Getting Ready for Our Close Up!

It’s May, Mother’s Day weekend as I write this, and all the villages in the Hamptons are getting ready for their close up, to paraphrase the immortal words of Norma Desmond in Sunset Strip. Nature, in the form of blooming trees, shrubs, and bulbs, and humankind, in the form of home remodels and spring spruce ups, are putting their prettiest faces on to turn towards the arriving sun and sun-worshippers due to arrive in a couple of weeks.

Produce should always look this good!
The upscale gourmet market Citarella’s opened this past Thursday here on Hampton Road in Southampton. I shopped there today and managed to salivate over almost everything. Parking is not going to be pretty, but thankfully, A Butler’s Manor is easy walking distance of only 1/2 mile away. With beautiful produce, prepared food, sushi, a salad bar, and much more, I predict this will be the go-to place to pick up a picnic lunch for the beach for guests who are looking for a wider variety than burgers, hotdogs, or wraps (all of which will be available at the Cooper’s Beach Pavilion once it opens for the season). And let’s not even mention the pastry selection….drool….
Saw an article today that indicates that Southampton may not have to put up with the Kardashians this summer after all, as apparently they are finding it difficult to rent a mansion for the summer in which to stay and shoot “Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons.” According to TMZ, the wealthy in the Estate District fear the swarming of paparazzi and other disruptions to their quiet enclaves; that the family and their entourage will be less neighbors than neighBOORs. From the standpoint of those of us who live and work here even without “south of the highway” addresses, the disruption will extend far further than just the street where they might rent. Since more craziness is not something we need in the summer, my fingers are crossed that the E! series will be derailed, and that their pop-up boutique store Dash will pop up elsewhere (like Montauk). Check out the article here.
Speaking of articles, we get asked quite a bit about the differences between the villages in the Hamptons and the surrounding areas west of us. The classic real estate office designation is that, regardless of whether the word “Hampton” in the name or not, “the Hamptons” comprise the villages found east of the Shinnecock Canal; that is, Southampton Village, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, East Hampton Village, Amagansett. For those who don’t know or disdain the villages west of the Shinnecock Canal, an article in the New York Times Real Estate section this week titled “The Hamptons-In-Waiting” may be an eye-opener. Hampton Bays and Westhampton, once thought of as party towns–home to late-night clubs and group rentals–have been mellowed by stricter town regulations. (The party has moved to Montauk.) Real estate prices, while still not inexpensive, are far more reasonable on the other side of the canal. Says Patrick Galway of Town & Country Real  Estate, “Instead of the day-trippers we used to get, families with young kids are choosing to summer west of the canal…You probably won’t see the Kardashians opening a boutique in our area.”
Well, that can’t be a bad thing….
Quote of the DayThere was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. –F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Open for the 2014 Season!!

Anyone on the East Coast can attest that it has been a long, cold snowy winter. So last week, when Chris and I returned from vacation and prepared to reopen for the 2014 season, we were so gratified to find only this little remnant of snow left at A Butler’s Manor. Hey, we may not be out of the winter woods yet — I have pictures somewhere of snow-laden trees in early April, but I also have pictures of a freakishly warm April when we served breakfast on the patio. After the first winter where meteorologists actually named the storms, like they do hurricanes, I figure we’re due for a warm Spring. Bring it on!

We opened this past weekend to a full house of people who probably thought the same thing, and I’m wondering if the unusually high number of pre-bookings for the upcoming year reflects a lot of folks who just want to have a vacation somewhere warm and comforting to look forward to? It’s only March, but things are booking fast, so if you have a date in mind to come visit the Hamptons, check out our availability calendar today!

Spring formally arrived yesterday about 1 PM and we were cheered by bright sunny skies and crocuses peeping through the winter debris in the garden. I was greeted by a robin perched on our mailbox. Hooray!

Hamptons Restaurant Week begins this Sunday, a favorite event for both locals and visitors alike, where dozens of restaurants on both North and South Forks present three-course prix fixe menus for $27.95. It’s a great time to sample some of the restaurants that are difficult to get into once Summer arrives. (The Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert offered at The Living Room at c/o the Maidstone in East Hampton is worth the visit all on its own!)

Coming up on the calendar is the annual Parrish Art Museum Spring Fling, always a fun, well-attended party to benefit the children’s programs at the museum. This year, in addition to the food, drink, live band, and silent auction, they are featuring a scavenger hunt, advertising it as your chance to become an art detective. Fun!

In other local news, the fascia is being completed and interior work is continuing on the much-anticipated opening of a Southampton branch of Citarella Markets. Citarella is a New York City-based foodie market known for their great meats and seafood. The Southampton store will bring to three their presence in the Hamptons (they also have markets in East Hampton and Bridgehampton). Speaking as someone who visits the supermarket every day (whether I plan to or not!), this will be a welcome addition to our current grocery options. Now, if we could only get a Southampton Starbucks….

Off to start cleaning up the garden in anticipation of a bright, warm Spring!

Quote of the day: Every spring is the only spring–a perpetual astonishment. –Ellis Peters