Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hamptons Dispatch #3: How To Do Sunset Beach

Step 1: Know When to Go
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Get there pre-lunch to secure prime outdoor seating. Stay for the sunset (as the name indicates). Today's sunset is at 8:17pm!

Step 2: Get There
Beg, borrow or steal a boat from your most nautical neighbor and hold on tight...tailbone fractures are a bitch.

....or....take the Shelter Island Ferries from either Greenport on the North Fork or North Haven on the South Fork). The ferry is less a boat than a big rusty barge, but it gets the job done. Beginning June 1st there's a new party-friendly schedule that departs every 10-15 minutes from 5:40am until 1:45am, giving you ample time to get boozed and bronzed. R0und trip rate is $15 per vehicle including passengers.

Step 2a: Stay Dry
If arriving by boat, there's no dock or jetty to tie to so prepare to strip down and wade thigh-deep to shore. If you are an expert at balancing stuff on your head, you'll be golden. If not, invest in a dry bag (like the one here in red). It will avoid you having to start one of those annoying "I lost all my numbers, help me retrieve them" Facebook groups. Spontaneous spraying of champagne may ruin your stuff anyway, but at least you'll look "cool" while the damage is done.

Step 3: Drink, Eat, and Drink More
While Sunset Beach boasts a full (and slightly pricey) lunch and dinner menu, it's the to-die-for mojitos, especially the raspberry one, and the super snackable bar food that are the big winners. A couple of orders of their thinly-sliced, perfectly seasoned frites and some crispy calamari should do the trick. New this season is the signature, Sunset Beach Rosé; a little dose of St. Tropez-Hamptons fusion from long-time locals and friends André Balazs and Christian Wölffer. I approve.

Step 4: Rent a Euro
If you aren't European or aren't comfortable in Euro-heavy settings perhaps you're better off spending the afternoon browsing neon prints at Lily Pulitzer. But if you've already made landfall on Shelter Island, then there's no turning back. Try scouring the beach for a still-out-from-last-night Parisian wearing cowboy boots and a white ripped t-shirt with permanent marker on it. On Sunday she was extremely eager to ditch the beach and hit the bottle (again). If you're feeling generous you could throw her a few bucks or give her a lift back to her mainland share house in exchange for some euro-companionship.
Step 5: Avoid Getting Stuck
Don't miss your ride outta' there. If your ferry or boat leaves without you there is usually NO VACANCY at the SB inn, which books up months in advance and judging from the way our French cow-girl fared, sleeping on the beach is not a good look. Plus, those bastard no-see-ems are always looking for fresh blood. Ouch!

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