Lessons from the Hamptons...

lessons for clara

Dearest Clara,

Summer has nearly come and gone---most people believe it ended this week.  But I still stand my ground, and will to the end, that autumn doesn’t really begin until September 21st! So in my book, there are still summer days to enjoy in this next couple of weeks that bridge us to the cooler seasons.   People are right to some degree though, it is somehow not quite the same once you pass the Labor Day mark.

To celebrate summer’s last real weekend, we finally made a trip up to the Hamptons, on the New York Coast, visiting the friends we’ve been promising to see for two full summers now, and I’m so glad that we finally made it.  I had never been before, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was afraid that it would be a very long drive for a beach that would be different than what we’re used to---something crowded and full of everything we’re trying to get away from in the city---but it wasn’t that at all.  In fact, our weekend did nothing but exceed my expectations, and we’re already looking forward to that next summer invitation.  Here are a couple of things that I’ll keep in mind from this trip:

  • Keep your eyes open:  Let’s face it, the Hamptons are a bit of a see and be seen kind of place.  I’m terrible at people-spotting---in Washington, senators, politicians, and world leaders pass me by nearly every day without my noticing, and celebrities in the Hamptons were no different.  If you keep your eyes open better than you mother, I bet you get some pretty cool people watching.
  • Try everything on for size and find your niche:  I had mistakenly thought that “the Hamptons” were a singular destination, but it’s not so at all.  It’s a collection of small towns, each with their own distinct personality and crowd.  If it’s your first visit, give them all a try with an open mind and then settle in to the one that fits your own style.
  • It’s windier on the water:  The beach alongside this coast is wide open, and the wind can pick up very quickly.  Bring layers and an extra hair elastic, and be careful as currents form in the cooler water.  But wind isn’t necessarily a bad thing, retreat to beat the heat here and who knows, you might even take a surfing lesson or two.
  • Eat (and drink) local:  This little stretch of island is gifted with so much abundance, especially in the summertime, you can’t help but to want to take it all in.    Fruits . . . vegetables . . . lobster . . . fish . . . take advantage of all that’s here when you make your choices for what to make or what to pick off the menu.  Even the local rosé would give the south of France a little run for their euros.  It makes you feel more summery just having summer’s gifts right there.   Don’t be afraid to stop at the roadside stands. Those extra treats will come in handy when you find yourself interminably stuck in traffic on Route 27.
  • Prepare to share:   The Hamptons are a more is merrier kind of place, just the way I like it.  There always seems to be room at a house for another overnight guest, room at the table for another couple to drop by, room for a few more on the beach blanket. If you’re staying at someone’s house, bring hostess gifts for more than you think.  Some parts of summer are best enjoyed with others and in this respect, the Hamptons nail it.

All my love,