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

Spring cleaning

Okay, here’s my dirty (clean?) little secret: I love spring cleaning.

Like the onset of autumn, which reminds me of the beginning of a new school year, spring — and spring cleaning– signify a new, sparkling beginning of the year. And since A Butler’s Manor reopens in early Spring, it’s literally the start of our new year.
So Chris, Kristen and I have been busy. We repainted the bathroom in Eton Court and installed new track lights, shampooed all the carpets and rugs, replaced the skylight in Villefranche’s bathroom and the carpeting on the stairs.
In addition, when Chris and I journeyed to Italy last November to celebrate our 25th anniversary, I bought one thing only, but it was a biggie: a crystal chandelier from Murano Glassblowers in Venice. As scheduled, the chandelier arrived the first week we reopened, and last week, we installed it in the upstairs hallway. WOW! We now gotta whole lotta bling going on…!
Now it’s time to start the spring clean up of the garden, where croci are all in bloom and the daffodils are getting ready to pop.
Spring cleaning to me also means going through the piles of recipes that I compulsively clip for ideas. And trying some. This weekend we sampled a french toast with a toasted walnut/orange/cranberry compound butter, and a frittata with broccoli and cheddar with a crust of shredded potatoes. The latter was a particular hit because it is also gluten-free. I continue to develop menus that can accommodate both those who follow a gluten-free lifestyle and those who don’t, without sacrificing taste or texture.
In other news…word on the street is that the self-absorbed Kardashians are filming one of their “Take” series out here this summer: Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons. Ugh; just what we don’t need on a summer week–more potential traffic caused by folks hoping to see a celebrity in their midst. (Can you tell that I am not a fan!!) I devoutly hope that their pop-up store “Dash” will pop up in Montauk, not Southampton.
It is now a bright Spring day, perfect for working in the garden. In this case, though, we plan to visit one: Bridge Garden opens for the season this weekend. Bridge Garden is a five-acre property in Bridgehampton now maintained by the Peconic Land Trust, to which it was deeded some twenty years ago. It’s always fun to get ideas from other gardeners. I’ve already got several ideas for our pots saved on Pinterest…
Quote of the Day: “Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life–they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat–however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is coonstantlt renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infintely beyond you or my obtuse theories about it.” –Boris Pasternak, “Doctor Zhivago”