Column: Firing up the grill and planning out the Summer of 19

Memorial Day weekend has arrived, we’ve finally felt a 70-degree day again and the rainy portion of spring is hopefully behind us.

Summer has unofficially arrived on the North Fork. It’s about time.

As people fire up the grill and bask in the sunshine this weekend for what should be a beautiful three days, I’m sure many a grand plan will be mapped out for all the exciting things everyone hopes to accomplish this summer.

I’m no different. I’ve set up some lofty goals for fun over the next three months, which in my head will be filled with plenty of leisure, laughs and cold drinks. Somehow, though, reality usually gets in the way. Think of George in “Seinfeld” yelling, “This was supposed to be the summer of George! The summer of George!”

By mid-August, I’ll most likely be lamenting how summer flew by and consoling myself with thoughts of the New York Jets maybe, possibly, being competitive this fall. I’m an optimist in that regard.

Here in no official order is my bold vision for the Summer of ’19.

Blue seas

My father has been a boater for as long as I can remember. And a few years ago, he fulfilled a dream by trading in his power boat for a sailboat. What’s better on a summer day than a relaxing ride on a sailboat? Last summer, I made it out on the water only once. So this year my goal is to become more acclimated to the world of sailing, which I’ve learned is much more involved than cruising on a powerboat.

Play ball

No summer is complete without plenty of baseball. I was more optimistic a month ago about multiple trips to Citi Field this summer to watch the Mets. The season has quickly spiraled downhill, but nevertheless I’ll hope to make a few trips to Queens. And locally there’s some great baseball being played each summer in Riverhead and across the East End in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. The league has been around for more than a decade and has turned out a handful of pros. Best of all, the games are free! While I’m on a baseball run this summer, I’ll enjoy at least one Long Island Ducks game to check on some of the washed-up former Mets.


My wife and I love enjoying the wineries on the North Fork. Whenever we plan a tasting day, we typically stick to our same routine and visit the same handful of wineries. We’re creatures of habit. Maybe this summer I’ll finally expand my horizons and venture somewhere new. There’s no shortage of amazing wineries and it seems like a shame to not explore more of them.

Sandy beaches

The beauty of living on Long Island is the access to so many amazing beaches. I begin every summer hopeful about soaking up the sun and enjoying the crashing waves at the ocean beaches. Inevitably, I end up short of my goal. Last summer I don’t believe I made it to a Long Island beach once. There should be some sort of local law against such travesties. This summer, I will make it a point to pack a cooler, hop on a ferry to Fire Island and enjoy a day in the sand.

Live music

One event I always look forward to is the annual Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue, which continues to grow bigger every year. I missed out on attending last year and I always regret it when I don’t go. With four days of live music, I’m sure I can make at least one day this year.


No summer is complete without at least one Wednesday night trip to Shelter Island to enjoy the Pridwin’s tradition of a weekly cookout. The spot is a scene of pure beauty overlooking the water as the sun sets. And the food is always top-notch.

Water rides

Here’s a confession I’m not entirely proud of: I’ve never been to Splish Splash in Riverhead. Somehow, despite living on Long Island my entire life, I’ve never made it to the water park. I don’t recall exactly how my teenage years passed without my ever making it there. And as the years have gone by, it’s gotten less and less likely I’d go. Maybe this can be the year? In reality, though, I’ll probably wait until I have kids of my own to bring there.


The warm weather is an ideal time to get motivated to start exercising again. It seems like as good as time as any to put my Apple Watch to work and start tracking some workouts. It’s not the most fun item on my list, but it’s probably worth it. I’m not the type who can wake up early in the winter before the sun rises and begin a workout. But on a nice summer morning, or late in the evening, perhaps there’s hope.

The author is the editor of the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times. He can be reached at 631-354-8049 or [email protected].