Keep Calm, It’s Summer in the Hamptons

Crab on pier, photo by Kelly Laffey
Crab on pier, photo by Kelly Laffey

Every East End local has a love-hate relationship with Memorial Day weekend. The thought of beach days ahead is indescribably exciting, but the “love” becomes a sort of rallying cry: Just get through this weekend and then it’s actually summer! Just get through this weekend and then we can go to one of those new restaurants on a Wednesday!

Last year, I said that my goal for Memorial Day weekend was to not get into my car. This year, I upped the ante. The plan was to not leave the house. I’d channel my inner sloth.

Maybe start a blog—“Adventures Doing Nothing Over the Most Popular Weekend in the Hamptons.”
Living out here is awesome, especially in the summer. But as that fateful weekend approached, I could only think that Memorial Day is like this: all the downsides of the crowds, none of the perks of true beach weather. Clearly the rest of the world does not agree.

The best-laid plans…oft go awry, which is good. Because while peaceful, my plan also sounded insufferably boring and way too bitter.

I recently received an email from friends and former Wake Forest track teammates who were hoping to visit that weekend. A change of attitude was clearly necessary.

First order of business: Do everything in my power to make sure that Memorial Day weekend brings sunshine.

Second order: Modify my goal. Plan to enjoy a Memorial Day weekend in the Hamptons. It would be like a staycation. I was pumped.

Even more so when I received this text on May 17: “Haha OMG just looked at Wikipedia…how did I just realize that you live year-round in the Hamptons and we’re spending Memorial Day in the Hamptons?”

Here’s to enjoying all the East End has to offer this weekend, including and despite the chaotic, beautiful craziness that screams “Summer. Is. Here.”

Be outside. Be barefoot in the sand. Barefoot on the grass. Enjoy the drive from Orient Point to Southampton. Get stuck behind a tractor. Take the Shelter Island ferries. Bike to the beach. Go for a run to the beach. Enjoy how flat, wide and sporadically shaded the roads are out here. Then, go for a run on the beach and end our run in the beach.

Stand up paddleboard. Play Kadima on the beach. Kayak in Mecox Bay. Enjoy live music at the Wölffer Wine Stand, Friday and Saturday. Drink Wölffer Rosé. Turn Wölffer Rosé into Sangria. Drive with the windows down and country music turned up. Or listen to tunes from East End locals. Jimmy Buffett. Billy Joel.

Take the Long Island Rail Road to Montauk, and then Hamptons Free Ride to the village. Barbeque. Make a beach bonfire. Eat the first hotdog of summer. Drink summer beer, a brewski from the Montauk Brewing Company and Southampton Double White. Play mini golf at the Putt n’ Putt. Pedal boat in Fort Pond. Pack a beach picnic. Grab a cup of joe from the Hampton Coffee Company. Or the Golden Pear. Stock up on Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. Take in a sunset. Catch a sunrise. Walk into Southampton Village. Shop a Memorial Day sale. Dress up and get down at the Southampton Social Club. Sip a cocktail outside at Banzai Burger. Go to the unplanned but inevitable afterparty at the Publick House. Munch on an award-winning burger from LT Burger and lobster eggs benedict from Pierre’s. Pretend Montauk Highway is Rue Montauk. Watch the boats come into the harbor at Dockside. Grab breakfast on the beach, sponsored by Goldberg’s Bagels. Order real New York pizza. And garlic knots. And if it rains, tune in to all the classics that have been filmed out here: a Friends trip to Montauk; Sex and the City riding the Hampton Jitney; and George Costanza’s “Hamptons tomatoes.” Note to self: Buy fresh produce from a farmers market or farm stand.

It’s all about the simple pleasures that somehow turn fabulous when you’re on the East End.

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