At the far, far end of the North Fork  is Orient, one of the most glorious spots on Long Island . Only a few buildings dot this narrow windswept piece of land. Instead you’ll find osprey nests, gentle beaches, and a tiny historical town.
In the 1930s, the WPA guide described the village of Orient in terms that still apply today: “The little weathered shingle houses, few more than one-and-a-half stories high, sit primly behind picket fences. In sun or storm the Atlantic winds roll in. . . .”
To reach Orient proper, you cross a narrow isthmus. To the left are crescent-shaped Truman Beach and Long Island Sound, to the right, Orient Harbor and Gardiners Bay.
The town centers around an old-fashioned post office and the Orient Country Store. The former is still equipped with turn-of-the-century stamp windows, while the latter sells sandwiches at bargain prices.
At the end of Village Lane is the Oysterponds Historical Society (1555 Village Ln., 631/323-2480, www.oysterpondshistoricalsociety.org , 2–5 p.m. Thurs. and Sat.–Sun. July–Sept., adults $5), a group of seven well-preserved historic buildings. The Webb House is a pre–Revolutionary War inn, while the Village House is a 19th-century home containing memorabilia from the 1800s. Back then, Orient was a popular resort with two big hotels. Temporary exhibits are showcased in the Schoolhouse Building, the only building open year-round.
If you continue down Village Lane to King Street and turn onto Narrow River Road, you’ll come to an early slaves’ burial ground, in a pretty spot overlooking the sea. Twenty slaves are buried here along with Dr. Seth Tuthill and his wife Maria. “It was [the Tuthills’] wish that they be buried with their former slaves,” reads a plaque near the cemetery.
A few miles beyond Orient, at the very tip of the North Fork , is Orient Point, where ferries dock on their way to and from New London, Connecticut. Abutting the point is Orient Beach State Park (N. County Rd., off Rte. 25, 631/323-2440, dawn–dusk, $6–8 parking), one of the finest beaches on Long Island . Stretching west over a long finger of land, the 357-acre park features endless miles of white, ocean-washed sands. It’s especially popular among bird-watchers and nature-lovers. Facilities include a bathhouse, refreshment stand, horseshoe court, and hiking trails.