Summertime in the Hamptons never ceases to fall straight into its stereotype: a playground for the rich and famous, where you can sip on endless glasses of rośe, lounge poolside on green lawns, watch the sunset over the beaches, enjoy late dinners at sophisticated restaurants, then dance the night away in top-to-toe white (a timeless fashion choice – in the Hamptons white is the new black). With plenty of glitz, glamour and excess, it’s not hard to see why the Hamptons was Fitzgerald’s real life inspiration for the iconic setting of The Great Gatsby.
I was lucky enough to experience the Hamptons like a local. Well, a New York City ‘local’ so-to-speak. You see, on any given weekend during spring and summer (from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend), a large percentage of the population is taken up by the hoards of merry holidayers who have made the 2 hour trip up from Manhattan on the Long Island Expressway by the jitney or personal car. My best friend Laura and I visited the Hamptons with some of these part-time residents (read: New Yorkers who regularly escape the city in favour of playing on the carefree peninsula), from who we learned how to do it in true ‘Hamptons style’.
SAMPLE THE CULINARY OFFERINGS
If there’s one thing that the Hamptons isn’t lacking, it’s an abundance of good restaurants. From fine dining to casual fare (and everything in between), you’ll want to have a taste of what’s on offer. I really enjoyed Moby’s in Amagansett, which features a farm-to-table inspired menu of fresh, local fare. As a vegan option, I had braised baby vegetables and kale salad with a twist. Add into the equation a few of the divine cocktails and the sprawling garden space out-the-back, and you’re guaranteed to be in heaven.
There are plenty of fantastic options to try. Moral of the story: head out for your meals. Afterall, half the fun is in the wining and dining.
PARTY FROM AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY MORNING
There’s no need to wait for the sun to go down to head to a club. Don your best day-to-night outfit and head to the Surf Lodge where you can let chilled beats wash over you as the sky turns pink to dusk – right on the waterfront, amid strings of lights, gorgeous decor and a beachside bonfire. Then head out to one of the other plentiful clubs and dance to your hearts content. Dancefloors are less packed than in New York City, so it’s perfect for busting out your best moves.
BEACH IT EVERY DAY
Hit the beach in style; oversized designer sunnies and chic swimsuits are compulsory. In the Hamptons tanning and celeb-watching, spaced out by cool-down dips into the sparkling water, has long been an acceptable pastime. And girls, who doesn’t secretly want to feel like Serena and Blair holidaying in Gossip Girl? Yup, thought so! Insider tip from our local posse: Montauk is the place to be.
HIT THE SHOPS
Main Street and surrounds offers shopaholics the best of both worlds: refresh your wardrobe at cool, luxury pop-ups like Michael Kors; or find yourself something unusual by perusing through the many unique and local smaller stores, which are usually owned by year-around Hamptons residents. The beauty of holiday purchases is that you’ll always have a story and memory to go with it.
HIRE A BIKE
There is so much to see and do. The roads are flat and open. You probably have friends staying up the road. Sunsets are magical. It all makes for an ideal scenario to hire a bike and cruise around town. It will also be your most affordable mode of transport (note: Uber really jacks up the prices in these parts of Long Island).
HANG BY A POOL
There are no shortage of pools spotting the emerald lawns of Hamptons residencies. If your house or hotel doesn’t have one, rest assured that if you socialise, you’re bound to score yourself an invite to someone else’s, either for a casual swim and relax or for a classic pool party. Hopefully it’s the latter: Hamptons style pool parties are famous (and occasionally infamous) for good reason!
Remember, your stay in the Hamptons is allowed to be hedonistic. In fact, that’s exactly what it should be. If in doubt: dress in white, grab a glass of rosé, and ask yourself ‘what would Gatsby do?’