High Weekends in the Hamptons

Long island has no shortage of boasting rights, and of all our treasures, many consider the Hamptons to be our crown jewel. The collection of East End hamlets and villages draws those of means and mobility here summer after summer to experience the beaches, the lifestyle and the social scene. Any weekend is a good one to go out east and experience it for yourself (as a visiting local), but there are a few dates this summer that might be a little more exciting. Plan well, pack light (you’ll be doing some shopping) and point your car east to enjoy

July 13-15: High Weekend, Highbrow, High Art

imageArt is a big part of the cultural landscape out east, and since you’re reading this in July (or later), you’ve already seen a few of the biggies, but there are plenty of good ones ahead.

It starts on July 14 with the Midsummer Party. This annual Parrish Art Museum gala brings art lovers together to support the Southampton museum. This year, Parrish is hosting the event at their newly raised home in Water Mill. As you would at any good party, expect dinner, dancing and revelry. At this one, expect Chuck Close to show up (he’s being honored) and probably some stars of the big and small screens. Tickets start at $1,000. Or go for the $150 After Ten Ticket to catch the end (the end is always the best part of a party anyway). Chic attire expected. Find out more at parrishart.org.

What should you do before 10pm? Attend Pollock at 100:A Centennial Celebration, the kickoff to the ArtHamptons fair weekend (July 13-15) and benefit for the Pollock-Krasner house in Springs. Event coordinators promise surprise guests and performances, and you know when artists get together it’s going to be one rollicking good time. Details on the fair and party at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark can be found at http://www.arthamptons.com.

Hungry? Well, if you’re driving between Bridgehampton and Water Mill it’s not on the way, but there’s only one place to stop: Georgica Restaurant in Wainscott. Sophisticated, eclectic, New American cuisine. Cool, laidback, busy as all hell scene. You’re going to love it. Get a reservation.

But first thing’s last, you’re going to need someplace to sleep. Keep with the art theme and stay at c/o the Maidstone (East Hampton). Quirky, artsy, fun, eclectic little Maidstone is a building that’s been there since the mid 1800s but was recently renovated in Swedish style. Think lots of patterns blending and interesting color motifs in and on everything. This is a place that makes you feel good—like lemonade. PS. The menu in The Living Room includes some of the Island’s best fare. http://www.careofhotels.com/maidstone.

6 Restaurants Not to Miss

image1. Nammos Estiatorio, Southampton, for nouveau Greek and whitewashed Mediterranean ambiance.
2. Muse in the Harbor, Sag Harbor, offering delectable dishes of inventive American fare in an unpretentious setting.
3. Nick & Toni’s, East Hampton, is the high holy when it comes to starg-gazing over Italian-inspired eats. Rustic and elegant at once.
4. Race Lane, East Hampton, has fresh, locally grown classics with a twist. Plus, the casual outdoor garden seating is chill for sipping cocktails or champagne.
5. Almond, Bridgehampton, to say “bonjour” to neat, lip-smacking French-American food in an immaculate, laid-back setting.
6. Roberts, Water Mill, dishes heartfelt, farm to table fresh Italian in a warm, country setting. An honest, first rate experience.
*For the best in dining go to http://www.lipulse.com/dining-guide.

Dressing The Part
When it comes to attire, keep in mind the word “gala” doesn’t actually mean “gala” in the old school way. Instead, it means “Hamptons chic.” So, pretty summer dresses and funky shoes for ladies, seersucker jackets and linen pants for men. Caution ladies: If you’re going to wear heels, be prepared to stay on your toes—most events are tent parties, which means out on the grass. If you show up in a gown and black tie, you will be laughed at. Recent events are encouraging “themed attire,” calling for specific colors to be worn. The famed White Party has long been cast by the wayside, so don the brighter garb and watch for details.

July 27-29: Shop, Social, Socialize

Shopping Highlights
Custom Cool, Quogue
Fun things for your home, including uniquely patterned pillows and rugs hand woven to create an artsy sense of intimacy.

Duck & Weave, Sag Harbor
Absolutely the best lightweight, durable cotton button-downs you could own. And they feature cool tailoring accents. Other clothing is very hip in a distressed-cotton sort of way.

Magaschoni, East Hampton
Classic European sportswear in quality knits, linen and softer textiles. Fashionable and feminine.

Mint, Westhampton Beach
Trendy, clean, beachy attire that mixes well with things you’ll want to wear to the office. You are bound to find something at this specialty boutique. This one is a Pulse favorite.

Shoe-Inn, East Hampton and Westhampton Beach.
The name says it all, shoe-fanatics will be happy here. And there are two locations to get your fix.

imageSuper Saturday, the shopping extravaganza and fundraiser started by Donna Karan, is now in its 15th year and being held at Nova’s Ark Project (Water Mill) from noon-6pm. This force of fashion is an opportunity to do some serious shopping and do some good while you’re at it. Proceeds benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. And the stars come out for this one—as in superstars. The day includes a one-of-a-kind garage sale by more than 200 designers, kids’ carnival and activities, a spa station and more. Who might you see? Past guests include: Kelly Ripa, Heidi Klum, Edie Falco, Christie Brinkley, Christy Turlington Burns, Barbara Walters, Kyle MacLachlan, Russell Simmons, Bianca Jagger, Vera Wang and the whole panoply of East End socialites. Tickets start at $450 for adults/$150 kids, includes food, refreshments and informal lunch.

That night, go out for The Big Bang to benefit The Watermill Center (39 Water Mill Towd Road). Robert Wilson’s hub for art and community is like a pressure release valve on our parochial normality. The center offers residencies for working artists and is a stress-lifting oasis in the woods for visitors and residents alike. The benefit fuses the worlds of art, fashion, theater and design and draws luminaries from these as well as the music, entertainment and media industries. The six acres are taken over by installations and performances, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Glitter girls? Check. Men buried chin deep in the woods reciting poetry? You heard me. Hair people? We’re still trying to figure that one out. Who came last year? Roger Waters, Katie Lee, Nicole Miller, The Prince of Yugoslavia and Alan Cumming. (See—even the guest list is strange, but makes sense.) Tickets for this year’s 19th annual gala start at $500. Cocktails @ 6pm, dinner after. Discover this “laboratory for performance” at watermillcenter.org.

Over at Russell Simmons’ East Hampton Estate, Living in Color benefiting Art for Life is waiting. If you play your cards right, you’ll catch the wild scene at Watermill first, but leave time for the program at Living in Color and enjoy a range of entertainment on this night. The event is presented by Rush Philanthropic, the charity started by His Honorable Simmons and brothers Joseph “Rev Run” and visual artist Danny to create access to the arts for inner city youth, bringing the Simmons brothers’ worlds together for one special night. Original art by a range of working artists is for sale while guests mingle and stargaze. At whom? This year Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon are being honored, Soledad O’Brien is host, Star Jones plays auctioneer and performances by Anita Baker, Salt-n-Pepa and Diggy Simmons are scheduled. You’ll likely bump into Alec Baldwin, Deepak Chopra, Cameron Diaz and Ed Norton, since they’re all on the benefit committee, as well as the friends of all those friends (and their friends, too). Attire should reflect the event color theme: Rush orange, aqua blue, chartreuse and fuchsia. Tickets start at $1,500, so only the serious need apply.

imageWhere to stay? Try The Baker House 1650 (East Hampton), a gorgeous updated farmhouse with lots of clean lines, exposed wood, crisp whites (especially the linens), intimate, serene and natural. Yes, they have a spa. Yes, they have a pool, too. They’ll hook you up with beach permits and towels, free WiFi, a stocked library (and an equally extensively stocked bar), immaculate grounds and, best of all, homemade pastries and breakfast stuff in the AM. You’ll be inquiring about weekly and monthly rates after the first night. http://www.bakerhouse1650.com.

Bonus Events
July 21 Rock the Dock @ 6:30pm
Bay Street Theatre Summer Benefit Bash
Support this leading regional theater. http://www.baystreet.org.

August 10 Guild Hall Summer Gala @ 6pm
A very fun, very exciting event for a very fun, very exciting visual and performing arts venue. http://www.guildhall.org.

Aug 30-Sept 3: Season Finale

imageThe summer ends with the grandest of grand each year: The Hampton Classic. This event in Bridgehampton encompasses all things equestrian (almost) and the schedule of events leaves no stone unturned: Kids’ events, food and wine tasting, riders with disabilities, a shopping village and, of course, socializing with celebrities and horse lovers. The weekend benefits East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust, so the money stays on Long Island. The perfect place to mix business with pleasure, actually. http://www.hamptonclassic.com.

Continue the equestrian theme by staying in Montauk, home of the country’s first cattle ranch. For an absolute change of pace, Stone Lion Inn beckons. It’s all the way out at “The End,” which will be convenient for surfers and those truly wishing to escape. Nestled on Fort Pond, the property is limited to eight exquisite, very intimate and very hip suites. And it’s at the center of the recent hubbub Montauk’s been getting. Still a lowdown, cool, surf and fishing town, it hasn’t lost its relaxed charm. But the visitors you’ll be mixing with are still among the well heeled (well-Haviana’d) and in-the-know.

La Bodega is a great spot for Sunday brunch. It looks like a 50s car showroom from the street—its façade is a stout, rounded, plate-glass storefront. It’s the brainchild of two lovers of things Puerto Rican who are bringing the fun, whimsical, laid-back Caribbean attitude to this centralized location. While there, take a trail ride with the good people at Deep Hollow Ranch—you can ride along the beach.

The eats along Napeague Stretch are all great, but back in Montauk the burger at Gulf Coast Kitchen (at Montauk Yacht Club) is to die for. It reflects the chef’s interest in blending Tuscan eating with traditional farmer’s cuisine. A bit down the road, Navy Beach serves up Mediterranean fare by way of small plates, ceviche and inventive treats like miso-glazed salmon. Say yum. It is. Stone Lion’s sisters are also some of the Island’s best restaurants. Find the hidden gems that will make you a social envy at http://www.harvest2000.com