by Deirdre Frost
Some of us are drawn to shop in the designer boutiques on the exclusive Main Street. Others wish to take a glimpse at the inner sanctums of the rich and famous who are hidden away behind lush greenery and freshly painted wainscoting. In some ways, this is a hot spot for sidewalk cafes and nightclubs, while in other respects, the town’s private setting carries an aura of peacefulness and solitude. No matter the appeal, the unspoiled beaches are some of the best on the Atlantic, especially Cooper’s Beach with its carpet of white powder that extends for miles in each direction. The Long Island scenery is captivating with the ocean mist slowly drifting away and the expansive vistas, which are vivid like a Renoir painting, with frothy waves wild enough to stir the sea floor.
Southampton is a fabulous retreat with quiet country lanes meandering through a forest of oak and maple that extends to the shore.
We are drawn by the understated elegance of this wondrous place on the Atlantic coast. The grand old estates built in the late 1800’s coexist with majestic oceanfront properties owned by the superrich. As a seasonal destination, many people leave the city to spend their summers by the sea. These globetrotters appreciate the fresh air and sprawling open spaces of living in this part of New York. Surprisingly, Southampton is easily accessible from New York City. Celebrities like Seinfeld, Beyoncé and Jay-Z tend to go by helicopter, while others commute from Manhattan by train or car in less than three hours.
The Hamptons, provide a bucolic landscape full of vineyards and historic windmills a delightful scene on the way to Southampton.
Our destination is the Southampton Inn, only a few minutes away from the village. We check into our spotlessly clean and stylish room and after a quick bite to eat at Claude’s Restaurant, we’re ready to explore and enjoy this modern, attractive resort set in beautiful garden surroundings. The next day we swim in the inn’s outdoor pool and enjoy a game of tennis on nearby courts. When it’s time to go to the beach, we take the convenient hotel shuttle, which is just ten minutes to Cooper’s Beach. Scanning the action, we find that this is the perfect spot to celebrity watch. These elite beachgoers can enjoy complete privacy with only a few seagulls wandering around the sand. Here is the uplifting and relaxing setting that is so valued on the south shore.
Many enjoy the simple pleasures in comfortable surroundings. Lifestyle expert and author, Danielle Rollins, provides creative suggestions to entertain guests in comfort and style. She recommends such things as “a basket of throws in case it is chilly – or towels in case all the fun leads to a late-night after-dinner swim!” Her advice is sought after by those hosting intimate soirées at their mansions.
For a change of scene, we visit the North Fork where the environment is well-suited for growing grapes. The microclimate on Eastern Long Island creates summer temperatures that are cooled by ocean mist, providing ideal conditions for winemakers. There are now more than 50 wineries on the two Forks, and according to local wine expert, Lenn Thompson, “the best are on the more rural North Fork.”
On the north shore, we spend a leisurely afternoon tasting rosé wine at Croteaux Vineyards, which exclusively grow vinifera grapes to produce rosé wine. In a quiet garden setting, we savor the different rosés, which are inspired by the wine making tradition of Provence. We are content sipping our aperitifs in an outdoor tasting space, overlooking the vineyards. The Sparkling Chloe Sauv Blanc and Sparkling Jolie Cab Franc are light and refreshing on a summer day.
So where, then, would we find a restaurant that has fresh North Atlantic seafood? Back on the South Fork we find just the place at Buoy One in Westhampton where owner, Robbie Girard personally visits guests at each table. On the outdoor patio, the waitstaff provides us with a QR code, which we can scan on our smartphones to access the menu selections for this evening.
Shortly after, we are served the freshest Blue Point oysters and steamed lobster accompanied with locally sourced spinach and baked potato.
Then at dessert, we indulge and choose the homemade peach pie with a touch of cream that is irresistible and superb.
Everything about Buoy One is a wonderful experience. We feel a sense of connection with the community as many locals dine al fresco or pickup take out. We enjoy the friendliness, personable service and most of all, the seafood, which is considered some of the best in the South Fork.
The next evening, at at Union Burger in the heart of Southampton, we enjoy sumptuous burgers while we are seated next to a family celebrating their little girl’s birthday. The child’s delight when the waiter serves her a giant, pink frosty sundae inspires us to also order ice cream sundaes. It was a great opportunity to share in the happiness of this families birthday celebration.
We’d come to Southampton expecting aloofness and exclusivity. But here, at some of its most popular hot spots, anyone could be lounging on the beach next to a Beyoncé and Jay-Z. It’s all the better for being so congenial. We have relished every moment and can’t wait to visit again.
Where to stay:
Southampton Inn – Tel: (631) 283-6500; www.southamptoninn.com
Where to eat:
Claude’s Restaurant – Tel: (631) 283-6500; email: email@example.com
Buoy One, Westhampton and Riverhead (2 locations) – Tel: (833) 286-9663; www.buoyone.com
Union Burger, Southampton – Tel: (631) 377-3323; https://www.unionburgerbar.com
Rogers Mansion Museum Complex – Tel: (631) 283-2494; www.southamptonhistory.org
Croteaux Vineyards, Southold – Tel: (631) 765-6099; www.croteaux.com
Long Island Wine Council www.liwines.com
Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau www.discoverlongisland.com
Danielle Rollins, Lifestyle Expert and Author – danielledrollins.com
Lenn Thompson, Long Island Wines Expert and Author – @lennthompson