I never thought I would make it to New York in my lifetime…It was always on the list but with my annual leave constantly in the negatives and the bank balance similarly so, it was always just a dream, thrown to the far flung corner of my mind.
Working for Billabong is easily my biggest dream come true, but what I love most about it is the fact it is always changing, constantly stimulating and challenging me and above all; providing me opportunities I never imagined could be possible. Just like this one….
Not only was it my first time to the USA, I was actually heading to Montauk in the Hamptons for 5 whole days in the middle of their Summer. Somebody pinch me please. Montauk is a quaint but vibrant seaside town at the eastern tip of Long Island and is where New York’s top chefs, musicians, creatives, surfers and personalities flock to for their sun drenched weekends.
The weekend was a complete whirlwind of new experiences, new faces and new found friendships. I was lucky that I got to hang out with the most amazing crew of individuals; Elle and Lucie Ferguson are the most divine angels on this planet and they are the kind of people that you feel like you have known forever. Rory (Lucie’s now husband) is a kind-hearted, easy-going guy who was very happy to hang at the bar while we traipsed around on our photoshoots. And Tara Binek; a Hawaiian wahine behind the lens who is so uber talented and quite easily my idol. Had to try hard not to fan girl at the fact I was sharing a room with her. Mr Monahan from the Ditch Witch was another character that made our stay super special, as well as the Billabong crew from the US of A and Europe.
Montauk being a very locals only type place; I thought Id share with you my top 10 things to do if you are ever lucky enough to holiday in the Hamptons….
#1 Stay at The Surf Lodge
A ubiquitous whitewashed boutique hotel that exudes the perfect balance of coastal charm and city sophistication with stylish décor that makes you feel as if you are in a movie set. The Surf Lodge makes you feel both relaxed and revived since it is perched right on the waters edge. With local and international artists playing live most nights, pretty pina coladas and a bohemian spirit this place just may become your home away from home.
#2 Grab some fresh fruit from Bhumi’s Farmstead
This stop is technically in Amangansett on the way to Montauk, but the bright yellow and white wooden farm stand is hard to miss. With a backdrop of tall sunflowers and organic and pristine produce we couldn’t help but stop at Bhumi’s Farmstead for refreshing watermelon and berries to break up the roadtrip and to get a few cute snaps of course! They even hold farm to table dinners under the stars and right on the very soil your meal was grown in.
#3 Try a Lobster Roll from Duryea’s
With a simple setting and the opportunity to be your own waiter by ticking the box on the clipboard menus we could have sat there all day waiting for the sun to set over Fort Pond Bay. Their lobster roll was pricey but oh so worth it and to be fair it is pretty much more lobster meat than roll, making it a true taste sensation. Also hosting fish markets with fresh off the boat seafood, it’s kind of your one stop shop.
#4 Surf at one of the many beach options
Wide open stretches of sand are the norm around Montauk, with low rolling sand dunes in some spots and 70 foot plus cliffs in others. Ditch Plains Beach is the main surf spot, with Turtle Cove boasting a break for the more experienced. Venturing to the beach early before the crowds flock there for the day is the best bet, but the place is surrounded by water on three sides resulting in a sweet spot somewhere depending on wind and swell direction. Beware of fines, as you can’t park by the beach if you aren’t a resident (so we go and park ON the beach) Locals only brah.
#5 Dine at Tauk Restaurant
Previously known as Trails End, this is the oldest restaurant in Montauk. We stumbled across this place because it looked cute to shoot at and before we knew it the friendly owner had convinced us to come back for dinner. We were over-whelmed at the incredible service, the delightful patio filled with fairy lights, the freshest seafood in the business and of course the Oreo and Nutella crepes we devoured for dessert. Their Moscow Mule cocktail was a crowd favourite…resulting in a very fun last night with the gang!
#6 Take a photo at Memory Motel
A classic motel made famous by The Rolling Stones song of the same name is in the middle of the Montauk main street. It’s true when they say Mick Jagger put Montauk on the map back in the 70s when the rockers stayed at Andy Warhol’s compound. A pretty basic place to rest your head and only one block from the beach, we just stopped by to get the iconic snap. Rumour has it, that if rock music features on your regular playlist then this spot is worth a visit as they have live gigs most weeknights and let’s be honest, it’s pretty cool to be at a bar the Rolling Stones wrote a song about.
#7 Chat to friendly locals at the Ditch Witch
Located at the hot surf spot of Ditch Plains, the Ditch Witch food trailer services all the hungry beach-goers with the best breakfast burritos in the business, and all without having to give up your ‘permit only’ parking spot. With an ever-changing menu scrawled on an old surfboard you will be sipping on homemade lemonade while devouring a stuffed sandwich with nothing but salty skin and a huge grin.
#8 Eat your heart out at Tacombi
It’s always a good idea to eat Mexican, right? Born on the balmy beaches of the Yucatan, this would have to be one of the coolest Mexican joints I have ever been to. Incredible service, delicious guacamole and homemade tortilla chips, chilli corn in a cup and fresh fish tacos with décor to die for. I have to admit that we actually ate lunch here every day and were equally satisfied every single time….. All hail Tacombi!
#9 Splurge at Gurneys
The only year round resort in Montauk, Gurney’s is a Hampton icon and certainly makes you feel very VIP. The Beach Club provides guests with access to a private sand beach, your own cabana for the day so you can steal some shade, with food and beverage service at the ready. We spent a whole afternoon relaxing here, frolicking in the mighty Atlantic Ocean and soaking up the surroundings of a happening Hamptons location.
#10 Check out Montauk Harbour
Montauk is the largest commercial harbour in the New York state so we couldn’t visit the town without stopping by the dock. Surrounded by old school fishing vessels, men that are working well beyond their years, and saloons and pubs with a whole heap of character and that certainly guarantee a good time. One had a sign out the front that read “On this site in 1897, nothing happened.” THAT’S how long those watering holes have been around.
A fantastic first and bound to be last visit to the Hamptons