La-La Land

Born and raised in Southern California,  I know well the moniker “La-La Land” to describe Los Angeles (also the old joke about California being the granola capital of the country: home of flakes, fruits and nuts, which somehow, hmmm,  I’ve never found too funny).

And then I moved to the Hamptons.

Chris and I joke with guests of A Butler’s Manor that when it comes to real estate, LA has nothing on the Hamptons: THIS is “la-la land,” the land of unreal estate. I call the full color, perfect-bound magazines of listings that the real estate companies slather all over town “the funny pages,” because it’s not your market unless you happen to be in that 0.01 percentile we all keep hearing about.

Now granted, the real estate market here in the Hamptons also took a bit of a hit during the Great Recession of 2008-2009…it actually looked like we wouldn’t again see deals like the 2005 sale of Burnt Point in Wainscott ($45 million, cash) or the 2007 sale to financier Ron Baron of the 40-acre De Menil Carpenter estate on Further Lane in East Hampton ($103 million, a national record) ever again.

The local housing market for the rest of us may be resetting itself into more realistic territory, though I admit that much of the country would still experience sticker shock to know that there isn’t a cabin to be had east of the Shinnecock Canal for under $400,000. But as this article points out, unreal estate is still out there in case this is the week you win the lottery.

What boggles the mind is that in many cases, the new owner who shells out close to $30 million for his manse by the sea will probably throw another few mil into it to make it “livable.” Or even knock it down and rebuild it completely. That’s what Calvin Klein is doing with the property he bought on Meadow Lane in 2003 (though in his case, I believe whatever he builds on his oceanfront property will be an improvement on the house he tore down, which could be described as a castle built by a committee).

It just goes to show, there’s enough money in the world…just really poor distribution.

But it is sure fun to see!

Quote of the day: It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness. —Thomas Jefferson


First day of Autumn — hooray!! Not that the weather necessarily tells the story. Four of our guests are at the beach today, and temperatures are expected to be in the upper 70’s. Though that it slated to change tomorrow, with slightly cooler temps scheduled for the rest of the week.

A little chill in the early morning air? Dark skies at 5:30 AM? Pink clouds as the sun comes up? I love it. I love fall, and all the trappings…and I love the sense of calm that pervades the Hamptons as Fall settles in. Gone is the frenetic summer crowd, desperate to pack every second of fun into their weekend, worried about whether the party is starting somewhere without them. It is so much easier to relax when you appreciate that the hours when you can wear shorts are more limited. I’ve decorated the mantle for fall; I’ll add pumpkins in October. I just can’t let Halloween encroach on fall just yet…

And there is still so much to do. Up next weekend, Sept 28 & 29, is SEPTEMBERFEST, a celebration of arts and music and history and food in Southampton Village, beginning with a kickoff party on Friday night featuring the band New Life Crisis. Beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, there will be street musicians at various spots on Main Street, Job’s Lane, and Agawam Park, Taste of the Hamptons and a chowder contest in the park, a farmer’s market on the grounds of the Parrish Art Museum, arts and crafts activities, historical demonstrations, hayrides, rides in Wells Fargo’s iconic stagecoach, concerts, art shows, and much more. The village will be HOPPING! Come visit and enjoy it!

Actually, the Parrish Art Museum has vacated the property on Job’s Lane, and will celebrate its grand opening in its brand new quarters in Water Mill the weekend of November 11.  Owned by the village, the grand old building that housed the art museum for over 110 years will continue to be a cultural hub for Southampton. And speaking of new tenants, the old Rogers Memorial Library was sold late this summer. It’s rumored that, following restorations to the historic Queen Anne structure, it will reopen possibly as retail space. And, drum roll….Pottery Barn has signed a lease on the grand corner building on Main Street and Hampton Road that housed Saks Fifth Avenue for 60 years. It will be great to have the beautiful building that anchors the village occupied once more!

We’ve had some fun shops come to town this year, and with a little more room to breathe this week, I wandered downtown to check them out. There’s a decided British note in the air in Southampton with shops such as Jack Wills and Grahame Fowler joining Ralph Lauren downtown. (Me, being an Anglophile, very much likes this, of course.) It looks like Ralph’s current line is very equestrian, always a great look, but for the real deal, look for your barn coat at Horse Haven on Hampton Road. And of course, there’s lots of end-of-season sale action happening.

September is definitely the best time to be in the Hamptons!