It’s Time to Turn On the Off Season at Southampton Inn
Though you may not be able to sunbathe in a bikini at one of the area’s spectacular beaches, winter and early spring can be a glorious time to enjoy Southampton.
Yet, despite its abundant beauty and serenity, the magical ambience of Southampton Village in the off-season has been a well-kept secret among residents and business owners. Other local hamlets, notably Sag Harbor, Greenport, Montauk and Westhampton Beach, have proved successful in bringing in visitors for various cultural events and other happenings, notes Dede Gotthelf, owner of Southampton Inn.
“Southampton doesn’t have a central entity that can tout the wonders of this historic, beautiful village that we are all a part of,” says Gotthelf.
To attract visitors to their village, Gotthelf and other business owners, elected officials and residents have come together monthly since December to brainstorm ways to drum up the lagging business, calling their new initiative “Turn On the Off-Season.”
“We all acknowledge that Southampton Village becomes very quiet in what we fondly refer to as the ‘off-season,’” says Gotthelf, noting that until now, everyone had been working on their own to promote their events. “We just think it’s very important to centralize, come together and create a critical mass that will push people into the village between November and April.”
Since its inception, the Turn On the Off-Season campaign has garnered the enthusiastic support of Mayor Bill Manger and Deputy Mayor Gina Arresta, notes Gotthelf.
To enhance the entrance to Southampton Village, the Southampton Village Board of Trustees added new lighting and landscaping to the intersection of County Road 39 and the railroad trestle.
They’re also working on completing a bicycle path that winds its way around the village, and this past summer added a bicycle stand conveniently stationed at Coopers Beach.
“Bicycling, going to events at the Southampton History Museum, historic walking tours and driving into a village with beautiful plantings and a different type of elegant look coming into the village are all part of trying to restore some of the timeless elegance that’s at the very essence of Southampton,” says Gotthelf.
PROMOTIONS AT THE INN
After peak season, many seasonal homeowners leave the village, returning to New York City or Palm Beach and other warmer climes.
“We lose a large part of the population in the off-season and can’t really sustain the restaurants, nonprofits, athletic pursuits, shopping, et cetera,” says Gotthelf, noting that bringing in more tourists can help make up for the marked seasonal drop in foot traffic around the village.
To attract visitors to the area, Southampton Inn returns this year to pre-pandemic monthly promotions, providing visitors some fun and whimsical reasons to stay in one of its 90 rooms. At full capacity, the inn brings in about 200 people who can then roam around the village, where they can dine, shop and take advantage of various events around town.
February at the inn is Romance Month, where the first night costs $250 and includes Champagne, chocolates, and a Cupid coupon for continental breakfast, plus one or two extra nights going for $125 each.
During Presidents Week — February 19 to 23 — families get 24% off for connecting rooms.
Throughout March, there’ll be various celebrations geared towards Women’s History Month, and pets, which are usually charged $55 per night, stay free.
In April, there’s April Fool’s, where a room goes for $10, but the bottle of Poland Spring water costs $200, and a Single Parents Weekend where single parents can enjoy dinner, games and an array of outdoor activities.
PLENTY TO DO
Despite all its offerings, Southampton Inn is not a huge resort with endless activities, but a welcoming venue where guests can take advantage of its central location in Southampton Village.
Visitors can choose from a number of restaurants and shops, enjoy exhibits and events at the Southampton Arts Center, Southampton Cultural Center and Southampton African American Museum, go on spooky ghost walks through the Southampton History Museum, and skate at Southampton Ice Rink.
“You can also walk on the beach. You can take yoga lessons outside in a down parka, instead of your stretchy yoga pants and T-shirt,” says Gothelf, adding, “We want to use this initiative to remind people and inspire people to know what they can do.”
Anyone interested can head to southamptoninn.com and enter their email to receive the “Inn and Around” newsletter, which helps to keep apprised of events at museums, restaurant and store promotions and other happenings around the village. And everyone is welcome to attend the next “Turn On the Off-Season” meeting at the Southampton Inn on February 7, from 5–7 p.m. RSVP to [email protected].
When she bought the inn a quarter century ago, Gotthelf could never have imagined the pull Southampton would have on her.
“For something that was meant to be a purchase, fix-up, sell and move on with my life on Wall Street, this has been 25 years of an entirely different trajectory,” she says. “And it’s been fun!”
Adds Gotthelf, there’s no better time than now and the next few months to explore the East End, sans the hustle and bustle and mind-numbing traffic.
“It’s a beautiful, quiet time to appreciate the natural beauty,” she says.