Insider’s Guide to the Haute Hamptons

A Day of Diversion…Hamptons Style

Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge
Bridgehampton Polo
849 Hayground Rd.

British Cavalry Captain John Watson, who created the first written rules for polo in 1870, could hardly have imagined the sport’s current incarnation. The pinnacle of the Hamptons summer season is the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at Blue Star Jets Field, hosted by the Bridgehampton Polo Club. For six summer Saturdays starting on July 18, the world’s finest polo players and their superior steeds battle for the trophy. The thrill of excitement is a full sensory experience as these incredible equestrians gallop down the field full tilt while wielding a mallet to hit the ball that can travel to speeds of 110 m.p.h. This is the stomping ground of celebrities and jetsetters who join to stomp the divots on the field at half time of the six-chucker play. The door fee benefits the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, and spectators have the option of bringing a gourmet picnic to enjoy at a field-side tailgate. For sponsors and their invited guests, the VIP tent presents a first class experience with as much excitement under the tent as in the field, including fine food, drinks, luxury shopping, and the only place where drinking Champagne from a straw is correct etiquette. Guests also get to check out the newest Mercedes on display, showing its own impressive horsepower.

All American Picnic and Fireworks
Friday, July 3, 7 p.m.
Rain date:  Sunday, July 5
1030 Meadow Lane

When it’s time to celebrate the red, white, and blue, best to do it in true Hamptons fashion, which means, ensure your entry to one of the biggest fundraising events of the summer. This year will mark the Southampton Fresh Air Home’s 22nd annual American Picnic, complete with the renowned Grucci fireworks over Shinnecock Bay. Every year close to 800 guests descend upon a private Meadow Lane estate to enjoy everything great about our country’s heritage, including hot dogs, barbeque, potato salad, and ice cream, served picnic buffet style. Balloons, clowns, and carnival games are not the only reason to show up for the fun though. The Hamptons’ who’s who are staples at the event, which means come dressed to impress. We did say this was for charity, right? In addition to serving as one of the social events of the season, the American Picnic raises more than 40 percent of the annual operating expenses for the Southampton Fresh Air Home, which, for more than a century, has served as a residential summer camp for physically challenged youth.

Retail Therapy

63 Main Street
East Hampton

No one forgets their first time, and the summer of 2009 will be forever etched in our memories as the glorious year that Hermès of Paris opened its first seasonal store ever, right here in East Hampton. To mark such a momentous occasion, the ultimate name in luxury labels will be stocking exclusive merchandise in its 2,000-square-foot boutique (the first dedicated solely to resort and summer collections) that will only be available to our lucky East End residents and visitors through September 20. A limited edition East Hampton towel and a one-of-a-kind, white “Essentielle” saddle crafted from togo leather, based on the French brand’s most popular hunting and jumping saddle models, are available as some of the “hautest” souvenirs you can buy to commemorate your 2009 summer escapes in the Hamptons. Because of the uniqueness of this exclusive saddle, the Parisian craftsmen also designed all the necessary accessories to match it, including white bridle, reins, stirrups leather, and girth.

London Jewelers
2046 Northern Blvd

Just as you wouldn’t show up to a gala event in last season’s Blahniks, no decent Hamptonite would attend a summer soiree without the appropriate jewels. Fortunately, members of the Udell family understand the importance of this concept and have been bejeweling the Hamptons’ ladies who lunch since 1926. Founding father Charles London opened the first branch of London Jewelers in Glen Cove, teaching his family the ropes of the business in such a successful way that more than 80 years later, London Jewelers enjoys five outposts on the island, making them the exclusive jeweler for those in the know. True treasures await at any of the locales, but we are particular fans of the boutique in Manhasset due to the 96-square-foot walk-in humidor filled with an extensive supply of cigars and cigar storage units. While this is impressive, so too is the third floor of the East Hampton store where an audiovisual room serves as the venue for a private rendezvous with the jewelers. Want a sneak peek of what they have to offer? Don’t miss their famous trunk shows and jewelry fairs where pieces from names like Cartier, H. Stern, Baccarat, and Bulgari make us drool.