The Hamptons seem mystical to me. I have visions of the wealthy shopping in pristine villages and frolicking on diamond studded beaches closed to everyone but them. I think of parties, decades of parties, the Great Gatsby. I’ve been almost afraid to go there, keeping the Hamptons and their mystique at a distance.
That changed one summer, when my boyfriend decided to run the Southampton half-marathon, and wanted me to come along and cheer him on. It meant getting up at 3 a.m. to get ready in time to board the Hampton Jitney on 4nd street in Manhattan for the two hour ride that would get us to the start of the race on time. So I did it, sleeping on the bus, at least until dawn broke and you could see more outside the bus window. I am always fascinated by how the scenery changes from dingy city buildings, to cramped suburban duplexes, to breezy, beachy villages as one travels east through Long Island.
We got off the bus at Southampton and walked to the middle school, where he picked up his race number and positioned himself at the starting line. I blew him a kiss good-bye as he started off to run the 12 mile course. Then I had another two and a half hour wait. To pass the time, I head off by myself to find access to the beach somewhere. I always imagined secluded, private beaches one could only gaze at from a distance, if at all. However, maybe as we were near the downtown of Southampton or near the middle school and in a public area, I found it quite easy to head straight down the runner’s path (after the runners of course!) and turn down Old Town Road which led straight to a public entrance to the beach, not more than a 30-40 minute walk away.
The view in the morning light was magnificent. There I was, taking off my sneakers and sinking my toes deep into the soft sand, as I strode down to the shore. The large expanse of clean, powdering sand was marked only by the treads of beach vehicles that had rampaged in the dawn.