All Aboard for a North Fork Holiday

Blue Iris Bed and Breakfast owner Jerry Siani's intricate train display is 12 years old.
Blue Iris Bed and Breakfast owner Jerry Siani’s intricate train display is 12 years old.

By Rachel Bosworth

Christmas is coming just a little early to the North Fork this year. The smell of pine, sounds of holiday music, and tastes of local wine and provisions will complement the festive sights of Christmas décor as four bed and breakfasts go all out for the 5th annual Cutchogue Holiday House Tour on Saturday, December 9. While each will offer something a little different, the central theme of community will spread holiday cheer throughout.

Tour organizer Lisa Sanino of Sanino Vineyard Bed and Breakfast says the tour has always been community-minded. “It’s something that we started five years to showcase our B&Bs and give back to our community,” she explains. “A portion of the proceeds go to a local charity. This year we are working with CAST to buy turkeys and meals for families in need on the North Fork. We also set up a box for Toys for Tots.”

Each house is paired with a restaurant and winery, and Zuhoski Tree Farm will be a new addition this year, offering visits with Santa, hayrides, and the chance to cut down or pick your own Christmas tree. Sanino says it is a festive day and really gives the feel that the holidays are coming. Many visitors return each year for self-guided tours to see how the homes will be decorated.

Vineyard bells on winter vines at Fig and Olive Bed and Breakfast.

For Sanino, who will pair up with Peconic Vineyard’s wines and Little Oak Wood Fired Oven, her goal every year is the same but with a fresh twist. “I try to bring the outdoors in,” she explains of her decorating motif, which will also focus silver and gold this year. “I use a lot of pine and holly and berries, some grapes vines, and lights. Every year I’m always buying something new and mixing it up a little. Last year I cut hydrangeas and used them all over, and loved it so much that I left them up all year.”

Fig and Olive Bed and Breakfast in Cutchogue is returning again this year to join the tour. Owners Lisa and George Haase’s design aesthetic in last year’s home was a wintery mix of evergreen and forest colors, complemented by the traditional holly and deep red hues. Guest rooms were modestly adorned with Christmas baubles, and small Santas were placed throughout. Sparkling Pointe and Ammirati’s of Love Lane will be on hand to offer tastes at their bed and breakfast this year.

Every year Cedar House on Sound in Mattituck decorates for the holiday season, and co-owner David Perrin says that while they have done tours in the past, this will be their first with the Cutchogue Holiday House Tour. “We’re used to doing these types of events. It’s fun and we’ve always loved doing it. This year we’re really trying to focus on raising money to buy turkeys for families in need and give back to the community.”

Perrin says their bed and breakfast is different from the traditional colonial and Victorian styles as theirs is a restored barn. Cedar House on Sound, which is teaming up with their own Scarola Vineyards wine and Bay Breeze Bistro, aims for a “wine country style” Christmas with a nod to their Italian heritage. There is an eight by five-foot Italian nativity, called a Persepio, and a large metal sleigh that sits in the great room, alongside other statement pieces.

Festive accents in the guest rooms at Sanino Bed and Breakfast.

“Our main design approach is the same as the B&B,” Perrin says. “It’s rustic chic, old world meets new world, reclaimed wood with modern amenities. We do deck the halls! It’s a warm, fun feel. We have a lot of space and we go grand.”

As a child, Jerry Siani had an interest in trains. As an adult, he became a collector. Eventually he got involved with houses and villages, and amassed a large collection that continues to grow. “He wanted to see what other people were doing, and we went to a train show,” shares his wife, Lorry, and co-owner of Blue Iris Bed and Breakfast, which is the next-door neighbor of Fig and Olive. “When we got there, we looked at each other and realized he really does a great job.”

Blue Iris is also new to the tour this year, pairing up with Courtney Schaduel’s catering company, Plated Simply, and Waters Crest Winery. They, too, have always decorated for the holidays. “In our guest parlor, we always do something a bit more elegant,” Siani says. “The Christmas tree has white lights, gold ornaments, cranberry ribbons, and hydrangeas. That will be up for the tour this year.”

This year, they aim to show off the train display that has been about 12 years in the making. “We’re going to open the downstairs this year for people to see it,” Siani says. “It’s really spectacular.”

Ticket are $75 per person. Advance ticket purchase is required at