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The Hamptons, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the South Shore of Long Island, are generally considered the area from Westhampton to Montauk, covering nearly 50 miles and offering some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The Hamptons also offer a scenic collage of farms, vineyards, country clubs, and, of course, some of the most desirable addresses on the East Coast.
The East End of Long Island is preppy, elegant, serene and beautiful; fitting for every lifestyle and temperament. The hamlets and villages of the Hamptons define luxury, elegance and style in a completely relaxed atmosphere. With shimmering beaches, breathtaking estates and a gently refined way of life, the South Fork of Long Island is one of world’s most desired retreats.
Southampton, Water Mill, Sagaponack and East Hampton, together, have long been considered the core vacation area of the Hamptons, often referred to as East of “The Canal” (Shinnecock Canal) and South of “The Highway” (Route 27). Today, the Hamptons vacation area is much larger, offering vacation possibilities from the chicest retreat to the simplest beachside getaway.
Offering some of the most desired zip codes and addresses, residential real estate in the Hamptons is among the most coveted in the nation. Waterfront estates with private beaches and gardens, large equestrian properties, charming cottages, and modern, loft-style condominiums are available for a season or for a quick getaway from the demands of urban living. The Hamptons are a perfect summer destination. Though seasonally available, demand for luxury rentals peaks from late spring to early autumn, a gorgeous time to savor the natural splendor the island has to offer. Off-season rentals are ideal for spending the holidays amidst pristine and peaceful natural beauty.
In Southampton, nestled between the charm of downtown and the wild beauty of the dunes, homes around Lake Agawam–like many similar enclaves behind tall green hedges throughout the area–are known for their residential splendor. East Hampton’s historic wealth is still very much in evidence in the grand mansions that line Further Lane and Lily Pond Lane.
Along the historic streets of Sag Harbor are ornate Victorians, Greek Revival mansions, quaint Cape Cod cottages and classic saltboxes. In Amagansett–with its laid back, “south-of-the-[Montauk] Highway” vibe–you’ll many beautiful colonial homes. In small hamlets like North Sea, homes vary from seaside cottages to spacious traditional homes on wooded lots. In Quiogue, homes that have been in residents’ families for generations exist peacefully side-by-side with grand Hamptons mansions, often on the same street. Remsenberg is especially low-key and residential, more given to farms than summer revelers. In this quiet community of tree-lined streets and gracious country homes and quaint cottages along Moriches Bay and its inlets, you’ll find several beaches and a 135-slip marina. Homes in Westhampton Beach range from splendid beachfront villas to the traditional cottages that line the village streets.
In Sagaponack, area farms are more likely to be horse farms, and its homes–many of which are just the sort of shingled mansions one pictures here–are some of the grandest in the Hamptons. The Sagaponack Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, contains over 130 buildings that reflect the town’s history, from its early settlement in the 17th century through two centuries of popular revival styles and early 20th century bungalow styles.
In addition to its beautiful beaches, Shelter Island is known for the unique mix of style and size of its homes, from modern to cottage to Victorian. Little can compare to the breathtaking views of the ocean and wilderness that are the backyards of these grand historic homes that sit side-by-side with charming seaside cottages.
Many Hamptons towns have have a history as a haven for artists. Springs, in East Hampton, is known in art circles as the cradle of the Abstract Expressionist movement–artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning worked here, as did important writers like Kurt Vonnegut and John Steinbeck. Each summer brings the Artists and Writers Softball Game, a charity benefit, and in October the town hosts the Hamptons International Film Festival. Southampton is the area’s cultural heart, beginning with its long history as a refuge for the creative set–it was the country’s first summer art colony. The Parrish Museum houses a serious collection of American art, and you’ll find plenty of top-notch art, music and other cultural events here in every season.
Stephen Talkhouse, one of the best-known music venues on the island, is on Route 27 in Amagansett. The intimate venue has hosted over a decade of top artists from Mick Jagger to Death Cab for Cutie, and is always a popular place with the summer creative crowd. The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is one of the East End’s best known arts venues. The former writer’s colony of Sag Harbor and the hamlets of Water Mill, Sagaponack and Bridgehampton are a popular destination for writers, artists and actors drawn to the quiet beach colony atmosphere. Highlights of cultural life in Bridgehampton are the chamber music festival and the Dia Art Foundation’s Dan Flavin Art Institute.
From golf and tennis to surfing, life in the Hamptons epitomizes the classic sporting life. Southampton is the home of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the oldest private 18-hole golf course in the nation. Built in 1891, the club was ranked third in America by Golf Digest.
The Hamptons also offer world-class fishing, from deep-sea to offshore. At the far eastern end of East Hampton, the beach resort of Montauk is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in New York State and claims to have more saltwater fishing records than any other port in the world. For anyone who enjoys boating, North Haven is heaven. Big stars–from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Mary Pickford to Jimmy Buffett–and their big yachts have found refuge in North Haven. In Sag Harbor, boaters have a wealth of options when choosing marinas, yacht clubs, and docks.
In Bridgehampton, the annual Hampton Classic horse show, held at summer’s end, is the season’s last hurrah for the Hamptons social scene and one of the country’s largest hunter/jumper horse shows. The Classic is held at the 65-acre showgrounds near some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. For the less-traditional sportsman or -woman, white sands and impressive waves at the very tip of the South Fork in Montauk are ideal for world-class surfing.
The Hamptons have long been considered a seasonal playground of the rich and famous and the Wall Street elite. Part of the area’s appeal lies in the fact that it is a study in contrasts–acres of green farmland lie next to the country’s best, most pristine beaches. Many Hamptons townships have aggressively pursued zoning ordinances to protect the area’s rural character.
Though life here undoubtedly includes celebrities from the arts, business and politics, downtown streets in villages like Southampton and East Hampton are the epitome of laid-back beachside charm, with tree-shaded lanes, eclectic shops and historic buildings. In Southampton village, downtown and Jobs Lane offer unparalleled charm and a perfectly-curated collection of shops offering everything from antiques and crafts to the big-city wares of Saks Fifth Avenue. For all of its classic East Coast gentility, Southampton retains a laid-back, “south of the highway” small-town vibe, with restaurants and pubs that range from fine dining to casual just-off-the-beach offering superb dining options from seafood to pub grub and locally-brewed beers and ales. Southampton is also known for over seven miles of extraordinary oceanfront land with eleven individual beaches. Cooper’s Beach–known as the East End’s finest–is meticulously maintained, with soft, white sand in every direction. Beach parking is one residential perk that comes in handy once summer arrives.
The variety and breathtaking beauty of the area’s natural wildlife and unspoiled ocean beaches take center stage in Amagansett. As is often the rule in seaside villages, the lobster roll is king here, and each one you enjoy will be more memorable than the last. The well-known family-run Farmer’s Market on Montauk Highway is a must-stop for many and a staple for residents. The tiny hamlet gets lively in summer months, when lawn parties and fireworks light up the nights. In Sagaponack, Wolffer Estates Vineyard welcomes each summer with the release of a new wine and a season full of tastings and celebrations.
Accessible only by ferry, the village of Shelter Island is known for its unspoiled natural beauty and well-tended seaside vacation living. More than a third of the island consists of complete wilderness on protected wetlands and nature preserve marshlands. At the far eastern end of East Hampton, the beach resort of Montauk is a popular off-the-beaten-path vacation spot. White sands and impressive waves are ideal for world-class surfing, and spotting whales and seals from the shore can be a daily event. On a clear day, the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island appear over the horizon, and the roar of the ocean can be heard from just about everywhere.
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