How do you know summer is here? When the beach season has started! That’s right! And up here in the Northeast of America that would be the Memorial Day Weekend.
Something I’ve been always yearning to do since last year already is a taking a trip up to the Hamptons and Montauk. While I had ventured out to Long Island (read more here), excursed to Fire Island (read more here and here), and gone surfing at Far Rockaway (read more here), I just never had the chance to take the train out much further than that.
So June 1st was the day. My 25th birthday. I just knew I did not want to spend it again in the city of New York. Sometimes you simply need a change. Something that refreshes your mind and takes you away from everyday life. The weather had been fantastic throughout the month of May, so I thought it would be the right time to go to Long Island. Geographically seen, Montauk surpasses the Hamptons and takes its place on the northernmost tip of Long Island. The only point that reaches out further into the Atlantic is some
unknown spot in Rhode Island. Most people have never heard about Montauk unless they’ve lived here for quite a bit. Even I only got to hear stories about it because my co-workers let me in last year.
Last week we rented out a car and drove those 2 ½ hours from the Big Apple out to the coast. Because it was dark, I didn’t really catch much from South Hampton, Bridgehampton, and East Hampton when driving through. Montauk technically belongs to the Hamptons and it definitely offers the prices they do. To give you an idea, we paid $155 a night for an unexciting hotel right in town, and the season has not even started yet.
Montauk is quite beautiful, even at night. Kenny’s Tipperary Inn was right next to the harbor and we walked around it in the dark, trying to find some handsome boats and make up stories to go with them. A champagne-induced walk around the harbor beneath the twinkling stars – what more to wish for on an extended weekend? Not much more, but one of the biggest pancake breakfasts ever the next day! Brought to us by John’s Pancake House and boy, were they good! Even the omelet was a great choice!
Of course you cannot go to Montauk without visiting its notorious light house. And this is when I was glad we had decided to take a car: It is far off from everything else! A good 5 miles from the town itself it forms a landmark right next to the water. On our way from the pancake house to our car, we ran across a determined Swedish girl who wanted to walk the extensive distance along the beach. Later-on we saw her walking on the street, her camera around her neck and a smile on her face. Some people are just satisfied being a nature freak…
Since I am not too much of one, we took the car and drove up there. Now don’t be disappointed as the lighthouse itself is rather unexciting. The locals charge 8 dollars just to park your car and then they want another 9 bucks per person to get you in to the terrain. A teeny bit too much of a rip-off, even for a
birthday like Friday. Because I didn’t think I would be missing out on too much by not stomping through the rooms of an old historic building, we just decided to go down to the beach and take in the view. Believe it or not, you can see enough from the lighthouse by simply sitting on the stony ground, taking in the greenness of the water, and chilling.
The $8-parking-fee included access to Camp Hero and Heather Hills. Camp Hero is a deserted Air force base, which has also been rumored to produce the Montauk Monster. We made a quick stop there, saw the satellite tower and a few barracks. There really isn’t much to take in culture-wise but it is great for hiking. Since we hadn’t planned on doing so, we weren’t prepared shoe and clothes-wise. I am not sure what Heather Hills is about as we didn’t have time to check that out. Basically, we just wanted to go to the beach and enjoy the time so close to the water.
Montauk has many private beaches and it might be hard to decide where to go. We found one that seemed open to the
average bourgeois public and even snagged beach chairs which were provided by a hotel close-by. A couple with their dog decided to do the same – he was quite an adorable chap. Of course the weather during that particular weekend decided to be moody and unforeseeable. It was a mere 18 Celsius (65 Fahrenheit) out at the water.
After an hour or so it had gotten a bit too chilly for us and we went on to a bar right next door. Cyril’s is known to both the locals and tourists. Its Banana Baileys cocktail comes highly recommended. Beware of these, as the sugar in them will make you feel you can keep on drinking – until it is almost too late. We also ordered a dish of oysters and chips with guacamole, just to fill our stomachs before dinner.
Bars in this quaint village do not open up until 5PM (Cyril’s was an exception it appeared). It must be hard to do some hardcore daytime drinking when you are out there, but maybe that is not the priority of many people (except for New Yorkers).
The evening held a surprise dinner at East by Northeast. Seafood at its very best, I would say that much. It is named that way because it offers Asian cuisine mixed with seafood coming from the East Coast. Obviously, you have many more dishes, too, though. After churros for dessert, we ended the night at the Surf Lodge. The SL is called that way because it has a huge screen showing surfers from the 60ies, 70ies and 80ies over and over again – non-stop. On this particular night they even had a cozy fire outside. An outdoor fire place next to the water on a cool night out – how much better could it get?
The very next day it was raining so we packed our belongings and starting driving back to the City. Not without a quick stop at Sag Harbor, a village in the East Hamptons. Through the rain and greyness I managed to shoot some pictures of the impressive boats they have out there. It must be a cute town to look at during sunlight but on a rainy day there simply wasn’t much to do.
The Hamptons seem great for a weekend or day trip and I can only imagine how crowded it must be once the summer season rolls in full force. However, it is not a very inspiring place to be at. Maybe it’s the masses of average rich people who have decided to buy their own house with their own private beach. The people appeared stuck up and I sometimes wondered what their lives were really about. It is fun to witness these personality types for a short period of time but I am not sure I could ever be comfortable in this part of America. Overall, the never-ending charade of seemingly cloned characters together with the beach, sand, and good food made up for a quite eventful weekend trip.
Hopefully more beach trips are to come in between now and Labor Day. Which is the official date in the Northeast of America ending the beach season again.