In an attempt to mitigate disappointment and/or sticker shock during your visit to the Hamptons, here, culled from years of overheard comments from visitors (ours and otherwise) is the lowdown of what you need to know:
Yes, it is expensive here. That applies to lodging, dining, drinks, transportation, and tickets to summer benefits. Shopping is not necessarily more expensive than, say, NYC, though our guests have reported cool finds and occasional great deals. Yes, there are a lot of shops that also can be found on Madison or Worth Avenues or on Rodeo Drive. If you aren’t in the market for a Cartier watch this weekend, hey, that’s what window shopping is all about.
Occasionally it rains here like anywhere else (except California)–even sometimes (gasp!) on weekends. On drizzly days there are still things to do that don’t involve the beach. (My personal favorite is to go wine tasting.)
Taxis rip you off because they aren’t metered and there are no set pricing rules. And Uber just got banned in East Hampton Town unless the operators live in town. If you don’t drive, be sure and budget for this. And be prepared to call for a quote from a taxi company before hiring it. (If you are staying with us at A Butler’s Manor and plan to arrive by train or Hampton Jitney, make sure to let us know so we can pick you up from the station and save you the taxi fare…recently quoted at $12!!)
There are no “early bird” dinners. Occasionally–mostly out of high season–there are some restaurants who do prix fixe menus before, say, 6:30 PM midweek. Never on Saturday nights.
No, you can’t get a reservation at Nick & Toni’s on a Saturday night unless your name regularly appears in boldface type in the Shiny Sheet mags or is synonymous with high box office returns.
All the restaurants here do fish. It’s what we grow here. (Exception: Salmon, found on nearly everyone’s menu, does NOT grow here.) It’s a matter of style or cuisine or both how they prepare it. Do you want a whole branzino, a glazed piece of cod, a casual lobster with the plastic bib and crackers? We can help direct you.
“I just want simple food.” Just plain grilled fish/chicken/whatever is on almost no one’s menu. (Here’s an exception.) Most restaurants can make it for you if asked. Let’s face it, with limited space on a menu, chefs prefer to spotlight their more complicated presentations.
Many restaurants, and all the trendy ones, are loud–on purpose. And often dark. And the tables are often very close together. The apparent thinking is that noise equals an exciting, happening place. If you’d rather enjoy your own conversation over that of others, we have some suggestions for places that are quieter. You probably won’t run into a boldface name there though.
“Who has a house out here?” Yes, there are celebrities here. More in East Hampton than in Southampton. No, they don’t want to take a selfie with you. Thanks to the papparazzi, there are now online lists of where they live so that folks can stalk them. It’s unfair because everybody deserves to have some time off, but I guess the media’s fascination with celebrities has determined they shouldn’t get that break.