My Seaside Life

Written By: Rosemary  Ryan



A long time ago, there were music videos on MTV, the ocean left enough beach that you burned your feet to walk to the water, and I spent my summers in the Hamptons and Montauk. It’s where our family has gone for generations. We’re not locals, but we live nearby and theEast Endhas been an intrinsic part of our lives. The road to get to Montauk hasn’t changed much over the years which is important to me. I appreciate how much of Route 27 has not compromised the integrity of the landscape, with the exception of a few architectural monstrosities.  Maybe I was inCape Maythat week when someone requested a giant salt-prep station for the Department of Public Works – but then again, one never knows when an epic snowstorm may hit.

Once upon a time, “Riders on the Storm” played on an eight track tape of the quadraphonic stereo as my father told my mom to get ready for a great vacation in Montauk. He said that was where his family went, when he was a kid, and that’s where they were going. My mom recalls Montauk as being dark and scary with no street lights.  There were only a few hotels, stores and restaurants like White’s,PizzaVillageand a pancake house.  Images of the movie “The Fog” come to mind when she describes that first trip to Montauk.  My current experiences are more magical. There are millions of stars in the sky and you feel as if you can reach up to touch them. Riding out to the lighthouse seems like the driver’s car will take flight, right into the sky. This has nothing to do with the glass of wine you’ve just had at the clam bar! How can the end ofNew Yorkhave ocean-side cliffs that rivalCalifornia’s coast? The full moon lights up the beach for miles. Deer and rabbits take enchanted delicate steps in the brush near Hither Hills. Surfcasters spin their reels out past the breakers as a lonely shrimp boat passes by in the distance. The crisp sea air mingles with random barn fires and toasted marshmallows. You can hear the calmness of the waves crashing at the shore and the eerie clanking of a flagpole or a channel marker out in the ocean. Then, you think – is Jaws out there? If so, let’s hope he gets to keep his fins, along with the dolphins. Once indoors, you pray the dog does not want to be walked in the middle of the pitch-black vastness. Then, just when a city girl cannot bear to keep her eyes shut to sleep through the night, the next morning reveals a picture-perfect setting. Upon opening your door, you are greeted to a wonderland of a million dancing diamonds sparkling brilliantly upon the waves.  Dogs playfully leap in and out of the waves retrieving sticks. Surfers paddle out past the breakers waiting for that perfect ride. Seagulls laugh and children sit in the sand with their sand-pails & shovels, digging toChinain search of our American manufacturing. Then, just as a cynical thought gets the best of you, you’re transported to another dimension and you take a breath of the freshest air you’ve ever experienced. Thank God that old fisherman stopped smoking! Montauk’s windy mist is pure oxygen and natural perfume that simply cannot be duplicated by any chemist in the world. A rainy day in Montauk is like pizza, even when it’s blah, it’s still pretty awesome. There is nothing like falling asleep to the sound of a deep resounding foghorn from the lighthouse, guiding vessels safely to port. Montauk is a place where one can feel most at peace and experience God’s natural wonders.  My mom once asked me, “Where would Jesus visit when He returns?” I think He would definitely make a stop in Montauk. Then, He may go to Coopers Beach.

Southampton-Teen Spirit

My other favorite place on theEast EndisSouthampton. It reminds me of growing up in our waterfront house in Throggs Neck/Country Club. There were few paved sidewalks, large properties and single-family homes, beach clubs and unobstructed views of the Bay. White rocks separated the lawns from the streets with wispy Weeping Willow trees on every corner. Our house was nestled within a gorgeous block of beach clubs have has been featured in movies. Wednesday evenings brought colorful sailboats racing across the Bay against a sky of pink cotton candy clouds in the setting sun. Even though we lived in a vacation-like setting and enjoyed Montauk, we also enjoyed our time inSouthampton. My best friend, Jean, spent her summers inSouthampton, staying with her family and working at Villa Paul’s. I would go visit her with our boyfriends.Southamptonis the first place we drove to when we got our drivers licenses and could go on vacation by ourselves. Although, I must admit, our parents didn’t know about the boys!  These are the times to remember. Maybe it’s a tune by Peter Frampton, Bob Seger, or Billy Joel that brings back your special summer?  In the mid-‘70’s, the Yankees were kings and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” by Meatloaf, played on the radio as my mom drove to Hot Dog Beach over that rickety, wooden Ponquogue Bridge.  During the late ‘80’s, my dad taught me how to fish and to always respect sea life. We had the best way to catch Blue Claw crabs, using a net and pieces of white bread. Years later,Seattlegrunge rock was popular, the stock market had a killer year, the Yankees were back on top, the cost of living was in synch with the salaries, I was in college and we continued ourHamptonstrips. Currently,Southamptonis where I go to relax, have fun at a party or work on my latest art project. There is always a cute event for animals and many worthwhile causes involving all of the best things that life has to offer.  So, come as you are –but, in proper attire of course. The only “whale tail” exposed here should be out at sea! Wearing pants or skirts with little critters on them, paired with a pink-collared shirt will look just fine here and there are plenty of great stores to find that perfect outfit.