Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet Me in Montauk

I'll never forget that line from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which Kate Winslet whispers to Jim Carrey as the house they're in crumbles around them while the last of their memories of each other are erased (kind of a strange plot line when you think about it, no?). When I first saw the film, I'm not even sure I knew where Montauk was, and until a few weeks ago I'd never made the trip.
A friend of mine and I had been dying to get out of the city for a while to clear our heads and slow down, so when a beautiful Saturday where neither of us had plans presented itself late last month, I proposed several ideas ranging from a picnic in the park to a day at the botanical gardens to a trip to the coast—and was excited when she texted back "Montauk!!" minutes later. Since this was entirely last minute and we both had plans Sunday, we opted to just make a day out of it, meeting at Penn Station around 9:30 for the 3+ hour train ride out in the morning.

Once we got there, we really had no idea what to do, neither of us having come that far before (my previous Hamptons trips had only gotten me as far as East Hampton), so we hopped in a cab and asked him to take us "downtown," which was all of a few minutes' drive south and much smaller than what I'd anticipated from other visits! Most of the Hamptons towns are lined with a mix of basic shops and high-end boutiques, but the little strip of Montauk was a downsized version—in a good way. We wandered a little bit, stopped in to the visitor center to ask about bike rentals and finally settled on 668 The Gigshack, which I can't recommend highly enough if you're ever out that way. We were seated outside and both had the local fresh fish tacos topped with mango salsa (sorry, no pics because we ate them too fast! #storyofmylife). I'm normally a vegetarian but was pescetarian for a very long time and make the very occasional exception—this one was so worth it. 
After we'd lounged a while at lunch, relishing the feeling of not being rushed unlike in Manhattan, we realized it had gotten ridiculous warm out and a sudden desire to go swimming in the ocean struck us both. We hadn't brought suits so we popped in a few shops to see about finding cheap ones to no avail, then walked over to the beach to check it out (in downtown Montauk, it's about two blocks from the "center" of town!) and it was PACKED. Like, we would have had trouble finding somewhere to even sit kind of packed. We turned around and headed over to the bike rental shop, figuring we'd cruise around town and try to make it out to the semi-infamous Montauk Point Lighthouse (which I somehow don't have a photo of here), a *mere* five miles down the road. 

My friend was drawn immediately to this big, shiny yellow city cruiser bike. For those who aren't familiar with a city cruiser, they tend to be really nice to look at and bike around a small town like Montauk, not so great for longer treks and especially not if there are hills. We asked the guy at the rental shop if the ride out to the lighthouse was easy and he said it was a straight shot, so we decided to go for it since we still had just over three hours to sundown and the ride was supposed to be 25-30 minutes. I know—that sounds like a lot, and for the first 15 or 20 minutes it wasn't so bad (with beautiful views and lots of nature), til we hit the hills. Plural. Three nice big up-and-down hills just before you hit the end of the island. Suffice to say, my thighs were screaming at me for about two days straight afterwards and felt like jell-o at the end. Since the lighthouse was closing not long after we arrived and we had cumbersome bikes with us, we walked down a short path to the water and, oh, was the ride worth it. Bright, royal blue water as far as the eye could see, dotted with pretty white boats and the most beautiful warm sunshine.
We left the lighthouse and beach about an hour before the sun officially set, since neither of us relished the idea of biking five miles on city cruisers in near darkness on the Montauk Highway. Our timing couldn't have been better—we dropped the bikes off, wandered back down the street and into a fudge shop for old-fashioned sweets, and had about thirty minutes to kill til we had to be at the train station, so we moseyed down to the beach one more time to the below view.
As we stood there (and I snapped away on my camera, both of the sunset and my friend in silhouette there) the colors got more and more rich, the moon a sliver of a bright spot in the sky. We couldn't have asked for a better way to end what turned out to be a truly amazing day, and we were so inspired that we planned a trip that we took this past weekend to East Hampton—more on that to come! 
Wearing: 10 Crosby Derek Lam T-Shirt || Gap Destroyed Boyfriend Jean || Converse Chuck Taylors

And, just for fun (and in the spirit of other recent posts), a few outtakes from this trip. Exhibit A: what happens when I try to jump in the air while standing somewhat precariously on a rock, surround by water and other sharp rocks…according to my friend, I was "levitating." Can I put that as a skill on my resumé?
Exhibit B: This is my "Look, our friends with boats!" gesture, part of a longstanding inside joke about how we'll know we've made it in NYC when we have friends with boats we can go out on.

2 comments: