That notion of restlessness, anticipation and excitement is in the air. You’re back and ready for that perfect Montauk day. But, how can one make the most of Montauk without spending the many pennies they have worked for? This winter has vexed us east coasters — however, here out east, we are fortunate to be surrounded by an array of nature, and you guessed it, it’s pretty cheap to access.
Although it might seem hard to wake up after a long night or a previous full day of activity, it makes sense tap into your early riser ability, ignore your languid body, and start the day.
The perfect place to kick-start your energy is the once new, yet now seasoned local staple, Happy Bowls. Run by traveler, surfer and fellow MTKer Tyler Davis, Happy Bowls is an acai bowl buffet and smoothie bar all made to your liking. Think frozen acai berries topped with whatever your heart desires: banana, coconut, honey, sunflower seeds, granola, pineapple and even chocolate. Full of antioxidants and natural sugars, it’s a cheap and relatively quick way to avoid long to-do brunches that could knock you into a food coma. ($6-10)
Although known to be a miniature golf course for families and kids, Puff ‘n’ Putt sits on some of the most valued property in town, Fort Pond. Due to its scenic spot on the water, Puff ‘n’Putt has recently taken up stand up paddle (SUP) rentals. Challenge yourself and take a cruise around the lake. Don’t worry if you’re new to the activity, it only takes a few falls and laughs to get you standing again. ($22 for 30 minutes)
A short walk down the main drag is Herbs Market, an established deli that is famed for their fried chicken and potato salad. Grab some sandwiches and munchies, and head to the beach or nearest picnic table in town for lunch. ($10).
Being the rural idyll that is Montauk, everything can be accessed by walking or biking. It is summer on the east end- the air is fresher, nature is greener, and somehow, the sky seems larger so, why not ignore the taxis and wander. Air and Speed gets you a beach cruiser, providing the chance to bike east and experience the lighthouse or the abundance of state parks in all of nature’s glory; the stretch of land where Montauk’s towering cliffs meet the Atlantic Ocean and crowds seem to dwindle. (5 miles).
Between town and the lighthouse is the New Amsterdam Beach Trail, nestled across from Deep Hollow Ranch (the oldest cattle ranch in the USA). A pasture of grazing cows and horses will welcome you at the trailhead- a perfect example of Montauk’s juxtaposition of farm and sea. Hike 30 minutes towards the bluffs where the impressive Andy Warhol Estate will appear behind the dunes. The nearly empty beach to either side allows you can catch some solitary rays and swim in a no-lifeguard zone. A short walk to either side will reveal monstrous golden cliffs and paradisiacal pockets of green ocean. The fragrant sea and soft sand of this protected persevere will leave you in a euphoric delight. This area is what makes Montauk truly unique: nowhere else will you find the long, steep slopes of the Shadamoor State Park bluffs. (FREE!)
(Bike Rental, $25, Free access to parks i.g New Amsterdam Beach Trail & Shadamoor State Park).
Wind down with a pit stop at the ever-popular Montauk Brewing Co. established in 2012 by three locals. Their casual outdoor patio, clad with picnic tables is unparalleled to any other drinking well out east. Their sampler consists of their 4 unique brews: The Driftwood Ale, Summer Ale, Offland IPA, and Arrowhead Irish Red ale and costs under ten bucks. Take home a growler of your favorite. (Beer Sampler, $8).
Some of the most inexpensive, yet traditional attractions of the Montauk scene are located at the famous Gosman’s Dock. Head over there and check it out! If you’re lucky, the commercial fisherman and charters will have their catches of the day on display. A variety of giant tuna, sharks or massive striped bass are constantly loaded on and off boats to be cut and prepped into filets. This simple pleasure of walking around the docks and checking out the harbor, is a quick look into the fishing heritage that defines Montauk. (FREE)
Stumble over to The Hideaway off of West Lake Drive for cheap Mexican grub. Nestled between a parking lot for boats and loading docks, their small yet charming Mexican joint has hundreds of tequilas, amazing Mexican style corn and a bomb shrimp quesadilla. A margarita and some tacos will leave you in a beatific state, ready for the rest of the night ahead. Or if that doesn’t tickle your fancy and Mexican is in the cards for that night, there’s always the good ol’ fisherman’s club house around the corner.
Leave your cellphone at home and stumble over to The Dock for dinner. The local vibes, ridiculous humor and the town’s freshest, most delicious seafood will blow your mind. You’ll thank us later. If you get the bullhorn from George for using your cellphone though, don’t be mad at us… we told you to leave it home. (Dinner, $20-$25).
Words by Kirsten Judson @sorrymsjudson