It’s crunch time! Memorial Day weekend kicks off Friday evening, bringing a flurry of activity to the Hamptons. With an influx and visitors and so much on the agenda, there won’t be time to do much else until after Labor Day. Each day this week DansPapers.com rounds up 10 activities to find time for before the Hamptons season officially begins.
Go for a Run
Right now, runners can safely rule the roads. Cars are few and far between on streets closest to the beaches, making running a peaceful experience.
Come summer, you’ll have to break your stride in order to avoid breaking something worse…
Don’t get us wrong—running is an excellent summertime activity in the Hamptons. But the number of places where you can run without looking over your shoulder constantly diminishes when Memorial Day weekend hits.
Tour the Vineyards
Now is a great time to go on a tasting tour of East End vineyards.
Sure, you can hit up one or two vineyards on a summer Saturday and have lots of fun, but the crowds will force you to call it a day after that. Pre-summer, not only will servers have more time to give your group individual attention, there will be less traffic for your designated driver between wineries.
Stop day dreaming about vacationing in California’s wine country and instead take a weekend to sip Long Island wine across both forks.
Shop the Clearance Sales
While summer may be on your mind, many shopkeepers are still dealing with the last vestiges of winter—their cold-weather stock.
Gloves, knitted hats, heavy coats and more are now on sale, as stores want to clear the shelves to make way for summer apparel. And don’t forget hardware stores, which are replacing snow shovels with gardening tools.
Visit local business districts and peruse the racks on the sidewalks, or pop your head into the year-round retail stores to find the best deals of the year. Sure, you don’t need a wool scarf at the moment, but when next winter comes around you’ll be glad you have it and even more glad that you saved so much money.
Visit the Parrish Art Museum
Now in its third year of operation in Water Mill, the Parrish Art Museum is a fantastic art destination year round, but why wait until summer to tour this first-rate cultural institution? The museum is constantly showing selections from its impressive permanent collection, as well as a rotating schedule of focused exhibitions, lectures, films and much more.
As demonstrated by its incredible collection, curation and even the long-term loan of Roy Lichtenstein’s massive “Brushstroke” sculpture, installed out front, the Parrish stands among a world class list of art museums—and it’s right here! Stop putting off your visit before traffic, crowds and the busy pace of summer give you further reason to delay.
Go to a New York Baseball Game
Heading to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium for a weekend ballgame is a treat for any fan, but getting there early in the season has some added benefits. Yes, you’ll find better seats available now than you’ll get when the action really heats up. Sure, the traffic getting into or out of the Hamptons—or either stadium—will escalate with each Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the calendar as we toward summer. But you also want to get to a game before…
• The crowds waiting for a Shake Shack burger at Citi Field are bigger than those at Main Beach and Coopers Beach combined
• The Mets are mathematically eliminated
• Your summer schedule is filled with root, root, rooting for your favorite Hamptons Collegiate Baseball team!
Hike the Paumanok Path
The Hamptons is well known for its beautiful beaches, but our natural splendor doesn’t end there. Known as the backbone of the eastern Suffolk County trail system, the Paumanok Path is 125 miles of hiking goodness from Rocky Point to Montauk, going through five towns, including Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton and East Hampton.
While walking the entire length of this nature and recreation trail may be a bit much for most, there are plenty of spots to get on and off between Riverhead and Montauk. It’s a great way to get into swimsuit shape, while also enjoying some areas of the East End you’ve yet to experience.
Did you know the trail was inspired by 19th-century Montaukett Indian Stephen Talkhouse, who was known for his 30-mile roundtrip walks from Montauk to East Hampton and Sag Harbor? The famous Native American was actually buried off the Paumanok trail in Theodore Roosevelt County Park near Montauk. Whether you bring friends, family or walk it alone—Talkhouse’s spirit will be by your side every step of the way.
Go Seal Spotting
Grey seals and harbor seals are regular visitors to the Hamptons this time of year, and occasionally harp seals and others are spotted as well. But no matter which exact species of “merdog” they are, they’re all cute animals that are fun to observe. They like to sun themselves on Hamptons beaches and jetties and have a few favorite hang outs, such as out in Montauk or at Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton. Nature lovers organize “seals hikes” in the late winter and the spring to spot seals lounging.
Many times, seals that are just resting at the beach alarm beachgoers, who assume the seals must be in distress. Some have even tried to push the seals back into the water. This is ill-advised, as it can hurt both human and seal. The best thing to do is call the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation hotline at 631-369-9829. Marine biologists keep records of seals movements for research purposes. And if a seal is actually in distress, it will be transported to the foundation’s facility for rehabilitation.
If you have no luck spotting a seal by chance, attend one of the Riverhead Foundation’s seal releases–usually at the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bay–when a rehabbed seal is let back into the wild. Visit riverheadfoundation.org for more information on these public events.
Shop at Hamptons Yard Sales
You never know what you’ll find at a Hamptons yard sale—or who the sellers might be.
In 2011, Liza Minnelli held a yard sale at a friend’s house in East Hampton and sold, among other things, Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Even if there isn’t a celeb behind the sale, chances are you’ll find all sorts of great stuff you didn’t know you needed. Flower pots, collectable drinking glasses, DVDs, band T-shirts, sports cards and memorabilia, antique tools and vintage photographs—everything you can think of and then some.
Yes, there will be plenty of yard sales going on every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But if you want to check out all the best stuff before it’s gone, now is the time to get out there and look. Snatch up those treasures while you still can.
Walk Your Dog on a Hamptons Beach
Before long, our famous Hamptons beaches will be crawling with people, but there won’t be a dog in sight. Each summer, a litany of rules go into effect, or stop being ignored, at most area beaches. Ticketing begins for cars without permits, beach driving is prohibited before 6 p.m., fires are a no-go and, maybe worst of all, dogs are no longer permitted during regular daytime hours.
Many would agree that walking a dog on the beach is one of our greatest local pleasures—for owners and our four-legged friends! So, take advantage of this final opportunity for complete dog-walking freedom and take Fido to the surf and sand. Your pup will relish in the sights and sounds, and the salty sea air, and you’ll both get some much-needed exercise. The light is beautiful this time of year and the weather is usually just right for a leisurely stroll.
Just remember to be responsible and represent yourself well for the good of all local dog owners: Keep your best friend on a leash and clean up his poop, even when no one is watching! Lots of Hamptons beaches provide doggy clean-up bags and plenty of trash cans to deposit them. Heck, take extra bags and double up if the thought of handling waste disturbs you—they’re free.
When it comes to doo doo, a failure to do due diligence could ruin it for everyone, even in the off-season.
Go to Happy Hour
It’s no secret that prices inflate during summer in the Hamptons. A coffee or a sandwich can cost 20 percent more in July than it costs in January at some establishments. And in addition to food and beverages going up in price, some daily specials go up in smoke after Memorial Day.
Now’s the time to hit up Happy Hour at your favorite bars. Enjoy two-fers, complimentary bar food and even some live music. Sure, many pubs and restaurants will continue to observe Happy Hour in the summer, but the days and hours may be severely curtailed. And because the crowds will be smaller now, you can also get to know your bartenders. It will make ordering a cinch come summer—just nod and your tab will be open.
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