DescriptionOn a peninsula just 12 miles east of Southampton on Long Island's South Shore, East Hampton has a noteworthy past that goes back to 1648, when it became the first English settlement in New York. It’s also quite noteworthy today, but for entirely different reasons.
Whaling ships once bobbed in the ocean and bays surrounding East Hampton; yachts now dot the waters in the town’s harbors. On farmland where potatoes once grew, mansions have long since taken root. Native American tribes, including the Montauketts, were the area’s first inhabitants. Today, actors, movie moguls and politicos mix with fashion designers, socialites and summer refugees from New York City, earning East Hampton the nickname “the playground of the rich.”
Perhaps the country’s most loved First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was born in East Hampton in 1929; she summered here until the age of 10. A documentary entitled “Grey Gardens” about her eccentric aunt and cousin, Edie Bouvier and Edie Bouvier Beale, was filmed in the Georgica Pond neighborhood in 1975, revealing the women’s squalid living conditions in a dilapidated mansion called Grey Gardens. In 2009, HBO released a film of the same title about Big Edie and Little Edie starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore.
Today, film director Steven Spielberg has an estate in Georgica Pond; he played host to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the summers of 1998 and 1999. Other celebs also have made East Hampton their home, including Jerry Seinfeld, Martha Stewart, Alec Baldwin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Stars continue to flock to East Hampton to spend a weekend or the summer; today you might rub shoulders with the likes of Howard Stern, Nathan Lane, Brooke Shields and Sarah Jessica Parker while dining at restaurants like Babette's, 66 Newton Ln., and popping into designer shops like Tiffany & Co., Rugby Ralph Lauren and Elie Tahari on Main Street and Newton Lane.
You may also spot a member of the glitterati lounging near you at the area’s white-sand beaches, although it may take some time and luck; after all, East Hampton has about 70 miles of waterfront. Besides celebrity-hunting, East Hampton presents opportunities for active pursuits such as fishing, boating, golf and tennis.
Shake off the sand and show off your tan at East Hampton’s prestigious but pricey night clubs. If you can get past discriminating doormen and velvet ropes, you can party with the crowds of preppy people, skinny models and celebrities that fill area clubs.
Visitor InfoEast Hampton Chamber of Commerce 58-B Park Pl. EAST HAMPTON, NY 11937. Phone:(631)324-0362
Things to SeeEast Hampton Town Marine Museum