Haute Spot Montauk

The Spirit and Soul of The End
By Dawn Watson - June 25, 2018

Long prized for its natural beauty, there’s even more to Montauk than meets the eye.

Its dramatic scenery and dreamy landscape are certainly a draw. But there’s so much more to this sometime tourist town (actually, it’s a hamlet) than dead-drop cliffs and the vast unknown of the sea. There’s a rich and storied history, the fierce protective spirit of a tight-knit community, hidden depths of industry, and a peace borne from the seclusion and rough-hewn landscape.

Those who make their homes and lives here say they never want to leave.

“Montauk is like living on an island within an island,” sums up Anneris Blair, owner of the Montauk Wine Company. “Once you head down Napeague Stretch, you are transported to a little piece of land that is 70 percent under natural preserve, surrounded by water, a raw natural beauty, and a sense of being on vacation even though you live here.”

That specific sense of place, and all that it has to offer, are distinct to Montauk, says Barbara Jo Howard.

“The natural raw beauty of Montauk. The sky is magical and the sunsets are spectacular. The scent of beach roses and honeysuckle is an intoxicating blend no perfumer can match. Inhale, the air is so clean,” says Ms. Howard, owner of BJH PR. “And the spirit and soul of this community.”

Those shared communal ties are very strong draws, agrees Lynn Blumenfeld.

“The best things about Montauk require no thought,” according to Ms. Blumenfeld, a partner at Blumenfeld + Fleming, an integrated marketing firm based in Montauk, and singer whose stage name is Lynn Blue. “The first is the people. The community, the love we have for each other and for this place is fierce.”

Yes, the landscape is a given, says prolific writer and adventurer T.J. Clemente, but there’s something significantly more important than that at play.

“When I was down and almost out, I moved to Montauk. The local people, the energy from its natural beauty healed me and made me whole again,” he says. “The whole Montauk community steps up.”

Montauk Salt Cave owner Shannon Coppola wholeheartedly agrees. Montauk, she says, is “truly a magical place.”

“I love raising our children here. I love our school and I love the camaraderie and community of Montauk,” she enthuses. “It truly feels like one big happy family.”

In addition to all its rustic splendor, Montauk is also home to thriving industry. That includes a happening restaurant and bar scene, shops for days, significant sites, a spate of tourist offerings, and a whole host of sporting and cultural events.

The End is a real scene, says Montauk Music Festival founder and Montauk Sun publisher, Ken Giustino, who reports that bands and spectators come from all over the country to celebrate music here. This season, he adds, “was off to a bang!” And he says he hopes to keep it rolling as he begins working on his next project—a concert to raise money for the Montauk Point Lighthouse and Museum, slated for later this summer.

Rocker Nancy Atlas certainly knows that music is key, but don’t forget the food. Her favorite things: the smoked fish dip at St Peter’s Catch, and the pancakes or Baja Cali Breakfast Burrito at the Wave Crave food truck at Wavecrest Hotel. Heightening the delicious comestible experience, “the view is insane,” she adds.

There is a downside, however, to all this amazing greatness that is Montauk, reports journalist and author Laura Euler. Stuff gets expensive.

“If you don’t enjoy paying $34 for a lobster roll or $18 for an order of fries, there are cheaper options in town where the locals go,” she says. “After a few years, you might be accepted enough to be told where they are,” she humorously shares in her book, “The End.”

Displaying a bit of her trademark tongue-in-cheek sass, the real estate insider and writer for Dan’s Papers adds, “Now is a great time to buy property in Montauk … If you’ve just inherited several million dollars! If you haven’t, the best time to buy property in Montauk is 1975 or so.”

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