Exactly one month ago, my little family and I set sail for our first big summer holiday to New York and the Hamptons! Visiting the Hamptons has always been a dream of mine [even before the Kardashian’s graced it with their presence]. Historically the summer playgrounds for many American presidents and first ladies – Jackie Onassis spent her childhood there – and the home of my favourite home-makers Martha Stewart and Ina Garten [The Barefoot Contessa] – the seasonal exodus of Manhattan’s elite fleeing the steaming city for the leafy and luxurious beach hamlets of Long Island has always held a persistent draw.
Our plan was to stay in New York for a few nights then road trip to the Hamptons for a long weekend and then back to the city to continue our two week adventure. This post is the first of 4 diary entries/guides to our two week stay. The next being an inspiring trip upstate to the charming town of Cold Spring, a jam packed day of design finds and rooftop parties in Brooklyn, and rounded off by musings in Manhattan.
We arrived from London Heathrow to JFK after a fairly successful flight with a 14 month old at our first stop at our friends Olivia and Sami’s home on the Upper East side.
Olivia is a language therapist and an amazing hostess and Sami runs a PR company in London and New York, they moved to New York a year ago to set up the office. You can get lost in Olivia’s musings on life and NY on her blog In Your Best Writing and read her much more thought provoking view on our Hamptons trip here. Their apartment overlooks Central Park and was a sanctuary after a long flight landing in a hot city.
Isn’t that view straight out of a Nora Ephron film?
Olivia and I try and do a gift exchange every year – kind of care packages of sorts to be received in the miserable months of January. We got delayed this year so I found my package most thrillingly left by my bedside on my arrival. It was so nice to receive them in her home.
Bergamot Taffy I Salty Road
We Have Always Lived in the Castle I Shirley Jackson
Heirloom Tomato Jam from I Cold Spring General Store
Rain Cloud Sponge I Foxy and Winston
Nashville Assorted Pencils I Bowne and Co
We wound down from our flight with a few relaxing days strolling around Central Park West – I have never spent much time in that area and staying there is just so different from making a hasty pilgrimage just so you can say you’ve been there.
To sound cliched it was literally an oasis in the city, the pace felt slower than the rest of Manhattan and a hushed atmosphere presided – almost like the expansive park and its greenery acted like a barrier to the roar of Manhattan – which it probably did!
We set off for the Hamptons on a Thursday morning. I’d like to say we zipped along for the 2.5 hour journey collecting a hire car near La Guardia to our destination but unfortunately for us and Aarya the hire car baby seat was super uncomfortable and basic. Coupled with Aarya’s general dislike of being strapped into things for long periods of time – she cried the whole way resulting in us having to make several stops and bringing our total journey time up to around of 4 hours.
No matter! All was forgotten once we entered the Hamptons and stopped for lunch at the charming hamlet of Sag Harbour. The sea breeze, casual attire and holiday vibe, immediately calmed our frayed nerves – not to mention a brush with Fred Savage in our chosen lunch spot of LT Burger where the Nachos are a must.
A few miles away we made our final stop for the day at our charming AirbnB House in East Hampton – nestled within a treelined area known as The Springs. With neatly manicured lawns, fresh beachside furnishings and an enormous salt water pool, it was the perfect setting for our dream trip.
The next day, which also happened to be my birthday – yes I was just casually in the Hamptons for my birthday – we hit up the immaculate and quintessentially American, East Hampton Main Street. Lined with deliciously painted and shingled shopfronts, the retail scene was a mix of cute independent fashion, home and souvenir shops as well as the likes of J.Crew, Restoration Hardware and Tiffany and Co. in all their glory.
We brunched on organic pancakes, eggs, herb roasted potatoes, shrimps and spring rolls at Babbettes washed down with celebratory Mimosas, took in the iconic driftwood and Hydrangea adorned Ralph Lauren store, and feasted on the aptly titled ‘birthday cake ice’ cream with ‘birthday sprinkles’ at Scoop Du Jour which if i’m honest made me feel a bit sick.
That night we dined in the sky-lit dining room at Fresno, specialising in creative New American cuisine. I ate Shrimp Ceviche, then Orecchiette with hot and sweet sausage, white beans and pecorino and Affogato Gelato to finish. The place thrummed with an electric atmosphere, the friendliest staff and was a jaw-droppingly fascinating place to people watch the toast of the Hamptons scene.
On Sunday we spent a lazy morning at one of the places on my bucket list – Ruschmeyers in Montauk.
Originally built in 1952, the summer camp inspired hotel has an eccentric Wes Anderson feel about it. Set on three lush acres of lakeside woodlands the cabin style rooms circle a central lawn with picnic tables, hammocks and grills – offering activities from bicycling to fishing, ping pong, paddle boarding and yoga.
We took a walk up to the Montauk Lighthouse.
One of the best things about the Hamptons were its roadside offerings. We spotted a beautiful yellow mirage on way home and stopped to collect some vegetables for dinner that night. The Bhumi Farm stand was stacked full of produce grown in the field right behind the stall! On hearing we were English ‘Farmer Frank’ offered up that they ‘exchange peaches for snogs’. Of course we left without any peaches…
Dinner at home.
Did I mention one of the main draws for visiting the Hamptons was my fascination with Grey Gardens? I wrote about it a few years ago here. One lazy afternoon we drove slowly and with bated breath down the iconic Lily Pond Lane, one of the most expensive addresses in East Hampton on which the famous home resides. Cleverly hidden by foliage from street view we managed to catch a glimpse of the famous porch – can’t you just see the ghost of Little Edie Beale dancing on the porch?
We also thrillingly lingered outside my icon Martha Stewart’s door which is also on Lily Pond Lane. This is what her house looks like.
In a satisfied reverie of Bouviers, Beales and Kennedys, we filled our stomachs with delicious Lobster Rolls and Mango Margaritas from Bostwicks Chowder House.
We spent our last afternoon lingering longingly by the pool and taking a twilight walk around the neighbourhood and our beach. Till next time Hamptons – you were a dream come true!
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org