my (local) summer travels

playland motel

As I launch all of the things, my new newsletter I’m so excited to finally share (coming to your inbox soon, subscribe here!) – I’m realizing pretty quickly that I have a lot more to share about my summer, so here it is!
I had a simply perfect August. As you may already know, I launched my private chef business back in May and have been crazy-busy ever since. Finally had some

sarah ashley in montauk

downtime in August with everyone out traveling (only 3 events that month!) so I took advantage. I explored out east and every place I went, I loved it more and more.

Earlier in the summer I went to Fire Island, which I loved. The island itself is mesmerizing. There are no cars on the island, and you have to take a ferry to get there. It’s not as far east as the Hamptons – you only have to travel about halfway out into Long Island – so it’s a shorter commute in that regard. There is a stretch of bars out there called Ocean Beach where you can find everything from chill outdoor spaces overlooking the water with live music (my type of thing) to full-on dance clubs.

Throughout the summer I had also gone into the Hamptons to work a few times, in East Hampton and Bridgehampton. Love shopping at the farmers’ markets and cooking out there! One party I did was a clambake for a bachelorette party that was a lot of fun.

In August, I had a job in Southampton and stayed out there with my new roommate (more on that soon!) for an impromptu getaway with fun and friends. The job was brunch for a lovely Asian family of a big finance guy who was renting a place out there. It was the mother’s 75th birthday, and it was a special event to be a part of. Her kids had rewritten the lyrics to an oldies song for her and were practicing their rendition all day. I loved witnessing the final presentation – a truly special moment. Beautiful family.

After the brunch, we headed to Montauk, which I quickly became obsessed with. Montauk is alllllllll the way out East, on the very tip of the island, and it just has a different, more relaxed energy than the rest of the Hamptons. It’s a surf town, and a place where I’d like to one day have a home full of surfboard and lobster paraphernalia. There are a lot of families out there but I’ve also heard that the nightlife has become a little “fratastic” – which I can’t really speak to because we kept it low key. The main thing I need to tell you is about these jelly-filled croissants from the Montauk Bake Shoppe, which I just discovered they ship. They are heaven – and we might be in trouble. (I have been known to ship Graeter’s black raspberry chip in from Cincinnati – yup.)

what happens at the beach

Next on the list was Shelter Island, which is another island you take a ferry to, but this one is on the northside of Long Island. Shelter Island is both a beach town and a farm town – obsessed. Diane Dimeo, you might remember her from The Taste, she came in second on the show … has become one of my very best friends. She rented a LOVELY little cottage in Shelter Island for the week and we had a ball. Diane made summer rolls with the leftover steak I grilled as we nibbled on fresh tomatoes and mozzarella all week. Copious amounts of caviar were eaten. One night, we cooked for the lady who invented the Scrunchie. Another night, two more friends, a wonderful couple J + G, joined us for another trip to the magical Sunset Beach, a hotel bar/restaurant overlooking the ocean, where we proceeded to meet some gentleman from Atlanta who invited aboard their 150-foot yacht. A night I will never forget…

After that, I headed to the North Shore, which is the northern part of Long Island. Basically the island forks at a certain point, and if you stay south, you wind up in

the Hamptons, and north is the North Shore. This place is even more relaxed than Montauk, and full of wineries and beautiful beaches and woods. Love! We made breakfast sandwiches with fresh goat cheese and eggs from the farm, went antiquing (where I picked up some pretty major things for my new apartment including a genie lamp, purple candlesticks, a jadeite teacup, 2 crystal chandelier lamps, among other things), and yes, of course I cooked up a feast on the grill. We did the winery thing, and I’ll mention my favorite winery in case you’re ever in the area. It’s Mattebella Vineyards, a totally relaxed family-run establishment, breathtakingly perfect and beautiful. The owner sat with us for hours, where we chatted about life and wine (his rosé is the rosé offered by the glass at Jean-Georges).

playland motel

We went back out to the Hamptons for the last time on Labor Day weekend, and closed out summer right. I.e., I manned the grill in my one-piece all night in between trips to the hot tub and refereeing inflatable swan races. One night, we went to an “animal party” at a nightclub and pretended we were in college again, dancing on couches, and spraying bitches with champs. (Sorry for partying.) It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer with great friends.

Oh! This reminds me. Can’t not mention one more place I visited. Closer to the city, much closer – it’s a place called Playland Motel in Rockaway Beach in Queens. It’s only a subway ride away and it’s a precious place to feel like you’ve traveled much further. A very fun daytime dance/beach party with great energy and vibe. I heard someone describe it as the Brooklyner’s version of the Hamptons. I say there’s room for both.

And thus rosé season has come to an end… But I’ve missed my red wine so it’s not the worst thing in the world… 😉 Cheers to a great summer, and what’s about to be an even better fall! I’ve got some SUPER-duper updates coming soon, so stay tuned!




my (local) summer travels

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