It’s crunch time! Memorial Day weekend kicks off Friday evening, bringing a flurry of activity to the Hamptons. With an influx and visitors and so much on the agenda, there won’t be time to do much else until after Labor Day. Each day this week DansPapers.com rounds up 10 activities to find time for before the Hamptons season officially begins.
Paddle the Peconic River
While the roiling Atlantic is exciting and humbling, our quieter bodies of water are perfectly suited for spring activities. Sometimes, nothing beats gliding across a glassy estuary, lake or river, paddling a canoe and enjoying our natural splendor with a good friend or loved one.
Hamptonites may not know that Riverhead is literally at the head of the Peconic River, which makes for a fantastic paddle expedition. The largest river on Long Island, the Peconic is historic and ecologically diverse. Starting in swamps, bogs and ponds in the middle of the Island, the shallow river flows east for 15 miles of picturesque woodlands, farms, historic sites, dams and tunnels, until it eventually spills out directly between the Twin Forks, into Flanders bay.
Anyone with a boat can get in on the action, but the easiest way to make the trip is with Peconic Paddler. The Riverhead business and Dan’s Best of the Best winner sells and rents canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards, and they offer a perfect Peconic River day trip. The three-hour canoe journey begins by the Navy/Grumman airfield, amidst willows and red maples near Manorville and follows a meandering, eight-mile tour that concludes at the Peconic Paddler store in downtown Riverhead.
You’ll be making some of your fondest pre-summer memories, while communing with nature and getting some light exercise in the process. Don’t forget to bring a snack for the trip, and then end the day with a delicious meal at one of downtown Riverhead’s fabulous restaurants — what could be better?
Visit peconicpaddler.com or call 631-727-9895 or more info.
Win the Murf’s Ring Toss
Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor is among the last bastions of the Hamptons’ rough-around-the-edges past, and it’s better for it. The bar is home to good drinks and good cheer, as well as a few games, including darts and the infamous Murf’s ring toss. This simple (but far from easy) skill game asks patrons to swing a small metal ring (hanging from the ceiling by a length of fishing line) and catch it onto an equally small metal hook, screwed into a nearby post.
Anyone who frequents the place will tell you, the Murf’s ring toss is not as easy as it looks — and it’s not something you master while battling summer crowds. Just ask Jimmy Fallon.
You’ve got a little less than a month to practice without the distraction of drunken tourists and yacht-crew transients bumping into you at every turn. As silly as it sounds, conquering this challenge to the point of nailing it every time will make you the belle of the backstreet ball. And if you’re really brave, try the Murf’s ring toss installed out back—set in the unpredictable outdoors, taming this beast should be an especially brutal task.
Go Grocery Shopping on Saturday Without Being Resented
Have you ever heard the story of the Hamptons resident who goes to the grocery store and hears, “Why can’t you locals get your shopping done on the weekdays?”
If you live here, you must have. Multiple times, in fact. With slight variations.
It goes something like this: On a Saturday afternoon in the summer, when everyone would rather be at the beach, there is a long line at checkout. A local resident stands there with his or her cart. The person next in line, with arms full of bottled water and Red Bull, huffs and blurts out at no one in particular, “Why don’t the locals shop before the weekend?”
This scenario isn’t an urban legend. Many year-rounders have experienced it first hand, or know someone who has. It happens time and time again, and this summer will be no exception.
For those who are wondering, there are two reasons many locals go to the supermarket on Saturdays: Because (1) they work on the weekdays, and (2) they don’t owe you a reason.
A few rude people won’t stop locals from going about their lives. But those locals will cherish these last spring weekends when they can do so without resentment from inconsiderate and selfish strangers.
Get Your Body Beach Ready
There is perhaps no motivator for getting in shape more powerful than beach weather. However, if you wait for the first beach day to tell yourself, “I’m going to start exercising more and eating better,” it’s already too late.
A crash diet after summer has already started will either be ineffective or unhealthy and dangerous. The best way to lose weight and get more toned is gradually with good daily habits.
Now is the time to join a gym—or actually use that gym membership you’re already paying for—and sign up for fitness classes. Now is the time to skip the chip and soda aisles at the grocery store and head to the produce section.
Don’t let another summer go by telling yourself “next summer.” Get your body beach ready now, and also enjoy the benefits of having more energy and better health.
Take a Yoga Class
Nothing says peace and Nirvana like pushing into a room of wall-to-wall people, finding a spot on the floor that’s not too close to someone’s rear end or flailing arms, and getting your stretch on—right? If this scenario doesn’t sound ideal, consider taking advantage of the quieter season and help keep your local Yoga instructor in business by taking an off-season class.
Obviously, summer yoga classes aren’t usually the nightmare we’ve described, but there’s something nice about doing your thing without all the extra eyes and bodies in the room. Besides, the Hamptons is loaded with classes and workshops in nearly every hamlet and village. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned, I-pose-every-day-on-Instagram-like-Hilaria-Baldwin pro, the East End has a class to fit your needs—and now’s the best time to find the right studio, teacher and classes to fit your personality and style.
It’s also a good time to start a relationship with that studio and/or instructor, before you’re battling for attention and fighting tooth and nail in your quest for inner peace.
Challenge the Dan’s Papers Trivia Team at Townline BBQ
The bar at this Townline BBQ, the Sagaponack bar and barbecue joint, fills up with the sharpest minds in the Hamptons each Thursday night at 7 p.m. between September and Memorial Day. Every week, there are six new rounds crafted by quizmaster Paul A. Johnson to test their trivial knowledge, from literature, history, and the arts to sports, current events and cocktail recipes. Among the six, to keep it interesting, there is always a visual round and an audio round. The audio round can be movie quotes, television themes, individual song clips, or mashups.
The Dan’s Papers Trivia Team, Thursday Night AA, is one of the most competitive teams at Townline BBQ; however, the team once again fell short of winning the Townline Trophy for Trivia Excellence, aka The Golden Pig. There is always next season to go for the gold!
There is now just one Thursday left—the last date of the season is May 21—before the 2014-2015 Quiz Night season ends. Can you defeat the Dan’s Papers trivia mavens? Show up Thursday with your team of five to take us on.
New this summer, Townline BBQ introduces a Tuesday Quiz Night. Follow Townline BBQ on Facebook to find out when the summer quiz season kicks off.
Shop the Rogers Memorial Library Book Sale
No matter how deeply we forge into this digital age, reading from actual books, instead of a tablet screen, continues to be a pleasure computers can’t recreate. There’s something we can all appreciate about about holding worn pages, possibly marking in the margins and enjoying a good story without considering glare or battery life.
Sometimes a used book is even more romantic: Who read this before me? Where has it been? How did it get in my hands?
If these sound like questions you might ask, then the Friends of Rogers Memorial Library Book Sale in Southampton is a can’t miss destination. This year-round used book shop (beneath Cooper Hall at RML) is loaded with great titles in all genres, along with movies and music — all for bargain basement prices — and you’d be surprised at the rare finds that turn up! From January 1 through April the sale is only open Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (that’s a brief window to find your literary treasures), but starting May 1, the hours double to include Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Get to the book sale before all the best books are snatched up!
Adopt a Dog
The summer is a great time for human and canine alike to spend as much of the day as they can outdoors.
Head to local animal adoption centers now to search for your new best friend and get your pick of the litter. Then spend this summer walking and running together, playing fetch, teaching tricks, and bonding.
With the warm weather and many hours of sunlight, there is no better time to bond with a dog than summer. So don’t wait until summer has already started to go to Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays, Bideawee in Westhampton, or Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott to adopt.
Rescue a dog, and he’ll return the favor.
Stroll the Montauk Docks
Our seafood and seafaring culture are among the biggest draws on the East End, and right now we’ve got them all to ourselves. So take this opportunity, before Memorial Day weekend, to visit the Montauk docks and enjoy in the sites, sounds and smells (OK, maybe skip that last part).
As DansPapers.com reader Kathy Whittaker points out, a casual stroll along Gosman’s Dock could be just the ticket. This collection of restaurants and retail offers delicious fish to eat out or take home, and the dock itself provides lovely views of the sea and of local boats and fishing commerce at its finest. And the beach, with its awesomely long rock jetty, are steps away.
It’s all right at the end of West Lake Drive in Montauk. Get going before the summer crowds turn a peaceful experience into something else entirely.
Stargaze on the Beach
Everyone loves a starry sky, but all those glorious celestial bodies and events are way better when viewed from the beach. Laying on the sand and staring up at the sparkling heavens can be pure bliss, especially when listening to crashing waves, away from all the (man made) lights, with a loved one at your side.
Let’s be honest, come Memorial Day, the beaches will still be welcoming, and the stargazing will still be epic, but right now most oceanfront homes are empty and dark, and the chances of being disturbed by the police or a drunken reveler are far lower than at the height of summer. It just so happens that the Eta Aquarids meteor shower falls throughout the month of May — and it’s peaking on Monday, May 6!
This shower isn’t as intense up north, but it’s still good for about 30 meteors an hour, according to seasky.org. Now is the time to count those shooting stars — so grab a blanket and hit the sand after hours, while the getting’s still good.
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