During my trip to New York earlier this month I also had the opportunity to visit a dear friend who lives in the Hamptons. What seemed to be a mythical place full of Kardashians and white mansions, I found the Hamptons to be quaint and genuine. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor, but we made the best of it.
Now I'm sharing my top 5 tips for a fall visit to the Hamptons:
Know how to get there // Whether you're stopping through New York City first or going straight to the Hamptons, plan your travels in advance and try to get a better idea of the region first. Before my trip I had no idea that there were so many different areas - more than just north, south, east, and west. Thankfully my friend, who grew up in the Hamptons, doubled as a tour guide and showed us (another friend and I) around each town.
We decided to stop in NYC for a day before traveling to the Hamptons. Leaving from Penn Station, we took the Long Island Railroad to the Hicksville Station and drove from there to Sag Harbor. The Long Island Railroad can take you to stations farther into the Hamptons, or you could arrange for a ride on the Hampton Jitney straight from Manhattan. But keep in mind that when you get there, you'll likely need a car. So depending on where you're coming from, driving might be the way to go.
Hang with a local // You probably have an idea of what the Hamptons are like, and if you visit on your own, you might not see too many things that you didn't expect. But if you have the opportunity to hang with a local (or locals), go for it. While there we went to a party in a barn with a bon fire - something very far from what I expected for the Hamptons, but more similar to what I would expect at home. But it was nice, relaxed, and the people were friendly and fun. And the best part? They were NORMAL. Going to a city or town with a certain reputation or image doesn't mean that that's really how it is. Dig deeper! Afterwards we headed back into Sag Harbor to Page, a classy, hip restaurant and bar that happens to also grow organic produce using a sustainable technique called aquaponics - a really interesting place. There we hung with more locals, but in more of an upscale environment. Two contrasting experiences still gave the same vibe - we were comfortable!
Bring spending money // There's one impression you probably have that's likely to be true - it's expensive. Between the hotels, restaurants, shops, and activities, you could spend a lot no matter how long you visit. Bring spending money if you plan on enjoying all of the fine experiences the Hamptons have to offer. But there are ways to do the Hamptons on a budget, too. Research hotel options, but plan on renting a car depending on where you stay. Try family style dining like at Harvest on Fort Pond - the food was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely. Window shop and leave your credit card in your wallet. Don't let your budget hold you back from visiting, but be mindful of the options that you have.
Go to Montauk Point // Despite the rainy and windy weather, we were still able to catch a glimpse of something beautiful. We drove out to Montauk Point and visited Montauk Point State Park, at the eastern tip of Long Island in East Hampton. Though we couldn't go in to the lighthouse due to the weather (Hurricane Joaquin was coming in heavy), we walked around and ventured down to the beach. It was an awesome view of the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were rough and the rocks were slippery, but the hurricane was bringing in fish, so we saw people standing on rocks and fishing all along the shore. At other times this is a popular surfing spot. It's sure to be beautiful on a warm, sunny day, but no matter when you visit, it's worth the trip!
Visit in the fall + in the summer // The one downside to my October visit to the Hamptons was the weather and the season. I enjoyed being able to see the area in the off-season and experience it with the locals, but it would have been great to enjoy it in the warm weather, too. There are a lot of events, festivals, and things to do in the summer that weren't available to us. So, I recommend visiting in the fall and summer seasons to get a closer look at both the busy, crowded, touristy side of the Hamptons, as well as the laid-back, relaxed side when the tourists and visitors pack up for the winter.
I really enjoyed my brief time getting to know the Hamptons, and I'm looking forward to visiting again in the summer. If you're headed to NYC, consider making the 2-hour trip. Or if you're looking for a new place to explore within the U S of A, try the Hamptons. The sweet streets, friendly people, and authentic feel may surprise you!
I just got back from a weekend in New York, which started with a quick visit to iconic New York City. Typically my trips to NYC have been short and sweet, but this time it was shorter than usual. Though I only had about 30 hours to enjoy the Big Apple, those 30 hours were jam-packed with sights, sounds, and moments that made the day and a half totally worthwhile. Looking back on my adventure I realized one theme - I learned a lot. I learned about people, about fashion, and about art.
Now I'm sharing what I learned with you, as well as a few tips and recommendations if you only have a few hours to visit NYC, too (disclaimer: this rhyme was not intentional):
Lessons About People
New York City is one of the best examples of a melting pot - a city full of people from different states, cities, countries, backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles. I'm one of those people who likes to see the best in others - what makes their eyes light up, what gifts they bring to this world, and the things that make them special.
But unfortunately sometimes people can disappoint you. I ran in to a few of those people while in NYC. While checking out a map in the subway station a young man accused me of not knowing where I was going and tried to pressure me into buying a ticket that he could sell me. While waiting to cross the street a hop on/hop off bus tour rep yelled deals and prices in my ear until I couldn't hear him any longer. While these situations were annoying and slightly invasive, I learned that it's important to have patience and not take everything to heart. NYC is an extremely competitive city to live and work in. But I also learned how lovely people can be. People are willing to take photos for you, open doors, and offer kind words rather than hateful ones. In a place like New York City you're bound to encounter many different types of people, but I encourage you to embrace the opportunity to consider a new perspective or meet a new friend.
Lessons About Fashion
New York City is also a fashion capital of the world. Last fall I drooled over NYFW from outside the gate. This fall, I went shopping. It was a rainy day in the city, so my friends and I were limited with outdoor activities. We made our way to Fifth Avenue and started with some window shopping. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. We decided to check out Saks Fifth Avenue and we ended up learning quite a lot about shoemaking from a representative in the Christian Louboutin section. He taught us that Christian Louboutin is the only designer that does not pre-shrink his leather, so it's meant to feel extremely tight until the shoes have been broken in. He also explained that there is quite a bit of "toe cleavage" in Louboutin heels because that is what the designer prefers. We inspected the differences between the patent leather and the matte and the varying heights and styles, all the while admiring those famous red soles.
After lunch at The Plaza Hotel we made our way to Columbus Circle to gaze into more windows and meander through other interesting shops. During a stop at Sephora we decided to get a mini makeover. The makeovers take place in any Sephora Beauty Studio and are a fun free activity on a rainy day in any city. You may choose from a variety of makeovers and we selected the contour option. What was great about this was not only did we feel fabulous and fierce afterwards, we also learned best practices for contouring and were able to apply the makeup ourselves on one side of our faces after watching the expert do the other. You can learn more about the services Sephora offers here.
Lessons About Art
If you're a fan of the arts, NYC has an endless amount of options for you. From live music to broadway shows to museums, you're likely to leave the city feeling more enriched than when you arrived. On Fridays the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts #MetFriday Gallery Talks, and we attended a discussion on Francisco de Goya, a Spanish artist that I have studied for quite some time. The museum itself is astounding and a very large number of people turned out for the gallery talk. It was interesting to hear different perspectives and learn from the expert curator. I recommend looking out for things like this if you have the time. Visiting the museum for this event also gave us the opportunity to check out the other exhibits. For more information on future #MetFriday events, click here.
Though my trip to New York City was a quick one, I still had the opportunity to visit well-known sites like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, stroll along Fifth Avenue and do some real and some window shopping, enjoy the fare at various restaurants, and learn a little bit about people, fashion, and art.
No matter how long you stay in New York City, you can never really see it all in one trip. If you're able to stay overnight in the city and want to be near Times Square, I recommend the Belvedere Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The Belvedere is a castle-like hotel tucked away from a lot of the foot traffic in the area, but it really is a hidden gem! The staff are friendly and accommodating and the atmosphere is unique but very comfortable.
Every time that I leave NYC, I know I'll be back again soon. There are countless options for things to do, food to eat, and places to stay, no matter the season. And if you've never been to New York City, I encourage you to give it a try. Though you'll have a million options, sometimes it's just nice to wander around a city and explore it that way, especially if you're pressed for time and feel too overwhelmed to plan anything out. So go ahead, give it a try! If it's not New York, it could be anywhere. Let your soul take you and keep an open mind - you never know what you might learn along the way.