All the smug stuff and lobster bits from a Hamptons beach vacation in August


By Ronald Ahrens

Angela booked the cottage; I booked a ticket.

The Hamptons!IMG_7086

New Yorkers come to these eastern Long Island seaside towns to splash in the 68-degree Atlantic waters, scrape away callused buildup on beach sands, and sublimate phones and Tweets and posts.

They sit in folding chairs, reading the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, holding down pages against the mild breeze.

Or they grasp Daniel Silva paperbacks.

The cottage was about 750 square feet, rectangular, with an up-tilting roof and a big window wall looking to the woods: deer, turkeys, woodpeckers. Walking 27 minutes on small roads through exquisite estates brought us down Lily Pond Lane to Georgica Beach.

It’s public–but looked like an exclusive preserve for tall, slender people who don’t have tattoos.

IMG_7042The deal is: You can’t park anywhere near. Permit required in the beach lot. No parking in daytime hours along the byways.

From the roadside, the town will tow your heap and turn it into taco meat.

As Angela said, the whole deal is “self-selecting.”

Nice gob of sand, if you can filch it.

While filching, we filled ourselves on Prosecco, a share of the 34,000 pounds of mozzarella produced annually at the Red Horse Market, and delectable produce from Hank’s farm stand, located along Route 27 between Riverhead and I Dunno Hampton.

How I wish I’d made Angela take a picture of him and me.

Among other things, Hank told about the Topping family’s ownership of the New York Yankees, and that, after selling rental-truck loads of pumpkins, straw bales, and cornstalks to the Ralph Lauren boutiques, he’s “a bum” through the winter.

IMG_7153Oh, let me tell you more about the good food.

We arrived Sunday and dined on lobster rolls at the clam shack along the Montauk Highway.

Monday night, I grilled steaks on a single-use BBQ from Kmart.

“Restaurant quality,” Angela said.

Our rental car, a Hyundai Sonata, is reflected.

Tuesday night, we splurged at Nick & Toni’s, an unambiguously five-star joint in East Hampton. Duck breast and swordfish, expertly prepared, and served with all the right touches by Fernando, an Argentinian by way of Costa Rica, and the superb staff.

Lobster rolls followed at lunchtime in Bostwick’s Chowder House, in a lovely, folksy room.

Angela had yet another lobster roll while lunching with a writer friend on Shelter Island.

Perhaps the highlight of the week came when we set out for Friday’s lunch. Almond, the Bridgehampton restaurant, was our destination. But a man using a power washer at the entrance said they only do dinner. We should try Topping Rose House, catty-corner across the intersection of Ocean Road and Montauk Highway.

“It’s freakin’ awesome,” he said. Or was it “incredible”?

IMG_7157He was so freakin’ right. Watermelon salad, beet salad, a chicken club to die–or kill–for (Angela survived), and dessert. With a nice glass of white wine for me, a Southside cocktail for her.

The bar was vividly blue and white. Sunlight poured in. We felt divorced from petty concerns. Serendipity ruled.

For each of us, our first real vacation in years. And how couldn’t we be satisfied?

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