Mitchell Park and Marina
An East End DayCation
By Ben Amato
Whether arriving by boat, car or train, Greenport has a unique way of making you feel at home. The “jewel” of this small harbor town is Mitchell Park. Once the site of a restaurant, bar and marina owned by the Mitchell family, this four acre park is now a stage for all to see and experience the wonders of this East End town. A 1920’s antique carousel donated by the Northrop-Grumman Corporation overlooks a huge amphitheater and the 60 slip town marina. Shakespearean plays dominate the scene in August. Bands and concerts fill the air with music the entire summer long. Just beyond the landscaped confines of the park lie the bustling town of Greenport, filled with everything you need for a memorable “daycation.”
For those arriving by car, head east from Riverhead for about 20 miles, through the heart of the North Fork. Stop often at farm stands, the wineries, antique shops and the small towns that line Route 25. By boat, the changing shoreline of the Peconic Bay, Robins Island, Noyack Bay and Shelter Island will convince you that Long Island is the most beautiful spot in the world. Town parking lots make visiting Greenport a pleasure. Docking at Mitchell Park Marina is almost as easy but a call ahead is always best. The popularity of this recently update facility is soaring. Boats tied up there will be in the center of a bustling town filled with shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, hot nightlife and cool breezes.
While all of Greenport is a historic district, with buildings, wharfs and artifacts marking every significant moment in American history, the Mitchell Park Marina is located in its heart. The East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation brings the past to life, managing several local museums and arranging for dockside visits from magnificent tall ships. The Bounty visited in April. The Privateer Lynx will be docking there on May 14th through the 20th. The last weekend in September brings the Maritime Festival and on a somewhat regular basis, pirates have been known to roam the Greenport Harbor Walk, a seaside boardwalk that spans the entire shoreline from the town’s center to the Long Island Railroad Station and the Shelter Island Ferry dock.
Every day Mitchell Park is a delight to the senses. Beside the carousel and wide, clean waterfront pathways, this town park boasts a Camera Obscura. This is an ancient optical device dating back to Chinese emperors of the B.C. times. Using lenses, mirrors and a darkened room, an image of the outside landscape can be projected on to a round, flat surface inside the room. This forerunner of photography is housed in a round, unique looking building near the shore. When a white flag is flying from its roof, then a park attendant is on duty to show you the marvels of this rare device.
While there are many other marinas in Greenport, this town facility offers the most ideal location and ease of docking. The channel is busy, in season and out, with the Greenport-Shelter Island ferry constantly plying the waters. But once past the entrance to the marina, Mitchell Park offers more than enough room to maneuver and dock safely at their wide floating slips. The breakwater at the mouth of the entrance protects the boats from the chop from the channel so if you stay overnight, all will be comfortable, quiet and memorable.
The very air of this park, marina is a wonderful mix of liveliness of being in the center of a vibrant town yet being connected to the natural beauty of the East End shoreline. To the east, the famous bronze osprey sculpture named “Morning Glory” looks down on this town and harbor. To the south, Shelter Island and Dering Harbor entices you with Long Island’s unique maritime beauty. To the north, Main Street beckons.
Visit Mitchell Park by boat or by car, by train or by bicycle (the terrain is gently flat) and sample the adventure of a historic town and a wonderful harbor.
For more information about the marina, town or the tall ship Lynx, please visit these sites:
Greenport Village Website
East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation
Lynx; America’s privateer
Mitchell Park Marina
631-477-2200 - Mitchell Park
631-702-4381 - Greenport Harbor Master
Lat / Long: 41° 06.033' N / 72° 21.617' W