If Ever There Was a Time to Use the Word “Vacay”: Hamptons 2011

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, living in new york is neat, travels

I’ve had a week of work and a trip to Ohio since my weekend in the Hamptons, but I WILL NOT BE DETERRED from writing about a memorable event for once, because man, this thing was memorable. Eleven friends and I booked the same Southampton beach house we enjoyed for a weekend last year and were fortunate enough to get a $200-a-night discount on it thanks to some springtime water damage that left us without kitchen cabinets. ($200 off per night just because we had to store our groceries on the kitchen window seat instead of the cabinets. Talk about richpeopleproblems.)

My friend Nik and I met our friends Ash and Mike in Queens on Thursday morning so they could drive us in their car to a for-real grocery store with more than five aisles, the Cheesecake Factory in Long Island, and the pet hotel, where they left their dog, Gizmo, for the weekend:

Hamptons 2011

Nik spent most of the trip doing this in the back seat to show off that dammit, he was on vacation, and he was going to wear his most comfortable and most inappropriate shorts:

Hamptons 2011

We arrived at the house around 3 p.m., greeted by our friends Chantee, Brandon, and Gretchen, and took in the most wonderful sight in the world: the ocean mere steps away from our front door:

Hamptons 2011

Our house is this crazy three-story behemoth with 12 beds, all of them in these charmingly-terrible themed rooms:

Hamptons 2011

But we rarely ever see the house before 9 p.m., because there’s this

Hamptons 2011

right across the street. It was unfortunately too early in the season for swimming, but just the feel of the water on my feet and the sand in my hands and in my hair and up my butt sends me into this blissful state of sedation that requires no actual paddling.

The boys went on a drive to look at the multi-million-dollar homes surrounding us, so we girls sat in the downstairs living room, talking about boys and gazing out into the bay behind the house:

Hamptons 2011

We weren’t the only ones gazing, though:

Hamptons 2011

Earlier in the car, Nik had been making fun of the superficiality of southern rappers, saying they only talked about cash and cars and girls. But when he’d left the house on his drive, he’d left his iPod hooked up to the living room speakers, and as we sat talking about our sordid dating pasts, a song came on with a chorus that went, “Ro-tating my tires. I’m just ro-tating my tires.” Rap is dumb.

We met the boys for dinner in town at a restaurant where women with shawls wrapped around their shoulders glared at us across the patio, and I took two pictures that I totally thought I could successfully make into a panorama later. And I did! Unless you look at Nik’s right shoulder, which is freakishly square and cut down the middle:

Hamptons 2011

We spent that night playing Xbox Kinect, drinking Mike’s Hard everyflavor until we contracted diabetes, and just generally feeling superior to our friends who weren’t arriving until the next evening.

The next morning, Gretchen and I went on walk down the beach that was supposed to last only a few minutes and therefore didn’t involve me wearing any sunscreen. (Because I learned nothing from the sunburn last year that still has my back looking like it’s covered in tiger stripes.) Our section of the beach is basically just sand, but we found that farther east, there are piles of mermaid’s purses, a crab graveyard, a jetty, freakishly big seagulls, wildly green seaweed, and not a single shark that we could see, despite that week’s earlier sighting:

Hamptons 2011

Hamptons 2011

Gretchen, Ash, Chantee, and I went back to the beach that afternoon (this time with sunscreen!) and walked in the opposite direction to the end of the beach, where we found a shelterhouse full of ice cream treats and constantly-tan people who probably think they’re quite sophisticated living two hours from New York City.

That night, we all showered and started to pile into our cars to see the new X-Men movie before checking Brandon’s iPad and realizing the closest theatre was more than 30 miles away. So we sat considering our options

Hamptons 2011

until the pool boy (for real) came and told us he’d found a kitten underneath the house. Having raised approximately 152 cats while growing up on the farm, I suggested that we leave it there for a while and check to see if the mother would return for it; mothers carry their young from location to location one at a time, I’m sure you know, so I figured there was a good chance she’d left it there on purpose. But Mike was apparently overcome with fatherly instincts and decided he needed to take the kitten to a vet, who confirmed that she had recently been fed.

But I guess you can’t dump a kitten back underneath a house once you pull her out, so Mike and Ash are now the proud owners of baby Penelope! Whom Ash tried to name Katniss after the character in The Hunger Games, which is the cleverest name ever! Because it’s a cat! Get it? But not everyone has read the book to understand the name. So she’s Penelope. But I’ll obviously still be calling her Katniss in secret.

Here she is sitting in Nik’s lap, right before she peed a pee that covered the entire front of his shirt:

Hamptons 2011

Jack, Roxanne, Beth, Eric, and Christine all arrived late that night, and we spent the rest of the evening watching movies, playing Xbox, and making fun of Nik for getting so sunburned that day it was making him nauseated. Haha, skin cancer is funny.

We spent the entire next day at the beach, and then that night, Eric, Christine, Gretchen, and I went for a walk along the bay, which is the much more interesting/much more disgusting body of water behind our house. While the ocean side has clear water and little visible sealife, the bay is green and carpeted with breeding snails, dueling horseshoe crabs, and oozy sand you don’t want to stick your feet in.

Right off the bat, Eric spotted a horseshoe crab on its back way too far up on the beach and flipped it over with a stick to see if he could lead it back to water. Its tail was wrapped in a clump of seaweed, and half of its legs seemed to be nonfunctioning, but it sloooooooowly turned back toward the bay and inched its way along, traveling whole feet in the hour we spent exploring the beach:

Hamptons 2011

Hamptons 2011

Hamptons 2011

The water in the bay had retreated hundreds and hundreds of feet so that we could walk on the squishy sand that only hours before had been covered over in murkiness. There was some concern that the sand wouldn’t hold up and we’d find ourselves ankle-deep in stinky snail sand at any minute, but we made it back to the house mostly un-gross and were greeted by Chantee for our family dinner:

Hamptons 2011

Yes, that was an entire plate of Pizza Rolls in front of me. Some of which I actually shared with my friends. But most of which I did not.

The next morning, we went to the beach one last time, and I admired the elderly couples there sitting on lawn chairs in sweatshirts and ballcaps, too chicken to swim but still unable to resist the draw of the water. I think a lot of people use their Hamptons presence for economical braggarting, but it’s much more special than that to me. Most of my vacations are spent in Ohio, and while I obviously wouldn’t trade those for anything, I still feel a lot of anxiety around flight delays, trying to fit in all of the visits to relatives and old friends, and making sure I look presentable so no one thinks I’m falling apart out here. Traveling by car, listening to music, escaping all of the pressure of the city, not caring about my hair or my makeup or my clothes, not having any responsibility, being near the water . . . truly my idea of paradise, and it’s only two hours away.

Hamptons 2011


  1. Pretty sure I’m not even aloud to say *whispering* Hamptons
    at a reasonable volume.
    I’m pretty sure a guy with a bat will show up and break my classless kneecaps.
    Looks like an amazing time though, U.M.!

  2. Cassie says:

    Love those photos!

    It seriously looks like you stayed in a doll house. That balcony looks like it should just fall off. Creeeepy.

  3. yshaloo says:

    That looks like an awesome vacay!

  4. Kinard says:

    Jealz. But where is the shark of which ye had spake?

  5. Tracey says:

    I hate that your Ohio trips involve a bit of stress and self-maintenance. Next time you come, don’t tell ANYONE, and we’ll just sit on my couch ordering pizza for days straight.

  6. Jessica says:

    Wow you have strange aquatic life up there. Whenever we go to the beach in Florida, we just see sand crabs and jellyfish.

    Beautiful photos!

    And how awesome that you have such a big, great group of friends to go with.

  7. uncle bob says:

    don’t get dolled up for this buckeye.i have seen your other side. i still can’t beleive YOU didn’t worry about the hair. love the pics. need some lessons in how to post pics. see you when i see you

  8. aaron says:

    who’s the dude doing the bunny ears in the group photo? he be pretty cute

  9. It’s just so picturesque! The Redneck Riviera (a.k.a., the Gulf Coast) is really terrific in a lot of ways, but all the houses and condos were built in the 80’s and are terribly ugly. On the inside, they’re even WORSE. Seriously, $300k condos decorated with castoffs from the Miami Vice set.

    Seaside, FL, where The Truman Show was filmed, is the obvious exception to this horribly tacky rule.

  10. Dishy says:

    Beautiful! I esp. love the last photo – though all of them are lovely. Your friends look so nice, Katie. So glad you enjoyed another wonderful time together. Friends are the best! (but the beach runs a pretty close second – hah!)

  11. Chantee says:

    Ok, those pictures are awesome and I was there! It looks even better captured in a photo.

  12. Cristy says:

    How did you manage to capture the cuteness of a dog, a rubber duckie and a kitten all in one post? :)

    My favorite posts of people’s trips is when I can tell they were really happy, and I see that here. So glad you were able to go and have fun! Great pics!

  13. Kim says:

    It probably won’t surprise you that that charmingly terrible themed room is pretty much a replica of my childhood bedroom, if you swapped the floral “art” for a more equestrian/ballerina aesthetic.

    Also I want to frame that second duck photo and hang it in my bathroom.

    Also, I am so jealous your friends now have a kitten. From the Hamptons.

  14. kdsullivan says:

    What a great place, and a great deal too! You’ve made me jealous! I’m glad you had a nice time.