The gift of anticipation

Admit it. Ever since the COVID-19 lockdown began, you’ve done so much online shopping that your Amazon Prime delivery guy is now on your holiday gratuity list.

And now it’s the holiday season and you’ve got every possible thing you want, so what is there left to give each other?

Here’s an idea. Give the gift of anticipation: a Gift Certificate to a getaway at A Butler’s Manor.

Let them anticipate the opportunity to escape the confines of everyday life. Anticipate being in the Hamptons, miles away from the busy crowds, breathing fresh clean air. Because with only five immaculate guest rooms, A Butler’s Manor offers a quiet, safe space for you to recharge and relax.

wood burning fire in fireplace with glass of red wine in foregroundAnticipate some contemplative time away. Romantic wood-burning fire, perfect for snuggling with a glass of wine?  Check. Empty offseason beaches for (mask-free!) walks? Check. Early morning coffee in your room, followed by gourmet seasonal breakfast at your own private table in our dining room? Check.

You can feel good not only about your great taste in gifts (!) but that you’re supporting us small business owners, especially during this seriously trying year.

Give the gift that Amazon can’t deliver, but we can…the anticipation of a tranquil, much-needed getaway that creates memories that don’t expire or go out of style. Give a gift certificate to A Butler’s Manor. Call us or click here today and we’ll make it happen!

Stay Safe. Stay Small. Stay Inn.

Join the club

It started out as a joke when a room wasn’t available for the entire span of time that a guest wanted to book, necessitating a change of rooms during their visit.

“You’re joining the Sleep Around Club,” we’d tell them. “The elite club of people who have slept in every guest room at A Butler’s Manor.”

Then it became something we told repeat guests whose previous room wasn’t available for their requested dates. It was quite the inside joke: “You’re part of our Sleep Around Club now!”

Then last October as they said goodbye, lively repeat guests Joanne and Mark commented. “See you next year! It will be our final room for the Sleep Around Club!”

Sure enough! So when they booked their annual weekend getaway for October, we added a complimentary Celebration package to mark the occasion, and as usual, thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them during their stay.

“How many of us are there in the club?” Joanne asked, on checkout. “Maybe there should be a plaque!”

What a great idea. While a few repeat guests had laughed upon booking that they were continuing to add credits towards their membership in our Sleep Around Club, I actually hadn’t pulled up the records to ascertain just how many people there were in the club to date.

Now I have: There are seven esteemed members of the club, of which Joanne and Mark are now our most recent members. And there are twelve repeat guests who are one room away from the honor. (Think you’re one of them? Drop me a line and I’ll tell you which room you’re missing!)

To be clear, we are gratified by the return of many other repeat guests, some whom have come far more often than five times (since there are five rooms in the inn). Some have a favorite room. Others have specific requests, such as a tub, or a king-sized bed, or a third person traveling with them (automatically a Villefranche booking). But the members of the Club are largely comprised of those who have actively sought out a room new to them, just to experience A Butler’s Manor from a slightly different perspective. Since we worked hard to give each room its own personality, I appreciate their curiosity and confidence in us.

Yep, I’m going to order a plaque to hang in our upstairs hall to honor the few, the proud, the intrepid…the members of the Sleep Around Club at A Butler’s Manor!

Start (or continue!) your membership today by booking a visit! Join the club!

Hike the Hamptons, and Bounce Back in March!

wooden bridge into woodsIt’s been a mild winter on the East End of Long Island and though, as they say in financial advisor ads, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns,” we’re starting to hope that we might make it through March without the dreaded Winter’s Last Hurrah snowstorm.

As the Vernal Equinox (this year: March 19) looms in sight, I start thinking about lacing up the hiking shoes and looking for signs of Spring on the deserted hiking trails that ring the Hamptons. Because what can beat a peaceful walk in Nature with the one you love (and no one else around)?

Off-the-charts good hiking, with designated trails that range from one mile to over eight miles long, is the Mashamuet Preserve, which encompasses one-third (!) of Shelter Island, is especially comprehensive and scenic. Montauk’s Hither Hills and Walking Dunes trails are renowned especially for their contrast of woodland and dune trails that open onto spectacular ocean vistas, but Chris’s and my personal favorites are those in and around Northwest Woods in East Hampton. Want specifics? Check out a list here.

And if March conjures up imabasketball on empty outdoor courtges of basketball to you, we’ve got a new spin on the ball: MARCH MADNESS BOUNCEBACK! Join us anytime during the month of March, and for each night you stay, we’ll give you an envelope with a special prize inside which will be valid on a future visit in 2020.  Prizes include:

  • A bottle of champagne
  • Charcuterie board and wine
  • Set of 2 etched ABM wine glasses
  • ABM bathrobe
  • 20% OFF your stay
  • $100 off your stay
  • $250 off your stay
  • $500 off your stay

You’re guaranteed to win one of the prizes, but the catch is: YOU CAN’T PEEK! Bring back the unopened envelope on your next stay in 2020 and we’ll open it together to see your prize!

And finally, as to Erin Go Brach and the wearin’ of the green…if you want to get your St. Paddy’s Day on in a big way, join us the weekend of March 20-22. The Hampton Bays St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off in that hamlet on Saturday, March 21, while the venerable Montauk St. Patrick’s Day Parade will celebrate on Sunday, March 22. (Hint: Leave your car at A Butler’s Manor on Sunday after check out and take the train to Montauk for the parade!)

Spring ahoy!bed of green clover for St. Patrick's Day

Valentine’s Day and Long Island Winterfest

With our house manager Deb McKay at the helm, A Butler’s Manor is open this winter and we’re pleased that guests have been enjoying the quiet beauty of the winter season with us. If you didn’t realize that you could get away to A Butler’s Manor in the offseason, I have two words for you: Valentine’s Day. It falls on a Friday this year and we look forward to helping you show that special someone a wonderfully romantic time! We’ll feature a split of champagne in your room along with a treat of petit fours and special flowers…just bring your true love. We have only a couple of rooms left for Valentine’s Day weekend, so book today!

people drinking wine at restaurant with wine barrelsAnd that’s not the only reason to visit this month. Long Island Winterfest kicks off this weekend — five full weeks of Long Island winery events, brewery tours, art shows, chef’s tasting menus, winter sunsets and live entertainment on the East End, from Greenport to Riverhead to Montauk. Hey, everyone knows the East End is great in the summer, but those on the inside track know how cool it is to enjoy all of the above without the summer crowds. A glass of Clovis Point’s Archeology while listening to the Hoodoo Loungers near the fire? Yes please!

And a taste of what we’ve got planned for March: MARCH MADNESS BOUNCE BACK! Watch this space for more information! (Or, if you can’t stand the suspense, click here to check our website for details!)

Come enjoy our “secret season” in Southampton! See you soon!

Kim, Chris, and Deb

Seeing How the Other Half Lives, Up Close and Personal

Impressive iron gates in front of a large propertyAnd while we’re on the subject of Downton Abbey…

First-time visitors to the area often wonder if, like Newport, Rhode Island, some of the “summer cottages” here in the Hamptons are available for tours.

Sadly, that isn’t something you can do here unless there happens to be a special fundraiser house tour like the one offered by the Southampton Historical Museum (scheduled this year for May 30, 2020), or the Designer Show House, benefiting Stony Brook/Southampton Hospital, which is open in July and August.

However, if the length of your visit permits, it IS possible to visit some really spectacular mansions without leaving Long Island.

Many years before we opened A Butler’s Manor, I worked for the Southampton Chamber of Commerce and fielded dozens of phone calls each day from people seeking tourist information. One of the questions I got about once a week was “Are the Hamptons the setting for The Great Gatsby?”

At the time of Fitzgerald’s iconic book, transportation options were far more limited and slower than today (although, Manhattan guests who regularly visit during the summer and arrive on Friday nights might argue with me). Rather, the Long Island setting fictionalized as “West Egg and East Egg” are located on the North Shore in Nassau County, and although many of the original houses of the Gilded Age have been demolished or repurposed, there still exist several which are open to the public and are well worth the additional trip to visit. Here’s a great article on who, what and where you can go to get your fix on how the other half lived!

And PS: If you weren’t able to join us for last month’s Downton Abbey Weekend, watch this space: we are coordinating with the Southampton Historical Museum to offer Chris’s presentation at Rogers Mansion sometime in May. It will be open to locals and guests alike…details to follow!

The Gift of a Getaway at A Butler’s Manor (perhaps the gift you give yourself!)

Sign that says Collect moments, not things"The holiday season is stressful The perfect gift — do you order it online and hope it arrives in time? Do you brave the malls with all that traffic?

Here’s a suggestion: Give experiences, rather than goods. Time away is always special and never gets old. Wrap up a gift certificate for a stay at A Butler’s Manor, available in any amount. Let our special brand of silver service pamper your recipients (or maybe yourself!) during a rejuvenating visit to the Hamptons at the time of their choosing.

Last-minute panic? We can even email your gift certificate as late as December 23, 2019!

Call or email us today and let us take some of the stress out of your holidays!

 

Meals and Deals in the Hamptons Off Season

food picture of lamb chops over a display of sauteed vegetablesLong Island Restaurant Week is coming up in a couple of weeks, which is always a great time to hit up Nick & Toni’s where a reservation during the summer is nearly impossible to come by. But here’s a secret: You can get similar deals on almost any weekday offseason at dozens of restaurants in the Hamptons–without the hype or the crowds. And chances are, you’ll have better service, more choices of entrees, and a far better experience.

Here are some of Chris’s and my favorites:

Plaza Cafe (Southampton) As much as I love Chef Doug’s signature Seafood Shepherds Pie, I can never finish it. So I love that Plaza is offering Half Portions/Half Price during the week! (Besides, if I’m really hungry, this option allows me to try two different entrees!)

Le Chef (Southampton) Famous for its Prix Fixe option. I never miss the chance to have their housemade Country Pate with toast points.

Bistro Ete (Water Mill) SO glad to see that Chef Arie is doing a prix fixe in this lovely restaurant. Especially love his escargot! AND the fruit-filled square ice cubes that grace the water glasses. A class act!

Bell &Anchor (Noyac/Sag Harbor) This lovely place, off the beaten path on Noyac Road overlooking a marina, is always a wonderful experience. The Duroc Pork Chop on the Prix Fixe menu is exceptional, but I also love their fish.

Fresno (East Hampton) Another restaurant “off the beaten path” behind East Hampton train station, and well worth finding. On a recent visit, Chris and I both had a stellar orecchiette that was so good, it was dinner the next night too. And this was Chris’s yummy wedge salad:

food picture of salad with tomato and cucumber garnish

Bobby Van’s (Bridgehampton) Prix Fixe menu with eight entree options offered all night Sunday through Thursday, and Chris orders the 21-oz ribeye Every. Single. Time. It’s a killer deal at $32.

Rumba (Hampton Bays) One of the most fun, laid back, Island Time restaurants on the whole East End. But take note: “Island Time” as it relates to the midweek Prix Fixe ends at 7:30 PM. So, to quote Rumba’s tagline, “Get here fast…then take it slow.”

Sundays on the Bay (Hampton Bays) One word: LOBSTER. Sunday’s “Twins” special, Monday – Thursday all day, is renowned: Two 1-1/4 lb. lobbies, plus a veg, for $32. On the nights we can restrain ourselves from eating everything on our plates, I bring home the leftovers and make my own yummy lobster salad (a far cry from neighbor Loaves and Fishes famous $100/lb. lobster salad).

Caveat: Offseason, few restaurants are open seven days a week. However, they tend to stagger days off so that there’s always a place to eat! Double-check online, or ask us when you arrive, and we can give you the most up to date information on what’s available during your stay.

So score your favorite room at A Butler’s Manor (check out our FALL20 special) and join us offseason when there are wonderful deals to be had, and meals to enjoy!

Our top 6 reasons to visit the Hamptons out of season

couple and dog on a beach watching the sunset
Early Spring is an excellent time to come to the Hamptons as a relaxing getaway. Here are our favorite reasons why:
Large mansion overlooking a pond on a misty morning
1) If you enjoy seeing beyond the hedges at the big estates in the Hamptons, this is your chance. Most of those privet hedges are deciduous… which means that now they’re bare and won’t leaf in again in full until sometime in May. And chances are you’ll spot a few deer grazing on those estate lawns where no one is around to chase them away.
2)The trendy seasonal restaurants haven’t come to town yet, but our award-winning year-round places such as Plaza Cafe, Bistro Ete, 1770 House and Pierre’s are open and won’t be crowded. (Now’s your chance to get into Nick & Toni’s.)
Large house on a sand dune3) Nope, there’s not a whole lot of nightlife, though you can catch a set at Steven Talkhouse or a concert at Bay Street Theater on weekends. And while the summer shops are still polishing their pop-up retail spots for the Memorial Day reopening, you can still check out some of our best, such as Hildreth’s, Rumrunner, Topiare and Sylvester’s for great household finds, or D.J Hart, J. McLaughlin, Chico’s, Tenet or Jildor for clothing. Or, even better, check out off-season prices on consignment couture at Collette’s.
4) Bundle up and take a long walk on an empty beach, and pick out your fantasy beach house. Picture the parties you’re going to have in it in the summer.
couple holding hands across a dining table in a restaurant, small wrapped package beside her plate
5) Oh, and wine! Nearly all of the wineries on both forks are open every day, all year. Without the crowds, it feels like you’re having your own private tasting.

6) Most of all, the quiet season is a time to renew, recharge your batteries and most of all, reconnect. Has it been way too long since you’ve had the chance to look into each other’s eyes and really mean that “I love you?”Now’s your chance! And to sweeten the deal, we’re offering a Spring Fling special: Stay for any two nights in April 2019 and we’ll take 20% off your room rate!

At A Butler’s Manor, we look forward to being your restorative getaway. Call to make your reservation today!

SSHH (second in a series): All Buildings great and small

Sagaponack Village's Establishment sign in front of the office
Settled in 1653, Incorporated in 2005 – in self defense.
No, this isn’t a post about the massive summer “cottages” here in the Hamptons (although that in itself is always a great tour). It’s about a few more of the places to be found on our Selfie Scavenger Hunt of the Hamptons (SSHH) that was the subject of my last blog. SSHH is our tour game highlights some of the cool and interesting places off the beaten path that aren’t going to be found on some gossipy click-bait article titled “10 Top Things To See In The Hamptons (That You Can Then Brag About).”
Today we’re in and around the greater Bridgehampton area.
So to begin, here’s irony for you: The village that contains the largest house in the Hamptons also features the smallest of schools. Tiny Sagaponack  and its neighboring hamlet Wainscott each boast operational one room schoolhouses.
Red, barnlike building that houses Sagaponack School, a one-room schoolhouse
Sagaponack School dates back to 1776, though its current building, housing 14 students in grades K-4 was built in 1885. Sagg School’s earlier structure, constructed in the early 1800s was moved to Wainscott, where it still is in use for its 20 students in grades K-3.
Small shingled buidling that houses Wainscott School, a one-room schoolhouse

 

Probably 90% of the school taxes for Sagaponack School (and a substantial portion of those higher grade schools it feeds into) are paid through the property taxes of this behemoth:

 

An enormous (66,000 square feet) private house behind beach grasses
Yep, that’s one house. The rough unpaved road is intentional.

Sagaponack School’s original 500 square feet building is probably the equivalent of one guest bedroom in this 64,000 square foot mansion owned by junk bond billionaire Ira Rennert. Called Fair Field, it is one of the largest private houses in the country and sits on 68 acres of oceanfront property. In addition to the main house, there are several outbuildings, bringing the total of structures on the acreage to over 110,000 square feet.

A huge hue and cry was raised by neighbors when Rennert began building the complex. Though they were unsuccessful at halting the construction, the lawsuits did result in new, stricter restrictions on house size in Southampton Township…and to the incorporation of tiny Sagaponack as a separate village rather than just a “Hamplet” of Southampton Town.

(Perhaps as poetic justice for those appalled locals, a federal appeals court ordered Rennert to pay a $213 million judgment, upholding a lower court decision that found him guilty of looting money from one of his mining companies in order to fund the construction of Fair Field.)

Heading northwest from Sagaponack, past potato farms interspersed with horse properties, polo fields and a golf course, you may happen upon another house on a substantial plot of land that certainly doesn’t look like any other house in the Hamptons. Maybe even the world:

Two odd-shaped houses, one with a red zigzag door, one round with bright blue sides
This is called the Elliptical House, and yes, it is a residence. The house, barn, and dozens of oversized sculptures sit on the grounds of Novas Ark Project, the creation of the late artist Nova Mihai Popa. Situated on 95 acres and fronting an agricultural preserve, the property (though not the house) is often rented for large events and weddings. Chris and I call it “More Input, Stephanie,” because we think it resembles the robot featured in the movie “Short Circuit.” "Short Circuit Need Input" robot from movie "Short Circuit"
Finally, as you enjoy the drive on Scuttlehole Road through the middle of the South Fork, keep your eyes peeled for buildings that may not look as though they belong here, but oh, they do:
potato barn traditionally half-buried in an earthen berm
These are potato barns, and they’re purposely designed partway underground because they act as an enormous root cellar, keeping the potatoes naturally cool until they are shipped. Very occasionally you might spot a house that once began as a potato barn and was converted to a private residence. (Extra SSHH points if you do!) To me, potato barns are wonderful iconic structures, and as much part of the Hamptons charm as the villages that draw our visitors.
So got your cellphone? Ready to explore? Come visit A Butler’s Manor, Southampton’s best boutique inn, and we’ll help you see parts of the Hamptons that most people miss out on!

Early September fun!

As I write this, we’re in between threatened thunderstorms (nothing compared to the folks anxiously watching Hurricane Irma’s path through the Caribbean), but the weather report shows the skies clearing and we’re on tap for a glorious weekend. And that’s good because there’s a lot on tap over this weekend!

Busy streets of Sag Harbor village, many people walking on sidewalks
Sag Harbor’s Harborfest begins Saturday morning, September 9 and runs through Sunday. Described as the largest block party extending out over the water, Harborfest celebrates Sag Harbor’s maritime and especially whaling history and incorporates an arts and crafts fair, games, food, history, and fun for the whole family.
Further east, Montauk’s Seafood Festival also begins on Saturday and runs through the weekend. Featuring local fish and shellfish, local wines and craft beer and live entertainment, it’s billed as a great family friendly event.
And, closer to A Butler’s Manor, Saturday also is the grand opening of Hank’s Pumpkintown, which grows larger and larger each year with more attractions on the farm for the kids. (And for those of us who want to avoid the traffic that this spectacle entails, just ask–we’ve got a map that will get you around it.)
A large field of pumpkins
In spite of the pumpkins, it ain’t fall quite yet! At a forecasted 72 degrees this weekend, after checking out the festivals above, the beach is looking mighty appealing…at A Butler’s Manor, we’ve got your beach chair and beach bag ready to go. Book your visit to Southampton’s top-rated boutique inn and spend some down time in the Hamptons!