A few weeks ago I got to experience the greatness that is Long Island all the way from the easternmost tip to the westernmost. Well, almost westernmost. Anyway, I spent one day out at the Montauk Lighthouse, and the other day at the Aqueduct Racetrack. Two very different experiences.
It was a beautiful day, right after the nice warm (approx. 60 degree) spring days. Still March though, which leads to my important piece of advice. Be sure to check when parks open fully, and don’t assume that just because it’s unseasonably warm these traditionally seasonal parks will automatically be open. I didn’t even think about this possibility of a closed lighthouse, so when we arrived and we discovered the lighthouse doesn’t open until April 15 I was a little surprised. Whoops! We could still walk around the grounds though, which was nice.
It was a bit chilly out on the point because of the wind, but on the occasions when that died down it was a beautiful, sunny, warm day. Not too bad to be walking around, enjoying the fresh air. And, because it was so early (too early?) in the season, there were not many tourists compete with.
We discovered it’s possible to walk down by the beach. It’s a rocky beach, not a sandy one though, so be sure to keep the shoes on! If you want you can walk up higher by between the lighthouse and the ocean on a nice stone walkway.
The were doing construction on the walkway in some places.
As we headed back west, I had to take a picture of one of the cool windmills they have in some of the towns. They’re historic, with the one pictured dating to 1804. It’s the Gardiner Windmill in East Hampton.
We also saw some deer on the way home. There were probably about six. See if you can see any of them below. Unfortunately I scared them away when I insisted we drive closer…so they are very tiny.
The next day we decided to class it up by taking a trip to bet on the ponies. Having gone to college in Saratoga Springs, NY I’m not unfamiliar with the track. I haven’t actually been to a racetrack since college though, and since I’ve been dying to see some horses up close it seemed like a great opportunity (so long as I put a blind eye towards the horse’s health…not so easy after skimming a NY Times article about the industry). The people I was with rub elbows with some of the owners, so we got to head down to the paddock and get up close and personal with the horses.
I couldn’t remember how to place a bet, and somehow ended up betting wrong for the winning horse. I won my 3rd place bet though. Was feeling good for the start of the day…then I proceeded to lose on every single other bet I made. Good think I didn’t bring too much money. It was a fun day all in all. Got to go right up next to the track where the owners, trainers, and photographers stand. I also got my picture taken with a winning horse. It was pretty cool.
We ate lunch up at the buffet, which was really tasty. Reminded me of Vegas (kind of) actually, but more windows. Just as much gambling though.
So it was an interesting weekend, seeing how things change on Long Island from the easternmost edge to the western-ish edge. Very different mentalities, and nice additions to the New York Adventures I’ve experienced this spring.