Tired of starting your day with constant city noise, earsplitting sirens, and honking horns? Get away from it all...trek to Montauk and watch the morning sun come up over the Atlantic, where the only sounds you'll hear are the waves gently breaking against the shore and the call of seagulls overhead.
Located on the easternmost tip of Long Island, Montauk is a small town with a long history. Andy Warhol owned a home here, and guests included Jackie Kennedy Onassis, her sister Lee Radziwill, and the Rolling Stones, who wrote a song about a motel in town (on their Black and Blue album) called Memory Motel. Montaukers have seen fashion shoots and celebrity weddings, and the town's scenic backdrop has served as a setting for movies, including the Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet flick, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Captain Kidd supposedly buried his treasure here, the Montaukett Indians were among the first to inhabit this part of the Island some 4,000 years ago, and then there is the famous (or perhaps infamous) Montauk Monster, a weird, still-unidentified animal that washed ashore in 2008.
Montauk offers some unique activities, from shark fishing and beachfront horseback riding to wreck diving and romantic oceanfront dining. The Village Green, in the heart of Montauk, plays host to art shows, bands, and a farmer's market throughout the summer, and is within walking distance to the beach. There are fun stores nearby where kids (and kids at heart!) can shop. Visit the weathered two-story toy store, A Little Bit of Everything, then step around the corner to Fudge 'n' Stuff, filled with a wide selection of candy and ice cream, and of course, fudge. The Montauk Bike Shop has rentals—try their very cool bicycles-built-for-two—while the Puff 'n' Putt Family Fun Center has sailboat, paddleboat, and canoe rentals and a miniature golf course. The center of town has a nice array of tiny shops with beach items, jewelry, souvenirs, surf clothing, and more. Whoa! Nellie is an adorable shop with retro and vintage items located right in the heart of Montauk village. If you want to rekindle your childhood memories from the 40's, 50's, and 60's, this is the perfect place to go. Formerly located on the North Fork, this new addition to Montauk is a welcome breath of fresh air. White's Drug and Department Store is centrally located and has just about anything needed to make your stay more comfortable. For fun on the water, Uihlein's Marina, a threegeneration boatyard and recreation center since 1957, rents out Wave Runners, boats, tubes, and kayaks, and has boat and slip rentals. Squeeze some alone time in during your stay and pamper yourself at "the greenest day spa in town," Deborah Thompson Day Spa, which specializes in massages, body treatments, and facials using organic and natural products.
Just a few miles east of town is West Lake Drive, at the edge of Montauk Harbor. Take a fishing trip from here, go on a whale-watching cruise, spend the day on Block Island, or plan a trip to Martha's Vineyard, all arranged through Viking Fleet. Here, too, is where you'll find popular Gosman's Dock: have lunch at the Clam Bar or Gosman's Restaurant, let your little ones choose a treat at Captain Kid Toys, shop 'til you drop in the tiny, charming stores, or just watch the ferries go by. You can watch those ferries with a bird's-eye view, too, aboard a 1927 Curtiss-Wright Travel Air 4000 owned by Montauk Air Adventures. This is the perfect activity for the adventurous, the romantic (want to propose to that special someone?), or for history buffs!
History buffs will also enjoy touring the second home built in Montauk, called Second House Museum. This 1700s farmhouse is the oldest building in Montauk, and features changing exhibitions, as well as photos of the area when it was filled with pastures and farm animals. First House burned down in 1909; Third House is located at the Deep Hollow Ranch, where Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders had an encampment. Deep Hollow Ranch is the country's oldest working cattle ranch, with guided beachfront horseback rides, barbeques, pony parties, a petting zoo, and more. Rita's Stables is another place to enjoy horseback riding, with trail rides, special half-hour rides, pony rides, a petting farm, lessons, and private rides.
Another place of historical interest is the Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington and built in just five months' time! Challenge yourself by trekking up to the top... via 137 spiral stairs...for an amazing view, then visit the downstairs gift shop and museum. There's a sandy beach outside, a snack bar/souvenir shop just steps away, and across the street is a picnic area and playground. This 1796 National Historic Landmark overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is not only the oldest lighthouse in New York but is the fourth oldest in the nation.
The Montauk area has many parks to explore, both county and state, including Camp Hero State Park, with 755 acres, offering surfcasting, bird watching, hiking, and surfing; Hither Hills State Park, at 1,755 acres, with oceanfront camping, hiking, picnicking, ball fields, saltwater fishing, and swimming; Shadmoor State Park has 98 acres and a bird sanctuary, beaches, bluffs, and hiking trails; the Theodore Roosevelt County Park, with its 1,185 acres, offers hiking, camping, picnicking, canoeing, hunting, a horseback riding facility, swimming, bicycling, and out-beach recreational use, and Montauk Point State Park has 724 acres, hiking, picnicking, and saltwater fishing.
When your stomach starts rumbling, head to where the locals go: John's Pancake House for— what else?—pancakes and breakfast food. For pub fare try the Shagwong or O'Murphy's, and John's Drive-Inn has the best burgers and shakes in town. Head further east to the Crow's Nest Restaurant for fine dining and seafood, or west to Gurney's Inn for an elegant and romantic oceanfront dinner with a spectacular view. Nearby Amagansett offers a few choice dining places, as well. Cyril's Fish House serves up fresh seafood and strong drink in a fun, beach-feel setting, while the famed Lobster Roll, aka "LUNCH," is a laid-back, family-oriented restaurant, with their specialty being, of course, lobster salad. Another popular seafood place is Navy Beach with its relaxed vibe—they have craft classes on the beach for the kids!— and "lobster basket nights." For an unusual dining experience, check out the Sea Slug Lounge. Actually, we could ask this about the Sea Slug: What do lobsters, a dirt road, a disco ball, and a bay view have in common? We'll leave the rest to your imagination...
Yeah, mon, if you want a cool place to hang with your friends, check out The Surf Lodge. It's got a laid-back surfer vibe but totally fun with a stylish crowd. Their website www. thesurflodge.com gives details of the events they have planned for the summer, from concerts, to cinema and arts.
There are no shortages of places to lay your head for the night. Throughout Montauk there are cottages, bed and breakfasts, oceanfront hotel rooms, and even the Montauk Yacht Club, all great choices for an overnight stay. The sprawling, nautical-themed oceanfront Gurney's Inn can accommodate different amounts of guests, with single rooms to large oceanfront cottages. This resort doubles as a conference center and is home to the area's top spa and indoor saltwater pool.
If you've been bitten by the Montauk bug and you decide that you must have your own place here, check out the Panoramic View. Perched atop a crest overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic, the aptly-named Panoramic View has townhouses for sale, plus overnight rentals, on ten oceanfront acres and over 1,000 feet of sandy white beach. Residences range from one to five bedrooms (from 1,200 to 4,500 square feet), with a fullservice doorman building. Cottage rentals, poolside cabanas, personal attendants, and a fitness center with access to private trainers are just a few of the many luxurious amenities that the Panoramic has to offer. Stay for the night or buy into the Surf Club...located on 8.5 acres, this beautiful apartment-style complex has 500 feet of beachfront, private swimming pool, tennis courts, and a bathhouse with steam baths.
If you're visiting by boat, visits to Manhattan or the nearby high-end shopping towns of East Hampton and Southampton are possible via the Hampton Jitney. If you plan to visit in the offseason, mark your schedule for the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 7th through the 11th.
While the rest of the towns throughout the Hamptons seem to continually evolve and change, Montauk somehow manages to retain the same character that it has had for the past 100 years. It has small-town charm, lots of historical interest, and provides tons of fun ways to create memories that will last a lifetime.
A Little Bit of Everything
33 The Plaza, 668-3888
Camp Hero State Park
50 South Fairview Avenue, 668-3781, www.camphero.net
Captain Kid Toys
Gosman's Dock, West Lake Drive, 668-4482
Crow's Nest Restaurant
4 Old West Lake Drive, 668-2077
Cyril's Fish House
2167 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, 267-7993
44 South Elmwood Avenue, 668-2729, www.dauntsalbatross.com
Deborah Thompson Day Spa
37 The Plaza, 668-4815, www.deborahthompsondayspa.com
Deep Hollow Ranch
8 Old Montauk Hwy, 668-2744, www.deephollowranch.com
Fudge 'n' Stuff
41 Edgemere Street, 668-4724
500 West Lake Drive, www.gosmans.com
500 West Lake Drive, 668-5330, www.gosmans.com
290 Old Montauk Highway, 668-1700, www.gurneysinn.com
283-4600 or (212) 362-8400, www.hamptonjitney.com
Hither Hills State Park
50 South Fairview Avenue, 668-2554, www.newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
695 Montauk Hwy, 668-5515
John's Pancake House
721 Montauk Hwy, 668-2383
Lobster Roll (aka Lunch)
1980 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, 267-3740, www.lobsterroll.com
Montauk Air Adventures
Montauk Terminal Airport, East Lake Drive, 516-359-9948, www.montaukairadventures.com
Montauk Bike Shop
725 Montauk Hwy, 668-8975, www.montaukbikeshop.com
Montauk Chamber of Commerce
742 Montauk Hwy, 668-2428, www.montaukchamber.com
Montauk Point Lighthouse
2000 Montauk Hwy, 668-2544, www.montauklighthouse.com
Montauk Point State Park
Montauk Highway, 668-3245
Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina
32 Star Island Road, 668-3100, www.montaukyachtclub.com
16 Navy Road, 668-6868, www.navybeach.com
99 Edgemere Street, 668-5005, www.omurphyspub.com
272 Old Montauk Highway, 668-3000, www.panoramicview.com
Puff 'n' Putt Family Fun Center
742 Montauk Hwy, 668-4473
3 West Lake Drive, 668-5453
Sea Slug Lounge
429 Cranberry Hole Road on the Napeague Stretch, Amagansett, 267-3341
Second House Museum
10 Second House Road, 668-5340, www.montauklighthouse.com/second_house.htm
Shadmoor State Park
50 South Fairview Avenue, 669-1000
774 Montauk Highway, 668-3050, www.shagwong.com
20 Sunside Avenue, 668-3800, www.duneresorts.com
The Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere Street, 668-1562, www.thesurflodge.com
Theodore Roosevelt County Park
2128 Montauk Hwy, 852-7878
Uihlein's Marina and Motel
444 West Lake Drive, 668-3799, www.uihleinsmarina.com
462 Westlake Drive, 668-5700, www.vikingfleet.com
White's Drug & Department Store
The Plaza, 668-2994
770 Montauk Highway, 668-2626, www.whoanellieretro.com