A summer’s day in the Hamptons typically revolves around the beach or the pool. But if you have a case of shpilkes after sitting around all day, there is good news for you! The downtown in East Hampton offers a variety of things to do. Enough so that you could easily spend half a day roaming around here when you need a break from the sun and surf. Downtown is also a great destination for a post-beach day evening stroll. There are plentiful dining options—and great people watching in front of the ice cream shop!
The downtown has a very easy to navigate layout—it is made up of two streets, Newtown Lane and Main Street, that form a backwards L-shape. I like to start my stroll at the top (there’s a parking lot near the grocery store) and work my way down.
Along the way, you will pass some classic East Hampton shops. A must-see is the Monogram Shop. Here you can pick up charming customized home goods. Cocktail napkins stamped with your initials are a great touch for a party, for example. In election years, the window display becomes an informal poll on the presidential candidates based on sales of cups bearing their names.
The rest of the retail options in town change from year to year. This summer I liked a new shop called Big Flower, with a selection of very cozy men’s and women’s wear, as well as a proprietary line of delicious teas that you can sample in the shop. Clic is another boutique along the way with a selection of well-curated home goods and clothing.
There is no shortage of dining options along the way. For a healthy delicious brunch try Babette’s—if you can get in. There is often a line snaking outside the door. Sam’s Pizza has an old-fashioned diner vibe, and is a favorite of Hamptons regular and Bravo TV hunk Andy Cohen. Blue Parrot is a Mexican food restaurant owned by Jon Bon Jovi and Renée Zellweger, among others. It captures the feel of an outdoor tropical canteen and often has a celebrity crowd.
For a sweet treat, try the Dreesen’s donuts from Scoop Dujour. You can even watch them being made in the window. The crowds of people eating their extra-large servings of ice cream here on a hot day are a source of temptation for the diet-conscious, so be forewarned as you pass by!
As far as things to do, Guild Hall is the local arts center and has a variety of art exhibitions and performances. It often draws top comedy and musical talent over the summer, so be sure to check the schedule. BookHampton, the local independent bookshop, is worth a visit. They host an amazing roster of authors over the summer. And if, god forbid, it is a rainy day, there is always the movie theater!
As you reach the end of the backwards L, you are in the historical section of downtown with its iconic wooden windmill. Here you will find beautiful historical homes, which you can tour on certain days of the week. You will also find charming old inns and restaurants. The Maidstone is a design-lover’s dream with its creative Nordic-inspired décor. The restaurant serves Scandinavian fare and is famous for its delicious meatballs.