There’s No Place Like the Hamptons
In the blink of an eye, summer is gone and the cool weather holidays are here. It’s the time of year that inspires togetherness, perhaps now more than ever. As we transcend through the rest of fall into winter, we think of how to spend the holidays on the East End. Hamptons real estate agents share their views on what the season will be like this year and their tips and tricks for supporting local businesses.
The pandemic is not the only thing affecting the success of local businesses during the holidays. Online shopping has grown in popularity over the years, and with more people now more cautious in what public spaces they visit, it may grow even more. Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate chief executive officer and licensed real estate broker, shares that her tradition is to walk up and down Main Street on December 23 to buy Christmas gifts for her family.
“I have done this for many years,” Desiderio explains. “First, I love shopping local. It’s a good thing all around, and their wrapping is an added bonus. Second, I don’t have to ‘worry’ about shopping from Thanksgiving on!”
Among her favorite places to shop for her nieces, nephews, and immediate family are London Jewelers and The Monogram Shop in East Hampton, Ralph Lauren, which has a few Hamptons locations, and the Whalebone store in Montauk.
Shopping local forms a bond within the community. A particularly unique gift that really allows a recipient to get to know the shop and employees for Martha Gundersen is surf lessons. This year, it’s a gift that can allow for a new experience right at home. “I think we will be home with very small groups of family and friends,” says the Douglas Elliman Real Estate licensed associate real estate broker of the holidays in the Hamptons. “I know people want to travel but it probably won’t happen yet. I imagine people will be decorating their homes and celebrating by cozy fires and happy hours at home.”
Sotheby’s International Realty licensed salesperson and senior global real estate advisor Angela Boyer-Stump agrees people will most likely enjoy the beauty of the Hamptons this year. She recommends holiday beach walks with hats and blankets to bundle up for a fresh winter walk. New and current homeowners can experience a truly local treat with the parade and tree lighting.
As for gift giving, Boyer-Stump has a few local favorites. “As a mother of three beach-loving children, Flying Point Surf & Sport always has the perfect gifts,” she shares. “Backpacks, sweatshirts, beachwear, coats, surfboards and more! Also, the fresh apple cider from The Milk Pail in Water Mill is always a crowd pleaser.”
Compass licensed associate real estate broker Maria Cuneen has found store owners have been brainstorming, recreating, and preserving through these unprecedented times, still providing for the community to the best of their ability. Mutual respect among businesses and customers has formed quite the bond. This year, she is focusing on feel-good gifts.
“I love giving happy home gifts and/or foods that whether purchased together or separately, are truly soul-warming and send good thoughts during a stressful, anxiety ridden time,” Cuneen explains. “I love, love, love shopping at Good Westhampton. Their variety and quality is just splendid. Double the pleasure in their sister store also on Main Street, which has a great vibe and well worth experiencing.”
Finding a new favorite place to shop is always exciting, perhaps even more so now. Corcoran’s Mary Slattery has found in Southampton Village Sferra, which features a beautiful collection of tabletop items, linens, and cashmere throws, and Jetsam Studio NYC for unique design items. A go-to is Topiaire Flower Shop, which offers an array of whimsical gifts in addition to their beautiful flower arrangements.
“The neatest gift I have ever received bar none is a basket of local goodies curated by Farm to Front Door, which is an online farmer’s market owned and operated right here in the Hamptons,” says Slattery, a licensed associate real estate broker. “Farm to Front Door only utilizes seasonal, local produce, flowers and gifts. The best!”
There are so many places to shop in the Hamptons. If you’re shopping for children, which is some of the most thrilling holiday shopping, stores like Stevenson’s Toys, Flying Point Surf & Sport, Southampton bookstore, and Hildreth’s are great, according to Douglas Elliman Real Estate licensed associate real estate broker Michaela Keszler. She, too, loves Topiaire Flower Shop, as well as Tenet and Tamara Comolli. Gift certificates to restaurants are a crowd-pleasing gift. Try Sant Ambroeus, Dopo Argento, Tutto il Giorno, Le Chef, and Le Charlot. For the fitness folks, Ananda Wellness and Yoga gift certificates are a must.
“The holidays are always very special in the Hamptons,” Keszler says. “It starts with the decorations, the tree lighting and the Santa Claus parade. Every weekend we have carriage rides on Main Street and all the children love it. Ice skating on the pond or sledding down the big hill at Southampton Youth Services (SYS) make for great family activities. For me personally, long strolls on the beach are an all year around joy.”
Corcoran licensed real estate salesperson James Peyton has a couple of Sag Harbor favorites. He enjoys shopping at Ryland Life Equipment for button downs and polos, as well as matching slip-on Rivieras for his sons. For grooming kits, Sylvester & Co. Modern General Store is a must.
Though it may be a highly unusual year with many ups and downs, the Hamptons real estate market has boomed with homeowners seeing the value in having a place such as this to seek refuge. What makes the Hamptons unique is the mix of beaches and farmland, a thriving dining scene, and local businesses that define the area’s character. As with every holiday season, we hope newcomers and seasoned veterans alike will take full advantage of what the Hamptons has to offer and help keep the community going well into the new year. Happy Holidays!