DescriptionPort Jefferson is a waterfront village on the North Shore of Long Island. Parking is available on the streets and in municipal lots. Some of the lots are free, some are not, so pay careful attention to the signs.
Public restrooms are located near one of the municipal lots near the ferry terminal.
The streets are level. Most of the restaurants and shops have either street-level entrances or a step or two up to enter. Benches can be found on some of the streets. A few of the shopping villages have a flight of stairs to the upper level.
Harbor Front Park and Village Center is just a few blocks from the heart of town.
- Baby changing station: yes
Port Jefferson is a waterfront village on the North Shore of Long Island. It has been one of our “Sunday Drives” for years. It is easy to spend an entire day visiting shops, restaurants and the beautiful harbor. Paved sidewalks lead to street level entrances at many of the establishments. Others have a step or two. The town has quite a few tourist streets, heading out from its harbor with the Port Jeff Ferry Terminal as its hub.
The village was first settled in the 17th century and has gone through many changes. The early settlers would never recognize it. Legend says that Captain Kidd came into the harbor on his way to bury treasure at Gardinder’s Island.
The village has a very interesting history. Its original name, “Drowned Meadow,” was changed to honor Thomas Jefferson, who provided funds for construction of a causeway to combat flooding of the harbor front. P.T. Barnum owned land and had intended to make the village home base for his circus, but the residents vetoed this idea.
Although shipbuilding was originally Port Jefferson’s source of income, today it is tourism. On a summer Sunday there are large crowds of people. At peak times parking can be difficult. Parking is available on the streets and in municipal lots. Some of the lots are free, some are not. Pay careful attention to the signs. In the middle of winter parking is easy, with the meters on “holiday.” The streets are level. It is fairly easy to get into the shops and village squares throughout town. A few of the shopping villages have a full flight of steps to an upper level. Public restrooms are located near one of the municipal lots. If you need a rest, there are benches to be found on the streets.
A cold winter day brought us to Port Jeff. We had not been here in quite some time and decided to have a look around without the crush of visitors this village sees in summer. The busy harbor is interesting to watch, even in winter, with some vessels always coming or going. The ferry will take you and your car from here to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Reservations for this trip should be made in advance.
We had always come here to walk out on the pier to watch the boats, but on this visit we discovered something new to us, Harbor Front Park, just a few blocks from the heart of town (see our listing under “Parks”). It is a lovely place to sit and watch the activity on the water. There are picnic tables and benches, and a play area for the kids. It is easy to navigate the entire area.
As always, we at Destination Accessible advise you to check a venue’s website, www.portjeff.com, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”