Sunday, May 21, 2023

Part I: Long Island, NY - 10+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in The Hamptons

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Pollock-Krasner House (photo: Helen A. Harrison)

It’s time to discover or re-discover some lovely places. While The Hamptons, on the South Fork of Long Island, New York, is often thought of as just a playground for the super-rich, there’s an amazing amount of culture from great art museums to magnificent, public gardens, plus impressive, historic buildings and, also, some terrific vineyards! Here’s a sampler to get you started.

THE HAMPTONS - East Hampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, etc.
To-Do List: Check out lovely gardens & museums; Visit local historic sites; Do a Wine Tasting; Hike in surrounding parks & nature conservancies; Go Horseback riding; or Boating & Fishing; Enjoy a Beach Day: Coopers Beach (Parking fee; facilities: concession, bathhouse, chair & umbrella rentals); Shop at local & designer boutiques; Dine in a variety of great eateries…and so much more!

LongHouse Reserve
133 Hands Creek Rd, East Hampton; Tel: 631/329-3568;
(Open: April-Dec: Wed-Sun, 
Jan-March: Sat & Sun: 12:30pm-5pm; Fee)
Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome (photo: Gary Mamay)
Without a doubt, LongHouse is one of the most enchanting sculpture gardens you'll ever have the pleasure to visit. The fantastic variety of plantings combined with a selection of groovy artwork make for a truly divine experience. The 16-arce estate was the home of renowned textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, hence the gardens—which he designed—have the look of expertly-patterned fabrics: a stunning mix of colors, textures, and forms. Strategically placed within the gardens are magnificent pieces by eminent, artistic creators such as Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono, Ai Weiwei, Sol LeWitt, Willem de Kooning, Dale Chihuly along with new artworks by Daniel Arsham, John Giorno, Beverly Pepper, & Prune Nourry. While there are several permanent pieces, the artwork changes from season to season as do the blooming plants & flowering trees. So, each time you return, you’ll see something new, but you won’t want to leave in the first place!

Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center
830 Springs Fireplace Rd., East Hampton; Tel: 631/324-4929
Pollock-Krasner Studio (photo: Helen A. Harrison)

(Open: May-Oct; Thurs-Sun; Visit by guided tour only, online reservation required in advance; Fee)
This area of Long Island was once a place where emerging artists could find an affordable, tranquil spot to live and paint. In 1945, the husband-and-wife artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner moved into a fisherman’s house built in 1879 with no central heating or indoor plumbing. Every time Pollock sold a painting, improvements were made to the house. Eventually, he turned the barn into his studio where he did many of his famous “drip” paintings such as Autumn Rhythm, Blue Poles, & Lavender Mist. After his death, Krasner used it as her studio. If you’re a fan, it’s a thrill to be in the rooms “were it happened.” Even if not, it’s fascinating to learn more about the modern, American artists’ community in eastern Long Island.

The Leiber Collection
LongHouse (photo: Robert Fu)

446 Old Stone Hwy, Springs, East Hampton
(Open: Wed, Sat-Sun, 1pm-4pm; Reserve Free tickets in advance)

This lovely, little jewel box gallery and sculpture garden was created for the delight of the community by the extremely-successful, handbag designer Judith Leiber and her modern-artist husband Gerson. It’s a charming spot to enjoy a moment of peace & quiet…and art!

Southampton History Museum
Tel: 631/283-2494 x 5;
Halsey House (photo: J.Carnegie)

The “museum” is not one building, but a collection of historic sites offering insight into daily life at different periods in Long Island’s history:
Halsey House & Garden
249 South Main St (Open: July-Oct; By appointment, Fee; Currently under renovation)
Built around 1683, 17th- & 18th-century furnishings & household items are on display in this lovely, saltbox-style, farmhouse with a Colonial herb garden.
Rogers Mansion
17 Meeting House Lane (Open: March-Dec, Wed-Sat, 11am-4pm; Fee)
This Gilded Age mansion remained in the William Rogers’ family through eight generations. Today, it’s decorated with furnishings from the Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian eras (1901-1910).
On the grounds, an Old Southampton Village has been recreated with historic structures including: a 1790 blacksmith’s shop, an 1825 barn, an 1830 one-room schoolhouse, an 1880 paint store, an 1890 carpentry shop, and a newly-restored 1890 carriage house now a thrift shop offering vintage items, furnishings & nicknacks.
Pelletreau Silver Shop80 Main St (Open: Year-round, Tues-Sun, 11am-6pm)
This 1686 trade shop was made famous by Elias Pelletreau, an acclaimed silversmith and celebrated patriot. In addition to crafting tankards and flatware, during the Revolutionary War, he organized the local militia. The tradition of silversmithing carries on today with the shop’s latest occupant, metalsmith and jewelery-designer Alyssa Saccente, offering pieces for sale as well as workshops in jewelry-making.

Coopers Beach (photo: Peetlesnumber1/WikiCommons)

Parrish Art Museum
279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill;
(Open: Thurs-Mon, 11am-5pm; Fee) 
- Modern, American artists featured in a Herzog & de Meuron designed building on 14 acres with outdoor sculpture.
Dia: The Dan Flavin Art Institute
23 Corwith Ave, Bridgehampton;
(Open: Fri-Sun, 12-3pm; 3:30-6pm; Free) - For Flavin fans: 9 fluorescent light sculptures on display.
Bridge Gardens
36 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton;
(Open: Daily, 10-4; Free)
- Five acres of manicured gardens.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
139 Sagg Rd, Sagaponack;
(Open: Daily, 11am-6pm: 
Online reservations in advance; Fee) - Offering casual to sophisticated wine tastings.

Where To Stay: In The Hamptons, there’s every kind of accommodation imaginable. Here’s a good place to start:
Southampton Inn
91 Hill St, Southampton; Tel: 631/283-6500;
This 90-room Inn is right in town, but has the feel of a resort with: all-weather tennis courts, a heated pool (May-Oct), a croquet lawn, badminton & volleyball, along with a shuffleboard court, bike rentals & a shuttle to Cooper’s Beach. The beds are Tempur-Pedic, the WiFi is free, and kids & pets are welcome. Also, Claude’s, an on-site restaurant, is open for breakfast & weekend brunch

Dine: There are all kinds of eateries offering several different cuisines. Here are a few recommended by the locals:
Union Burger Bar
40 Bowden Sq, Southampton; Tel: 631-377-3323;
This laidback spot is a great place to hang out with the locals, enjoy a fabulous burger made from antibiotic free, 100% Black Angus Beef (as well as tasty vegan & vegetarian options), and be welcomed with open arms by the super-friendly wait staff. If you’re in the mood for sushi, there’s also the adjoining Union Sushi Steak.
Golden Pear, Southampton, East Hampton & Bridgehampton;

Fellingham’s Sports Bar, 17 Cameron St, Southampton;

Plaza Café, 61 Hill St, Southampton;
75 Main, Southampton;
Sip & Soda, 40 Hampton Rd, Southampton;
Pelletreau Silver Shop (photo: J.Carnegie)

Getting There
: Drive, it’s about 2hrs from New York City, when there’s no traffic jams. Or, relax and take the Hampton Jitney bus. In Southampton, there’s an Enterprise car rental right at the Jitney stop (395 Country Rd, 39A). The train is less expensive, but less frequent, LIRR.

There are so many wonderful areas to explore on Long Island that you can visit time-and-again and still find more cool places to discover. Next stop: North Shore.

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