Pets are Welcome at Hither House!

Beaching it Off-Season in New York!
Our dogs are not only part of the family but, to quote my husband, "a great source of entertainment." So, when the opportunity arises for a family vacation, the inevitable question arises: "Shall we take the beasts?"
This past April, we decided to hightail it out of the rat
Montauk, located at the far eastern tip of Long Island, is a popular beach resort. Since we love the outdoors, nature and ocean, but abhor crowds, we figured the town would be close to desolate this time of year. Happily, we were right.
Not all accommodations are open off-season, and only a few allow pets as roommates. Among them is the Hither House, a group of various-sized cottages in a residential area, about one (1) mile from town (yet far enough removed from "resort row"). This time we reserved the East Cottage, at the owner's suggestion.
When we turned the key in the door, all we could mutter was "Wow! I can't believe they allow pets - here!" The cottage was gorgeous, spacious and immaculate. Complete with wood-burning fireplace, soaring beamed ceilings, screened-in porch, beautiful kitchen area, separate bedroom and tasteful décor, I immediately knew we had found our "second home."
Of course, we were required to read and sign the "Pet Rules." Dogs are to be walked off the premises. No problem. There were plenty of grassy areas with lots of good smells close by. Dogs are to be quiet and are forbidden on the furniture; since the floor is tiled, it may be a good idea to bring a blanket or bed for your Fido to sleep on. The pet owner is responsible for cleaning any doggie droppings, repairing any doggie damage or paying for any doggie doing that may occur during your stay. Furthermore, pets are permitted to be left alone in the cottage provided they do not create a disturbance in your absence - something to think about if your dog is the type to relentlessly pine over you until your return.
These requests were all certainly reasonable, and given how absolutely meticulously the place is maintained, they were well followed.
From Memorial Day to October 1, 2000, Montauk's beaches are off limits to dogs between the hours of 10:00am to 6:00pm. Off-season, though, it's pure doggie heaven. The miles and miles of beautiful beaches virtually deserted, giving a normally housebound pooch an opportunity to run and leap and release perhaps years of pent-up energy.
My dogs, ages 8 and 9, were transformed into puppies again. Be careful, though, the ocean undertow can be strong and an innocent frolic in the surf could result in a swept-out-to-sea dog. (Note, too, that Hither Hills State Park, a popular camping ands picnic area, is off limits to pets all year long.) The beach can be accessed through several points along Old Montauk Highway (near Hither House) or right in the center of town.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse and Museum is a popular visiting spot. Although dogs are forbidden in the building, we hiked on the rocky ledges surrounding the lighthouse, which offered a spectacular view of the crashing surf below. There are also other hiking trails in the immediate area.
There are numerous seafood restaurants in this fishing town. But, if you prefer a canine dining companion, prepare your own sumptuous meal in the cottage from freshly caught seafood from Gosman's Fish Market on Gosman's Dock, a tourist attraction on the harbor side of Montauk. When we created our lobster feast, our pets hovered anxiously below, praying to the "gravity god" that a sampling would tumble through our fumbling fingers.
Though this mini-vacation lasted only 48 hours, it's a getaway my family - and dogs - will never forget.
-Cathy R. Bormes
April, 2000

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