Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Autumn Weekend in the Hamptons | Our 20th Anniversary

Jimmy and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last May.  We knew we wanted to take a trip to mark this milestone anniversary and we debated all sorts of places but settled on a fall getaway to the Hamptons.  It was the perfect long weekend and probably my favorite trip we've taken as a couple since we've had children.  It couldn't have come at a better time too since Jimmy has been traveling a lot for work and things have just felt extra busy lately.  Having the chance to slow down and just enjoy each other for 5 days was the best gift.  We are so grateful my parents could watch our kids and Quincy (who was not on his best behavior!).

This was our first trip to the East End and it lived up to all my expectations. I've wanted to go since the first time I heard Ina Garten mention the Hamptons.  Thankfully we also received tons of recommendations on what to see and where to eat and where to shop so that it didn't take us long to feel at home.  (thanks especially to friends, Jenny and Susan) Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

The Hamptons are comprised of a series of villages on the eastern end of Long Island.  The architecture of the homes is distinctly New England and some of the towns feel more like Connecticut than New York - with wide tree lined streets, village greens, white churches and old cemeteries dotting the landscape.  Interestingly, the East End was at one time part of Connecticut in the1600s and was developed by the early English settlers, hence giving it that New England feel you don't necessarily expect to find in New York.   Of all the towns we visited, East Hampton is the most New England-like to me.  

^Ina Garten's barn where she films her show^

^East Hampton - view outside our room^

^morning walks past Ina's house (around the corner from our inn) and Martha's (just down the street, closer to the water) on our way to the beach.  If you ask Ina who?  Martha who? then I don't think we can be friends anymore. haha^

We arrived late Friday afternoon and there was a distinct autumn chill in the air (thank goodness!) and a golden sunset to match, making first impressions extra magical. We flew from Cincinnati to Islip, with a connection through Philly.  After checking in we walked around town a bit before stopping at Sam's for pizza.  A small, corner, window booth was the perfect spot to plot out the next few days.

We stayed in East Hampton at the 1770 House.  It's the perfect location for walking anywhere in East Hampton.  We received exceptional hospitality and were so well cared for as guests. We would highly recommend it to anyone considering a visit.  Tell the inn keeper, Randey, that I sent you - she is AMAZING! :) Even if not staying as a guest at the inn, it's a must for dinner.  (Make a reservation though!) There is a romantic courtyard in the back if the weather is warm enough and a cozy tavern in the basement that used to be a speakeasy during the prohibition that makes for a super cozy spot for dinner, which is where we ate on Sunday night.  

  Each morning started with a long walk to the beach, taking different routes to get there.  One street prettier than the next.  We passed Ina's house every day because she was so close to our inn.  I saw her twice and Jimmy saw her three times.  She was in her own garden and even though she would be a few feet away, I just couldn't call out and disturb her.  My visions of bumping into her at one of her favorite spots or casually walking down the street sadly didn't happen.  

After our walks we'd come back to the cozy main dining room at the inn for an incredible breakfast with the BEST coffee.  We were so spoiled, making today's breakfast of a protein bar a sad state of affairs!



On Saturday and Sunday we explored all the small town: East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Southampton, Amagansett, Bridgehampton, and Sagaponack and drove through a few others. We took back roads and detours to see pretty homes every chance we got. Thanks again to Susan for giving me the insider routes!!  My favorite part about the Hamptons is the rural feeling of being both at the sea and in the country.  You can't drive from one town to the next without seeing multiple farm stands, orchards, wineries and windmills at every turn.  There are more windmills in the east end of Long Island than anywhere else in the US! 

 We had some awesome lunches.  On Saturday it was beautiful and sunny so we stopped at the Hampton Chutney Company in Amagansett for Dosas and ate them in the little courtyard outside. Seriously good Indian food. I'm still craving it! One of my favorite meals.  Another great spot was Pierre's in Bridgehampton where we went on Sunday.  Authentic French bistro style food and again it was nice enough to eat outside.
^Sag Harbor^

My favorite town to shop was Sag Harbor, which reminds me so much of a town you'd find in Michigan but with homes you'd find in New England.  We walked the whole historic district and all the little tucked away streets filled with charming cottages.  My camera was busy! The prettiest store is Bloom.  The prices are outrageous, but it's so beautifully curated and styled, it would be a miss not to see. Jimmy will be upset if I fail to mention this, so here it is... we bumped into Neil Patrick Harris and his husband and children in the bookstore.  We ended up chatting for a while, both were very gracious and friendly. I don't get all geeked out over celebrities like Jimmy does (unless that had been Ina in the bookstore.  Why couldn't it have been Ina!?!?), but it's always fun to meet someone very famous, especially when they turn out to be decent people too.

^ Sag Harbor^

^ Sag Harbor^

 ^ Sag Harbor^

My second favorite town to shop was Southampton where we caught the most spectacular sunset on the beach!  There is a large One King's Lane store there too.  The road of mansions leading to the beach was something else.  There is a lot of wealth all over the Hamptons yet somehow it doesn't feel elitist and pretentious.  Probably because it covers such a large area and truly, homes range from very modest to outrageous (we saw construction on a 67 bedroom home in Southampton). 



Our last day was the chilliest and overcast, so we bundled up and drove out to Montauk to hike.  We stopped in Amagansett for Jack's Coffee (even after having coffee with breakfast at the inn!) because the Hamptons seem to have the market cornered on excellent coffee! We drove on route 27 till it split into the Old Montauk Highway where we veered off.  Montauk is completely different than the rest of the Hamptons.  It probably comes alive in the summer with it's distinctly surfer town vibe.  There are lots of  t-shirt shops and little diners. It feels more like a town in California than the northeast.  We had some mixed reviews from other people, some saying you have to see it and others saying to skip it.  For us, it was one of our favorite things we did, because the beaches and coastline are more rugged and the views are exceptional - even on an overcast day.  We hiked for a few hours and found it breathtaking!   So, my advice, based on one visit, if you want upscale shopping and the best restaurants then Montauk isn't going to be it, but if you want to experience the raw beauty of this part of the country, you really can't skip it. 

 Afterwards, we went to Boswick's in East Hampton for an early dinner - clam chowder and lobster rolls.  Both some of the best we've ever had.  Their fish tacos looked amazing too.  We headed back to our inn and put the fire on and watched a movie later that night. We had to be up early to catch our flight back. We might have had them bring up a cheese board and some chocolate creme brûlée for a late night snack. ;)

Truly, a wonderful weekend through and through. Thanks for letting me share it with you!

A few other musts if you find yourself there: The R.R.L. Shop (the only one in the world.  it's Ralph and Ricky Lauren's combined shop in East Hampton and it's a treasure trove.), Levain Bakery for cookies, Round Swamp Farm to pick up a picnic lunch or dinner, Amber Waves Farm Stand, Dockside in Sag Harbor for crab cakes

Skip: Tatte's Bake Shop -  pretty sure they are taking the mass produced cookies and repackaging them for the store. Disappointing.

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