Riverhead is the gateway to Long Islandâ€™s North and South Forks including the Hamptons and Montauk Point. It is a middle class area with an historic town where many buildings date from the late 1800s. Riverhead is also the county seat; and as anyone responding to a jury summons can tell you, the county court system is here as well. This town is home to both the Riverhead jail and the famed Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe
- (over a hundred hand-made flavors, the stuff memories are made of). In short, it is a study in contrasts.
Riverhead is also a town of festivals celebrating the areaâ€™s culture. In July the town hosts the annual Blues Festival
attracting 200,000 music lovers. Come August over 250,000 arrive daily for the Polish Town Festival Weekend
. Why a Polish Festival in Riverhead, you ask? There is the 10-block Polish Town section where even the grocery store signs are foreign, and hundreds line up outside Lekâ€™s Butcher Shop every Easter for homemade Kielbasa (the best!) and traditional baked delicacies. The past is also preserved at Starâ€™s Luncheonette in the center of town. With original early 1900s dÃ©cor, a soda fountain and booths, Starâ€™s is a mecca for young and old. Production begins in January on the nearly 1,000 Easter bunnies and baskets made from antique molds and assembled by one elderly family member. Tradition lives on in Riverhead at every corner. Just across from Starâ€™s locals are working to preserve and renovate the townâ€™s old theatre. And just down the street from the theatre, Atlantis Marine World
, the commercial aspect of a marine biology laboratory, educates Long Islandâ€™s children about local sea animals.
Another family entertainment is shopping, and here, Riverhead does not disappoint. Tanger Outlets
has completed its second phase of development in Riverhead, with a third subdivision planned. With over 165 name brand stores selling clothing, accessories and home furnishings, an occasional weekend afternoon spent at Tanger has become the Long Island familyâ€™s norm. In summer when shopping palls there is the nearby Splish Splash
water park for a soothing cool down and more family fun. Ranked in the top 5 of the nationâ€™s water parks by The Travel Channel
, Splish Splash adds new and exciting water rides each season while maintaining old favorites.
Now about housing- as of this writing, Riverhead boasts no McMansion communities, but they loom on the horizon. Todayâ€™s farms are indeed, tomorrowâ€™s tract mansions. Current housing opportunities range from trailer parks of all descriptions, to spot built, and the ubiquitous development communities of single-family homes. In recent years, Riverhead has become a mecca for over-55 communities, possibly because large tracts of land in Riverhead have been relatively inexpensive for developers to acquire (also because there is a hospital nearby). For more information, or to view houses in Riverhead, contact a local realtor