Port Jefferson

Get to know Port Jefferson

When you’re in Port Jefferson, there’s so much to do!

You could start your day by getting a cup of coffee at Tiger Lily Cafe. This isn’t just any coffee shop: it’s the best coffee shop in town. One thing that sets it apart is its incredible selection of baked goods. Make sure to try their unique wraps as well as the tasty smoothies and a range of vegan options.

Another place to visit is Heritage and Harbor Front Park. This park has some beautiful views, and it’s just off the beaten path enough that you can enjoy some peace and quiet while you relax and take in the scenery.

If you want to really get a sense of what makes Port Jefferson special, though, make sure to check out the old buildings in the area. Flowing with nautical commemoration, they are one of the most unique historic buildings in town. Dating back to the 1600s and on the side of shipyards for family-owned ships during the 1700s, you can get a glimpse at how life was like for sailors during that time period.

Of course, if you just want to kick back and relax on vacation, you can always just head down to the West Meadow Beach. This beach is close enough that you can easily walk there from downtown Port Jefferson. The water is crystal clear and also very calm.

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Port Jefferson History & Culture

The original settlers of the Town of Brookhaven, based in the neighboring hamlet of Setauket, bought a tract of land from the Setalcott Indians in 1655. The deed included the area of contemporary Port Jefferson along with all other lands along the North Shore from the Nissequogue River eastward to Mount Misery Point.

Port Jefferson’s original name was Sowasset, a Native American term for either “place of small pines” or “where water opens.

The first known home within the present village boundaries was erected in the early 1660s by Captain John Scott, an important leader in Long Island’s early history. This house, named Egerton, was a grand abode on the western end of Mount Sinai Harbor at Mount Misery Neck. The first settler in Port Jefferson’s current downtown was an Irish Protestant shoemaker from Queens named John Roe, who built his still-standing home in 1682. It remained a small community of five homes through the 18th century, and was renamed to “Drowned Meadow” in 1682.

Local lore has it that the pirate Captain Kidd rendezvoused in the harbor on his way to bury treasure at Gardiners Island. Another legend is that: during the Revolutionary War, naval commander John Paul Jones had a ship fitted here. However, there is no factual support for these assertions, and the historical works quoted do not present them as definitive facts. John Paul Jones’s career in particular is well documented, and there are no accounts of him visiting the village, which was under British control during the time he served as a commanding officer.

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