Blown away

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Bernadette Smith at the brunch buffet.

It’s been decades since I visited The Milleridge Inn in Jericho, just off Route 106, and it’s only minutes from my home.

When my daughter Samantha’s father-in-law began a job there as a manager and suggested to the owners that they meet with me, my fun began! What a meeting it was! What a Long Island treasure it is!

The Smiths and their family have owned the historic site on the spacious nine acres for 50 years. Set on the  property is a handsome, stately, large main house, and over the years additional buildings were added, including “The Cottage” and “The Carriage House,” used for catering, and then the amazing village of “Shops at Milleridge” surrounding a central green.

Here’s where my fun began – or was it the dynamite, lavish Sunday brunch?

While talking about their desire to expand their market into Queens, I learned that Bernadette Smith is the daughter of the famous Bill Casey, head of the CIA under the Reagan administration. When I told her that I live across the street from the “Casey House,” a stately home sitting on the harbor, I was amazed to learn that she and her husband live there now. So we had an instant bond! The family abounds with history.

The charming inn has been serving the best hot popovers and American cuisine for 50 years. Popovers were my childhood favorites but I hadn’t had one in ages. When I mentioned it to Owen Smith, he said they had them and within minutes I had the mouth watering treat on my plate. But that was only the beginning.

They invited me back to experience their lavish Sunday  brunch. The handsomely decorated tables were overflowing with food from lox and bagels to lobster to shrimp to sushi to roast beef to waffles and eggs, custom made to order. What a feast! I loved the carved watermelon the chef had created to decorate the fruit selections. Then there was the outrageous dessert table. I wished my kids were with me because there was a bowl filled with pretzels, marshmallows and sliced fruits waiting to be dipped into the spinning liquid chocolate. A “wow” conclusion to a luscious meal. Then my added fun began.

Mrs. Smith took me on a tour of the Shops at Milleridge. Outside in the village square was a crafts market with vendors selling items from soaps to delicious chocolates. I even met an old friend from Whitestone, Joan, who was selling her 90-year-old father, Gerard’s “lap quilts.” After circling the outside “market” I entered the enchanting Christmas store, the first of seven. It is being prepped to open in a few days. It was stocked from floor to ceiling with every imaginable need I might have for decorating for the holidays or for gift giving.

Then we went to the gift store also stocked with massive amounts of beautiful items, from a huge collection of Vera Bradley accessories to abundant picture frames to wonderful handkerchiefs to great little “taxi wallets” and so much more.

But I wasn’t finished. There’s another shop with wonderful bridal gifts and Irish items. Then onto another shop which was overflowing with delicious-smelling baked goods and breads. Then onto the General Store. What a great shop where I found a singing doll who, with the touch of a button, belted out Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Of course I had to buy it for my office to delight my staff and me!

And then there is a flower shop and one that is stocked with creative, beautiful toys for kids from birth to teen. There’s even an ice cream parlor and candy shop.

It’s a shopper’s delight to visit the village shops and dine at The Milleridge Inn. Try it; you too will love the experience. Call 516.931.2201 for more information.

The chef created a watermelon sculpture to enhance the fruit selections.