Despite the unseasonal weather, our calendars are telling us that summer has arrived—that wonderful time of year when slacking off is the cultural norm, half-day Fridays are practically mandatory, and everyone’s fleeing the Big Smoke for their weekend ritual of sand and sun. When it comes to beach escapes, the Hamptons, just outside New York City, reigns supreme with its clutch of coastal townships each one more darling than the next. So hitch yourself to our definitive list of this year’s top picks—it’s got something old, something new, and nothing borough-ed ‘cause everything’s by the blue.
Grab your flannel blanket and let Wölffer—our pick of Long Island’s vineyards—take care of the rest. On Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. ‘til dusk, the winery’s Wine Stand near the Montauk Highway serves wines by the glass and premium charcuterie; sunsets and live music are free.
Top Take Away
If you’re filling your bag with foodstuffs for a beach lunch, look no further than East Hampton’s legendary Round Swamp Farm, a family-owned market serving local produce, baked goods, and a variety of prepared foods. This summer they’re spreading the love to Bridgehampton with a second storefront promising the same quality items. For seafood try Clamman in Southhampton, proudly peddling tuna, bass, scallops, and squid all caught by local fishermen. The chowders and fish platters—perfect to grab and go—are prepared on site. They’ll even cater your clambake if you feel so inclined.
You need a drink: a summer-y beverage that the barkeep knowingly slides towards you at your favorite watering hole. For a Hamptons classic get the BBC at Cyril’s Fish House (that’s a Bailey’s Banana Colada; easily reproduced for your patio or porch), which is best enjoyed with popped-collared twenty-somethings on a sweaty Saturday afternoon. For something decidedly 2014, you can’t go wrong with the blackberry julep at the newly opened Bay Kitchen Bar. Pair it with dollar oysters before 7 p.m. and you’ve got the perfect sundowner special.
The Lobster Roll Antidote
The new kid on the block is Red Stixs, where chef Skinny Mei is bringing Beijing to the Hamptons with handcrafted dim sum, satays, and locally caught seafood rubbed with eastern spices. We’re also throwing our support behind two well-established favorites: Topping Rose in Bridgehampton takes home-grown farm fare to new heights (it’s a also a great place to stay if you’re not doing the rental thing), and South Edison in Montauk feeds the crowd of regular Hamptons-goers with favorites like octopus tacos and the spicy tuna BLT.
Import Your Sport
Boutique fitness trends faster than Twitter—last year SoulCycle opened a Hamptons satellite for addicts needing their daily spin fix. This summer there are two sweat shops taking the train east. Barry’s Bootcamp is bringing their signature thousand-calorie workout to Amagansett, and Elements, the barre Mecca in Tribeca, just opened a branch in East Hampton.
Grab a surfboard and a kayak oar, because this summer’s local workout is stand-up paddleboarding. Go solo from the end of Landing Lane and swish through the calm waters of Acabonack Harbor (you can paddle right up to Springs General Store for a snack break). Or try Paddle Diva, which offers classes for all levels, and—with KamaDeva yoga studio in East Hampton—you can now practice your dolphin pose atop a board. As to the preponderance of the word “diva,” we’re as confused as you are. But don’t let it put you off—the pros call stand-up paddleboarding by its acronym “sup,” and that sounds pretty badass, right?
Sea And Be Seen
Our spies predict that Harlow East—from the owners of Harlow in NYC—is going to be this year’s spot for scenesters, and with good reason: the prime slice of Sag Harbor real estate and the locally sourced menu will undoubtedly bait the Hollywood types. The Surf Lodge in Montauk is a sure bet as well, with a proven track record of luring the jet set, and a summer-long concert series that kicks off with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros over Memorial Day Weekend.
Embrace Hamptons surf culture with a worn-in hoodie by Whale Bone Creative, and then upgrade your summer wardrobe at Figue, the definitive stop for high-end bohemian beach fashion. Add a hint of your own taste to your holiday rental with accent pieces from homenature, before visiting the The Monogram Shop to personalize your towels, robes, and totes, ‘cause every Hamptons-hound knows that a good monogram never goes out of style.