Sunday Driving -- Once you get past the traffic-clogged areas close to the city, there are quite a few charming villages sprinkled along the North Shore's many scenic little peninsulas. Not all the towns claim huge Vanderbilt mansions or sprawling gardens, but they still are great places to take a drive. Sea Cliff began as a Methodist summer campground in 1871 and now boasts some two dozen homes on the National Register of Historic Places (as well as 900 structures built before World War II). Come to walk the steep streets and admire the Victorian homes with their gingerbread porches and Gothic gables. Grab a bite at the charming sidewalk cafe Once Upon a Moose, 304 Sea Cliff Ave. (tel. 516/676-9304), then stop by Memorial Park for spectacular sunsets over the water. You won't even find Locust Valley on many maps -- this very cute small town (just 1 sq. mile) is full of great antiques shops and boutiques and is one of the island's biggest secrets. Cold Spring Harbor is another antiques-filled haven right on the water; Route 25A takes you through town and offers some gorgeous water views. Stop in at the Whaling Museum, Main Street (tel. 631/367-3418), then walk the length of Main Street (it's only 1/4 mile) and admire some of the structures dating back to the days when whaling was the backbone of industry here. Port Jefferson is a bustling town on the water, full of restaurants, antiques shops, marinas, and cute storefronts. It's also a docking point for one of the Connecticut ferries, so it's constantly in motion, especially in the summer.
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