The following day we were both ready for some shore time after enjoying another easy sail to Huntington Bay several miles to the east. The lighthouse on the end of Eaton’s Neck soared skyward. The 73-foot sandstone tower was first lit in 1799, making it the second oldest light on Long Island (completed in 1796, Montauk
Light is the oldest in New York state). The tower has been closed to the public since 2000.
Like Oyster Bay, Huntington Bay is really a network of harbors. Lloyd Harbor offers scenic-and-protected anchorages in 5-to-7 feet of water. Nestled behind East Neck to the south is the major boating center of Huntington Harbor and the historic town of Huntington. Huntington Bay also provides access to Northport Bay, with its many anchorages, and to Northport Harbor, formerly called Great Cow Harbor.
Instead of anchoring out, we grabbed a mooring at the Northport Yacht Club. After relaxing in the cockpit we took the launch ashore and walked into historic Northport Village to admire the Victorian-era buildings. It was good to stretch our legs, and to enjoy steamers and lobster in one of the many restaurants.
Past Northport, which marks the end of Long Island’s Gold Coast, the harbors thin out. Port Jefferson, tiny Mt. Sinai, and Mattituck Inlet are the only other refuges to the east. The next morning we set a course west, retracing our path along a truly great cruising ground. Big Stew must have been impressed. Like me, he’s returned to the Gold Coast time after time, finding it as addictive as a box of Godivas.
WEATHER: Summer daytime temperatures can exceed 90F, but average in the low 80s; it’s often humid. There are occasional violent afternoon thunderstorms. Morning fog can also be expected. September and early October are usually clear, with daytime temperatures averaging in the upper 60s and low 70s, but northerly winds are more frequent.
WHEN TO GO: July and August are the peak cruising months. Fall will often have more reliable winds.
Navigation: Long Island Sound waters are well-marked. Commercial traffic is common, particularly in mid-Sound; use caution at night. Watch for lobster- pot buoys.
RESOURCES: Embassy Cruising Guides: Long Island Sound to Cape May; Maptech; Atlantic Cruising Club’s Guide to Long Island Sound Marinas, by Elizabeth Adams Smith, Jerawyn Publishing, Inc.; Waterway Guide, Northern; Richardsons’ Waterproof Chartbook & Cruising Guide Long Island Sound; Chartkit, Region 3, New York to Nantucket.
NOAA Charts: 12363 Long Island Sound Western Part; 12365 South Shore of Long Island Sound Oyster and Huntington Bay (South Shore refers to the North Shore of Long Island); 12366 Long Island Sound and East River Hempstead Harbor to Tallman Island.