Only a two hour drive from Manhattan (much less by helicopter or seaplane), the Hamptons are much more than just collection of cute hamlets and villages on the east end of Long Island. In fact, the Hamptons are well known to be thesummer playground for the rich, famous and best of all, interesting, because summer residents can be well-known writers, artists, top chefs, surfers, and farmers, in addition to Hollywood A-listers, and Wall Street moguls.
This tony enclave also offers the best of everything, from majestic beaches to haute home design, historic architecture, luxury fashion boutiques, boating, and a vibrant farm-to-table culinary scene. The Hamptons’ “high season” officially begins on Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day. Here’s your fast track on how to do the Hamptons like an insider.
The Topping Rose House
Photograph provided By the Topping Rose House
Topping Rose House, Bridgehampton
This full-service Greek Revival luxury hotel was built in the 1840s and is home to 22 elegant guest rooms, as well as a Naturopathica spa, fitness center, pool, courtesy house vehicles from Lexus, and Jean-Georges’ farm-to-fork restaurant that showcases locally grown produce. toppingrosehouse.com
The Baker House 1650
Nestled in the historic East Hampton Village, The Baker House 1650 is a masterpiece of 17th-century Cotswold-inspired architecture. While possessing the majestic aura of a superb English manor, this tony bed-and-breakfast caters to guests with luxe modern accommodations and comforts, including a dreamy spa and private carriage house with suites you can rent all summer long. bakerhouse1650.com
Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor
One of the area’s most buzzed about recent additions, Baron’s Cove boasts 67 beach chic rooms and suites—and it’s dog friendly, too. Amenities include a saltwater pool, tennis court, spa services, artisanal cocktails by the fire pit, and beach transport. baronscove.com
Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor
Photo by Trevor Tondro
Normandy House, First Neck, Southampton
If you’re looking to make a “Bobby Axelrod” summer splash, you rent a house, not a hotel room. Drive through the gates and alley of trees to your 8.4-acre magnificent estate, recently redesigned by Tony Ingrao. Grand entertaining spaces open to waterfront views and lush gardens. Don’t overpack though: Normandy House is only offered for two summer weeks…for $300,000. timdavishamptons.com
Southampton’s Normandy House
Photo by by Aerial Aesthetics
Aerin Lauder’s eponymous Southampton concept boutique offers fragrant candles, home accessories, coffee table books, perfectly folded tunics, and the ideal summer shade of Estée Lauder pink lipstick—Natch! aerin.com
World-class shopping in the Hamptons
Photo courtesy of Long Island CVB
Serena & Lily Beach Market, Wainscott
Style your own beach bungalow at this airy Hamptons outpost showcasing the California-based design duo’s favorite elements: color, pattern, comfort, and light. serenaandlily.com
Figue, East Hampton
A Bohemian lifestyle boutique founded by Stephanie von Watzdorf, Figue is known for its namesake clothing touting a resort spirit and global aesthetic. Readily embraced by the Hamptons gypset crowd. Figue’s core items include tunics, kaftans, shirtings, dresses, denim, and accessories in colorful, inspired prints. figue.com
Sant Ambroeus, Southampton
Old-school Hamptons blue bloods and the discreet Euro jet set have commingled here since 1992. A mani basse the best Italian cuisine on the East End. Dine alfresco for the best people watching. santambroeus.com/restaurant-sant-ambroeus-southampton/
The American Hotel, Sag Harbor
One of the most historic restaurants on the East End, this fine dining destination draws crowds with its American-French fusion cuisine and award-winning wine list. If you can reserve the table “under the moose,” consider yourself a Hamptons VIP. theamericanhotel.com
The Surf Lodge, Montauk
Surfers, supermodels, fashion editors, and fishermen who look like models converge at this waterfront hipster hot spot on summer nights and all-day party weekends during its coveted Summer Concert series. Good luck at the door! thesurflodge.com
BEST INSIDER BARS
Murf’s Backstreet Tavern, Sag Harbor
Cool local dudes with beards and fun pretty girls shoot darts, play ring toss, and drink draft beers with the occasional city slicker who hears about this “secret” little spot. kdhamptons.com/business/murfs-backstreet-tavern/
The Montauket, Montauk
Game over! This is the best place to watch the sunset on the East End. The views are worth a million bucks, but don’t expect a signature drink menu, fancy design, or even a website for this very low-key locale for regulars.
Tate’s Bake Shop, Southampton
Kathleen King, queen of the $100 million chocolate chip cookie company, destroys the bikini-body dreams of all Hamptons girls with her irresistible sweet treats. tatesbakeshop.com
Left Hand Coffee, Montauk
A true espresso bar with a high design and laid-back vibe, this is where the surf set of Montauk turn to for a dose of caffeine and the ultimate hipster coffee klatch. lefthandcoffee.com
Round Swamp Farm, East Hampton
Just-out-of-the-oven homemade pies and muffins, freshly baked bread, fried chicken, dumplings, prepared foods, and more keep Hamptonites lined up out the door at this one-stop gourmet and family-owned farm stand. roundswampfarm.com
Aventura Motors, Southampton
Cruising in the Hamptons requires the coolest convertible. Ignite your passion for classic cars at Aventura Motors in Southampton. Take the wheel of your favorite German, British, Italian, or American vintage autos. aventuramotors.com
Barton & Gray Mariners Club offers members unlimited access to a fleet of crewed Hinckley yachts during the Hamptons high season. Sail at sunset from Sag Harbor to Shelter Island in style. bartonandgray.com
Take a 45-minute flight of fancy with Shoreline Aviation in a handsome seaplane, high above the fray, from the East River in NYC to the East End. shorelineaviation.com
Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaponack
Originally a potato farm, this vineyard is now a 175-acre storybook estate with a 55-acre vineyard, boarding stables, 30 paddocks, an indoor jumping Ring, and a Grand Prix field. Order your case of Summer in a Bottle rosé now—they sell out every summer. wolffer.com
Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s Summer In A Bottle rosé.
Channing Daughters Winery, Bridgehampton
Channing Daughters grows and creates wines from more than two dozen varieties across six vineyards. It specializes in white varietals and blends from Walter Channing’s first experiments, plus boasts an emerging interest in Italianate grape varieties. Don’t miss the Yoga in the Vines classes on weekends. channingdaughters.com
Cooper’s Beach, Southampton
Beloved by day-trippers and families alike, this glorious stretch of sand has been voted the country’s best beach many times. They also grill an epic cheeseburger at the ocean-front snack bar and host a drive-in movie night on Mondays. Try not to wince at the $45 parking fee; it’s worth it.
Surfing at Ditch Plains Beach
Ditch Plains Beach, Montauk
This beach is considered the Holy Grail of the Hamptons’ surf scene. Warning to city slickers who think they can surf: do not “drop in” on a local surfer’s wave here…you’ll be sorry.
Check out more of Kelli Delaney’s “Luxury Lifestyle Diary of the Hamptons” at kdhamptons.com.
Image Credits: photograph by shutterstock.