Monday, April 29, 2013

NY Magazine Travel: Montauk

The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
 
Mellow Out in Montauk
While the South Fork's most remote beach town has spawned a growing nightlife scene in recent years, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy its natural beauty and quieter pleasures.

By Julie Earle-Levine
Saturday, April 27

1. Where to Stay
Rooms at Ruschmeyer's feature a clean, cabin-inspired look.  
Head from your room directly to morning yoga class on the sprawling green lawn at the East Deck Motel (from $210), located right on Ditch Plains. The lodgings are basic yet clean, but booking can be hard to come by since you have to send a deposit through the mail.

Wander into the Magic Garden at Ruschmeyer’s (from $195), a vast green space that’s perfect for chilling out in teepees, playing Ping-Pong, or lounging at movie night. The rooms are design-conscious and comfortable, with Moroccan rugs, wicker headboards, and cedar-plank walls. The mellow vibe continues in the morning, with a complimentary breakfast of fresh-pressed juices, Greek yogurt, and avocado toast.

Choose the most stylish new locale in town, the Montauk Beach House (from $479), which is opening for its first full summer this season. The rooms are all white or charcoal gray with leather loungers, coffee-table books, and modern art. This year, there’ll be silver costumed “mermaids” swimming in the pool for family photo ops and restored sixties Vespas for guests to use.

2. Where to Eat
Outdoor diners at local favorite Navy Beach.  
Book early for this summer’s Love Feast dinner series, created by chef Jeff Schwarz (formerly of the Crow’s Nest) to highlight the East End’s local harvest and wine. Dinners will be capped at 75 guests ($75 per person) and consist of “veggie-intense” three-course meals offering handmade pasta with garlic scape pesto and a slow-cooked egg or asparagus served three ways. The first dinner takes place June 21 at Amber Waves Farm, and there will be one event per month; e-mail thelovefeast@gmail.com to reserve spots.

Wiggle your toes in the sand as you dine at picnic tables at Navy Beach, where boats pull right up and guests sometimes swim ashore. The chef’s commitment to all things local is evident in new catch-of-the-day specials including a miso-marinated hake with charred scallion, shiitake, and mâche ($28). Have an early lunch and then snag a daybed for lounging and sample the great rosé selection before the sunset crowd arrives.

Taste freshly made tortillas and ceviches at La Brisa (752 Montauk Hwy.; no phone; opens May 10), a new spot from the team by New York’s Tacombi. The former La Bodega space has been completely revamped, and outdoor seating will be added soon. Get the chilaquiles verdes (two eggs over totopos salsa, $7.81) and down it with fresh Mexican-style juices ($5).

3. What to Do
Yoga paddleboarding classes are held in shallow waters, making it ideal for beginners.  
Try yoga paddleboarding, the newest fitness trend, which involves doing your poses on a board in calm water, led by Dominique Garstin from Yoga Lila privately or in small groups (from $75 for a two-hour group class). First-timers are welcome, as the water is shallow and falling off the board is part of the fun. Garstin launched early-morning classes last year but will also do sunset paddles this summer—you’ll be able to hear reggae coming across the water from Navy Beach.

Cast a line for marlin, tuna, and striped bass that will be in the waters this summer. For bait and tackle, head to Montauk Marine Basin (from $15) and then plant yourself on the large dock at Montauk Harbor. Once you’ve got your catch, have it prepared for you at “you hook, we cook” spots including Wok ‘N’ Roll (716 Main Street; 631-668-6688), Solé East, and Trails End.

Pick your own produce at Montauk’s community garden, on the grounds of St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, every Saturday from 10 a.m. through the early afternoon. This season’s plantings include peas, broccoli, spinach, green beans, squash, and kale (pay for what you pick; all proceeds benefit the Montauk Food Pantry), and you can also choose flowers (sunflowers, dahlias, black-eyed Susans, and roses) that members will cut and help arrange.

4. Insider’s Tip
Peri Allen creates her designs in her Montauk home.  
Instead of shopping at boutiques, get gorgeous dresses, shorts, and skirts made with vintage fabrics and beading from Peri Allen, a former designer for Andrew Marc and London Fog turned landscaper who counts Gwyneth Paltrow among her customers. Find her designs at a Memorial Day weekend pop-up shop (206 Essex St., 10 a.m to 2 p.m.) or by appointment year-round (call 516-658-9121 to schedule.)

. Oddball Day
The Montauk Lighthouse is one of the sights you'll see from the Amsterdam Beach Trail.  
Put aside some time to explore Montauk’s impressive state and county parks and see what’s new around town. A block from the beach, get a healthy start to the day at Joni’s, where early birds come at 8 a.m. to avoid the lines for scrambled tofu wraps ($6.95) and organic, flax-coconut waffles with fresh fruit ($7.95). Walk around the corner to the Naturally Good Foods & Café to pick up an all-organic picnic lunch, including vegan chocolate-chip cookies ($1 each), then bike or drive five minutes on Route 27 to Deep Hollow Ranch for a one-hour horse ride through acres of Suffolk County parkland and pristine beaches. Afterward, cross the street to hike the Amsterdam Beach Trail, which opened last summer, and take the secluded path down to the water and find a spot for lunch. Finish up the trail, which is just under three miles long and includes views of the Montauk Lighthouse and Block Island in the distance. Once you’re back in town, stop by Buddha Berry (43 S. Euclid Ave.; 631-668-8393; opens May 16), a new gourmet self-serve frozen-yogurt café across the street that promises 60 dry toppings and fresh-cut fruit. Stroll over to *share with... Montauk, where you can find espadrilles from Biarritz ($68), a bag made with braided recycled leather strips ($150), or organic denim cutoffs from Citizens of All Nations (from $95). Next, cross the road and walk five minutes to the Montauk Brewing Company for a jug ($22) of Driftwood Ale. The tasting room and gallery with work from local artists is right next door to Saint Peter’s Catch (58 S. Erie Ave.; 631-668-7100), where you can buy the best seafood in town, including fish and chips you can eat outside at picnic tables with views of the park. Make your way to the beach to hear traditional African drumming by popular musician Dan Bailey and other locals from 6:30 p.m. until the sun goes down.