An inside scoop on the getaway of weekend getaways.
Luxury and opulence immediately come to mind when one hears “The Hamptons.”
Tucked away at the coastal tip of Long Island, New York, the Hamptons is globally known as the summer hideaway for the ultra-wealthy. I was recently invited to the private island for the first time, and here is my experience.
Pristine sidewalks with fresh greenery and brilliant violet and indigo hydrangeas line the streets of South and East Hampton, the two main towns. Both boast designer retailers, opulent outlets, and exceptional cafés and restaurants. Other notable neighborhoods include Sag Harbor, Montauk, and Westhampton.
There are many ways to get to the edge of New York, however, the most efficient is driving, with the trek being only 2 hours from Midtown, Manhattan. Trains and buses are available but will take longer. If you really want to splurge, join the wealthy in chartering helicopter rides from NYC.
I flew into North Jersey and carpooled down 495, an interstate that cuts right through Long Island, a straight shot to the Hamptons. It was shocking how quickly boring grey highways became narrow, curved roads, cutting through lush coastal forests.
Arriving at my friend’s house, I expected nothing less. After a long cobblestone driveway and one sharp left turn, the trees parted to a beautiful, large contemporary farmhouse with weathered white brick, pale shingle paneling, and big bay windows.
The house, inside and out, was immaculate with plush couches, white marble, and trimmed gardens, yet it somehow looked lived in, turning what could have felt like a museum into a home.
During the day, we relaxed. In true Hamptons style, hours were spent soaking up the much-needed sun, bronzing our skin. Some lounged next to the pool, sprawled out in chairs while others dipped into refresh.
Being a naturally early riser was an advantage in the mornings. I was the only Hamptons virgin out of the entire 20-person group. They didn’t have the same sharp curiosity poking at them. I wanted to see more and experience my new surroundings.
So, before most of the house woke up, the other morning dwellers and I went off to retrieve bagels and coffee for those who would wake later. Goldberg’s was a must for bagels. Their glutenous dough and golden crusts were everything a true New Yorker needed and something my Midwestern upbringing was not familiar with but absolutely devoured.
Even on vacation coffee was needed and supplied by the infamous The Golden Pear, a network of upscale cafés scattered around the island, and adored by all. Its forest green awning and gold letters a sign that the necessary morning caffeine dose is close.
I splurged on a cold brew with almond milk and a divine breakfast panini pressed to perfection with eggs, melted swim cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Outside, morning rays warmed my cheeks as I ate my food and watched joggers brisk by and families pile into the small café. The breeze was calm and the food heavenly. I sensed why this place was so appealing, loved by few but heard about by millions.
My favorite moments of the weekend were the drives. Those who wanted to explore piled into someone’s car and sped through the small neighborhoods of East Hamptons, with the windows down letting the warm breeze whip our hair into tangles.
Everything is spread out here, and privacy is of utmost importance. Colonial mansions and modern farmhouses sit on acres, hidden behind immaculate landscaping. The architecture just barely peeks out between the spots of sparse leaves.
The true estates (not to say that any home here was underwhelming) were nestled next to the white sandy beaches. These beach houses go for tens of millions of dollars—their floor-to-ceiling windows capturing the picturesque waves crashing into the shores and seagulls soaring into the horizon.
My feet sank into the sun-warmed sand as I gaped at the homes and took in the views. The wind was stronger at the shore, and it wasn’t scorching enough for a beach day. But there were some families scattered down the coast, children running and laughing as parents watched under umbrellas. A grin formed, watching their excitement, the natural euphoria of youth.
We ended the weekend getaway with lunch at the iconic LUNCH, famous for its lobster rolls and celebrity clientele. Located directly off Montauk Highway, at the tip of the island, LUNCH has been the quintessential beachside shack in the Hamptons since 1965.
I got the raved lobster roll – what better place to try one for the first time than here. I hate to admit that the hype is well deserved. The filling was utterly satisfying, creamy chunks of salty lobster jammed in a generously buttered, fresh roll. How could you not love that? Even the side of coleslaw packed a punch.
And there it is—a short, sweet, and messy summary of my weekend in the Hamptons. It was a relaxing yet exciting experience, and I am very blessed to have had this experience and the generosity of my friend.
If you ever have the chance to make it to the coastal edge of New York, I plead you do. We have one life on this earth. Why not try to see it all?