As a child growing up in a part of America as far away from the Hamptons as physically possible (at least within the contiguous United States), my imagination of the Hamptons is probably the equivalent of how the rest of the world imagines the US after watching some Disney films. Basically an amalgamation of Ina Garten and Gossip Girl.
Truthfully, I was well into my 20s before I could point to where the Hamptons are on a map. And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized it’s called the Hamptons because there are multiple parts of it. So it goes without saying that I don’t run in the circles that allow for summer parties in the Hamptons, it feels as foreign as a different country. But when the opportunity comes to trek out, even just for a day, and escape the suffocating bustle of tourist season in the city and the unforgiving heat of summer, you take it.
So on a Sunday morning a friend and I set out with iced coffees in hand and our best summer outfits for a drive out to see what all the fuss is about.
And it did live up to my imaginations. It makes sense why one would choose to spend leisurely summer days out here. It holds a certain level of east coast charm (in a not dissimilar way coastal towns in California perpetuate west coast charm) with friendly farm stands selling artisanal local goods, and restaurants with tableclothed tables in the shaded patios. It feels old school, established, traditional in a comforting, reliable way that is distinct from the constant change in the city. It is slower, more casual. Even with backed up streets and crowded beaches, it still works like a retreat. It’s easy to see how it could be even more if you had a gated mansion in town.
there was very little planning involved in my spontaneous escape but haphazard itineraries seem fitting for summer
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
We started off strong with a winery before noon. Wine tasting at 11am is a bold move, but sitting among young grapes sipping on wine and snacking on a cheese board while people watching is a strong start to any day trip.
Carissa’s the Bakery
Next stop pastries. My most useful skill is finding excellent pastries wherever I go, and I figured the Hamptons would deliver on this front. Carissa’s was like a dream — a beautiful minimalist, sunny space with and open kitchen churning out fresh pastries and cafe fare. The pastries themselves were 10/10.
The Milk Pail
There are probably dozens of super cute farm stands and artisanal shops along the side of the highway, and you probably can’t go wrong stopping by any of them. The curb appeal is tempting, colorful blooms, a picturesque little house filled with seasonal produce and local provisions. Tempting to think that any purchase can make your home feel like, well, this.
Parrish Art Museum
Who knew there would be such a beautifully designed contemporary art museum in a town called “Water Mill”? This museum is small, but so photogenic. A sleek, minimalist haven from the summer sun, surrounded by luscious grounds dotted with large sculptures. Honestly this deserves its own post because just look at how beautiful and tranquil and aesthetic this place is.
They have a Jasper Johns exhibition for the summer (2022), fitting for the holiday weekend, and the only stars and stripes I care to see this year.
A little stop by the quaint downtown streets of Southampton. Some ice cream from a soda fountain that looks like a movie set version of a soda fountain. Shopping and window shopping. Stopped by a little Hauser & Wirth gallery. A bustling Citarella. A super cute bookstore and old school fudge shop. Lots of boutiques, furniture shops and ample people watching as the restaurants started to fill up with early dinner goers.
pretty melon who is she??
when even the ice makes you feel poor
No trip is complete without a brief stop by the beach. I’m not much of a beach person, but it is admittedly nice to be among the infectious glee of beachgoers laying on the sand and disassociate while staring at the waves. East coast beaches are an entirely different breed. And the summer beach scene for people who experience winters is a lot to take in for someone who’s always taken beaches for granted.
Farm Country Kitchen
Last stop was a casual dinner in a quaint little farmhouse overlooking the Peconic River. The food was giving suburban lake side restaurant mish mash of cuisines served up in a way that tries to be fancier than it should be to fill that role in the town. Points for the backyard vibes though. Nothing like sitting on lawn chairs sipping drinks while waiting for a table to open up. And as it cooled to a perfect 75 degrees with the sunset, it was a delightful pause before heading back to the city.