited Fairview Farm’s Corn Ma[i]ze, open through November 4, where you select a “passport” of trivia clues based on different topics that help you negotiate the maze. Each of us had a different topic, so each intersection was a group vote. I’m not sure if we did it the most expedient or elegant way, but we did manage to come out at an exit after about an hour, so we deemed that a success.

We also had a chance to spend some time over on the North Fork, exploring a couple of the many wineries that have opened in the last few years. In the twenty years that Chris and I have been on the East End, the amount of wineries on the North Fork has nearly tripled, and we feel an obligation to our guests to try and keep on top of who’s who and who is bottling what. (Well, that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it.)

Winemaking has become such a booming industry worldwide that I’m sure a lot of thought goes into what to name your winery in order to help it stand out from the crowd on the wine store shelves. (How could you resist the South African wine called Goats Do Roam?) I’ve been intrigued by the name of the newer wineries on the North Fork called One Woman Wines so we had to visit the tiny, rustic tasting room. One Woman primarily makes whites, and we particularly enjoyed their Gewurtztraminer, which had a lot of fruit and spice to it. We also stopped in at Shinn Estates, which has been on our list since they opened. They are known especially for their merlot, but we found all their reds distinctive, and also enjoyed their Brut sparkling wine.

Of course, we introduced Deb and Jim to Hamptons cuisine via several of our area restaurants, including Cowfish, Le Chef, World Pie, and Plaza Cafe. Hey, since it was our playcation, I was taking the opportunity to eat out! YUM!

It definitely felt like a getaway…and we never left home!

Quote of the Day: To people outside, they think, Gee, that’s great. You get to go here and there. The other side of that is our expression, This is location, not vacation. — Tom Berenger

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