Monday, September 26, 2011

first wedding anniversary, Montauk relived

For a little while my wife and I couldn't figure out what to do for our one-year wedding anniversary. Then lucky for us we had a moment of clarity and realized the answer was in fact a no-brainer. With that we decided to return to Montauk for a long weekend to celebrate. This time the plan was to be total tourists and live it up the way our dearest friends and family did last year leading up to our big day. Needless to say we were a little preoccupied at the time so this year it was all about having no agenda and a wonderfully chill Montauk adventure.

Saturday afternoon we would get ourselves all the way out to "the end" by way of Sag Harbor where we had lunch with Mom at Dockside. Upon arrival I would find it very fitting that one of the first sights I'd see would be the same first sight I had last year when we checked in to the Oceanside, a lone fishing boat out there slowly barreling through the open ocean. Of course not uncommon to see a commercial fishing boat off the coast of Montauk on a given afternoon, but for me it was a reminder that I was here and nowhere else. And nothing else mattered.
We made it back to Montauk, and it felt so good so instantly.
The forecast for the weekend called for clouds and rain but we didn't care. We were back at the beach and were going to live it up, whether indoors or out.
We decided to splurge and treat ourselves, another no-brainer for the 1-year anniversary, to a couple nights at Gurney's Inn, where we were married and had the best reception, dinner and dancing. As soon as we got there they made us feel like royalty and it felt amazing. We got to see our wedding planner Ginny Davis and give her a hug and we were all so genuinely happy to see each other. Just perfect really. Then we were shown to our room by the nicest guy (whose name we wish we could remember), who we would end up seeing and chatting with all weekend long.
This is the view from our room. Not too shabby! Pretty amazing to ask yourself, "I wonder what the surf looks like today", and be able to get the answer by simply turning your head and glancing out your window. So killer.
The sky was cool and wet, the ocean warm. A few snaps after we got back from our first of many walks on the beach.
Gurney's is a spectacular old resort dating back to the late 1920's built into the dunes out on Old Montauk Highway. There are a lot of stairs and we seemed to climb them all many times over. But with destinations like their spa and pool facilities and top-notch restaurants like the Sea Grille all the steps were easily well worth it.

One of the main priorities for the weekend was surf, and that we did. Sunday morning it was high tide and there was a lot of messy whitewater to contend with, but we paddled out and had a blast regardless. It had been a while since we had been surfing but we both got some strong rides during the early morning session. I was so happy I felt compelled to take a quick self portrait in the window of good ol' room #555 to capture the moment.

After breakfast the morning mist burned off so we wasted no time and got ourselves together to go out and explore. The first stop was the Montauk Lighthouse. I had only taken my wife out there once before, and at that time it was the dead of winter and nothing was open, so she was very excited to return.

(no comment ;-)
I think the fun thing to do is to go down to the water from the parking lot and walk around the point to get to the lighthouse. This means that you go down to the beach on the north side of the point and walk the rocks around to the south side, looking out at a ton of fishing boats and breathtaking ocean.
As my mom's Uncle George who captained a private charter boat named Gem off these waters used to joke, "next stop, London"!
The lighthouse stands on a rise historically called Turtle Hill. As you can imagine these days they are constantly battling the elements and the sea to try and slow the devastating erosion happening at the end of the point.

What can I say, Krissy Rocks!
Once you climb the big boulders all the way around you get to the south side and look west to see the bluffs that Montauk beaches are known for. Not to mention then you can get the most picturesque shot before you climb back up to the lawn and approach to the lighthouse itself.

Built in 1796 the Montauk lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington himself, the first lighthouse erected in New York State. It's octagonal shape and big red band of course make it most distinguishable.

This is the Lost at Sea Memorial. It honors all those who paid the ultimate price while navigating these waters, men like my friends father Michael Stedman, who was lost at sea when we were still just boys.
You can see that records date back to the early 1700's. So much history out here, the man and the sea, the timeless relationship.

You have to climb a very narrow 137 steps to get to the top but the views are truly one of a kind.

Back down at the base, looking to the northwest.

...a magnificent part of our local history.

After a bit more hiking around we decided to retreat back to town and stroll around there. We were going to check out the Point and see what football games were on but a biker rally at the Memory Motel had that end of town a bit more crowded than our chill selves wanted to deal with. It had been many years since I had been back to O'Murphy's Irish Pub so we decided to head there for a few pints and some lunch.

Montauk village, not your typical American main street.
You got to have a sense of humor in this town, that's for damn sure. Otherwise you will get eaten alive, either by the sea or it's sailors!

Back at Gurney's and down to where we were staying on the Foredeck.
This time we remembered to take our cameras out for the following afternoon walk on the beach to get our appetite back up.

Talk about fun little tubes.
I do heart a macro lens!

arborboy? hardy har har.

My favorite cuff links which I wore on our wedding day, a gift from my dear friend Nisse Hope, were made by a local artist named Thom and crafted from a piece of Walnut driftwood found not far from this location. From the same piece of wood he would also make a necklace that my wife wore all weekend.
The natural beauty of the space is the most stunning. There is nothing else like it and when you are here you realize there is nothing else you need.

This branch had been lodged in the sand for days and we thought the natural installation was great looking with it's peeling bark and seaweed.

Of course you could sit and stare and marvel at the surf for ever.

We would have another delicious feast at the Sea Grille Sunday night and retire, relaxed and recuperated. Monday we would wake to another misty morning that would turn bright and beautiful. I would have another morning surf session while Krissy took it easy. Then we would have breakfast and return for our last walk in the sand.
People say that the first year of marriage is often the hardest, and we had to admit we don't get it. This year has been a fabulous one, and if this was one of the harder years then I think we are in damn good shape! We realized that our honeymoon is now only a couple months away and that made us even happier. Leaving this magical place is never easy but knowing that two weeks in St. Lucia is just a little ways down the road made it much more bearable.
Not to mention, as far as Montauk goes, you know we'll be back.
Happy Anniversary to my sweet love, and here's to many more....

And thank you Gurney's for a perfect stay. You all really are the best.