The first couple of days, Jacob was away at his very first sleep away camp so Gracie got to have some one-on-one Uncle Mr. Helen time which made her quite happy. How many uncles do you know that would let their seven year old niece put full on face paint on them and then paint in return? (Why yes, I was having a martini LOL!)
We had fantastic food - both eating out and also a meal that Mr. Helen and I provided since they will never let us pay for anything. We brought over NY Strip steaks that Mr. Helen cut special and then we bought all farm fresh produce and also used items from my sister's garden. That's the meal I should have taken pictures of because it was every bit as good as our fancy eating out meals.
In any case, on one night we started by going to Wolffer Estates Winery to hear some jazz. We like their Rose wine so much that we ended up buying a couple bottles to bring back with us.
Then we took off to have a cocktail on the porch of the Topping Rose House, which is a small luxury hotel with a new restaurant opened by Chef Tom Colicchio who is probably best known for his Craftsteak Restaurants and for being the head judge on Bravo TVs Top Chef. It's beautiful and expensive - even the one cocktail we had was very, very expensive! But it's an experience, you know?
Then we walked across the street to Almond for dinner. They gave us a great table by their uniquely decorated window. The food was delicious and the portions generous - we all took home leftovers.
The next day, we took the drive up to Montauk which is the furthest point of Long Island. We went to the Montauk Lighthouse and Museum, which I really enjoyed. I guess I hadn't realized the history there with Montauk Indians, which are still in fairly large numbers on Long Island. While I didn't enjoy the fact that once again, Indians were chased off land they'd owned for years, "for their own good," I did enjoy reading about it and seeing photos from the 1800's all the way up to the present day. We got to climb the 137 steps to the top of the Lighthouse and the views are spectacular!
We also spent some time shopping in Montauk and I told Mr. Helen if we ever could have a full-on vacation right there, I wouldn't mind. It reminded me a bit of Cape Cod and I loved it. After playing with Gracie in the pool for several hours, we went out for our second fancy dinner. Bay Kitchen Bar is a new restaurant that opened this year at a marina. It got a New York Times review and it's almost impossible to get a reservation there. It's supposed to be the place to be for sunset. Unfortunately for us, it clouded over and we didn't get to see that. Here's the thing: it was cram packed busy and it seemed the service suffered from that - almost as if they aren't ready for crowds. The food and drinks were pricey and I honestly thought the food was better at Almond. My sister's fiance, who has lived in the Hamptons his whole life, said if they don't get their service issues together, their business will suffer because there are too many excellent restaurants available. We still enjoyed each other's company though!
So we hung out for a couple days and, of course, Uncle Mr. Helen agreed to go in the pool on Sunday even though it was drizzling. My sister and I went and visited the the Hamptons Designer Showhouse to see how the rich live. It's a monstrosity - something like 18,000 square feet and each room is designed by a different designer. We actually didn't love it - much preferred the house we'd seen last year. But it's really fun to walk through a place like that, and dream.
Sunday night we headed home on the ferry, taking Gracie with us because she was coming to her Cows and Cones camp in Connecticut: week around farm animals culminating in milking a cow and making ice cream.
We also brought home wine, baked goods from Tate's Bake Shop, and a container of Detox Salad from a local organic grocery store... which I am going to try to recreate, it was just that good. Stay tuned!