A Hamptons Vacation Guide, Straight from a Local

A vibrant collection of historic towns, the Hamptons are where New York residents flock in the summer to enjoy the idyllic sandy beaches, al fresco dining and cozy wood-shingled summer homes that are everything. as charming as they are opulent. Geographically, the Hamptons stretch across the South Fork of Long Island from West Hampton to Montauk — or as locals call it, “The End” — just east of New York City. While it’s certainly nice to have a summer home in this eastern enclave, it’s not necessary when it comes to exploring local restaurants, farms, vineyards and shorelines. sandstone that won over not only New York natives, but people as well. From all over the world.

Having lived in the Hamptons for the past two years, what I miss most about this city getaway isn’t the celebrities or the extravagant restaurants, but rather the smell of the salty dawn air, the crashing waves and the friendly smile you get from a local you’re sure you’ve seen once or twice. The South Shore is not just a way to relax and get away from it all, it is for the most part a home away from home that never ceases to deliver unforgettable memories. From memories shared over exquisite meals to tan lines that never seem to fade, these are the best places to eat, stay and play in the Hamptons.

Where to stay

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

Exploring the subtle nuances between towns is half the fun when it comes to visiting these small beach towns (although I would say when it comes to finding a home base, choosing the right place to stay can make all the difference). If you’re looking for a serene refuge from the chaos of the city, anywhere from Bridge Hampton to Amagansett will offer you a comfortable respite. For exaggerated luxury, an ultra-chic stay at the Topping Rose House, a reimagined 19th-century mansion nestled in Bridge Hampton, where traditional architecture blends seamlessly with reimagined modern design and style, will impress even the toughest critics. demanding. .

Although if it’s historic architecture you’re looking for, Amagnesett’s newest boutique hotel, The Roundtree, may not have opened until 2020, however, the building itself dates back to the 17th century. With a classic wood-shingled exterior, these cozy cottages exude elegance and casual relaxation with a shared courtyard adorned with lounge chairs, comfy sofas, vibrant greenery and a veritable s’mores station at the nightfall.

Just north of the action, the liveliest crowds tend to flock to Shelter Island or Montauk for some sun and fun. Although these are generally the last affordable areas of the city, there are still plenty of upscale accommodations to choose from. Shelter Island’s Sunset Beach Hotel, for example, is reminiscent of Saint-Tropez with its twinkling lights, yellow-and-white striped umbrellas, and icy frosé. Further east you’ll find the luxury seekers who flock to the Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in Gurney to see and be seen while The Surf Lodge still reigns supreme for warm Cali vibes and live music. Believe me when I say this is the coolest place to be on a Sunday.

Where to eat

Courtesy of Domaine Wölffer

While there’s nothing I love more than having my fair share of restaurants to choose from in New York City, part of the charm of visiting the South Fork of Long Island is experiencing the many restaurants on the farm (or sea) to table which, in addition to great food, serves up a serious vibe. From French affairs at Bilboquet to Jean George’s farm-fresh restaurant at the aforementioned Topping Rose, you’re sure to rub shoulders with a celebrity or two, as there’s no shortage of high-end eateries. Speaking of celebrities, Tutto Il Giorno opened by husband and wife duo, Gianpaolo de Felice and Gabby Karan de Felice (aka fashion icon’s daughter Donna Karan), with friend David Mayer, is another must-see. for authentic pasta complemented by chic, airy decor in Southampton and Sag Harbor.

On the other hand, I would say that the real star of this island is the lobster! After all, what’s a New England summer without a pound or two of lobster? The views from Duryea’s Lobster Deck in Montauk will make you feel like you’ve stepped into another place and another time while opening up the fresh catch of the day, however most locals (including myself) will tell you that the best lobster rolls come from the seafood shack in Amagansett called The Lobster Roll – better known as “Lunch” – thanks to the huge sign in front of the entrance.

Once you’ve had your fair share of seafood, no visit to the Hamptons would be complete without exploring local farms, like Round Swamp Farm and Amber Waves Farm, or the infamous Hamptons Wine Trail where glasses of rosé ( a Hamptons staple) are still spilling over at wineries like Wölffer Estate, Channing Daughters Winery and Shelter Island’s newest wine bar, White Oak Wine Garden.

What to see

Courtesy of JECT

One of the most popular beaches in the Hamptons, and rightly so, is Coopers Beach in South Hampton. In fact, it ranks among America’s best beaches year after year, according to Stephen Parker Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, an American geoscientist, coastal ecologist, and author (who rates beaches around the world). The beach is miles wide, backed by scenic dunes, adorned with tall native beach grasses, and intermittently dotted with a decadent mansion or two. To the east, the Walking Dunes Trail in Hither Hills State Park is the best way to start the morning immersed in nature. Or for a bit of sport and adventure, a scenic cycle to South Fork’s most iconic landmark, Montauk Point Lighthouse, will delight you as you wind up New York State’s oldest lighthouse while enjoying from the view and watching the surfers do their best to hang ten under.

On days when the weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating, there are plenty of chic boutiques, wellness retreats and an impressive art scene to occupy your time. In fact, some would say the Hamptons are so picturesque that they’re drawn by creatives such as Jackson Pollock and artist Lee Krasner, whose home is on display near East Hampton, as well as artist, writer and gardener Robert Dash, who set up Sagaponack’s Madoo Conservancy (which provides a refreshing respite from the harsh sun as you stroll through the perfectly manicured gardens).

If you head north to Sag Harbor, you’ll find many of the quirkiest and most playful shops in the Hamptons, including Gwyneth Paltrow’s first Goop brick-and-mortar shop. Bridgehampton, on the other hand, is best known for its boutiques that offer a Hamptons uniform, AKA chic white linens, and organic strappy dresses to the Community founded by one of my favorite designers, John Patrick. A short walk from Communitie is JECT, a boutique cosmetic spa where locals, myself included, congregate for all things Botox, skincare, and facials. Once your skin is refreshed, head to East Hampton where you can indulge in a deep tissue massage at the Naturopathica Spa & Healing Center (which uses only organic and holistic products) to melt away the stresses of city life. for complete relaxation.

After feeling rejuvenated from your weekend in the East End, be sure to plan your next visit, as hotels and summer residences tend to book up well in advance here. Even long after the white linen tablecloths have been put away, the renters have gone home, and the patio umbrellas have been lowered, life in the Hamptons is just as charming in the off-season as it is in the summer.

It truly is one of the few unspoilt places to relax in nature, immerse yourself in art and history, and indulge in high-end or non-high-end dining without having to compromise on quality. quality. While this coastal playground will always draw the masses, finding solitude and solace in this “Out East” seaside paradise time and time again proves to be one of the best ways to enjoy a New England summer.