The summer’s over, this town is closing.
They’re waving people out of the ocean
We have the feeling like we were floating.
We never noticed where time was going.
Do you remember when we first got here?
The days were longer; the nights were hot here.
Now, it’s September, the engine’s started.
You’re empty-handed and heavy-hearted.
This song by John Mayer always makes me nostalgic. Labor Day is upon us. And just like that, the sun sets on another summer in the Hamptons.
Many locals will tell you that September is the most beautiful month out here. I prefer the heat, humidity and buzz of July, despite the chaos. Maybe that’s because, after three summers as an editor at Dan’s, I’ve come up with a few “Hamptons Hacks,” tips to mitigate the insanity. I’m sharing them now, with the sneaky hope that some people will forget about them and they’ll still be “hacks” come 2015. Unless the polar vortex turns into a solar vortex, I’ll need to keep these hints handy for next July…
1. Do yoga outside. I’ve been going to yoga class every Thursday at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. There are few things better than being in the sunshine, doing something as inspirational and cleansing as yoga. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be an exclusively “summer hack”—Yoga in the Vines will continue at Wölffer through the fall.
2. The best time to go to Montauk is on Wednesdays. Leaving my Southampton office just after 5 p.m., the drive out east easily takes under an hour. Wednesdays in Montauk bring fewer crowds and live music by the Nancy Atlas Project at the Surf Lodge—with no cover. They should charge extra for the Key West–esque sunsets, but they don’t.
3. Everything is expensive, some worth it, some not. I went to McDonald’s for lunch the other day, and my meal totaled $12. That’s more than a create-your-own salad at Citarella. Or the same price as an artfully crafted panino at the Golden Pear. Alternatively, you can get an Everything Flagel from Goldberg’s with low-fat cream cheese, lettuce and tomato for under $5. Another great deal? A flight of beers at Montauk Brewing is $8, plus you get to keep the glass.
4. Don’t discount the beach. Too often, I don’t prioritize beach time, rationalizing that the ocean will always be there. Bad move. Find a secret slice of sand and make a point of spending the entire day there.
5. Ride your bike. What’s the best way to avoid traffic, avoid the issue of parking, avoid angry drivers and get in a burst of exercise? Biking. Just be sure to walk it through congested areas.
6. Use the LIRR like you would the subway. In the summertime, the LIRR schedule easily accommodates day trips to other Hamptons. A ride from Southampton to Montauk costs $3 off-peak, the trip is guaranteed to be 45 minutes, and a lifetime bike pass for the train is $5. No hassle, no traffic. A very easy staycation.
7. Be a regular somewhere. Seeing a familiar face can put a smile on yours. Plus, becoming a regular has been known to have its perks.
8. Red Hook Lobster Pound has breakfast. As I walked through Montauk one morning, I grew increasingly agitated that my planned afternoon at the beach would be cut short by waiting in line for food. But, few people seem to have discovered the hidden gem that is Red Hook for breakfast. I had the Mykonos roll—lobster, eggs, feta and scallions on a buttered and toasted roll, served with a side of watermelon. Total wait time was less than 10 minutes. The breakfast menu was new this season for Red Hook, but here’s hoping they keep it up.
Of course, I don’t hate the month of September. Fall is beautiful out here. Visit Events.DansPapers.com for a full lineup of exciting events on tap for the next few months. Because, as John Mayer sings,
But just remember on the way home
That you were never meant to feel alone.
It takes a little while, but you’d be fine:
Another good time coming down the line.