Arriving on a Friday evening permits the time to check into your accommodations and acquaint yourself with whichever village or hamlet you’re staying in. Enjoy a stroll through East Hampton or Southampton and consider dinner featuring local flavors at Nick & Toni’s (www.nickndtonis.com) in East Hampton or the beautiful Savanna’s Restaurant (www.savannassouthampton.com) in Southampton. A gelato or coffee and dessert at the Southampton location of Sant Ambroeus (www.santambroeus.com) definitely brings home the feeling of summer.
Settle into your choice of beach Saturday morning and take advantage of local farmers’ markets en route. Grab a spectacular lunch at Citta Nuova (www.cittanuova.com), Sant Ambroeus or enjoy a picnic. In the afternoon, you will want to see the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum (www.sagharborwhalingmuseum.org) to really explore local history and view works by Fairfield Porter and William Merritt Chase at the Parrish Art Museum (www.parrishart.org). Enjoy dinner at the new Southampton Social Club (www.southamptonsocialclub.com), or Sag Harbor hotspot Tutto Il Giorno (co-owned by Donna Karan’s daughter, for guaranteed star power) or Plaza Café (www.plazacafe.us). Follow the crowds to popular nightlife or check in at Red Bar Brasserie (www.redbarbrasserie.com) for dinner and popular nocturnal socializing.
Sunday at the beach is a Hamptons tradition, but as an option consider arranging for a full- or half-day sail tour at the Hamptons Marine and Charter in East Hampton or, for the more adventurous, try your own hand at sailing with a rental from Sag Harbor Sailing (www.sailsagharbor.com). Alternately explore what’s beneath the surf at Atlantis Marine World Aquarium (www.atlantismarineworld.com). Enjoy a farewell meal before departure at East Hampton’s terrific Fresno (www.fresnorestaurant.com) or any new favorite restaurant.
Most regular visitors to the Hamptons are well-healed individuals with second homes in the area or those who reserve rental homes well in advance of the busy season. However, there are accommodations in the area for travelers, particularly guest houses and B&Bs.
The Mill House is an East Hampton B&B that earns routine praise for its quaint, picturesque setting, comfortable environs and excellent staff. A front porch overlooking the historic Old Hook windmill is just the start of a quintessential Hamptons experience. www.millhouseinn.com
The 1770 House Restaurant & Inn has welcomed guests to East Hampton for 235 years and today features six distinct guest rooms, a private carriage house and scenic grounds for a truly elegant, highly personalized environment. Acclaimed Chef Kevin Penner’s contemporary American cuisine is a handy asset, and with so few guests at any time, service is impeccable and warm. www.1770house.com
1708 House, an historic bed and breakfast centrally located in Southampton, has become renowned for its museum-like cellar dating back over 350 years, rooms representing several different centuries, private cottages and beautiful common rooms. The dining room featuring Limoges china and sterling silver and a brick patio are favorite gathering places for guests. www.1708house.com
“The Hamptons” generally refers to a number of villages and hamlets in the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the far east end of Long Island and is collectively one of the historical summer colonies of the American Northeast.
Access: The Hamptons is easily accessible from New York City via a number of means, from driving oneself to private plane and even helicopter. The Hampton Jitney (www.hamptonjitney.com) is one low-priced bus option; the Hampton Luxury Liner (www.hamptonluxuryliner.com) a more plush one. The Long Island Rail Road (www.mta.info) adds its special summer service to the Hamptons in season.
Population: Varies dramatically depending on geographic parameters preferred and time of year. The region swells with seasonal residents and visitors in the warmer months.
Climate: An island environment, the Hamptons is more mild and damp during the summer months than is New York City. Fog is common in early mornings and overnight. Summer days can be hot with variable humidity. Nights are cooler than in tropical waterfront destinations.
Main Attractions: Cooper’s Beach in Southampton and Main Beach in East Hampton are two of the most celebrated in the country and are the centers of most activity during the summer. Galleries, fine dining and eclectic shopping abound. Other attractions include the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, a respected summer film festival and chartered sailing.
Sample: Nearby is Long Island Wine Country and the chance to sample scores of well regarded local wines, notably along the South Fork (Hamptons Wine Trail). www.liwines.com.
See: Besides its early fall main event, the Hamptons International Film Festival offers various screenings in the summer for a shot of culture into a beach oriented vacation. http://hamptonsfilmfest.org
Stage: The Guild Hall of East Hampton benefits from its proximity to NYC and attracts big-name performers in unusually personal “hometown” mode such as Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn, Alec Baldwin and many others. www.guildhall.org