Even though summer technically begins on June 21st, it unofficially kicks off in America with the start of Memorial Day Weekend. People hop in their cars and go to the beach, they grill in their backyard, or walk over to a community pool. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, they generally do not have a backyard where they can host a barbecue, they do not have access to a pool, and they don’t have a car to head to the nearest beach. However, the Hamptons are a string of coastal communities known for its beaches and quaint 18th-century shingle buildings, replete with perfectly manicured hedges and hydrangeas right out of a Town & Country magazine. Accessible by train from New York, the Hamptons is the perfect stomping ground to get a taste of summer if you are in Manhattan.
CJ and I specifically love East Hampton, a quiet village that garnered a reputation as an artists’ colony when Jackson Pollock lived in Springs, New York in the 1940s and 1950s. Many of his most famous paintings were painted in the barn, which he turned into his studio. Other artists who shed light on East Hampton were Andy Warhol, Thomas Moran, and art dealers such as Leo Castelli.
If you do have access to a car or decide to take the bus, there is a big risk that you will hit a ton of traffic on your way to the Hamptons. CJ and I took the Hamptons Jitney and it took us about four hours. Therefore the easiest and quickest way to get from New York City to East Hampton is to take a specific Long Island Railroad train called the Cannonball. This train departs from Penn Station only on Fridays at 4:06pm, and you will arrive in East Hampton at 6:25pm.
For more information: http://web.mta.info/lirr/hamptons/reserveservice.htm
There are five beaches in the Village of East Hampton, my favorite being Main Beach. A snack bar (shown below), a lifeguard, and restrooms are all provided at Main Beach. Note that if you do have a car, it will cost you $30 a day to park without a parking permit, and spots fill up fast. I suggest you park elsewhere and catch a free ride to Main Beach on Circuit electric cars, formerly known as The Free Ride. From 9am to 6pm on any day of the week, flag down or hop on these cars at one of the designated pickup spots.
For more information on where to find them: http://thefreeride.com/east-hampton.php
While there is a Main Beach, there is also a Main Street of East Hampton! In town you will find both designer brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Gucci as well as cute boutique shops.
If you continue down Main Street, you will come across the gorgeous shingle buildings that East Hampton is famous for. Ivy lines the sidewalks and the neighborhoods are picturesque and quiet.
If more peace and quiet is what you are looking for, visit Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor. Led by famous husband and wife team Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee, this studio offers a wide range of classes from some of the most knowledgeable and welcoming yoga teachers.
I always build up a healthy appetite after sweating it out in a yoga class, and the East Hampton food scene does not disappoint. You cannot go wrong with the many restaurants in East Hampton, but the local produce cannot be missed either! Head to Balsam Farms for things like the freshest tomatoes, pickles, (yes I said pickles, CJ and I are a pickle-loving household!) and corn. The corn at Balsam Farms is seriously the best corn I have ever had in my life. You don’t even need to put butter on the corn – it is THAT sweet.
If you want your meals made for you but also want to bring food in, head to Round Swamp Farm for prepared foods that are made from scratch daily that change with the seasons. Do not forget their baked goods, including pies, cookies, muffins, and breads.
East Hampton is incredibly relaxing, with options to shop, lay out on the beach, admire the beautiful architecture, and take advantage of local produce. Hopefully you will return to New York City sun kissed and refreshed after a weekend in East Hampton!