The Glassy’s healthy guide to Montauk
Sun, surf, and a beach full of crystals? Welcome to The End.
If you’re looking to feel a buzz in Montauk, skip The Surf Lodge and The Sloppy Tuna and instead just…head to the ocean.
“The beaches are ground-up quartz and citrine—a glacier dragged all of these minerals out here and ground them up really fine, so you get to lay on a crystal bed for free,” half-jokes Madi Murphy, co-founder of Montauk Juice Factory and a big-time believer in what she dubs “Montauk magic.”
To say that this small beach town has undergone changes in the past decade would be an understatement; what was once a sleepy fishing village is now a bona fide weekend destination from June through August. But dig a little deeper, past the late-night revelry and oceanside selfies, and you’ll find something else: a thriving wellness community driven by being in one of the most beautiful spots in all of New York.
“The big energy is the hotels and the parties and the brands that come out here, but right below the surface is a subtler energy where the real commodity is living a really juicy, pleasureful, in-tune life,” Murphy explains. “It’s truly such a magical place.”
“The elements of Montauk take the mundane, routine part out of the workout and make it really a sacred ritual.”
She knows it all too well: When Murphy, who grew up on Long Island, returned to Montauk in her twenties, she fell hard for the town. “It was fun, the parties were fun, I was bopping around with my friends, but it was deeper than that; I felt connected to my own natural rhythm and my intuition again,” she remembers. “I was like, I don’t want to leave. This is beyond a summer fling feeling.” Long story short: She and two childhood friends decided to open Montauk Juice Factory.
That was four years ago, and it’s one of many spots that treat a visit to The End as a way to recharge. SoulCycle and New York Pilates now have studios in town, while BYoga joined Yoga Lila as a place to get your asana on. Joni’s and Naturally Good—longtime staples—are now supplemented by the acai-slinging Happy Bowls and charcoal latte-loving Left Hand Coffee. Montauk Salt Cave, which utilizes salt therapy as a form of treatment, has some of the most in-demand chairs in 668—although HigherDose, which opened up shop at Gurney’s for summer ’18, may give it a run for its (detoxifying) money.
And speaking of: Even the most nightlife-driven hotels have incorporated wellness into their amenities. At The Surf Lodge you can get a post-party IV drip or raid your mini-bar for healthy snacks, Sole East teamed up with Xtend Barre for a summer-long residency, and Breakers is serving up 100-percent vegan carrot “lox” sandwiches at their cafe.
But really, Montauk’s healthy scene is driven by what you find outside of four walls. “The wellness is really organic; it comes naturally here,” Murphy says. “Go for a bike ride. Go for a dip. Take a surf lesson. Try stand-up paddleboard yoga. To me, it’s workout as play. The elements of Montauk take the mundane, routine part out of the workout and make it really a sacred ritual.” Plus, adds Bella Ornaf (shark wrangler and jewelry designer at Fin Montauk), “any exposure to salt water and sun is heavenly.”
And in such a small place, meeting one person who’s into the high-vibe life means you’ve got an in to this growing, thriving network. “One of my favorite things about the Montauk wellness scene has to be hanging out and inspiring each other,” says Sarrah Strimel, who leads jam-packed, sweaty classes at BYoga. “It’s a community of people that are curious about all of the various ways to keep their bodies and minds healthy—and in such a small, tight-knit community, collaboration is key.”
And of course, it’s all happened in an organic way. As Murphy puts it, “I do find that if you build it, they will come. A lot of the people who come in our shop are so in love with the land and the ocean; they’re surfers or bikers and they just come here to honor it. They clean up the trash and want to wake up and do a yoga class and meditation—and that’s how they start their weekend.”
“Go for a bike ride. Go for a dip. Take a surf lesson. Try stand-up paddleboard yoga. To me, it’s workout as play.”
In other words: You can get out of Montauk whatever you put in. So the next time you get off the Jitney, Murphy wants you to set an intention at the beginning of the weekend. “Just take a moment to breathe and connect and slow down,” she says. “That maybe means all your friends go get a drink at Sloppy Tuna and you just go walk on the beach for 10 minutes by yourself, or committing to class at Yoga Lila at 9 a.m. Just carve out the smallest moment and you’ll be infinitely rewarded.” It’s some Montauk magic, indeed
The Glassy Blackbook: Montauk
Vibe: Low-key surfers with a penchant for late nights and early mornings.
Pack: A swimsuit (shoes optional) and something cozy to keep you warm around a fire at night.
Drop-ins: Aren't recommended—in high season, classes can book up weeks in advance.
Walkability: Easy when you're in town—or jumping from spot to spot on the beach.
Runability: A dirt path along Old Montauk Highway makes oceanside jaunts easy. The toughest place to get your miles in might just be in town, as you'll have to dodge the crowds as you make your way along Montauk Highway.
Cycleability: The terrain is generally flat and cars mostly slow-moving, making it a perfect place to bring your two wheels (that is, if you can squeeze them into the LIRR train).
Clean eats: When it comes to fish, it doesn't get any fresher than what you'll find in Montauk—it often goes from the dock straight to your dish. Many restaurants, however, lean fried (French fries, fried clams...), but there's usually at least one option on the menu that can be vegan-ified. You'd expect more places to go local, considering how many farms dot the eastern edge of Long Island, but the number is growing. And you've got no shortage of options if it's juices and smoothies you're after
Supermarket run: While the IGA can help with the basics (organic baby carrots or Mrs. Meyer's soap), for more niche options go straight to Naturally Good. If you're in town on Thursday, hit up the weekly farmers' market.
Water situ: Officials say that the water is clean, Long Island residents aren't so sure and many swear by filters—but if you're only there for a weekend, don't sweat it.
Toiletry pick-up: For SLS-free toothpaste or mineral sunscreen, hit up Naturally Good—which isn't cheap, but also is the only option in town.
Make your base: Stay near town if you plan on arriving sans car—or look for an Airbnb near Ditch Plains if you're down for dawn patrol
Top souvenirs: A tin of the white stuff (no, not that white stuff) from Montauk Salt Co. or a jar of Montauk Juice Factory's Radiance Dust.
If you eat at one place: It's not right on the water, but the Tom Lob at Hooked is what (healthyish) Montauk summers are made of.
If you work out at one place: Skip the studios and rent a surf board—or, if you'd rather stay dry, go for a hike at Shadmoor State Park.
If you relax at one place: Book a chair at Montauk Salt Cave or, even better, just park yourself on the beach for the afternoon and soak up that crystal energy.
Check out the complete Glassy Guide to Montauk.