Photo by Susi Wunsch
Ruschmeyer'sBicycles are parked at the entrance of Ruschmeyer's Hotel.
Writer & Photographer: Susi Wunsch
This season’s hottest new boutique hotel in Montauk, NY, the historic, formerly sleepy fishing village and surfer hangout that has been attracting an increasingly young and hip crowd, is reaching out to cyclists.
The first thing guests notice when they pull up the driveway at Ruschmeyer’s (161 Second House Road, Montauk, NY), situated on three woodsy acres overlooking Fort Pond, is the bike rack with a custom fleet of unisex Dutch-style bicycles. Guests at the hotel, which opened amidst plenty of buzz over Memorial Day weekend, have been using the bikes to travel the half-mile ride to Montauk’s pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches and for short hops to the neighboring Surf Lodge. The popular Surf Lodge night spot and hotel, which offers its guests a colorful selection of cruiser bikes, was developed by the same duo behind Ruschmeyer’s, Ben Pundole and Robert McKinley.
“Bicycling fits with the lifestyle of our guests,” said Pundole. “They want freedom and fun when they come out here.”
True to the property’s 1950s vintage, Ruschmeyer’s is styled as a summer camp for grown-ups, with its 19 cabins forming a crescent on a hillside. The main building houses Ruschmeyer’s restaurant, a seafood eatery run by the Silkstone catering team behind the chic Fat Radish in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Diners can also savor their fluke with pumpkin seed pesto, lime and cilantro al fresco in the Magic Garden, where paper lanterns clustered high in the treetops form a romantic canopy. The bar and disco, The Electric Eel, draws a weekend swell of young Hamptonites and guests for specialty cocktails, such as The Quiet Storm (Pisco, ginger and bitters) and late-night dancing. The Pool, a casual beer garden shaded by raffia umbrellas, straddles the former swimming pool.
Among the options for recreation are trail hiking, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, yoga and, of course, bicycling. The hotel’s promotional postcards, stacked at the front desk, feature a vintage-style map of Montauk with major routes marked for easy navigation. In tune with the hotel’s laid-back retro vibe, Ruschmeyer’s designer worked with Republic Bike to customize their Plato Dutch Step-thru bikes with cream frames and green tires. The Ruschmeyer’s name appears on the chain cases, and the hotel’s anchor logo is stamped into the jumbo red bells. The bikes rent for $10 per hour, lock and helmet included. For post-ride relaxation in anticipation of an indulgent evening of Montauk nightlife, the hotel’s wellness center offers a full menu of massages, body treatments and facials.
Surfboards on Bikes
Bicycling blends naturally with Montauk’s lively surf and sea culture. It’s not unusual to see young men and women riding with surfboards tucked under their arms to the legendary Ditch Plains Beach. Visitors and locals flock to the shores on cruisers and hybrids.
“People prefer to ride bikes out here,” said Pierce Hodges, co-manager of the Montauk Bike Shop. “Everything is just a short ride away, and when the summer traffic gets really heavy, it’s the best way to get around.”
“I see the hotel bikes all the time,” he added. “There’s a connection in people’s minds between coming to the beach and unplugging, not having to get into a car.”
Summer Camp for Grownups
Republic Plato Dutch Step-thru
$10 per hour, lock and helmet included
$425 per night for a queen standard
$950 for a two-room suite
Restaurants and Bars
Ruschmeyer’s restaurant and outdoor Magic Garden, The Electric Eel Bar, The Nook snack bar and signature shop (check the cute Ruschmeyer’s balsa-wood airplanes and pretty Apothia scented candles), The Pool beer garden.
Amenities and Services
Yoga, wellness center, trail hiking, kitesurfing, kayaking and many other outdoor activities.
Republic Bike: republicbike.com
The Fat Radish: thefatradishnyc.com