With much uncertainty still surrounding the coronavirus, summer travel will be limited and destinations are adjusting to societal changes. Masks, outdoor dining, sanitizer stations, small gatherings, board games and family time seem to be the new norm. With international travel on hold, domestic flights are gaining popularity, and road-tripping is on the rise. Luckily, Quest’s favorite summer destinations—from the Hamptons to Newport and the Adirondacks (which is seemingly always socially distant)—are just a drive away. And many families kicked off the season early and have been settled in these special communities since March. Montauk resident Kit Keenan is one of those who decided to quarantine in her summer house on the East End months ago with plans to remain through the end of the season. Keenan is sharing this experience with her family, including her mother Cynthia Rowley, who has been a fashion pioneer in COVID-19 relief efforts, using her brand to create masks. The mother-daughter combination also produces a popular podcast, “Ageless,” which covers a range of topics, from motherhood to fashion and wellness. Keenan, a rising senior at New York University who too boasts an eponymous label, also spends much of her time promoting health and teaching at-home workouts through her Instagram platform. Below, she tells us about her time in Montauk and what she expects from the area as the pandemic continues to unfold.
Brooke Kelly: Why is Montauk such a special place to quarantine?
Kit Keenan: Montauk is magic. Anyone who lives out here can vouch for that. The sunsets, the waves, the cliffs—sometimes it feels supernatural. A lot of people say Stranger Things was based on real paranormal events that took place in Montauk.
BK: How have you been spending your days?
KK: Lots of long runs, simple rustic cooking with mom, and working on our mother-daughter podcast, “Ageless.”
BK: What do you miss most about the area pre-coronavirus?
KK: I definitely miss big dinners at Crow’s Nest and Duryea’s, but they recently reopened for outdoor dining, which is exciting. I will definitely miss Surf Lodge concerts, but the surf’s not cancelled and that’s what I care about most.
BK: Did you discover anything new in Montauk during lockdown?
KK: I have become such an avid runner out here in lockdown. There are secret little streets, ponds, and trails that I have just recently discovered through running and have never explored in my 20 years in Montauk. Also, the farmer’s market I’ve been going to forever is still rocking so that’s great!
BK: What do you think socializing will look like in Montauk this summer as more restrictions are lifted?
KK: Anyone who knows me knows I have been on the stricter side when it comes to distancing. I am warier about socializing than most my friends. That being said, the ability to go out to dinner with my girls—six feet from other small groups of course—is incredible!
Stretching from Southampton to Montauk, the Hamptons is famous for its proximity to New York City, beautiful beaches, high-end shopping like East Hampton’s Main Street, and exciting restaurants and nightlife. While some popular evening venues like Southampton Social Club are already up and running, many bars like Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett are still waiting for the greenlight to safely reopen. Throughout the stretch, resorts have also been adjusting to welcome guests. Although the Surf Lodge is unable to host its popular concert series, it plans to open in July with reconfigured rooms and long-term stays. Nearby Gurney’s, which opened mid-May, has implemented rigorous cleaning protocols with hand sanitizing stations throughout the property. Popular restaurants all over like TBar, Sant Ambroeus, and Duryea’s Lobster Deck have been reaching their (limited) capacities, with masked servers and similar requirements for diners in common areas. And although many of the area’s iconic events like the Hampton Classic have been cancelled, people are inventing new ways to safely get together in larger groups. Rob Wisenthal and Andrew Saffir’s recent drive-in movie screening of Artemis Fowl in Bridgehampton was a huge success, and raised money for East End’s food pantries.