July 4th in the Hamptons

By J.R.

I think we can all agree that the 4th of July is one of the dates we always look forward to every year.  We associate this day not only with patriotic fervor, but with some other necessities in life like family, food, alcohol, summertime, and sunglasses. For the past five years I’ve been visiting East Hampton to visit one side of my family. The trip from LA is always about planes, trains, and automobiles, but once you’re out there, you sincerely never want to leave.

As you enter the Hamptons, the feel of everything changes: you’ve been on an island for the last two or so hours but now you really feel like you’re on an island. The history of the town is visible everywhere, harmoniously integrated with the modern touches that have long made the East End of Long Island a summertime destination for New Yorkers. There’s no better way to celebrate a founding holiday than to actually be in a place where some of the original settlers landed and made their home.

If you do find yourself in the Hamptons, I recommend you stop by The Maidstone. With a foundation built in the 17th century, what used to be a tannery until the 20th century has become a destination for all types, whether looking for a room, a drink, or both. I ventured here after a friend, Gibran Baydoun, looped me in to an event where Sabrina Burda and Natalie Dodge were supposed to DJ. As things always change when one is on vacation, they didn’t show up to DJ, but Travis Bass and Anthony Yumul made sure that the booth was attended to properly, whether by Travis, his dog, or Anthony’s son, Malcolm. It ended up being a great, low-key event where friends - some new and some old - came together and had a chill time in a super casual atmosphere. Board games were in full effect and the chef made some mean hot dogs.

Another smart move while visiting is to check out Montauk. Try Surf Lodge, but make sure to make a reservation first. Being an amatuer to Montauk I neither made a reservation, nor am anyone would could stroll past the army they have patrolling the front to ensure…well, I’m not sure what their job actually was. In any event, go to Ruschmeyer's and you’ll feel like you're back at summer camp but in a very adult way. There are lawn games of all sorts, killer food, great beers on tap, and a couple of surly and seasoned bartenders to ensure you’re well lubricated. No doubt, whether you go in a large group or are flying solo, you’ll have a great time.

A cornerstone of the East Hampton restaurant scene is The East Hampton Grill. The space is dimly lit and filled with art gathered from old local businesses, but more over it’s the food options that will put an enormous smile on your face and stomach. If you don’t have reservations, have a drink on the patio and soak up the scene.

Exiting on Route 27 to head back to the city, you’ll always feel like you’re headed in the wrong direction. If you do get the chance to visit the East End, treat it with respect, and in return, you will have an experience to remember. Now, go grab a pair sunglasses and get ready for your next adventure.