||Pets are Welcome at
Beaching it Off-Season in
Our dogs are not only part of the family but, to quote my
husband, "a great source of entertainment." So,
when the opportunity arises for a family vacation, the inevitable
question arises: "Shall we take the beasts?"
This past April, we decided to hightail it out of the rat
Montauk, located at the far eastern tip of Long Island, is
a popular beach resort. Since we love the outdoors, nature
and ocean, but abhor crowds, we figured the town would be
close to desolate this time of year. Happily, we were right.
Not all accommodations are open off-season, and only a few
allow pets as roommates. Among them is the Hither House, a
group of various-sized cottages in a residential area, about
one (1) mile from town (yet far enough removed from "resort
row"). This time we reserved the East Cottage, at the
When we turned the key in the door, all we could mutter was
"Wow! I can't believe they allow pets - here!" The
cottage was gorgeous, spacious and immaculate. Complete with
wood-burning fireplace, soaring beamed ceilings, screened-in
porch, beautiful kitchen area, separate bedroom and tasteful
décor, I immediately knew we had found our "second
Of course, we were required to read and sign the "Pet
Rules." Dogs are to be walked off the premises. No problem.
There were plenty of grassy areas with lots of good smells
close by. Dogs are to be quiet and are forbidden on the furniture;
since the floor is tiled, it may be a good idea to bring a
blanket or bed for your Fido to sleep on. The pet owner is
responsible for cleaning any doggie droppings, repairing any
doggie damage or paying for any doggie doing that may occur
during your stay. Furthermore, pets are permitted to be left
alone in the cottage provided they do not create a disturbance
in your absence - something to think about if your dog is
the type to relentlessly pine over you until your return.
These requests were all certainly reasonable, and given how
absolutely meticulously the place is maintained, they were
From Memorial Day to October 1, 2000, Montauk's beaches are
off limits to dogs between the hours of 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Off-season, though, it's pure doggie heaven. The miles and
miles of beautiful beaches virtually deserted, giving a normally
housebound pooch an opportunity to run and leap and release
perhaps years of pent-up energy.
My dogs, ages 8 and 9, were transformed into puppies again.
Be careful, though, the ocean undertow can be strong and an
innocent frolic in the surf could result in a swept-out-to-sea
dog. (Note, too, that Hither Hills State Park, a popular camping
ands picnic area, is off limits to pets all year long.) The
beach can be accessed through several points along Old Montauk
Highway (near Hither House) or right in the center of town.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse and Museum is a popular visiting
spot. Although dogs are forbidden in the building, we hiked
on the rocky ledges surrounding the lighthouse, which offered
a spectacular view of the crashing surf below. There are also
other hiking trails in the immediate area.
There are numerous seafood restaurants in this fishing town.
But, if you prefer a canine dining companion, prepare your
own sumptuous meal in the cottage from freshly caught seafood
from Gosman's Fish Market on Gosman's Dock, a tourist attraction
on the harbor side of Montauk. When we created our lobster
feast, our pets hovered anxiously below, praying to the "gravity
god" that a sampling would tumble through our fumbling
Though this mini-vacation lasted only 48 hours, it's a getaway
my family - and dogs - will never forget.
-Cathy R. Bormes
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