Christmas break is the perfect time to explore the Hamptons and the North Forks for fun activities for kids and the kid in all of us.
An afternoon of ice skating is the perfect wintertime treat. Three favorite spots are East Hampton’s Buckskill Winter Club (where you’ll find the only refrigerated, NHL regulation-sized ice rink in the Hamptons), the Mitchell Park Ice Skating Rink in Greenport—especially at sunset—and the ice rink at Southampton Golf Range, back for its second winter of public skating and hockey. More info at buckskillwinterclub.com, villageofgreenport.org, southamptongolfrange.com.
Where to Head When It’s Time to Sled
Don’t wait until the first serious snowfall to beging thinking about where to sled. Knowing where to go sledding on the East End is something akin to folklore, valued information passed from generation to generation. Our readers rave about such spots as Reeves Beach in Riverhead, but find even more joy in the wonderful irony for young and old alike of going to school on a snow day. Take your toboggans and tubes and saucers and head to the elementary schools of East Quogue and Westhampton Beach, Pierson High School in Sag Harbor or across the street from Mattituck High School on the North Fork. Share your sledding photos here!
Unleash Your Inner Artists
Touring the Parrish Art Museum is a wonderful way to expose children to art, especially when that art can immediately inspire the creative process. At the monthly Open Studio at Parrish, families can learn about the art on view in the galleries as docents take families on a tour that’s followed by a session in the Studio where kids can create their own art through hands-on activities with a variety of art materials and techniques. More info at parrishart.org.
Starry, Starry Nights
Crisp, clear winter nights on the East End make for some incredible stargazing, and few spots indulge everyone’s interstellar interests like the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold. Long Island’s oldest public observatory (established in 1927), the Custer Institute offers frequent lectures, classes, concerts, art exhibits and other special events, but the real fun comes when they open to the public every Saturday evening from dark until midnight, when you can get a tour of the facilities and see the night sky through their powerful telescopes. More info at custerobservatory.org.
Head to the End…No, the Other End
You’ll surely head to The End to see the Montauk Lighthouse all lit up for the holidays, but there’s also wintertime wonder to be found at the end of the North Fork as well. Bundle up and head to Orient State Park, where an outdoor adventure includes beachcombing, taking in views of Gardiners Island and relaxing in the serenity of the season. More info at nysparks.com.