I spent most of my life on Long Island. I lived from the east end to the west end of this body of land that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound. Hurricane Sandy hit many of these areas hard, but New Yorkers are survivors. It seems like the perfect time to bring up some of my favorite places on the Island that are more than ready for the ultimate girls getaway, whether you have a day or a week.
It only takes a tunnel or a bridge to get from Manhattan to Long Island. (You don’t even have to do either if you fly into LaGuardia or JFK.) A different world of suburbia waits that many people who have vacationed in “New York” never really knew existed.
From the New York City suburb of Queens, it’s just a short hop to Nassau County. I’ve had many adventures with friends in Nassau, including those in the years I spent living in the beach town of Bayville on the North Shore, where you can enjoy waterfront dining (complete with sunset) at the Crescent Beach Club.
My daughter and I have always enjoyed spa time whenever possible and there are two ones in Nassau County that I enjoy for different reasons. The Village Spa in Roslyn offers the ultimate in luxury, with private rooms, champagne and tea service, and even private saunas. Nail & Relaxation Spa in Bellmore is the place to get all your treatments done for a budget price without a budget feel.
I’ve been eating at HR Singletons in Bethpage since they opened more than 20 years ago. Their Rigatoni a la Vodka is about the best I’ve ever had and you can also always count on finding great desserts there, though nothing beats the “Tower of Power” at Left Coast Kitchen in Merrick, where you should always start with the Mediterranean Plate and some of their crafted cocktails.
I actually grew up on the eastern end of the Island and have had some time recently to explore the Hamptons and Montauk again. Many don’t realize this scenic area is a year round destination where there is still a lot open after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. In fact, fall and winter are my favorite times to visit.
Off-season is a good time to check out the wineries of Eastern Long Island, especially those on the newly designated Hamptons Wine Trail. It only consists of three wineries – Channing Daughters, Duck Walk and Wolffer Estate – but between them they offer a huge selection of still and sparkling wines to try out.
As for restaurants, you won’t run out of options in the Hamptons and Montauk no matter when you go. Some of the options I highly recommend are:
Osteria Salina in Bridgehampton for the Mezzi Rigatoni alla Siciliana and Bucatini con Sarde;
The Plaza Café in Southampton for fine dining or the interesting bar menu (love the Grilled Pizza with figs, prosciutto, arugala and balsamic);
Andrra in East Hampton for the Pappardelle with Braised Beef, as well as any seafood dish you might desire;
Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett for Baked Chili and their home-smoked ribs;
Incredible vegetarian and vegan options at Muse on the Harbor, as well as other delicacies for meat eaters.
You also can’t go wrong with anything at Almond, Indian Wells, Little Red or Red Bar, all of which are open year round.
Before you leave your Long Island adventure behind, there are a few things you must take with you. Montauk Brewing Company offers local beers produced by three true Long Islanders and Tates Bake Shop has award-winning chocolate chip cookies as well as any other bakery treat you can imagine. And, finally, there are bagels. My favorites are at Bagel Boss in Hicksville, but no matter where on the island you get them, chances are they will be the best you’ve ever had.
After many years as one of the top tennis writers in the country, Marcia Frost now devoting most of her time to travel writing, with a focus on food, wine and spirits. She has her own blog at WineAndSpiritsTravel.com and does weekly columns for Inspirato on Sonoma and Paris (two locations she visits often). Marcia also freelances for many other outlets, including Yahoo!; AOL; Michigan Avenue; Rum Bum; Los Angeles Confidential; Travel, Food & Drink; and Air Tran’s Go! Magazine. She has been contributing to Girls’ Getaway since 2010. For more information on Marcia, visit her website MarciaFrost.com.