Don’t Vacay Away: Staycay in the Hamptons and North Fork

Montauk Salt Cave
Montauk Salt Cave, Photo: Barbara Lassen

Here on the East End, there’s so much to do—yes, even in the off-season—that you don’t have to travel far to have a good time. You can even go to the beach for some winter surfing if you’re brave enough. In the meantime, we found some off-the-beaten-path staycation ideas we thought we’d pass along.

Halotherapy, derived from the Greek halos, meaning “salt,” is a form of relaxing alternative medicine. The East End is home to a handful of halotherapy centers. According to Montauk Salt Cave’s website, halotherapy clears all pollens, viruses, pollutants and toxins out of your lungs and nasal passageways—in essence preventing illness and leaving your respiratory tract rejuvenated with regular use. The salt is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. At the Montauk Salt Cave, the walls are built with pink Himalayan salt rocks and the floor is covered with salt. You enter the cave and sit in a zero gravity chair for 45 minutes then sit back, relax and breathe. Learn more at

Port Jeff Salt Cave includes a guided meditation with each salt cave session for complete mind and body relaxation and rejuvenation. Marcy Bishop, owner of the Cave, says that “45 minutes in our salt cave can produce approximately three days of an immune boost and anti-inflammatory effects in the body, so the therapy doesn’t stop when the session ends!” As they say at Port Jeff Salt Cave “well-being is just a breath away.”

Peconic River Salt of Joshua Place in Riverhead offers a full spectrum of holistic health services including: a salt lounge, massage, Reiki and classes and workshops on Yoga, T’ai Chi and other mind-body disciplines. There’s also a floatpod, wherein you can remove yourself from the limitations of gravity and the daily bombardment of the senses and relax while floating on the surface of the salt water. Benefits of the float pod include pain relief, improved sleep, regulation of blood pressure and heart rhythm and more.

It’s unknown who exactly invented the telescope, but we do know the first patent was applied for in 1608, by a Dutchman named Hans Lippershey, two years before Galileo. Fast forward 410 years to the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold where every Saturday night, from 7 p.m. until midnight, you can view the star-studded sky through telescopes that would make Galileo drool. Custer’s Saturday Night Observing is open to the public, and includes tours of the facilities and the night sky through said powerful telescopes. The observatory also holds lectures, classes, concerts art exhibits and other special events.

Meanwhile, astronomers from the Montauk Observatory set up their telescopes under the dark skies at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton and give guided tours of the heavens during their New Moon Star Parties. These parties will take place January 19 and February 9 at 6 p.m. and March 16 at 7 p.m.—during new moons. The first half–hour consists of a brief lecture about stargazing, star-hopping and general tips for observing, then it’s out to the field for a look at the wonders of the night sky. You can bring your own telescope or binoculars and even do some astrophotography.

At Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard in Peconic you have the opportunity to be a winemaker for a day. During this exclusive session, you and your guest will have the chance to find out how to blend a custom bottle of wine as you learn about life as a vintner. Owner and winemaker Anthony Sannino will lead you on a tour of the winery and provide you with an overview of the winemaking process. Throughout the experience you will have the opportunity to taste Long Island varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and more. You will then make your very own custom blend as you enjoy a light lunch.

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