Hamptons Epicure: Antique Hunting in the East End Wilds

Inside the Antique Shop in Bridgehampton
Inside the Antique Shop in Bridgehampton, Photo: Jarno Huttunen

Weekend antiquing in the country is a centuries-old pastime that has achieved legendary status on the East End. In earlier decades a lot of what you’d find here was outmoded farm equipment and kitchenalia. There’s still a good deal of that but there’s also a wealth of fine European pieces, original art and a host of shops that specialize in just about any thing you might crave. As a discerning customer—and a woman of many desires—I’ve developed a short list of favorite haunts.

At the top of my list is the Antiques Center of Southampton. Here are more than 30 vendors offering their top notch wares—everything from statuary to quilts to flags to chandeliers to old paint brushes arranged in attractive, inviting displays. I especially enjoy visiting Respectable Collectibles at the front of the building and catching up with proprietress and dealer Diane Fedak.

Next up is English Country Antiques in Bridgehampton and Southampton. They offer a lot of quality pieces with a luscious backdrop of one of my other favorite categories of things—interior design materials. This creates a very fine mix of lamps, rugs, furniture and expert staff advice.

The Antique Shop in Bridgehampton doesn’t need a big sign out front. Its amazingly detailed, luxe window displays serve as a bright beacon. Its clientele is devoted to its small group of dealers. Barbara Trujillo’s jewelry counters overflow with the bling you need. Sometimes I get a hankering for a big, chunky piece of turquois jewelry and Trujillo has the remedy. Be sure to check out the sports memorabilia, medical office equipment and one-of-a-kind conversation pieces. I met longtime Creative Director of Vogue magazine Grace Coddington at the Antique Shop a couple years ago. That felt right.

I like to check in at Black Swan Antiques in Sag Harbor Village regularly. A look around tells me what’s trending—currently it’s lengths of rope and metal industrial pieces. I know anything I buy there will look hip in my home and likely hold its value (unless my family takes to playing a lot of tug-o-war).

Sage Street Antiques on, you guessed it, Sage Street in Sag Harbor, is a favorite because, though not large, the holdings are well-edited and always tasteful. They include a room filled with vintage kitchen wares and an impressive number of pieces of artisan pottery as well as fine china and glass pieces. When I downsized my home a couple years ago I sold some pieces to owner Eliza Werner. She rejected some, saying “too cute for me.” Fair enough.

On the North Fork I have two standout favorites. Both bring out the rummager in me—I’m more than willing to dig for treasure.

Antiques & Old Lace in Cutchogue is good for whatever strikes my fancy—thankfully they have lots of vintage books at hand for my husband to leaf through as I delve. I haven’t actually purchased any old lace there yet, but that’s okay. My canning jars, quilt tops and religious kitsch pieces keep me warm at night. Bonus: Coffee Pot Cellars tasting room is right next-door. Antiques, wine, loving husband—Cutchogue is my reminder of everything good that this world has to offer.

Lydia’s Antiques & Stained Glass on Main Street in Greenport doesn’t just have the collectibles you need—it has a lot of them. I’ve found that I can go over the whole place twice in one visit and still find new-to-me things. Love that.

Have I awakened your inner collector? Get out there and shop—eBay is for couch potatoes—you’re an adventurer!

See you out on the antique hunting trail.


Assorted treasures at the Southampton Antiques Center
Assorted treasures at the Southampton Antiques Center, Photo: Oliver Peterson

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