I first went out to the Hamptons in 1996. A group of women physicians invited me to a conference out in Montauk. I was just starting my career in a hospital based practice and was eager to network. A day before the conference I called a friend to get the agenda and directions. She chuckled. “Don’t worry – we have a driver” and we are going to Gurney’s Spa in Montauk, LI for the day.” I don’t think we discussed any medicine that day but we enjoyed lunch overlooking the ocean, got mani/pedis, massages and exercised. I had no idea such a beautiful escape existed just 2.5 hours from NYC.
The Hamptons is on the East End of Long Island (commonly referred to as the South Fork) and is composed of two towns – Southampton Town and East Hampton Town. (This becomes important when trying to gain access to the beaches – which I will discuss in a future post.)
Southampton Town is composed of the hamlets/villages of Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk, West Hampton Dunes, Westhampton, Westhampton Beach, Quogue, East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Water Mill,Hampton Bays, North Sea, Noyac, Tuckahoe, Shinnecock Hills a portion of Sag Harbor, Sagaponack and Bridgehampton.
East Hampton Town consists of Wainscott, East Hampton, Amagansett, North West Harbor, Springs, a portion of Sag Harbor and Montauk.
Each town has a government that makes and enforces local laws. Within each town, the individual incorporated villages can make and enforce ordinances with some even having their own police forces.
The villages are all quaint, charming and beautiful but with their own distinctive qualities. Southampton is known for its shopping, magnificent oceanfront estates, and old money. East Hampton is the center of night life in the Hamptons and sports chic boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and is great for celebrity sightings. Bridgehampton is quiet and serene and home to horse farms, vineyards, (Madonna!) and is one of the more racially diverse villages – with a black population of 17%. Sag Harbor is home for many writers, artists and intellectuals and also boasts one of the nation’s finest black summer house enclaves. Springs is culturally vibrant with a population of Latinos, artists and laborers and has some great housing bargains. Montauk is laid back, family friendly and surfers reign!
Summer is is just 5 months away. If you’re thinking about a vacation or day trip to the Hamptons, I will be posting information on the Hamptons every other week until summer arrives. Check back (or better yet, subscribe by email or RSS) for future posts on transportation tips, the best farms stands, beaches, and lodging in the Hamptons. So just between us friends, what is your favorite Hamptons village?