Bridgehampton has a “wonderful sense of community,” says 38-year resident Sybille van Kempen of the graceful Hamptons hamlet marked by stunning panoramas of ocean beaches, wineries, horse farms, and golf courses. “The old families, the new families, the library, the historical museum, the architectural review board—they all have a lot of love and concern and care for the community, for nature, and for children,” says van Kempen, who with her family owns and operates the Bridgehampton Inn and Restaurant (2266 Montauk Hwy., 631.537.3660) in a shingle- style building that dates to 1795.
A native of Germany, van Kempen bought the inn in 1994 with her mother, Anna Pump, who has since passed away. Van Kempen’s husband, Gerrit, and her three adult children work in the family business, which includes the Loaves and Fishes Cookshop (2266 Montauk Hwy. #B, 631.537.6066), specializing in kitchen and house wares, and the Loaves and Fishes Food Store, a gourmet takeout shop in nearby Sagaponack (50 Sagg Main St., 631.537.0555).
—by Bernadette Starzee
MAIN STREET ATTRACTIONS
The community comes together at Bridgehampton’s post office on Montauk Highway, which becomes Main Street in the hamlet’s center. “We don’t have rural delivery, so we all go to the post office to pick up our mail,” van Kempen says. “You see everyone there.”The small downtown includes restaurants, shops, real estate offices, and houses of worship. Van Kempen enjoys browsing at RJD Gallery (2385 Main St., 631.725.1161), a contemporary art gallery whose genres include
photo realism. Candy Kitchen (2391 Montauk Hwy., 631.537.9885) “is a lovely soda fountain shop with sandwiches, burgers, and homemade ice cream that has been owned by the same family for longer than I have been here.”
SENSE OF COMMUNITY
The Bridgehampton Community House (2368 Montauk Hwy., 631.537.2806) “quietly works as a wonderful meeting and gathering space,” van Kempen says. “There are antiques and craft fairs, performances, even weddings. Couples get married in one of the churches in town and walk to the community center for the feast afterward. It’s just charming.”
Bridgehampton Chamber Music (212.741.9403, bcmf.org) brings music to the community with an annual summer festival “that is just delightful,” van Kempen says.The chamber group, founded in 1984, features some of the best musicians from around the country. The group performs at Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church and under tents on the grounds of several area locations that are worth a visit. Among these are Channing Daughters Winery (1927 Scuttle Hole Rd., 631.537.7224), a scenic vineyard with a tasting room, and the Bridgehampton Museum (2368 Montauk Hwy., 631.537.1088 ), which celebrates local history through exhibits, lectures, tours, and special events.
“Walking down Ocean Road to the beach is one of the delights of living here all year round,” van Kempen says. Residents and guests staying at local lodgings have privileges at the hamlet’s pristine beaches, which include Ocean Road, W. Scott Cameron, and Mecox beaches.
Van Kempen wrote a cookbook series featuring recipes made with ingredients from local family-owned farms. Among those showcased is Mecox Bay Dairy (855 Mecox Rd., 631.537.0335 ), which sells artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef, and pastured pork. Next door in Sagaponack is Foster Farms (729 Sagg Main St., 631.537.0070 ), whose offerings include potatoes and heirloom tomatoes.