Courtney has a complaint about working at the Mill House Inn: “I was not a coffee drinker before I started working here,” she says. “Coffee ice cream, sure, but otherwise, I never touched the stuff. Now I have a problem—our coffee has spoiled me for coffee in the outside world.”
It’s not a bad problem to have. And if she wants to solve it, she’ll have to take it up with her husband, J, our General Manager and in-house “captain of caffeine,” who makes it his mission to stay abreast of coffee culture and have the latest and greatest blends on offer at the Inn.
Lucky for J, Courtney has an obsession of her own—“finding the best wine a vintner has available.” (Good thing she’s surrounded by some of our country’s finest vineyards!) “I can often be found with a glass of wine in hand and an unmistakable look of wonder on my face,” she says. “I’ve been called “the wizard of wine” on numerous occasions.” If you’re a kindred spirit, Courtney would love to guide your Long Island wine journey. “I might start by sharing this year’s Wine Spectator 90-Point Winners from Channing Daughters, Raphael, Wölffer, Water Crest, Anthony Nappa, and J’s favorite, Coffee Pot Cellars,” she says. “And if you want more than a taste, I’ll reserve our favorite car for you and pack a picnic lunch.”
She won’t have to go far for that picnic; she’ll just hit up Executive Chef Carolyn Stec, who is responsible and for whipping up the inn’s famous breakfasts and endless ‘nacks, as well as the family meal the entire staff sits down to at lunch each day. Courtney should be pretty comfortable calling on Carolyn—they were college roommates back in the day. But it’s not just spending the day with an old friend, her husband, and the new friends the rest of the staff has become that gets Courtney excited for work. Rather, she says, it’s that she’s aware her job is “a rare opportunity to have a place you enjoy coming to each day and that you can think of ways to improve. It’s my home.”
She strives to make guests feel that the Mill House Inn is their home too, whether by helping them book the right room (each is unique) or offering suggestions as to what to do on a given day. And she has plenty of those—while Courtney has lived in the Hamptons “all my life,” she says, “I’m not technically a Bonacker [the local term for native Hamptonites] because I wasn’t born on the kitchen table.” Given her long experience with the Hamptons, Courtney’s happy to share a few of her favorites in the hopes that you’ll end up feeling right at home, too.
Here are Courtney’s greatest hits:
Favorite Beach: Grandma’s
Best Food to Take to the Beach: One Stop Sandwich
How to Finish a Perfect Day on the East End: Dinner at Noah’s Greenport, followed by a drive across Shelter Island, then back to the Inn to enjoy one of the harvest’s most memorable bottles. “Did I forget to mention that I love wine and the smiles it creates?” she asks.
Signature Drink: Moscow Mule’s at the Bar at 7 Maple. Oh, and don’t get her started on the Mill House Inn coffee…