Thursday, May 26, 2011

Montauk, NY

Of all the places I've traveled in the world, Montauk and the Hamptons are by far my favorites. It's a place I feel most at home. Montauk in particular has a special place in my heart, I fell in love from the beginning. From the constant sound of ocean waves crashing to the beautiful sunsets on the bay side, from the wild overgrown hedges to the wide stretches of white sandy beach, from the surfing to the fresh seafood and restaurants, I love it all. Montauk is at the very east end of Long Island, New York hence it's nickname "The East End."

Some say it's part of the Hamptons, some say it's beyond the Hamptons as it doesn't quite fit the rest of the other towns... I fit into the latter school of thought. As soon as you leave the Hamptons (Amagansett is the last town) and enter Montauk, it feels just a little different. It feels like a vacation. A small beach/surf town. The lawns are a little less kept, the houses a little less picture perfect. No cute inns or picket white fences. There are old motels and diners, fishermen, surfers, and vacationers from all walks of life. There is a light sea breeze with a faint smell of fish. Montauk is a place where you can relax, surf, fish, bike, lay out at the beach, but if you're up for going out, there is plenty of great nightlife for young and old! 

Here are some of my favorites restaurants and activities in Montauk:
9 Edison Drive
(631) 668-3663

Anyone who's been to Montauk enough times knows that Joni's is the best place for breakfast and lunch. Joni turns out delicious, fresh wraps, sandwiches and salads. Go for the breakfast wrap with eggs and a fresh assortment of fillings like goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, spinach, avocado, bacon, and more. For lunch, try the chicken salad wrap or the hummus wrap -- but really, anything you get will be yummy -- and a lot of it is organic! Great, easy stuff for kids to eat too.

Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere Street
(631) 668-2632

The Surf Lodge, located on Fort Pond, has a small hotel, a restaurant, one indoor bar, and a couple outdoor bars, a small boutique shop, and is probably the most happening night spot in town. Although you'll find more New Yorkers here than locals, it's a great place to go out on the weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays, they have (free!) outdoor concerts that start around 7 pm. Great place for friends, couples with kids, to relax, enjoy cocktails and live tunes. The entire place has a beautiful, beachy casual feel with lots of driftwood, yellows, whites and turquoise. Great outdoor space including a bonfire at night.

Navy Beach
16 Navy Road
(631) 668-6868

Opened last  summer and located on the bay side, it's the best place to catch the sunset. Try the warm lobster roll (1 pound of fresh lobster meat on a buttered roll) and the hamburger.

Gosman's Fish Market
484 West Lake Drive
(631) 668-5645

Montauk may have some great restaurants, but it's known best for its fresh, off-the-boat seafood: striped bass (in season after July 1), tuna, scallops (amazing!!), halibut, lobster, mako, blackfish, tile fish, fluke, and more.

South Edison
17 South Edison Street
(631) 668-4200
*Reservations recommended
photo by
Another great restaurant that opened last summer. Amazing raw bar, delicious food (focus on seafood), great wine selection. Across the street from Joni's in town.

Harvest on Fort Pond
11 South Emery Street
(631) 668-5574
*Reservations recommended

photo by Harvest on Fort Pond
View from the pier at Harvest
Harvest is one of the best places to eat in town for a big group or family. The Mediterranean menu is family-style so you only need a few entrees for the whole gang! Try the pork with apricot apple chutney, the skirt steak and the pastas. There's outdoor patio seating that's first-come first-serve. After dinner or while you wait, take the kids out on the pier to feed the ducks and swans or check out the huge catfish swimming around!!

Inlet Seafood Restaurant
541 East Lake Drive 
(631) 668-4272
View from the deck at Inlet
This seafood restaurant is really the only place in Montauk to get sushi but they are known for their fresh lobster and fish. Worth it for the sunset alone as you watch the rest of the fishing boats come in for the evening. 

Cyril's Fish House
2167 Montauk Highway
(631) 267-7993

This seafood "shack" is located on the Montauk Highway several miles out of town. You won't be able to miss it in the late afternoon on summer weekends as there is always a line of parked cars stretching for what seems like a mile in each direction! This is THE place to be around 4-5 pm for a post-beach, pre-dinner drink (or booze fest!). It has an outdoor patio that serves relatively decent food where the crowd of New Yorkers in their 20s and 30s spills into the parking lot and onto the street. Famous for their BBCs (Bananas Baileys Colada -- it's a boozy calorie bomb so be careful!). CASH ONLY.

Ditch Plains

Best beach to surf in the "East End." In the summer, it's a great place to learn to surf because the waves are manageable. Plenty of local instructors for first-timers. Be careful of parking -- you need a permit so walk, bike, or cab!

Surf Equipment Rentals: 
Air and Speed Surf Shop
795 Montauk Highway
(631) 668-0356

Bike Rentals:
Montauk Bike Shop
725 Montauk Highway #A
(631) 668-8975

Love Yoga Montauk
83 S. Elmood Avenue
(631) 668-8068

Montauk and the Hamptons are the perfect place to do yoga. It's a great way to stretch after a long day of surfing (or sun tanning!) or get a little workout in before going out. Located across the parking lot from Joni's, this yoga studio is new as of 2010. It has a great schedule of various classes and teachers. My favorite is Erika Halweil, who used to teach at Mandala Yoga in Amagansett Square, and is now here! She is known for a little tough love in her Ashtanga 2/3 yoga classes. You'll sweat more than anything but feel so great afterwards!

There are TONS of places to stay in Montauk, especially motels in town and along the Old Montauk Highway. But the best and most comfortable deal for a larger group is to rent a house. Try Vacation Rentals By Owner ( Many choices in different sizes, locations and budgets.

Otherwise, two hip places I recommend are:

90 Second House Road
(631) 668-2105

107 S. Emerson Avenue
(631) 668-6700

These two boutique hotels have been recently renovated from an old inn (Sole East Resort) and an old motel (Sole East Beach). Sole East, located near Fort Pond, features 61 hip, simple, bungalow-style rooms done in mostly white, 8 garden cabana suites, a hedged-off private pool with a DJ spinning during the day and night, the Backyard Restaurant and free bike rentals for guests while Sole East Beach is located in town near the public access beach and features 26 vintage style rooms. Both are pet-friendly. Note that Sole East Resort can get a little loud at night with party-goers hanging out pool-side until late. On weekends, there is a 2-night minimum stay on holidays, it's a 3-night minimum stay. 


Gansett Lane
6 S. Etna Avenue
(631) 668-8050

A beautifully curated home store specializing in coastal decor, furniture, lighting, accessories, and gifts.


Mary said...

Loved this whole post! Brings me back to our trip to truly is a gem. I really hope to bring the family there someday soon. I know Derek would fall in love! said...

Headed to Montauk for the first time in June. Do you think the Montauk Yacht Club is a good place to stay? I keep going back and forth on whether or not we should stay here or closer to town/beach. Thanks!

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