I think most people have places they’ve visited on their travels which they feel special about. I’ll be blogging about some of mine – in no particular order. This is the first.
East Hampton is a small town on the South Fork of the East End of Long Island, about 2 hours drive from Manhattan in normal traffic. Not that traffic is ever normal in or around the City, but you know what I mean. Head out on Long Island Expressway, cut over to Sunrise Highway at the Manorville exit, then just keep going. It sticks out into the Atlantic.
To be politically correct it’s a village, but that’s just a technicality of the political structures in that part of the world. It is one of the oldest settlements in the USA, dating back to 1648.
So why is it special?
First because I lived there when I was 20 something. It has lots of wonderful memories, and a few hellish ones as well. I’ll not mention her name. She is a very public figure in those parts, and once stuff is on the internet…
Next, it is a truly beautiful wee town. I won’t try to describe it in any detail, but the pictures may do that for me up to a point.
On top of its own charms, the Atlantic is its southern border. A lovely, long, sandy beach. Mile after mile of it. The northern border is the Peconic Bay – part of the Atlantic as well, but sheltered. It also has great beaches, but draped over little coves.
Then the people. True locals are Bonackers, rumoured to have a bit of a gene pool problem. Even truer are the Montauket & Shinnecock native Americans.
All the locals have character. Small rural town characters. Clam fisherman characters. Potato farmer characters. Expat lawyer characters (well one – me). And they love to express that, at the expense of incomers especially.
The downside to the town is the summer invasion of City folks. Since I’m a “glass half full” type, I’ll not dwell on that. I’ll just say it’s best avoided between Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday of September).
I played rugby for the local club – Montauk Rugby. Met some fun people that way. I remember one outrageous road trip to play somewhere in Connecticut – a 300 mile round trip, but still no reason to get home at 3am. Smelling of beer and weed (not mine, the weed that is). She didn’t like that.
The surrounding area has all these amazing and evocative place names. Amagansett. Accabonac. Hands Creek Road (where I lived). Two Holes of Water Road. Sag Harbor.
My favourite spot in this special place? The pond at the end of Main Street, where the kids play hockey when it freezes in winter.
© iain taylor 2011