Labor Day comes and the summer folks who frequent the Hamptons head to their homes, their careers and their schools. The traffic of Labor Day on west Route 27 always has many vehicles loaded with bicycles, surfboards, kayaks, and beach chairs. The summer people leave not because the summer magic of the Hamptons is over but because the circle of their lives leads them out of the Hamptons.
For me personally that rotation ended in 2003. I just stayed and just never drove west. That is a story for another article because this column is all about the majesty of the Hamptons in September.
Last week it was 90 degrees and I went to Atlantic Beach in Amagansett. I parked right up by the edge of the trail and walked over the dune down towards the beach. There were only about 50 people visible. The sounds of the waves crashing into the surf and gulls reveling was all you could hear. When I went in for a swim I was alone, it was quite different then Labor Day weekend, that’s for sure.
I took my wife, Cindi, for dinner last Wednesday to World Pie in Bridgehampton. This was after she did a Tarot Card party in Sag Harbor. When we went into the establishment the hostess said, “Pick any table.” After we were seated within a second we had one waiter pouring water, one bringing bread while still another took our drink order. We usually wait perhaps ten minutes for such service during the season.
After my daily sunset sails in Gardiner’s Bay I enjoy a nice hot macchiato at the East Hampton Village Starbucks. However during the season, finding nearby parking then waiting on a line while people think, decide, think again, then order sometimes makes getting the coffee an ordeal. Lately I have been parking right in front of Starbucks and when I enter I am usually next to be served.
Then we come to the favorite topic of everybody who lives, visits, works or vacations in the Hamptons: the traffic! I never travel east on Route 27 between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. or west on Route 27 between 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. ever in any season on weekdays. There is always a parade of traffic at those times. However other than that after Labor Day driving is pleasant with just a few limited “situations” that might make your blood pressure rise.
For the golfers and tennis players the best tee times and court time in post Labor Day September now are always doable. Even weekends are tame compared to those disappointing phone calls when you cannot tee off or get on a court when your schedule allows.
Lastly let me address the absolute beauty of the East End in September. You can drive on your favorite “country roads” as farm crops are being harvested right off the ocean. The scenic farm stands located at quaint intersections are loaded with fresh produce. The tone is so laid-back and the off-season feel is just so relaxing. The many beaches while always beautiful are now so personal because there are with only a handful of sun and sea bathers. The locals I know personally claim this time is what they consider the true essence of their hometown.
As I was sailing in from Gardiner’s Bay, Sunday Labor Day evening after sunset, it seemed every light of every home on Hedges Wall was on. Then when I entered 3 Mile Harbor the same was true but the effect was even more intense with the homes so closer together. The harbor had a Christmas lights on Christmas Eve feeling and it was magical. Last night when I came in after the sunset only one out of ten homes had the lights on. Under a carpet of bright stars along with a crescent moon that too had a magic affect one that personifies September in the Hamptons.