Not Just For Summer

Extending The Hamptons Season Beyond Labor Day
By Rachel Bosworth - September 21, 2018

Known for its relaxed beach-going, dressed-in-white crowd, and trendy scene, the Hamptons is much more than a summer destination. With staying power well after Labor Day weekend, fall is one of the more enjoyable times in the Hamptons. The weather is still warm yet comfortable, the crowds are less dense, and the wineries and farm stands are bustling. Harvest season is one of the most notable times of year on the East End as it serves as a reminder of the agriculture industry’s history and its importance to today’s culture and economy. These are just a few of the reasons we love the Hamptons during Columbus Day and beyond.

Though famous for being able to capture summer in a bottle in the form of their most popular rosé, Wölffer Estate Vineyard joins the ranks of other vineyards in Long Island’s wine country as they get busy in the field, harvesting grapes, fermenting and bottling wine, and preparing the vines for the winter season. It is markedly the busiest time of year for East End wineries, but also one of the most beautiful.

“The East End in the fall is magic,” says owner Joey Wölffer. “I love the autumn light against the vines as it sets, and the warm days and cool evenings that make you want a glass of cool red, and the chaos that is harvest season in the vineyard. I also look forward to our Harvest Party each year that marks another successful vintage!”

For local farms, harvest is ongoing throughout the year depending on what’s in season. When we think of fall, pumpkins are of course the first that comes to mind and a favorite among the U-Pick crowd. Apples are another natural sweet treat to enjoy and pick yourself right on the farm, like at The Milk Pail in Water Mill. Understanding the value of community, especially in a seasonal town, the farm hosts weekly CommUNITY Wednesday Nights in honor of their customers and their continued support. The fresh market is open late for shopping with a food truck and live music onsite beginning at 6 p.m.

“It is important that we keep the heritage alive and protect local agriculture,” says Amy Halsey- Cohn of her family’s 13th generation farm. “We support the community and community events. At the store, I try to involve and carry local lines whenever possible. It really is like family to us.”

The Milk Pail also offers educational “in-farm-ation” tours, offering visitors an insight into what farm-to-table means, how things are grown, the challenges that come with it, and encourages people to ask questions to gain a better understanding of local agriculture. It is an effort that helps the family-based business and others in the area to continue.

It may be surprising to learn fall is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs, according to landscape designer Frederico Azevedo of Unlimited Earth Care. “I can’t imagine a flower garden without spring bulbs,” he says. “Wherever you decide to plant bulbs, along walkways, meadows, beds, borders, or in containers, flower bulbs are fabulous in large drifts and stunning bouquets. They may naturalize for years when left undisturbed in a good spot, but as a rule bulbs are not true perennials; most gardeners replant flower bulbs every fall.”

Just as with many annuals, bulbs provide a broad and intense range of color in gardens. The theme can easily be changed each year, creating a new and exciting landscape come warmer weather. Blooms are also long lasting and relatively inexpensive. Be sure to inspect the health and firmness of your bulbs, Azevedo cautions, and discard any that are soft, have discolorations, or mildew spots. Understanding that the garden is a place of harmony, balance, and emotion, Unlimited Earth Care aims to help others live outdoors. This preparation type of gardening is an excellent way to enjoy these exterior spaces in crisp fall weather.

Food and wine enthusiasts will also enjoy fall in the Hamptons as restaurants with a typical long wait are a bit easier to get into. This is the ideal time to check out some of the newest hotspots to the South Fork lineup. Indulge in classic fare from the south of France at Southampton’s Maison Vivienne. Get your Italian fix with Il Mulino in East Hampton, whose flagship restaurant in the West Village makes it easy to enjoy from here to Manhattan and Miami to Aspen. For casual dining, Hooked in Montauk will continue to be a great order-at-the-counter spot as the restaurant plans to remain open year round. Sag Pizza in Sag Harbor, owned by the same people behind LT Burger, is a Neapolitan-style pizza parlor that utilizes local ingredients. The new George’s Lighthouse Café at the Montauk Lighthouse is a must-visit, especially with unmatchable views.

While opportunities to get on the water may be limited, fall is an ideal time to still visit the beach. Sandy shores are less crowded and ideal for early season swims or simple strolls along the surf. Bundling up and boating is also another favorite among the East End residents and trying to get in those last day trips and long weekends before putting vessels away for the winter.

Whether it is a visit to local wineries, farms, restaurants, or simple strolls down quieter village streets, autumn in the Hamptons is a favorite season among many. Though sunbathing and swimming may be less frequent, though at this rate an Indian Summer is highly likely, beaches are still worth exploring especially with the drop-in visitors. Fall has proven to be one of those magical times of year in the Hamptons, and a season we look forward to at the end of each passing summer.

“It’s a little slower paced,” Halsey-Cohn says. “You can smell it in the air, you can smell fall. It’s cool, still shorts and t-shit weather, and it’s comfortable. The evenings are really nice. It’s just a warm and fuzzy time of year where everyone takes a deep breath.”

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