Lifestyle: Spotlights

Haute Spot

Life’s a beach here in the Hamptons, regardless of the season
By Dawn Watson - January 3, 2018

Sure, summertime is our most in-demand season of the year on the East End. But just because we live at the beach, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole to do and see during wintertime on the South Fork too.

In fact, at least a couple days when the temperatures dip into the low double digits, there are actual throngs of people who come out to hit the surf. Donning everything from bikinis to outrageous costumes, these Polar Bear plungers run into the icy waters of our ocean and bay beaches to raise funds (and have some fun) for local charities.

We might have already missed the Plunge in Southampton, which was held earlier this month at Coopers Beach and has raised more than $700,000 for Heart of the Hamptons since its inception in 2004, but no worries, there’s a slew of others planned. The East Hampton Hurricanes Polar Bear Plunge is set for January 1 at Main Beach in East Hampton. That annual fundraiser benefits the East Hampton, Springs, Wainscott and Amagansett Food Pantries. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Spa also hosts a New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge. That chilly welcome to winter benefits The Retreat. And then there’s the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Frosty Plunge, held in conjunction with HarborFrost, which is planned for February 24 this coming year. That annual event fundraiser also draws big crowds to the village for its live ice carving demonstrations, fire jugglers, music, fireworks by Grucci, kids’ activities and shopping events.

Of course the beach is here all year long. But that doesn’t mean that we must feel compelled to race into its freezing depths in the winter months; the sea can also just provide a nice place to stroll. For those who fancy a walk on the water side, this time of year can actually be quite wonderful. Mother Nature is still on its full majestic display, and some might say it’s even better during this special time since there are no crowds to break the reverie and quiet contemplation that the roaring sea inspires.

And even though the sand is no longer hot, our shores are still quite haute come December, January and February, especially when it comes the sunrise and sunset views. There’s nothing quite like bundling up and sipping cocktails or hot chocolate by the sea as the sun sets.   

But, just like in the summertime, there’s so much more to do here in the Hamptons than visiting the beach. We’ve got incredible landmarks—remember all those windmills that we stare at when we’re stuck in traffic in July and August?  They are but a few of the wondrous sites that we have to behold and explore. And what better time to do it than now when the crowds have disappeared?

East Enders also have myriad opportunities to learn more about our history and shared community.  There’s nothing like whiling away the afternoon at one of our libraries, which are among the best equipped in the country. We’ve also got hands-on places to explore and experience, such as the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum; the Second House Museum and the Lighthouse in Montauk; the Osborn-Jackson House, East Hampton Historical Museum and Mulford Farm in East Hampton; the Southampton Cultural Center, Southampton Historical Museum, Pelletreau Silver Shop and Thomas Halsey Homestead in Southampton, to name a few? And don’t forget, there’s a whole slew of top-notch museums here, including Guild Hall in East Hampton, Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton, and the Southampton Arts Center and the Shinnecock Museum and Cultural Center in Southampton. Don’t leave LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton off your list. It’s absolutely magical for winter walks.   

Feeling adventurous? It might be a bit nippy, but now’s the time to find your own off-season Hamptons haute spot. So go forth and explore!

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