The taste of summer

Most of our guests visit A Butler’s Manor for R&R, but there are some who are on business, and we strive to be as close to “home” (without the distractions often found there!) as possible. Patrick, a recent guest, was doing a “deep breathe” between two business conferences. He still had calls to make and reports to send, but with our WiFi operational over the whole property, here’s where he made his “office.”  If you’ve got to work, this is not too shabby, eh?

It’s been a week of exceptionally congenial guests who have evidently enjoyed both their stay and each other. Each day guests have lingered over the breakfast table (okay, so the breakfast table IS in Chris’s garden), chatted with each other at the pool, sat down together in the living room after coming home from dinner…just a really simpatico crowd. It gives me such a warm feeling to see that happen.

Weather on tap for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend is supposed to be perfect — 80 degrees and clear. I’m sure the Butlermobile (a.k.a. the Buick Roadmaster) will be making lots of trips to and from Cooper’s Beach this weekend! Also perfect weather to enjoy a lobster overlooking the marina in Hampton Bays at Sunwaters Grill or Tide Runners (greedy me, I’ve done both this week). The latter has entertainment on the dock overlooking the Shinnecock Canal, and judging by the crowd on the night we went (Sunday), some of those bands have quite a following. A warm night, a breeze off the water, sweet lobster in melted butter, a tropical drink and some live music…doesn’t get much better than that!

Speaking of live music, tonight (Wednesday) begins the summer Concerts in the Park series here in Southampton Village. I’ve said before how this is one of my all-time favorite things to do in summer. Agawam Park (at the base of Job’s Lane) fills up with families out to enjoy a true small-town good time. Pack a picnic, grab a beach chair and a bottle of wine and enjoy the music and the ambiance, while the little kids dance in front of the bandstand or run off to the playground. The Southampton Cultural Center, which funds this wonderful summer activity, sends the bucket brigade around at halftime to collect a small voluntary donation to pay the bands that entertain us. Most of us locals have been attending these concerts for years, and are happy to drop a few bucks in the bucket. So (WARNING, rant ahead!) it just frosts me to see, as I did tonight, a group comprised of say, a couple of women, perhaps their husbands, four or five children, and one or two nannies (!) enjoying the evening, but who shrug and shake their heads when the bucket brigade reaches them as if to say oops, sorry, didn’t bring any money. Worse, I’ve seen people ignore these volunteers altogether, turning away from them as though they didn’t exist. Come on, folks! Southampton is, overall, a very well-to-do community. There is no excuse for not helping to preserve the little joys that contribute to making it such a great place to live and visit.

Okay, stepping off the soapbox now.

We look forward to a great weekend, and helping our guests enjoy all that the Hamptons have to offer, that they will come away loving it the way we do.

Quote of the Day: A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. — James Dent

Lobsters and Lottery dreams

I love my early morning walk…it helps clear the sleep from my mind and gives me a chance to plan the day. Yesterday I was walking one of my favorite routes — from A Butler’s Manor through Southampton Village south into the estate district — when I happened upon a discarded scratch-off lottery card in the street outside of one of the large mansions on South Main Street, and had to giggle at the irony: the game was called “Set For Life,” and evidently nothing matched up. I could just imagine the disappointment of the person who’d tossed it away. Guess he won’t be purchasing a house in that neighborhood THIS week.

Speaking of Southampton’s estate district, if (like us) you’re not fortunate enough to be a member of the Meadow Club over on First Neck Lane (36 grass tennis courts and a pedigree that spans centuries) and therefore not able to partake of their Lobster Feast every Tuesday during the season, there is now an alternative right in the village. Jean MacKenzie Koster, who owns both the popular fish market The Clamman and Four Seasons Caterers, has renovated the old John Duck’s restaurant into a lovely catering facility with a large, airy dining room flanked by terraced private gardens. This summer, Four Seasons is opening its dining room on Tuesdays, 5 – 9:30 pm, for a classic clam bake. There is an all-you-can-eat buffet which includes some yummy pasta dishes, fresh salads, corn on the cob, mussels and clams, as well as finger-lickin’-good barbecue chicken and the sweetest lobsters Chris and I have had in a long time. A dessert bar completes the price-fix menu. For a small additional fee, a raw bar offers peel and eat shrimp, clams and oysters. And on top of it all, there is live entertainment to enhance the experience, and even a firepit on the lawn from which you can enjoy the fireflies as they twinkle amidst the garden borders. AND it is stumbling distance from A Butler’s Manor…no need to drive! Works for us!

Actually, early in the week is a great time for classic lobster dishes — lots of deals on those messy, crack and peel whole steamed crustaceans, served with a plastic bib and lots of paper napkins, corn on the cob and maybe a potato, and a vat of melted butter –yum! These casual eats are best found at some of our waterfront restaurants, like Sunwater’s Grill, Tiderunners, and Oaklands in Hamptons Bays, or Bostwick’s in East Hampton, but you can get it just a bit more upscale (as in a cloth napkin and interior seating) at Indian Cove in Hampton Bays or even Bobby Van’s (Tuesdays only) in Bridgehampton. When it comes to summer, if it means a lobster and –bonus! –a waterview, we’re all for it!

Yes, waiter, I’ll have the lobster, please.

Quote of the Day: The world is my lobster. —Henry J. Tillman