Not Just a Party Town: An Off-Season Guide to Montauk

A fall visit to the “End of The World”

The beach at Gurney's Montauk

The beach at Gurney’s Montauk. (Photo courtesy of Gurney's Montauk).

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Montauk becomes an epicenter of heady revelry. While it may be fun for weekend visitors and seasonal renters, year round residents are determined to tell the world that their quaint fisherman’s town is more than just a place to party. That’s why we trekked out East, to the “End of The Word” as some wittingly call it, to see what goes on for the other 9 months out of the year. 

WHERE TO STAY

The hub for off-season visits is the town’s only full-service, ocean front hotel, Gurney’s Montauk, which remains fully functional through the winter months. The sprawling resort includes an indoor seawater pool facing the ocean, an on-site spa with beach-worthy treatments like seaweed wraps and sea mineral scrubs, as well as seasonal treatments like the a “warm pumpkin honey wrap.” The property also includes 5 eateries to boot, including a seaside iteration of Manhattan mainstay Scarpetta. While the hotel’s rooms are often booked months in advance for the summer season at a minimum of $685 per night, off-season rooms come at a relative bargain starting at just $320 per night. 

Gurney's Montauk Deluxe Ocean View Room

Gurney’s Montauk Deluxe Ocean View Room. (Photo courtesy of Gurney's Montauk).

WHERE TO DRINK

Montauk Brewing Company also remains open after Labor Day, and offers seasonal libations like Pumpkin Ale, available exclusively to off-season visitors. The company’s three young founders, Eric Moss, Vaughan Cutillo, and Joe Sullivan, along with their trusty Retriever named Sky, live in Montauk year-round. They can often be found on-site at Montauk Brewing Co.’s headquarters to give informal tours of the small brewing facilities and, of course, the tasting room. Pints come at $8 each, while tasting flights are just $12, and should you want to take some home, a 64oz “crowler” is just $14. There’s also a handful of watering holes, mostly reserved for locals, including Memory Motel, where the Rolling Stones recorded a song by the same name, and The Dock, which allows no phone use whatsoever. 

The Montauk Brewing Co. Tap House

The Montauk Brewing Co. Tap House. (Photo by Mikey Detemple for Montauk Brewing Co.)

WHERE TO SHOP 

Also apart of the year-round crew is Whalebone. The creative agency turns out a monthly publication entitled Whalebone Magazine, and also operates a boutique by the same name out of the magazine’s office. Founder Jesse Joeckel’s tastes remain squarely focused on Montauk’s historic surf culture that continues to thrive. Expect to find stylish beach essentials like Komono Sunglasses, Birdwell Totes, YETI Cooler bags, and Hayboards for body surfing, as well as their crowd favorite t-shirts and hats touting signature catchphrases like “FRESH SEAFOOD” and “BONE” that have already been snapped up by the likes of Christie Brinkley and her model children Jack and Sailor Brinkely-Cook and Alexa Ray Joel.

Whalebone Creative Showroom

Whalebone Creative Showroom. (Photo courtesy of Whalebone Creative).

WHERE TO INSTAGRAM

The Montauk lighthouse remains open, and is considered the end of it all. “Past here is like Siberia,” one local commented during our visit to the historic lighthouse which formerly served as a guiding light for commercial fisherman, many of whom still call Montauk home. For $10, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse without any long waits or large crowds getting in your way, or even worse, comprising your photos. On your drive out to the lighthouse, keep an eye out for a handful of small cottages called “Leisuramas.” Originally built in the 1950s, the single-purchase homes were sold by Macy’s for a measly $17,000 complete with furniture, bedding, and cutlery. Now the homes are said to be worth upwards of $700,000.

Montauk Lighthouse Rocks

A photo posted by Christie Brinkley (@christiebrinkley) on

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