5 Things To Do In Montauk That Aren't Going To The Beach
Montauk is a summer lover’s paradise; miles of beach, beautiful scenery, fine dining, and extensive nightlife. Not to mention that it’s also a family friendly getaway that’s just a few hours away for most folks. But there’s more than just meet the eye here. Steeped in rich history, abundant wildlife and more folklore than you would know what to do with, Montauk is far from just being a seaside resort.
Visit the grave of Stephen Talkhouse
Stephen Taukus Pharaoh was probably the most notable of the Montauk Natives. He would charge 25¢ to deliver letters from Montauk to East Hampton [a 35 mile round trip] and has several landmarks named for him along the route. If you’re not up for that hike, you can visit his grave to pay homage to him. He’s buried in a semi circle along with other natives. This is a quiet area of Montauk, well off the beaten path, so remain respectful. Here are the directions for you.
2. Eat at John’s Drive In
This place has been around since 1967. It’s seen some things. It’s also probably the cheapest meal you’re gonna get while in town. But there’s more to it than that. Awesome burgers, home made ice cream and a rotating cast of interesting characters keep people coming back season after season. My personal favorite? The Big John burger [with cheese and bacon, of course], waffle fires and onion rings, followed up by a single scoop of whatever flavor meets my daily requirements. There’s also a plethora of vegetarian options [we are in the Hamptons, after all], so there is something for everyone here. A Montauk classic. Don’t miss it.
3. Hike the Money Pond Trail
Sure, everyone and their brother walks around the rocks at the base of the lighthouse, but there’s some lesser known areas in the vicinity. One such location is Money Pond. The trail head is on the right as you’re leaving the park, and it winds it’s way downhill through the woods. Check for ticks. Often. You’ll eventually come to two small ponds where legend has it that Captain Kidd buried some of his treasure. This has yet to be proven. Oh, and they say that these ponds are bottomless. So, I’m not telling you to go look for the treasure, but if you find it, please remember who tipped you off. We are in dire need of some upgrades at the shop and I’ve been eyeing this really nice Steiger. There’s a myriad of other trails in Montauk State Park, and some other good ones close by. Which brings me to…
4. Visit the Coastal Defense stations
Long Island is a pretty strategic location for a multitude of reasons. That’s why in World War II we established numerous coastal defense stations. Most notable is Camp Hero, or the Montauk Air Force Station. This is an interesting spot for numerous reasons. Firstly, most of the base is still there. Granted, it’s locked behind barbed wire fences, but you can see it and you can walk among it. Second, is the conspiracy theory that follows this place. There’s too much to cover here, so check back at a later date for more on that, but it stems from the Philadelphia Experiment and the US’ goal of making things invisible. Like big things. Battleships and stuff. One of the side affects was time travel. They wanted to harness this energy to make it a weapon. Like I said, too much to cover here. But it’s a bit surreal. Keep that in mind as you walk around. Make your way to the bluff, which has my favorite view of the entire island. Not to far from here is Shadmoor State Park which also houses some WWII observation bunkers. If you’re scared of getting abducted by Government officials or extraterrestrials, grab one of these shirts and tell them you’re on break.
5. learn about the old days
Honestly, a trip to Montauk is incomplete without going to the light house. There’s enough history there to satisfy most, but if that isn’t cutting it for you, check out Second House Museum. It was [oddly enough] the second structure to be built in town, and is home to the Montauk Historical Society. Plenty of artifacts and amazing photos of bygone days can be found here, as well as the Montauk Indian Museum. Learn about George Washington’s and Theodore Rossevelt’s role out on the East End. I would tell you, but that will ruin the surprise.