I LOVE NEW YORK Loves the Hampton Jitney

Hampton Jitney is the official ride for the state's I Love New York tourism program
Hampton Jitney is the official ride for the state’s I Love New York tourism program, Photo: Courtesy Hampton Jitney

Governor Andrew Cuomo loves the Hampton Jitney, and not just because he enjoys those little packets of Goldfish Crackers.

At the New York State Tourism Summit held at the Museum of Natural History last year, Cuomo unveiled a $45 million campaign inviting New York State residents and visitors alike to discover the joys of New York outside the Big Apple. Hampton Jitney won the bid and became the designated operator for the program.

The Jitney’s fleet of buses is famous for ferrying passengers back and forth between New York City and the East End. Andrew Lynch, Vice President of the Hampton Jitney, is thrilled to be the official I Love New York bus. “We are very excited,” he comments. “We kicked off with some winery tours in the fall. Now, we’re getting into winter ski trips. Our first trips in 2015 sold out and we had to add another bus!” Lynch is finding that partnering with the state is definitely putting him in a New York State of Mind. “Working with the state is great. They have regional tourism entities that allow us to create wonderful trips,” he says.

Each season will bring a variety of choices, including winery and brewery tours, beach outings and festivals like the Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay and the Balloon Festival in Shirley. The easiest way to keep up with the offerings is a quick trip to iloveny.com/bus. Just look for the picture of a wrapped Hampton Jitney, decked out with the ubiquitous I Heart NY logo, or go to hamptonjitney.com to see what’s new.

Ski bums currently have their choice of either single- or multi-day trips. In February, those looking for a ski weekend can jump on the Jitney for a jaunt to the Lake George area, and ski Gore Mountain and West Mountain. If “one and done” is your motto, and a day of skiing is a better fit, there’s a Catamount trip on February 14 that will get you back and forth in a day.

Lynch points out that the I Love NY trips are a lot more than just a ride. “We have a host onboard who helps facilitate the trips. Hosts call ahead to the ski resorts and coordinate lift tickets and passes.” Many trips include a commemorative gift—ski trippers receive an earband emblazoned with the I Love NY logo. Of course, Hampton Jitney provides all their usual amenities: some light snacks, power outlets and free WiFi, so there’s no need to lose touch with your Facebook friends or resist the urge to tweet that you’re going skiing and they’re not.

“It’s a great way for people who don’t want to drive to enjoy all that New York State has to offer,” Lynch remarks. “We’re hoping to extend beyond New York State residents to visitors—who wouldn’t easily have access to a car.”

There are three pick-up locations for the trips—midtown Manhattan, Huntington and Hampton Jitney’s new facility in Calverton. “This is a new facility that we are opening, it’s very central to both the North and South Forks,” Lynch says, making it easy for Long Islanders to take advantage of the I Love NY trips.

Hampton Jitney has been a part of the local landscape for over 40 years, giving rise to that uniquely Hamptons expression, “I can’t talk, I’m on the Jitney!” arising from the Jitney’s policy of strictly limiting cell phone use.

The Lynch family acquired the company in 1988, and expanded the operation to include lines serving both the North and South Forks. With charter and tour divisions, the Hampton Jitney has taken East Enders out to the ball game, to the zoo and even to the Mystic Aquarium. Adding the I Love New York seasonal trips to ski resorts, vineyards and festivals, seems like a natural extension of all things Jitney.

Enjoy your trip, and enjoy those Goldfish Crackers.

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