Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gin Beach Pics

Hi all! Things have been busy, and so I have been offline, but I wanted to share a couple of pictures that I took of Gin Beach in Montauk. We have had some fabulous weather this summer, and I am looking forward to going swimming this Friday (hoping for 80 degree weather!). Yesterday was officially the first day of summer, so here's to blue skies, sandy beaches and salty water!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beach House Architecture

One of the things that I really enjoy about Montauk are the multitude of different styles of beach homes. From large to small, traditional to modern, bohemian to conservative, the beach shacks that dot the expansive shores of Montauk have something to offer everyone. To the left is a quick snapshot of a house that really caught my eye-- an Asian-inspired beach home with a gorgeous view from Culloden Point, not far from the Blue Gull Beach House. I think one of the things that is so wonderful about it is that it is so unexpected. When you drive down this particular street, even though the homes have a variety of looks from Hampton's "shingle style" to more Dutch-inspired architecture, this one, right on the bluff, causes your eye to gravitate right towards it. I love it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Beach Bucket Lamp

Weeks ago, I had mentioned wanting to put a lamp in the second bedroom that was inexpensive, yet beachy and different from some of the ones I have seen. A fairly tall order. Well, I was able to put together the lamp to the right for $15-- it was extremely easy to do and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

I took a beach bucket (or pail...whatever floats your boat), a plain lamp that was on sale at the hardware store for about $10, and a variety of different beach rocks, sand dollars, and beach glass. How easy was it? I just stuck the lamp in said bucket, filled with cool rocks and things (mostly found on the beach itself, and looped the cord back behind the bucket's handle. Totally simple.

You can see in the picture to the left, it adds a little something to the second bedroom's lobster theme...the real Rock Lobster! Ha! I suppose if you prefer you could use a lamp kit (you can get them at the store for around the same price as the on-sale and put-together model that I selected) and make it more permanent by adding plaster inside the base. I chose not to do that though....I like to move stuff around, and who knows what this little bucket has in store for the future!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Verdict is Finally In-- Navy Beach Delivers

Following the e-mails I have received asking if I had a chance to check out Navy Beach, I will leave you in suspense no more-- Navy Beach delivers on everything it promises. The service was fantastic, and everyone was friendly-- they make you happy to be there, and you will leave trying to calculate exactly when you will return (if you can bring yourself to leave!). The food was wonderful-- thoughtful and successful taste combinations provided unexpected twists on traditional flavors. I had the salmon nicoise, a welcome departure from the typical tuna preparation that we are all used to.

As you can see in the picture above, the atmosphere is everything you could hope for from a restaurant with it's own beach-- after lunch I was able to slip into an adirondack
chair overlooking the water and enjoy a cocktail (the Navy Grog was delicious) while drifting away. They have a great lineup of drinks, complete with one that changes daily to weekly-- the Madoff Cocktail.

Now, I timed my visit for a slot where Navy Beach was not crowded, so the vibe will depend on your timing-- typically in Montauk if you want a crowd, you go out on a weekend night, and if you are looking for something more laid back you go out during the week when fewer tourists are in town. Regardless of the speed you pick, Navy Beach will provide you with food, drinks, service and atmosphere to make your visit enjoyable.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nautical Fix

I've been slowly trying to add some nautically-styled stuff to the Blue Gull Beach House without going overboard and by trying to incorporate some functional pieces. I did however, fall in love with this little red sail boat pictured to the left (not functional but I had so much fun putting it together!)-- it seemed to bring just enough extra color into the livingroom's overall scheme. I found it in Our Gig Two "Whatever"-- a shop in Sag Harbor with a mix of nautical antiques and just a variety of stuff. I could not find a website, but they are located on Main Street and have cool home furnishings in a price range to satisfy everyone's budget.

I also found this nautically-themed flag with two pockets-- I've hung it on the side wall, and it seems as though it will come in handy for holding pens, paper-- maybe things I should not misplace or forget. The yellow and red are helping to brighten things up a bit (I steered clear of the pink pillows I was considering-- maybe I will introduce those colors in the bedroom at some point, but for now I've got colors that the Coast Guard would approve of!).

Day Trippin: Sag Harbor

The rain held off for most of yesterday, and with bright skies today I am hoping to squeeze in another great run and a fabulous day at the beach. Yesterday I decided to take a road trip in search of some nautical pieces that would add a bit of interest to The Blue Gull Beach House without overwhelming it, and my travels lead me to Sag Harbor.

Sag Harbor is a quaint little area with a rich whaling history-- about a 40 minute drive from Montauk, but you want to go on an off-day when there is little traffic. There are many shops to spend time in, a few restaurants on the main drag, and plenty of yachts bobbing on the water for you to gawk at. There is also a beach nearby, but I did not check it out this time around.

I stopped and grabbed a quick bite at The Corner Bar, which has a good variety of sandwiches, salads and main dishes. I think I mostly enjoyed snapping a few shots of the harbor and sitting in the area around this windmill, which has benches and picnic tables scattered about in the sand. It's a great spot to relax and daydream. What nautical pieces did I finally find? Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Search of Sun

The weather was fantastic again yesterday, but fog rolled in and they say we will have showers and thunderstorms up through this evening. I snapped this shot of Ditch Plains beach yesterday-- the waves were gorgeous. Over on the sound side near Culloden I went swimming, and the water temperature has been slowly rising since this past weekend. There have only been a few swimmers to brave the chilly water, but it really is nice once you are in, honest!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fishbar-- Best Montauk Restaurant?

After this evening, I think not. I read the fabulous advertising and decided to give Fishbar a try-- I walked in, was seated by a seemingly friendly bartender, and so it began. I am actually pretty laid back when it comes to restaurants-- I understand things happen, you have off days, you have busy nights (tonight it was relatively empty) and it actually pains me to write a negative review on a spot in Montauk, but I am always forthright when it comes to my experiences.

I ordered an appetizer, the Thai mussels, and a blood orange margarita. The drink was very tasty-- not too sweet, and filled with interesting flavor. The mussels, while prepared in a very thoughtful and interesting manner, seemed a bit fishy--
perhaps not quite as fresh as they could have been. But then, there was the hair in my food. It was a big turn off for sure. Still, all the while I was trying so hard to like this restaurant-- the decor was simple, yet interesting, and the ads looked so cool-- especially when I saw the chef would be featured on Food Network...I wanted to love it.

I thought, this happens, a simple mistake, I will alert the waiter. The waiter looked at my unfinished dish, took it away, and said nothing. A simple "I am sorry" would have been a great response...a step up could have been a drink on
the house... but he seemed to not care, as if it happens often in the joint, and so I thought how terrible, surely the manager would care about the quality of the food. When I told the manager/bartender, he seemed to not care either-- it pained him to say sorry and he quickly went back to what he was doing. I was shocked, that given their highly-priced menu and seemingly good reputation, that no one cared about a sanitary matter.

I am not a snob-- I eat everywhere, from dives to some of the most fantastic restaurants you could imagine-- but customer service is king and it is something the Fishbar lacked this evening. After my experience, I will not go back, there are too many other great places, from the Dock, to Lenny's, Cyril's, Harvest, Navy Beach, Indian Wells, Star Island, The Lobster Roll and yes, my savior this evening-- Pizza Village, where I am always greeted with a smile and a fabulous pizza.

So, as for Food Network...well, I think the Fishbar's chef needs to spend a bit more time here at home training staff on customer service and keeping their hair nets on.

Two for Tauk

Well, I have been slacking off at the Blue Gull Beach House (it is so hard to not play outside all day!) but I did manage to get the extra lounge chair and cushions set up, and as you can see to the left they are resort-quality (navy blue seems to be the color I reach for lately). I picked up two large ice buckets for the yard, and I am thinking that it could use a hammock in the shade...I'll think about it at the beach!

Flip or Flop?

If you live in Montauk then you have heard of Kai Kai Sandals. On my search for cool small beach businesses, I decided to check out their Montauk location. I am happy to say, I actually bought a pair of their sandals for myself-- it's been four days in, and my feet are still loving them.

The store's owner used to be a lifeguard out here, and had an urgent need to develop a comfortable flip flop that could get him to the beach and about town. Some of the beaches out here are a little rocky, and as someone who grew up on Long Island I can tell you it can be hard for your feet to get used to. Many of us have our own disasterous flip flop story--from tales of blistered feet, to situations where the sandals just fell apart. If you love the beach, you need to keep your feet happy so you can keep going back-- all the more reason to give Kai Kai sandals a try.

I visited the Kai Kai store over by Gosman's Dock, and met the owner's sister Gabriell (she's in the picture to the left) who explained that you can also trade in certain Kai Kai sandals, and they will be refurbished and donated to the homeless, which I thought was pretty cool. In return you get 40% off of your next pair, which is a hard deal to beat, and can help you get new sandals for next season once your old ones wear out (which, I am having a hard time believing these things will ever wear out, but it's always nice to upgrade).

Now, I am not sure I'll dance to the beach (if any of you have seen me on a dance floor you know why!) but I will definitely run, hop, skip and jump in these sandals--in sum, they are worth flipping over.

More Beach House Garden Pics

This week I have been able to watch the backyard at the Blue Gull Beach House transform into an amazing beach house garden. I thought the flowers that were budding back in April were fantastic, but it just keeps getting better!

Every day I am excited to peek outside and see what new flowers are blooming-- right now, there are tons of roses, and I am embarrassed to say a multitude of blooms that I do not even know the name for, but I love them all. There are even some herbs in the side garden, and one of my favorite trees-- a Japanese maple, growing in the side yard.

The previous owners, Bob and Marion, did a fabulous job in creating a little
oasis back there (as if just being at the beach is not an oasis in and of itself!). I realized when I bought the house that there was a huge responsibility in keeping the garden healthy, and so I have been doing my best to read up on gardening and hired professionals to lend a hand as well.
With the great weather we've had everything is in full bloom, I wish you all could smell it, it is far better than perfume!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rock and Roll

Last year I had an amazing lobster roll at Lenny's on the Dock, and since I have been on the hunt for new versions in Montauk. After a failed attempt to make one myself with lobster salad bought at Gosman's Fish Market (I was really disappointed in the quality and all the shells in the salad--maybe just a bad batch?) I returned to Lenny's for lunch yesterday. It was just as I had remembered it-- sweet meat, seasoned just enough, with the Rolling Stones playing in the background and the bar humming with tropical drinks and ice cold beer. The seating right near the dock allows you to relax and watch the charter boats come and go. I am looking forward to trying something new this summer, but for now I can count on getting my rock and roll at Lenny's.

Last Night's Sunset

I took some photos last night from a new little spot that I found for sunsets-- everyone always suggests the Montauket for watching a sunset, and while I agree, if it's your first time out to Montauk it is a good spot, it can get crowded very quickly. On a weekend night it's you and every other tourist!

Last night I took my camera and a glass of wine down to a more secluded spot on the lower beach that sprawls out across from Duryea's and got a few cool shots in-- in a more intimate setting.

The New Big Apple

Well, after a long battle with many viruses, my old laptop was finally laid to rest and I did the unthinkable-- I made the switch from a PC to an Apple Mac. I bought a MacBook Pro and it has been amazing-- my download speeds are faster, my picture quality seems better-- I love it!

The weather has been great out here in Montauk-- they say we may have a shower later but the weather has held steady at 80-85 degrees and I actually went swimming this past weekend (yes, it was cold, but so good!). A fabulous Memorial Day was had by all, and I hope the great weather continues. More to come, from the new Beach Mac at the Blue Gull Beach House!