Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Hamptons Part 1 - Montauk

The Hamptons,are a series of Hamlets, about 2.30 hours from New York City.  Southampton is the richest one while Montauk, sitting on the easternmost tip is the farthest one which is why it is also called The End.

 It is an area of great beauty and is rich in history. The name is derived from a native American tribe, Teddy Roosevelt & The Roughriders frolicked on the beach and whiskey smugglers during prohibition used the beaches for a different kind of activity altogether.A simple fishing village it ain't.

My previous experience of The Hamptons has been mostly Saturday drinking sessions and shenanigans, returning home on Sunday in time for brunch and regret.Returning twenty years later, this time with the wife, I was worried about how she would react to what is essentially a significant change in pace and scenery from NY, a city she had declared she liked as much as her fav city in the world (London)

We hopped the LIRR from Penn Station to Southampton ($21/$29 Non Peak & Peak) or you can buy onboard the train as well but it is pricier ($27/$35 Non Peak & Peak) 2 hours later we hopped off at Southampton Station

and hoofed it across the street to pick up our rental car from Hertz (2018 Toyota Corolla, $48 a day including insurance, unlimited mileage, not inclusive of fuel)

Pro Tip : Exploring the Hamptons or even one of its forks, is not possible to do easily without a car. The train has a limited schedule and all other transport is either to be flagged down or unreliable. Cab rides can be expensive (Southampton-Montauk is about 48$, same as a days car rental)

We drove 30 miles straight to beautiful Montauk, through Southampton, East Hampton, it is a lovely drive. Montauk is a lot less busy than some of the other more easily accessible points of the Hamptons. Since there is a lot less action there is also more peace and quiet.

Our hotel was the historic, Montauk Manor, a Tudor style condo/hotel which has been around since 1927. The hotel sits on a little bluff and one must drive up a small hill to get to the property.
Once you are there though, it offers sweeping views of the Roughriders Development, Navy Beach and the water.

Montauk Manor
Inside, it is a bit of a time warp, high ceilings, chandeliers, a working fireplace. The property has an indoor and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants, tennis and squash courts as well as a Spa. Summ

View from the property

Absolutely stunning on a bleak day, on a bright sunny one it's ethereal beauty will stop you in your tracks.

The rooms are essentially 1-3 bedroom apartments, ours was a 1-bed (Living Room, Kitchen, Bed Room & 2 Baths) The decor was kind of what you expect, hardwood floors, American colors and a nautical vibe.

Montauk Light House is famous but it is also one of the many across the Hamptons. It can get breezy so be prepared. Parking is supposed to be $8 but no one came to collect. You can climb up ($11) and look out, wistfully and wonder why you don't permanently live in a place like this (because it gets frighteningly cold)

Kirk Park Beach, sits across the main street and is easy to access. There is a parking lot right outside and it is a short climb to an absolutely stunning view.  Sand and Water as far as the eye could see, nobody else around, just us and the sound of waves.

John's Pancake House, is a Montauk institution, like most old-school diners from tv shows, this one has crusty people behind the stove and a matronly lady up front willing to listen to your desperate need to change up the order (the cook disagreed)

The Pancake was pretty terrific and my cheddar cheese omelette was the biggest one I have ever had.

Gringo's is a great taco/burrito joint, you can also head to Gossman's for some great sea food and lovely view.

All in all Montauk was exactly what I was expecting it to be. Quiet, rustic, lots of wood and salt, red, white & blues. Offering a direct contrast to the sunkissed surfer vibe of California. Montauk is a great example of East Coast Americana,  Ralph Lauren has used it as a base and an inspiration and it's mark on American Iconography is undeniable.

Weekdays are the best time to be here, the city folk are back at home and Montauk belongs to the locals. it is quiet and empty and achingly pretty.

If you are on the East Coast and have 48 hours, I highly recommend you get to The-End. 


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