Better to take a short, affordable vacation than slog
through the hot summer without any break, right? Well…sort of.
Maybe Labor Day weekend wasn’t the best time for a nest escape. Or perhaps Gurney’s Inn wasn’t the best place
for Henry and me (though it had been fully booked by other people who probably
loved it). Upon checkout, we actually overheard
one man asking for “the same room next year.”
unlikely event that Henry and I return to Gurney’s Inn, we will definitely NOT
request Room 533. The first time I used
the toilet—after 3 ½ hours of barely tolerable traffic—the flushometer came off
in my hand! Instead of going straight to
the beach, we began our weekend vacation by waiting for the plumber. After the toilet was working and we were
ready to lounge by the ocean, Henry discovered that the in-room safe was broken
too. Finally, at 4:30 PM, when we arrived
at the beach and asked for chairs and towels, the deck person on duty warned: “We’re planning to close up the beach at 5:30
PM.” (At a beach resort where it’s light
until nearly 8PM?!) No, neither a
tsunami nor a hurricane was expected, no rationale at all was offered. Somehow we managed to “relax” till 6 PM and
left at our own pace.
else could go wrong? You probably don’t
want my whole list, but here it is anyway: the toilet broke again the first
night, the credit card style keys stopped working, and the hair dryer never
worked. Recharging our phone in the conveniently located electrical outlet
above the dresser was not possible, because the outlet too was broken. Staying
connected to the world meant perching my iphone on the back of the sofa and
kneeling down on the floor where I could connect the short charger wire to a working outlet. Mysteriously, our Saturday massage appointments
were not in the spa’s computer, despite the fact that they had a record of our
Friday and Sunday reservations. I’d booked all three appointments at the same
time and well in advance. Note to self: next time confirm massage reservations
upon arrival. But who knows if that would have helped.
Moving on from mechanical issues, on
Friday night, the hostess at Gurney’s restaurant briskly informed us that
“there was a 20 minute wait” for our 8:30 PM reservations. No apology or explanation was offered. I asked to speak to a manager, and Amir
arrived to repeat the same bad news to us and all the other unfortunate folks
waiting with 8:30 reservations. “Nobody
wants to sit outside because it’s chilly, so that’s why we’re behind. We’ve lost 30% of our capacity,” he lamented.
What happened to the words “I’m
sorry”? Never uttered.
“You’re from New York,” the manager
stated instead. “You know how restaurants work…”
“I don’t make reservations at
restaurants that don’t honor them,” I replied irritably.
Our argument escalated. By the time
Amir offered me a drink, I was threatening him with a bad review in this blog.
“Go for it.” He challenged. “I’ll give
you my full name and you can Google me and see all the restaurants I’ve worked
for in New York.” (!!)
Under normal circumstances, Henry
and I would have walked out and gone to another restaurant. But on Labor Day
weekend in the Hamptons, we couldn’t hope to eat before midnight in any restaurant
without a reservation.
After we sat down (earlier than
expected because Amir wanted to get rid of me), we had a really nice waiter who
brought me a delicious and much needed glass of red wine. The piano player was
pretty good too.
Gurney’s had its share of positive
moments. First and foremost, we had
beautiful, sunny weather three out of four days. Second, there were some Gurney’s employees
who were truly caring and professional.
In addition to our handsome, charming young waiter (a twin), who
reminded me a little of Max, there was Nancy at check-in. Nancy was so
horrified by our plumbing problems that she insisted on buying us lunch the
next day. Similarly, the spa agreed to
give us our couple’s massage on the house to atone for losing our Saturday
The spa services turned out to be
wonderful. My facial included a neck,
hand and foot massage which left my skin soft and glowing, and the rest of me
truly relaxed. Our couple’s massage—a
first for Henry and me—was also soothing to body and spirit. Both masseuses knew how to give a good Swedish
massage, kneading out the knotted muscles deeply enough to provide relief, but
gently enough to avoid pain.
I’m also happy to report that the
traffic coming home on Monday was not nearly as terrible as I’d feared. Following Henry’s strategy, we checked out
early and managed to get home in 3 hours and 15 minutes—nowhere near the 5 ½ hour
nightmare we’d suffered one Labor Day 25 years ago.
other good news, Max arrived back in New York safely and went straight to his
girlfriend’s house for the weekend, leaving our nest in pristine condition for
our arrival home Monday afternoon.
Happily, Sarah also spent half the weekend with her boyfriend and the
other half with friends, texting us each day in minute detail. Our daughter on the autistic spectrum had
survived 5 whole days—Thursday to Monday—without her parents! Hooray for both
kids allowing us to leave the nest without any crisis that could have forced us
to abort our getaway. Maybe if we
continue to let go of our twins, they’ll each find different ways to grow up.
all, we had the joy of hearing Sarah sing the national anthem at Pace
University’s freshman convocation. For
the first time in her life, Sarah had an audience of hundreds of students in
the gymnasium and (simulcast) in the theater. As I looked around the audience
at the variety of young faces—curious and hopeful, bored and bewildered—waiting
to begin an exciting four year journey, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that
both of my twins had managed to learn, grow and graduate from college. It didn’t matter that most people in the
audience weren’t really listening to Sarah singing, anxious as they must have
been to hear welcoming words and advice from the speakers. And it certainly didn’t matter to the
freshman whether Sarah sang every note perfectly.
did matter—and always will—is that Sarah was up on that college stage because
she has the courage and commitment to reach for goals that so many believed
were beyond her grasp. I'm proud to say that Sarah has already
followed the advice given to the incoming freshman by the president of Pace University:
Keep reaching for the stars and you’ll find yourself on top of the mountain.
Labels: autism, beach resorts, college, facials, freshman convocation, getaways, Gurney's Inn, holiday traffic, Labor Day, massage, Montauk, national anthem, Pace University, plumbing issues, summer