spotlight on montauk | agnes rizzo.
Name: Agnes Rizzo
Star sign: Aquarius
Hometown: Warsaw, Poland (where I was born) and Lake Forest, IL, USA (where I grew up)
Where do you live now? New York, NY
How often do you get down to Montauk? As often as I can! We spend two months each summer and then we go for weekends year round. We have been to MTK every month out of the year, it's beautiful there hot or cold; sunny, rainy or snowy. Every season is magical for different reasons, though September is my absolute favorite month when the weather is gorgeous, it's warm but there's a slight hint of fall in the air, the city crowds have receded but most everything is still open. Montauk is my favorite place in the world and the place of some of my most cherished memories ever.
Describe yourself in 3 words or less: Loving, honest, sentimental
What gets you out of bed each day? Every day is an opportunity to be a better person and start fresh, say I love you, say I'm sorry; try something new, challenging; have a new adventure, no matter how big or small. That, and my 5-month old son Luca who wakes me up at 6 am!
Your ultimate Montauk weekend... This is more like the ultimate week squeezed into the ultimate weekend but there is just so much to do (and eat!) in Montauk!
Friday: A great start to a weekend "out East" is to stop at the beautiful Wolffer Estate vineyard in Sagaponack, where on Fridays they host a small band outside in the back. I like to order a couple bottles of their famous, crisp rosé and a cheese plate, sit out on the lawn, watch the kids dance and the singles mingle, and catch up with friends after a long week in the city. Then I would either stop at Pierre's in Bridgehampton for a delicious Entrocôte steak and side of French fries (with a glass of French rosé!) or go all the way out to MTK to Ruschmeyer's (where we got married!) for fresh lobster rolls, local striped bass (after July 1) or the skirt steak followed by the most amazing dessert ever: 'smores in a jar!! We have an early bedtime with a baby but if you don't, you can enjoy a late night cocktail and play some ping pong in their tiki bar out front.
Saturday: I like to wake up early and take a long walk along the quiet beach. Nothing feels as good as soft, white sand under your feet and the bright morning sun on your face. Then I'd head to Heather's class at Love. A Yoga Space in town followed by iced coffee and a delicious whole wheat breakfast wrap at Joni's next door. Before heading back, I'd walk over to Gansett Lane Home to check out the home furniture and goods, maybe pick up a gift for a friend or a cool piece of beach decor for our apartment back in the city. During the day, I like to hit the beach at Ditch Plains to soak up the sun, and watch my husband surf the waves. Always plenty of familiar faces too to catch up with. It's one of the best surf spots on the East Coast and there are a couple more insider surf spots nearby. I love to collect seashells too so every time I'm at the beach, I find a couple of new ones plus some white smooth rocks for my collection. After the beach, I'd head to Gosman's Fish Market and pick up the daily local fresh catch and grill up some fish tacos. After dinner, I would head over to the Surf Lodge for the Saturday night concert (get there by 6 to snag a seat by the fire pit or a table on the white washed deck). Such a beautiful, intimate setting for a concert (past bands include Ms Mr, Portugal the Man, The Drums, The Kills, Donovan Frankenreiter) watching the sun set over Fort Pond, throwing back my favorite drink "Endless Summer" (mix of vodka, crushed grapes and a splash of chardonnay). After the band finishes up, we head home but the party keeps on going at the Surf Lodge for those that want a great party scene. Ruschmeyer's is open even later and has a place to hit the dance floor too!
Sunday: On Sunday, I like to relax, take a bike ride into town for a diner breakfast at John's Pancake House or a drive to Amagansett for coffee at Jack's and breakfast dosas at the Hampton Chutney Company. Most of the rest of the day I would spend at the beach in Hither Hills laying out, taking long walks along the beach and dips in the cool ocean waves. Might grab a couple of tacos for lunch at La Fondita in Amagansett. For a pre-dinner drink, I'd go to Crow's Nest on Lake Montauk. Order a bottle of ... yup, more rosé!... down by the water next to the fire pit and watch the colors turn at sunset. Though they have a nice Mediterranean menu, South Edison in town is one of the best restaurants in town! It serves up local, seasonal fare. Make sure to try the char grilled romaine salad and the baby octopus tacos. The most perfect way to end the ultimate weekend, I'd go down to the beach after dinner with my husband, baby, close friends and set up a bonfire. Drinking beer and eating charred marshmallows while listening to my husband play the guitar. Don't forget to look up!! The most beautiful velvet black sky where you can often catch a glimpse of a shooting star or two. Good night, MTK!
Favorite yoga class? Heather Lilleston's 9:45 am Saturday morning class at Love. A Yoga Space.
Favorite beach? The wide white sandy beaches in Hither Hills. If you want to venture out of Montauk, the beaches at the end of Napeague Lane in Amagansett are softer and quieter.
We want a fancy lunch...? Montauk isn't "fancy" but if you want a great lunch on the water go to The Surf Lodge for a lobster roll with a glass of rose on the white deck overlooking Fort Pond.
We want a super casual lunch...? Head to Joni's in town for a "Berry Bliss"" smoothie and a "zen rabbit" or "wild-on-chicken" wrap and sit outside at the picnic tables.
Sunset drinks? The sun sets on the bay side in MTK so make your way down to Navy Beach for a bottle of local Wolffer rose out on the cabana seats on the beach. Also, Crow's Nest has a beautiful little beach with a fire pit, chairs and cabanas on Lake Montauk.
Any other secrets we should know? Gansett Lane Home is a local store with beautiful beach decor and furniture (we love their colorful Acapulco chairs, coral pieces, throws and oversized beach scene framed photography). Check out the cool (albeit expensive!) swimsuits, clothing and beach accessories at Surf Bazaar inside the Surf Lodge. Harvest on Fort Pond is the greatest place for large groups (or take out!), South Edison has a $1 oyster happy hour on weekends. And Dave's Grill is a local, old school restaurant with amazing, fresh-off-the-boat seafood (located near the marina) - reservations open at 4:15 day of. Also, if you're looking for a change from the local seafood scene, head to the Hideaway, a casual Mexican spot neatly tucked away in the marina. For fresh, local organic produce, go to the Balsam Farms farm stand in Amangasett. Duryea's Lobster is great for a local seafood dinner but without all of the bells and whistles -- plastic plates and forks and BYOB!
Who is inspiring you right now? Gwyneth Paltrow. I may not agree with everything she says or believes in, but I give her a lot of credit for being so honest in the media. She seems to be able to do it all -- she's raising two kids, running goop, the mini media lifestyle empire, filming movies, writing cookbooks, traveling the world, attending industry events, and she's a local Hamptonite who loves it for many of the same reasons I do.
And what is on your stereo? Whatever latest mix my sister Maggie sends me (she knows all of the cool, up-and-coming bands of the moment!), Kate Perry on my running mix and Coldplay Rock-a-baby Lullabies for my bedtime routine with Luca.
Words you live by... "Everything happens for a reason".
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