Jet Lag Journal: Montauk Jaunt
I had been dreaming of a Montauk long weekend trip for a couple years now, and I fully admit, would become pretty tinged with a shade of jealousy every time I heard of a friend making their way out to the surf and beach spot. So I was determined to make the trip this year, no matter the cost. And cost is a factor when traveling to the spot. In order to make the trip a little more manageable, we opted to travel out on a Sunday through Tuesday. We also opted to stay not on the beach side, but in a motel (revamped) on the pier/port side (but more on that below), and we probably saved at least $300 in these factors. So when deciding to make the trip out there it’s definitely something to consider the day of the week and whether it’s high season or not. Without further ado, hope you have fun perusing the photos and restaurants as I did for nostalgia’s sake!
After much research as to places to stay (after all, I had been anticipating a trip for a couple years by now), I opted for Haven. It’s a quaint, and simple, but newly renovated motel. And it is a true motel without any frills really. But it did the trick to have somewhere to rest our head and most importantly a pool to lounge by should we want to spend a couple hours not by the beach. It’s a quick 5 mins. taxi ride from the train station. If you’re going from NYC, and not renting a car, then you take the LIRR all the way to the end of the train line–literally. Without a car, and not staying on the beach side, you’re pretty much left to either biking or taking taxis everywhere. And from our Haven spot, the bike ride to the other side and by The Plaza seemed just far enough to not want to make the trip, but Haven does have free bike rentals, should you want to give it a whirl.
When we got there, it was actually grey and rainy. But eager to get some seafood in our bellies as soon as possible, we made the quick walk to Gosman’s Dock. It’s a 5 min. walk from Haven, is a tiny dock of about 5 restaurants, all owned by the same family, The Gosman Family. Even though it was passing showers, we still say outside and enjoyed some Clam Chowder, a shrimp salad, and a burger (this is the go-to choice of my travel companion/boyfriend-who-loves-meat-over-fish).
Next up on the agenda was the very charming, and very tiny Montauk Brewery. They have a tasting flight for $8 to try four beers (and you can keep the glass), and that’s all they’ve got on tap because they only brew those four varieties. My favorite–the Summer Ale. You can also pop in for growler refills should you want a copious amount of one of their beers. Let’s just say that everyone stopping by here in early evening was enjoying themselves.
It should also be noted that they played some good jams on the iPod and had some beautiful ocean photography inside (and out, as you can see in this picture hanging on the wood beam fence).
Our next stop on The Plaza was this adorable t-shirt/men’s shop–Local Knit. Who isn’t down for some cute and hand-printed tees for memorabilia?
I held back, but I seriously could have come away with a handful of t-shirts, sweatshirts, or tanks from the store. Instead, restraint was in check, and we came away with his and hers t-shirts. But Local Knit besides offering cute beach wear and clothing, works with the local spots or institutions, even, to print new tees with a vintage look and feel. They’re so soft! And the prints were what sold me. Do stop in for one if you’re looking for a souvenir with style.
I’m still a little unsure of what this store is called. . . but I think it’s Merry Christmas Montauk? Whatever it is called, we passed it on our walk along The Plaza, and found it to be such a fun lil’ store, I had to share the many sights to be seen once you step inside.
Stacks and stacks of old-time candy that you loved as a kid were to be found, plus memorabilia that goes back decades and decades. Lunch boxes, board games, and other typical Montauk-themed wall hangings lined every inch and corner.
The back green room had more stuff, vintage glassware, doll houses, and some other forgotten items you would never have imagined. . . do stop by for surprises of nostalgia and for the pure reason of being delighted.
Dinner the first night was at the lovely South Edison. If you’re making the Montauk trip, this is a “must-dine” spot for sure. While I didn’t snap any photos of the inside, since we opted to sit outside, the inside is charming, believe me.
We ordered Lobster Sliders (sorry, not pictured, and they were good, but nothing amazing I would say) and the Buttermilk Braised Crispy Chicken that sits upon crispy bacon cornbread. The chicken was tender to boot, that is a fact. But call me crazy, I like my cornbread just plain, and so while I appreciated the new take on cornbread, the bacon left too much of a smoky flavor in the experience. But still a plate worth ordering!
The deliciousness that you see before you is from none other than the Montauk Bake Shoppe. It took me right back to Greenpoint’s Peter Pan Bakery; the similarities are a bit uncanny. But we taste tested a cruller and a jelly filled croissant.
To note, it helps to get there before 9 AM, if you can. Two thumbs up for this spot for grabbing breakfast!
We found this guy just chilling on our way to the beach–a remanent that the Ronjo Motel kept around after its renovation. Thank god they didn’t get rid of him!
There’s a very cute bookstore that you can head into right next to Montauk Bake Shoppe, if you’re looking for a good beach read or for just general book shopping. In bookstore lingo, they have quite a good “shelf” (solid book selection of titles that don’t skew just low brow).
So, after heading to the beach straight after breakfast, we were due for some lunch before afternoon pool time. . .
So yes, La Brisa is as cute as it looks in the pictures and definitely the spot to hit up for some tacos, chips and guac, and some juices. It must be said at this point, that slightly contrary to all these amazing food photograph experiences we had, I couldn’t go the full food mile, should I say, that I normally would have done while visiting. A few days before we headed out, I suffered from a bout of food poisoning and the entire trip I was forever on the lookout of further disruptment while I was still on the mend. Needless to say, it furthered my desire to definitely head back ASAP (or next year rather) for an even better more enriched gastronomic experience. . . but carry on I did, and I shall with this Jet Lag Journal.
In addition to the heaping serving of guac with chips, we ordered chicken enchiladas to go with our pineapple, ginger & mint (mine) and pineapple (his) juices. Like every other spot, it’s right smack in the middle of The Plaza, so you can’t miss it with its sea foam color calling you in. . .
As you can see, the afternoon was pretty idyllic for lazy lounging by the pool. This is where the revamped motel really showed its feathers. It was clean and well, new. So you felt comfortable lounging on the soft shaded beds stacked with pillows (not shown since I’m taking the photo from the side they were on).
I was told by a few reviews and my A+S compadre, that I had to check out Montauket for the sunsets. So, when you’re told by not one, but three different folks that this is a spot for sunsets–you go.
The spot is definitely family oriented and laid back, so more picnic-tables it was for dinner, which was good, but nothing to write home about. We ordered some ribs and a basket of fried assortments. But boy oh boy, did the sunsets deliver!
Something about those colors and the slow sense of time to watch them change is what really makes you appreciate beauty and to be able to experience it in life. I can’t imagine being a server there and getting to see these 90% of the evenings in the summer while you’re at work. . .
Joni’s is delicious but it’s everything you’d expect from an all-natural, organic, gluten-free (should you need it), juicer, smoothie place that seems to be the spot on the tip of Long Island. It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my breakfast burrito (seen below), but there was some issues with our order being wrong, and the general sense of trying to project a happy place with not a ton of it going around from the internal staff. . .
That said, I loved how they named their personal coffee “Here Comes the Sun”–that was a cute effect!
And another point for the breakfast burrito (even if was the second time around for this order).
Our last meal/lunch before catching the LIRR back to the city was spent at 668 Gig Shack.
We finally ordered the much-coveted lobster role since we had arrived, and with home made chips it was too savory for words. I definitely recommend this spot for lunch over dinner, as we walked by it for dinner on a Sunday night and you would have thought no other place was open in the area. It was much more calm and appealing for a laid back lunch!
Last but certainly not least, that we went for round #2 is John’s Drive-In. It might not look like much from the picture below, but since 1967 (?) it’s been serving up its homemade ice cream and other fried meals. We went of course for the ice cream. While I didn’t try the soft serve (for the next visit), I did try the cookies n’ cream and from what I saw, the peanut butter sundae wasn’t too bad either (his dessert of choice). If you go at night, there can be a line because it’s just that legitimately good, but don’t let that deter you. The prize is worth it in the end!
And thus, concludes the Montauk Jaunt! While we were only there for two days total, it felt like ample time to explore and get the initial experience we were hoping for. Thank god the weather turned around, and I truly would like to make the jaunt there next year. The beach is calling me. . .