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Editor: New Greenport-Sag Harbor Boat is Great for Us Ferry Fanatics

Aside from a few kinks to iron out, new ferry is off to an enthusiastic start.

It took me all of last weekend to finally hop on the new from in Greenport. 

Part of that was my own stupidity, but the laboriousness of what should have been a simple thing to report on was also partly a result of the fact that the water jitney doesn’t even have a week under its belt yet. There were a few kinks.

After finishing up on the ever-present laptop last Friday, I’d hoped to catch the 7 p.m. from Mitchell Park to Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and back, take some nice pictures during a picturesque summer evening on the water, chat with a few people, set everything to post for the a.m. and enjoy the winery-hopping date I had planned with a Patch co-worker from Nassau County on Saturday.

Thing is, there is no 7 p.m. ride. I had assumed (and you know how assuming goes) that there was. You see, the jitney begins its day at 7 a.m. and continues every two hours from Greenport. 7-9-11-1-3-5-7 … etc. That’s what I’d assumed. But for some reason, the 3 p.m. hour is skipped until 4 p.m. in Greenport. I found that out the next day when … well, I looked at the sign that lists the hours of operation at the dock.

“Erin, look at the frigging sign! Duh,” I scolded myself in front of my friend Andrew Coen, who was standing at the dock with me just before 5 p.m. on Saturday. No boat in sight. Next one left at 6 p.m.

Andrew had taken a break from being the editor of the Wantagh-Seaford Patch site to do it up North Fork style for a day. And do it up we did. We started with a tasting at , headed over to visit our friends at then ended up at in Peconic, a place I’d not yet visited. I bought a bottle of Anomaly, made by Anthony Nappa and a really nice, refreshing white pinot noir — truly summertime in a bottle.

I guess I needed a break from playing editor too — though it’s hard to take off that hat when you’re “down in it” all the time, hard to pretend like it’s your first time seeing this beautiful place. But it is nice to just … “be” and enjoy it out here once in a while.

“Well, there’s always” I suggested to Andrew as another essential North Fork place he needed to see and to kill another hour.

We did board the ferry at 6 p.m., but just as we were doing so, we heard this announcement: “The boat will not leave Sag Harbor until 11 p.m.”

Um … I like Sag Harbor, but not that much. At least not after we already had a day. It turns out that a private party was booked on the boat for a few hours on the Sag Harbor side. But ... a private party already? Don’t these guys want to nail down a reliable taxi service during their first weekend before booking private parties? Oh well, so much for attempt #2.

I finally took the roundtrip on Sunday at 1 p.m., meeting up with local DJ Brian Bannon who was on his way to his own private party with the rest of the crew of 92.1 WLNG in Sag Harbor. We both made a beeline for the upper deck. It was a perfect day for some sun on the face and wind in the hair for the hour-and-a-half round trip.

And, since moving here four years ago, I’ve become a ferry fanantic. I love this mode of travel — why would you want to be stuck in a car if you don’t have to be to get from here to there? Unlike theride to New London or either the Peconic Bay Water Jitney ride isn’t too long or too short. It’s perfect, and the scenery is outstanding.  I have a bunch of family and friends coming out from Michigan in August, and this is definitely the kind of boat ride that is ideal to introduce them to the area.

I wasn’t the only one with this thought. Elliot Udell came out from Plainview on this past Sunday to take the roundtrip with his parents, Ruth and Bernard. Former Manhattan residents Kevin and Kerry Berry, who now live in San Francisco, were visiting the North Fork and took their son, 11-year-old Aidan, on the ride that afternoon as well.

“It’s a great way to see all the changes that have taken place here,” said Kerry, who said she hadn’t seen downtown Greenport since about 2006.

Sag Harbor resident Wendy Walker said that the ride was “a great way to get a quick sunburn” and added she was glad

“It cuts down on cars and is just a sweet thing to do on a day like today,” she said. “It reminds me of the Fire Island ferries we used to take, so there’s also a bit of nostalgia.”

The only complaints about the ride that day were that 1. No refreshments (i.e., beer and wine), though there is a small corner bar in the lower lever, and 2. The captain that day did not take the east side of Shelter Island on the return trip. But Jim Ryan, one of the founders of the ferry project, had explanations here.

“We’re working with the to have different wineries come about and serve tastings, and we’ll provide a bus that will go to that vineyard that is serving on the boat that day,” he said. “As far as the east side of Shelter Island, there is a very narrow channel you have to take out there and lots of rocks. It’s up to each individual captain, but the west side is a calmer, safer route.”

Ryan added that a little over 400 people boarded the ferry during the first four days of service — better than what he’d expected with a soft opening and no advertising.

“It’s very encouraging,” he said.

It is. I, for one, will be back on the ferry with a boat load of people in August and if not sooner by myself. Hopefully, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney will continue to pick up stream through the season and become a productive alternative mode of transportation for our coastal community — and another way for this ferry fanatic to show off the East End.

Adult one way fare is $11 and roundtrip fare is $20. Visit peconicjitney.com or call 631-702-8300 for more information.

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Erin Schultz (Editor) July 04, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Caroline Walowski said on Facebook: "On Monday evening I took my first trip on the Water Taxi, it was great. A lovely 45 minute ride to Sag Harbor past "Bug Light" and on to the South Fork. Cocktails at the American Hotel, ad back home again the Emerald City. This is a keeper."
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 04, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Colleen Clark said on Facebook: "Can't wait to check that out!"
T.J. Clemente July 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
i am so excited and happy about this new service.

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