The car windows are open and you are driving on a truly country road past wide-open farmland with a view of the Atlantic Ocean just off in the distance. The sun is heating up and while you drive on this back road you pass a couple riding a bicycle with the wonderment of day three of their well-earned summer vacation. You slow down a as mother deer crosses the road haphazardly with her young clumsily hopping behind her, then at once they all dash off into the brush. You come to a stop sign only to witness a car with someone staring at his phone GPS truly not sure whether to turn right, go straight, or go left. Finally you are forced to stop as more wild turkeys then you have ever seen cross the road. I love summertime in the Hamptons.
There are the nuisances of overcrowded weekend with impossible village parking situations such as “red hot” Sag Harbor is experiencing this summer. In fact, on my way to the Bay Street Gala Cocktail Party this last weekend, I overheard a woman standing in front of the American Hotel, perhaps while waiting for a dinner table to become available, say to her companion, “Sag Harbor is the new Montauk, but for people with jobs, homes and families.” For the last seven or so years Montauk has been the “buzz” summer location on the East End where almost every night is Saturday night, but Sag Harbor is having quite a summer busy season in 2018. It seems Sag Harbor is now the place to be in the evening.
Because now at sixty-something I am retired so I get to sample the lifestyles of the hamlets of the East End for my passion which is writing articles, columns and reviews for websites. I love and enjoy the festive nature everyone dresses for both a Hamptons summer day and night. Women wear colorful and daring sun dresses with amazing shoes; men wear statement shorts and tee shirts or the uniform issue polo shirts in the evening. There is no actual dress code so quite frankly you never know if you are walking past a billionaire, a Hamptons wannabe, or day-tripper! Yet more often than not they are smiling. Summer does that to most people anywhere, but I believe more so out east.
The summer brings us lobster rolls, cocktail parties, barbecues, beach days with swims and then the summer evening walks through town. You pass people dining outside or patiently waiting for their tables. Many sit on benches eating ice cream or sipping coffee taking in the energy. Parents with young children, couples holding hands and older folks slowly making their way.
Having been a 24/7 beagle owner I enjoy watching the dogs on display with their proud owners in every Hamptons hamlet. My dog was a Montauk dog that roamed most of time off his leash on rocky ocean beaches far from the downtown area. But “Bo” (my beagle) loved to people watch on early summer evenings with me while on his leash. He so enjoyed the Sag Harbor Village walks, the East Hampton Village walks and Amagansett ones too. For obvious reasons “Bo” loved stopping in front of the Stephen Talkhouse after 11 p.m. on summer Saturday nights to receive a lifetime’s worth of attention from the many in line to get in. One Wednesday summer night “Bo” was invited by the Talkhouse management to sit on the stage to hear me sing a karaoke song! He sat up and watched from the stage at my feet the wild scene below us without bolting anywhere. When I finished singing he looked up at me and off we went outside to continue the summer night’s walk. I miss “Bo.”
Yes, on some summer days, the Hamptons villages are overcrowded. Yes, at times the traffic at particular intersections becomes intolerable. Yes, the beautiful beaches do become perhaps overcrowded, but still that’s what happens in the Hamptons for in the summertime. Many locals rent their homes in the summer and vacation elsewhere and they get paid good money to do it, but you see them back in September realizing there just isn’t anywhere that is quite like the summertime in the Hamptons.