By Jennifer Seligman and Monique Stringfellow
So much is packed into the three-month-long Hamptons summer season that one needs a well-planned strategy to navigate the ever-expanding social extravaganza. Haute Living has sifted through the good, the bad, and the fabulous with a compilation of the ultimate East End must-dos, must-haves, and must-sees-from top shopping destinations and fine dining to downright partying-creating a virtual Hamptons cheat sheet.
Gurney’s Resort and Sea Water Spa has been a fixture in the pristine dunes of Montauk for the last 80 years. Lauded for its priceless views, Gurney’s Resort is the perfect remedy for the stresses of daily life and work in the city. It worked for Richard Nixon; he wrote his acceptance speech at the Skipper’s Cottage. Most guests come for the peace and quiet, but there are additional attractions, namely the delicious cuisine prepared and served by respected Chef Chip Monte, who presents spa guests with a wonderful array of culinary choices. Options abound in all aspects of the spa. One can indulge in various treatments one day then relax in the sea pool or burn off extra tension in a high intensity spin class the next. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of Gurney’s Resort is the fact that it overlooks its own private beach, with 1,000 feet of soft, white sand.
290 Old Montauk Highway
In recent years, North Fork winemakers have been garnering the attention of wine enthusiasts all over the world. Considered one of Long Island’s best kept secrets, the vineyards are now coming into their own and Kip Bedell’s grapes are leading the pack. Bedell first began producing wine in 1985 in an old potato barn, which is now used as the tasting room. Currently owned by Michael Lynne, co-chairman and co-CEO of New Line Cinema, renovations are now complete. Bedell uses state-of-the-art equipment including custom-designed open-top fermenting tanks and a gravity-based system. This technology has aided in the production of their award-winning Merlot and Bordeaux-style blends. Along with cutting-edge technology, Bedell has an eye for artwork and the walls boast a collection of contemporary art that includes works by Cindy Sherman, Sam Taylor Wood, Uta Barth, and Sarah Morris for patrons’ pleasure. With the label’s commitment to art, technology, and perfecting the craft of winemaking, it come as no surprise that Wine Business Monthly, The New York Post, and House and Garden have acknowledged Bedell Cellars’ place as the North Fork’s preeminent grower of premium grapes.
36225 Main Road (Rt. 25)
East Hampton Indoor Tennis
With both an outdoor tennis facility and an indoor racquet club, this is a sport fanatic’s oasis, hidden away in a natural setting in East Hampton. With pros on staff like Alfredo Barreto, a top-ranked tennis player in his native Mexico, the club provides instruction for novices and experts seeking to improve their game. The carefully selected staff is eager to help both on and off the court. The club provides leagues and programs for adults and children, as well as regular clinics that are open to the public for players looking to get back in the swing of things. There are 18 fast-dry tennis courts, 8 indoor courts, 19 Har-Tru Racquet Ball courts, and two pro-shops. On-site basketball and a supervised children’s area ensure a good time for the entire family.
175 Daniels Hole Road
Named after the Hamptons’ most famous Native American, this intimate bar is the venue of choice for concerts on the East End. Since 1987, the Talkhouse has been home to many wild and unpretentious nights of Hamptons revelry. The small Amagansett club has unpredictable line-ups with acts ranging from debuting local bands to internationally known superstars. While most upcoming shows are announced ahead of time, lucky bar-goers have on occasion been treated to impromptu stage performances by fellow Talkhouse fans like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and Paul McCartney. A recent night was the setting for a spur-of-the-moment saxophone solo by Woody Harrelson, one of the many famous (and infamous) regulars that have earned the Talkhouse its reputation. On a more typical evening, one can expect to hear laid-back reggae, folk, and rock bands. VIP tickets guarantee a seat at one of the mismatched tables closest to the stage.
161 Main St.
With its prime location and painstakingly restored interior, the 1708 House ranks among the best bed & breakfasts in the country. Located on Main Street, the house is an elegantly restored Colonial structure with guest accommodations in one of four different styles: 18th century, 19th century, 20th century, and 21st century. The 18th century rooms are particularly transporting, with claw foot bathtubs, opulent four-poster beds, and exposed beams along the ceiling. Regardless of the style, each room is equipped with contemporary 21st century amenities. The public areas stay true to the house’s original decoration scheme and layout, gracefully mingling the past and present with a wood-paneled reading room, formal parlor with fireplace, and dining room where full meals, coffee, and tea are served on Limoges china and sterling silverware. For more autonomy, guests may opt to stay in one of property’s three modern cottages.
126 Main St.
The Surf Lodge
Long considered an un-Hampton alternative, Montauk is getting a dose of glamour this summer from the team responsible for the Cain nightclubs and Manhattan hot spot Goldbar. The East End location was the inspiration behind the theme and décor of the new hotel, restaurant, and lounge. The Surf Lodge and its 2,600-square-foot lounge, the Deck, bring a surf-themed addition to Hamptons nightlife. The Deck will have a full bar where guests can sample the mixologist’s innovative specialty cocktails. It is perfect for après surf sundowners or festivities lasting late into the night. Weekends promise a line-up of big-headliner concerts and nights of carousing beneath the starry Montauk sky. The Deck’s setup includes lounging areas and a separate area with cocktail tables, and an indoor bar, the Den, where classic surf films from the ’60s will be on a permanent, 24/7 loop. There are 32 rooms at the hotel and a restaurant that will specialize in locally caught seafood and other ingredients provided by Montauk farmers.
183 Edgemere St.
Renowned restaurateurs and long time friends Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner are best known for their quaint and soothing Bridgehampton bistro, Almond. Their newest venture is a departure from the classic French fare that has earned them such a devoted following; Almoncello will highlight Northern Italian trattoria specialties. Lemonides and Weiner’s extensive travels throughout northern Italy inspired the undertaking, and the two seamlessly recreate the experience of authentic trattoria dining. With rustic wood tables and a stone hearth as well as charming design touches like books, candles, and wine bottles, the dining room is a study in romantic ambiance. As for the wine list, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Campania are well represented in the expertly curated offerings. Inspired by Bolognese cuisine, Executive Chef Weiner and Chef de Cuisine John O’Connell have built a menu based upon high quality ingredients and artful cooking, with a spirit that is firmly rooted in their combined travel experience.
290 Montauk Highway
Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge
The oldest team sport in history will continue its legacy at the thrilling Opening Day of the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at JetOne Jets Field at Bridgehampton Polo. Games begin Saturday, July 21 and promise to be just as exciting as they were nearly 2,000 years ago, when polo originated among nomadic warriors. An evolved sense of sportsmanship and rules, however, guarantee that the sport’s current incarnation is not likely to have more than a slight resemblance to its ancestor. With teams White Birch and Endeavor kicking off the competition and festivities in the first week of play, this year promises to be the most successful to date, with media in full force, major sponsors, and a continued tradition of socialites, celebrities, and die-hard fans turning out in unprecedented numbers. All proceeds go to the South Fork Breast Health Coalition. Some of the big names pitching in to sponsor the annual event include: the Trump Organization, T-Mobile, Ralph Lauren, St. Regis, and Evian, amongst others.
849 Hayground Road
Fans of the oft-complimented restaurants in Ben Krupinski and partners’ growing empire-which includes East Hampton Point, the 1770 House, and CittaNuova-rejoiced when his latest venture Wei Fun, a foray into Chinese haute cuisine, opened its doors in 2006. Krupinski collaborated with executive chef Kevin Penner to generate an upscale and trendy option for East Enders. The restaurant’s interior, designed by local architect James D’Auria, presents striking contrasts of color and texture, with cream-colored walls, bold red tiling, brushed steel, and unique sculptures. The bar boasts three flat screen televisions with high stools and low shiny steel tables to create a cool yet inviting atmosphere. Wei Fun’s menu offers a well-executed range of choices, all based on authentic Chinese flavors and ingredients. Penner’s culinary artistry, however, succeeds in putting a new spin on old favorites. The wine list and cocktail menu are equally well executed, reflecting the expertise of the Krupinski’s team, making it a wei fun overall experience for Hamptonites.
203 Pantigo Road