I’ve been going to the Hamptons for 30 years and I love everything from the exclusive homes and stunning beaches, to the amazing art and funky farmstands. But more than anything else, I love my Hamptons friends who also happen to be well-known, well-connected insiders who make things happen in the Hamptons.
So, with that in mind, I’ve asked those friends to share their list of favorite things to see, do, shop, dine, and stay from East Hampton to Southampton (Montauk is a whole other story). So start planning your trip now, this is the best “Best Of” the Hamptons list you’ll ever see
Kate Betts: Legendary fashion writer and editor
I’ve spent my fair share of time in the Hamptons – first Shelter island, later Quogue where my father owned a beach shack before moving to Sag Harbor in the mid-1980s. On the only sunny day in the summer of 1996, my husband and I exchanged vows in Sag Harbor’s Egyptian Revival style Old Whaler’s Church. Afterwards we celebrated on a bluff overlooking Gardiner’s Bay in the Springs, not far from the modest wood frame house and studio on Accabonac Creek where Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock lived and worked. Now, years later, I still frequent some of the Hamptons landmarks of my youth, but many have disappeared. Places change, perhaps more than people. But if you know your way around this end of Long Island as I do, there are still countless simple pleasures and secret spots to discover. Here are a few of my favorites:
Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop– The selection alone is on par with any Parisian fromagerie… and the prices, too. But it’s always worth it.
The Sag Harbor Variety Store– An old fashioned five and dime where they sell everything from sunscreen to stationery.
Old Whaler’s Church– Stop into this Sag Harbor landmark to get a sense of the history of this picturesque whaling town.
Ruby Beets– Sag Harbor is home to a handful of fancy antique and design shops, but this one is a favorite for ceramics, old French haberdashery tables and Dhurie rugs.
Pike’s Farm Stand– The prices can be shocking, but the tomatoes are always delicious at this Sagaponack mainstay.
Iacono Farm– Old school East Hampton chicken farm.
Round Swamp Farm – If you can stand the crowds this is the place for the best fixings for a picnic lunch.
Pollack House– Where Jackson Pollack lived and worked. Check out the splattered paint on the floor of his studio.
Monogram Shop– The place to buy hostess gifts in East Hampton. I always get the monogrammed paper hostess towels.
Mashomack– A beautiful nature preserve with walking trails along the water in Shelter Island.
Cristina Cuomo: Magazine Publishing Veteran
I grew up in Southampton and learned the fundamentals of life out there like riding a bike, swimming in the sea, falling in love. The smell of the salt air, surfing in the ocean, the September sunlight, and family are the things I love most about the Hamptons.
I’m also a mother of three amazing children, a 9-year-old daughter, Carolina; a 13-year-old son, Mario; and a 16-year-old daughter, Bella, who all keep me on my toes. I strive to stay as healthy as possible to keep up with them and steer them on a healthy path.
I’m also a magazine publishing veteran who has launched over a dozen publications over the last 20 years. When publishing began shifting from print to online, I decided to launch a wellness site, www.thePURISTonline.com, and ended up creating a print component anyway because reading is a big part of mindfulness, one of the pillars of wellness. We inspire people through our content to live their best life.
For lunch or dinner, I love a new restaurant in Amagansett called Rosie’s where “Farmer Frank” serves up delicious farm-to-table fare. For dinner, I like Pierre’s in Bridgehampton for a French-style delicious rack of lamb. As a family, we take the boat to Greenport where a sweep of healthy protein-rich seafood restaurants have opened up.
Wellness has sprouted up there in the last year–cryo-therapy places, wellness centers (Standwellness for IV drips; Sho Sugi Bahn for a retreat, both in Water Mill); and salt-caves (Montauk). Healthy eateries like Provisions and Harbor Market in Sag Harbor, Joni’s in Montauk, and Hampton Chutney in Amagansett are my favorites and have been around for years. Even locations like Sag Pizza are on the wellness wagon offering healthy clams and gluten free pasta and gluten free pizza!
I love Cooper’s Beach in Southampton during the early morning for some eggs at the cafe then a surf. I also like to drive around Montauk finding a good wave, of which there are always many.
Stacey Bendet Eisner: Founder and Creative Director of alice + olivia
I love being able to walk thru town and pop into my stores in Southhampton and Easthampton. I love being able to run into all of NYC on the beach. I love hosting fun dinners outside, visiting friends at their houses, and mostly watching my kids run and swim and skate and bike with the spirit and freedom of summer!
I love having dinners at my house with my favorite chef Mikayla Summers. I love walking to the Blue Parrotfor margaritas outside, and I love buying monogrammed things I don’t need at the monogram shop!
I love visiting Julian Schnabeland watching him paint in Montauk, and I love buying big giant sunflowers on the side of the road in Bridgehampton! Once in a while a night out at Surf Lodgewith live music and drinks is always fun too! And a few times a summer we do a water skiing day with the amazing instructors from Peconic Bay Water sports!
The small farms along the sides of the back roads of Bridgehampton have amazing corn and apple pie! Also one of the coolest stores in the Hamptons is the Love Adornedshop in Amagansett. They have the most amazing gift items! And your day isn’t complete without a stop at Scoop Du Jour.
Dylan Lauren: CEO and Founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar
Dylan is the daughter of fashion moguls Ralphand Ricky Lauren, as well as the CEO and Founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar. Her innovative stores merge art, fashion and pop culture with candy featuring the largest, unparalleled selection of candies and candy-related gifts from around the world. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Paul Arrouet and four-year-old twins Kingsley Rainbow and Cooper Blue and spends as much time in the Hamptons as her busy schedule allows.
I love the variety of natural settings and different vibes each town has from the gorgeous beaches and surf culture in Montauk, to the classic homes, chic stores and lush gardens of East Hampton, to the vast farmland and healthful shops in Amagansett, to the seafaring and antiqueness of Sag Harbor. It’s hard to get bored.
My favorite place to eat and shop is, of course, Dylan’s Candy Bar for ice cream, candy and summer candy apparel. Meanwhile we love The Palmfor dinner and Joni’s for coffee.
With the kids we enjoy driving to the farmers markets to find fresh fruits and veggies and play on the tractors or visit the animals there.
My favorite Hamptons tip is: get to know the backroads well, especially on a bicycle, as there tends to be a lot of traffic on 27 which is the only main road. There are also tons of nature preserves and hiking/jogging trails if you want a peaceful adventure away from the crowds.
Nicky Hilton Rothschild: Businesswoman, socialite, model and fashion designer
I’ve been going to the Hamptons since I was a child. I love how relaxing and peaceful it is. I don’t leave my house that much when I’m out there. I’m all about starting the weekend off doing a huge food shop. I love to load up on delicious food from the local farm stands and Round Swamp Farm. We love to stay in and cook and hang out with the family. B
I love Shippy’s in Southampton. It is this charming old school German restaurant. They have delicious schnitzel! In the 25 years I’ve been going there I’ve never run into anyone I know. It’s a real locals spot. A total hidden gem. Sip ‘n Soda is also great for a burger or grilled cheese.
Aerin has a great selection of candles, clothing, jewelry and home decor. I rarely leave there empty handed.
My favorite time of year there is fall and winter. It’s not as hectic- cozy and quiet. Thanksgiving out there is great. Halloween too. Water Mill has the best pumpkin patch.
Elana Nathan: Fashion executive
I have been coming to the Hamptons since the summer after I was in sixth grade. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, I saw Chevy Chase’s movie “Vacation” in the Southampton Theater that year. While I grew up summering in Wainscott/East Hampton, now my family and I have had our own home in Sag Harbor for almost 10 years.
I love Natasha Esch’s store MONC XIII in Sag Harbor and just across the street Bloom. Mona, the owner, has the most exquisite, understated taste. It really personifies the Hamptons. I buy new AV candles there and try unsuccessfully to resist her other fabulous finds. I too love Ruby Beets and I tend to buy gifts including the amazing novelty chocolate at Sylvester’s and grab their hibiscus iced tea every morning.
While I am shopping in those stores, my kids pop into Blooming Shells and I basically let them get whatever they want. They also LOVE the 5 and 10. I hope it stays open forever. My secret spot for them is the store called Flashbackson Main Street, Sag Harbor – it sells sage sticks for me (I am a compulsive sager) and all kinds of candy and novelty toys merchandised in wicker baskets. It’s super nostalgic – beach town USA.
Cayli Cavaco’s Knockout Beautyin Bridgehampton is amazing. When I am not in the mood to drive, I can get similarly fabulous finds (including my client Barbara Sturm’s products) at ONDABeautyand the Gooppop-up in Sag Harbor (where I bought some sunnies last summer). For serious shopping, I go to Beth Buccini’s Kirna Zabêtein East Hampton. Beth and I have been “fashion friends” for years and I LOVE her style, I also love how she is always smiling (even with 4 kids and 4 stores). She carries most of my favorite brands! I am super excited to check out Sari Sloane’s Everafterand Westside.
If I have time, I try and take a Kundalini yoga class from Jennifer Frasher. I leave floating.
The thing I love to do the most in the Hamptons is walk on the beautiful beaches. My kids are usually surfing or playing tennis, and I try and meet a friend or go by myself. I am lucky to have traveled all over the world for work and play and nothing beats the beaches in the Hamptons!
Candace Bushnell: Bestselling Journalist, Movie Producer and Author of Sex in The City
The Hamptons is a bit like Miami in that it’s a good place to live if you don’t want to be in New York full time.
My favorite place to eat is my kitchen.
Favorite farm stand is Serene Green in Sag Harbor. I buy lots of vegetables, cook them in butter and tell myself I’m being healthy.
Anetta Nowosielska:Editor of Hamptons Magazine
Over the years my love for the Hamptons has morphed in a way that mirrored different stages of my life. From the party place I used to go during summers in college, to the area where we bought our first summer home, to now the enclave I get to write about, Hamptons never underwhelm. This fertile area has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re a business tycoon, a celebrity, a surfer or nature lover, you’ll be blown away by the range of experiences you can have out here.
My favorite place to eat with a view is definitely Moby’s. I love Topping Rose for a proper meal and you can’t go wrong with pizza at Sag Pizza. Tutto il Giorno in Sag Harbor is the place for a drink and beats on Saturday; though I’ve been known to enjoy a gin martini at East Hampton Grill, too.
I like Tenetfor casual items; for evening looks I head to Kirna Zabet. But truth be told, I’m a huge fan of Nova Octo, a couture rental shop. I adore Clicfor home stuff in East Hampton as well as Urban Zenfor home, clothing, and furniture.
Rove(started by Jack Brinkley, Christie Brinkley’s son) is the new pick up service that shuttles Hamptonites between East End and downtown Manhattan. If you are hoping to spot celebs in compromising position check out The Class by Taryn Toomeyat Surf Lodge’s Sanctuary an amazing fitness studio with a roster of buzzworthy classes.
And here’s my list of favorites.
I love to wake up and walk around the village of Southampton in morning. My son Lucas and I love to stop at Juice Pressin Southampton. We also like to get breakfast at the Golden Pearand for grocery shopping, Citerellais the best market with a great salad bar and takeout food.
Lucas also raves about Sip and Soda for the best hamburgers, fries and root beer floats. Our go-to Sunday night dinner is La Parmigiana for eat-in or takeout pizza and classic Italian food. There’s also Sant Ambroeusfor a gelato or sorbet, or an incredible dinner in their garden (the grilled asparagus vinaigrette is a must). At Le Charlot, I love the Cajun chicken dinner. If you want to bring someone a pie, the best is at Tate’s Bakery in Southampton. For any clambake, Clam Man is the best spot.
I always enjoy a walk or bike ride down Meadow Lane. The Monday night drive-in movies on Cooper’s Beach are fun with family and friends.The best tennis camp is Future Stars Southampton.
The best home accessories or host gifts are at Home Nature in Southampton or linens from Roller Rabbit. Another great spot for gifts is Aerin Lauder’s store AERIN– that’s filled with interesting finds and amazing candles.
Image Credits: @camraface.