The Morning Glory Inn: A Sweet Retreat

Renate Wilhem serves breakfast

“My heart is in America, but my soul is in Germany,” said Renate Wilhem, owner of The Morning Glory Inn, a cozy Bed & Breakfast located in the northern wine region of Long Island, New York. On an unusually cold night this winter, we drove 2 1/2 hours east to find ourselves in a part of the state best known as the escape of choice for sun-starved New Yorkers. We soon discovered that two short ferry rides to the north of the Hamptons put us in the middle of New England wine country.

The North Fork of Long Island is ripe with acres of vineyards and tasting rooms that are both rustic and elegant. We got a brief yet robust sampling of the region’s wines with a visit to Shinn Estates Vineyards and Channing Daughters Winery. Shinn, known for its biodynamic wines, offered us a selection of table wines that were easy to drink. We envisioned pairing the whites with a plate of oysters prepped by our neighborhood fishmonger and voilà, we were sold (on exactly two bottles of their popular Coalescence wine). The next day we stopped by Channing Daughters on our way back to the city, where we were blown away. Not only did the vineyard offer an idyllic setting straight out of a California postcard, the wines were interesting, old-world style. Among those that we tasted, we discovered their Orange Wine, a glorious caramel nectar made from macerating the white wine grapes with the skin. I’m no wine connoisseur but this wine definitely made an impression on me (so we bought five more bottles).

But enough about wines, I’m getting thirsty just thinking about them. The real highlight of our trip was the time we spent at The Morning Glory Inn in Greenport, a charming seaside town located on the eastern-most tip of the island. Renate and Klaus Wilhem, a German couple who have made Long Island their home for the past 7 years, run the inn. The couple bought the restored 1820 building, and transformed it into a peaceful oasis that would convert even the most adamant Valentine’s Grinch. The three rooms they rent out located upstairs from the area of the house the couple uses as their own, are white-washed and serene, an ode to the art of fine living. The sheets were perfumed with lavender water (made with lavender harvested from a farm nearby), the white Turkish blankets—I mean, towels—made us feel like royalty, and breakfast was elevated to an art form.

We woke up on Saturday morning to a table set with candlelight, silver, china, and crystal. There were dainty egg frittatas that first day, and the next a lavish spread of scrambled eggs, bacon, home-made croissants and the house favorite: a German pancake that Renate makes from scratch.

Even though the couple first landed in the Bronx when they immigrated from Europe in the 1960’s, you can still experience a sense of nostalgia, a sense of place reminiscent of their roots in the North Frisian Islands. Maybe it’s the attention to detail, the food, the warmth that you feel upon arrival. Or maybe it’s being in a place where you can unplug without driving for five hours. All I know is, it’s a little piece of heaven.

Breakfast at the Morning Glory Inn

Renate's German Pancake

Orient Point

Sunset in North Fork wine country

Wines, wines, wines

Sculpture at Channing Daughters Winery

Octopus in sculpture park @ Channing Daughters Winery

One Response to The Morning Glory Inn: A Sweet Retreat

  1. Alexandra MacArthur says:

    Can you take me next time?

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