Dramatic and breathtakingly scenic, The End is highly prized by architects, artists, surfers and those in search of the unplugged life. Notable residents who have made their homes past and present in Montauk include: Paul Simon, Julianne Moore, Jimmy Buffet, Colin Jost, Ralph Macchio, Fred Stelle, Cynthia Nixon, Dick Cavett, Chad Smith, Cheryl Tiegs, Peter Beard, Cynthia Rowley, Edward Albee, Rufus Wainwright, Julian Schnabel, Bill O’Reilly, Bernie Madoff and Andy Warhol.
It’s easy to see the allure of Montauk, even for those who could afford to purchase any place and anywhere, says actor Ralph Macchio, who made his big break in the “Karate Kid” series and jokingly refers to his home there as “my house the 80s built.”
“I love the rustic natural feel of Montauk, which has a distinctly different feel from the Hamptons. With all of the untouched parks and varied textured wraparound coastline, it still has the essence of a fishing village,” he says. “And now with the additions of some higher-end restaurants and coffee bars, etc., it is combining a little new with the old. The key is to keep that balanced and to preserve its personality. I’m counting on it!”
According to year-rounder Keri Lamparter, who owns a Montauk-based communications firm, the strong draw of this easternmost Long Island village is equal parts land, sea and life.
“Besides the sweeping, natural beauty of the East End, I really enjoy the eclectic mix of people in our community,” she says. “My group of friends includes both year-round locals and part-timers from Manhattan, teachers and journalists, artists and writers, realtors and landscapers, fashion designers and fishermen, local business owners—and everything in between. What unites us is our deep love of Montauk and our fierce desire to protect this special place.”
Ms. Lamparter first started coming out to Montauk in the summer of 1973, when she was 7 years old. Her parents bought a quarter-acre Hither Hills lot the year before for $5,000, built a house on it for approximately $20,000 and used it as a summer home until their daughter took it over 20 years ago and made it her home.
“I think it was the best investment they ever made, considering the market today,” Ms. Lamparter says of her parents’ forethought in building what eventually became her inherited home. “I’m forever grateful to my parents for giving me that opportunity.”
Montauk Chamber of Commerce President Paul Monte moved out to Montauk in 1968 when his father took over the role of general manager at Gurney’s. Now a senior advisor to the company, the 2015 Montauk Person of the Year says he has loved the area “since Day One.”
There’s a feeling of community in Montauk unlike any other, he says. It’s a special place filled with friends and neighbors and beautiful sites.
Ms. Lamparter agrees. In addition to the landscape—most especially the Walking Dunes in Napeague, the oceanside trails on the cliffs, the “breathtaking beauty” of Shadmoor State Park and sunsets over Fort Pond Bay—the bounty of local fare and her friends and neighbors, it’s the simplicity of the place that she most appreciates, she says.
Ranking high on Mr. Macchio’s memory list are walks down the beach, past the rustic bluffs that are close to home and headed toward Ditch Plains. But his very favorite thing to do is sit on his deck at dusk and witness the view as “the sky changes color and the ocean relaxes, turns shiny silver and calm, and just watch and listen and decompress.” The bookends of the day are his most special times, he says, adding, “what happens in between is gravy.”