The Hamptons, New York, USA

Sand, Sea and Splendor

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Hamptons may be internationally renowned as a playground for the rich and famous, but there’s so much more to this striking region on the eastern end of Long Island, New York than parties and polo within Gatsby-esque luxury homes.

For starters, while the sidewalks of the hamlets and villages that make up the area collectively known as The Hamptons are often teeming with a who’s who of bold-face names and C-suite executives, the beaches are the real stars here. From Westhampton and Southampton to Bridgehampton, Easthampton and the easternmost tip of Montauk, miles of coastline showcase pristine white beaches and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean.  Such is their splendor that National Geographic named these beaches among the top ten in the world, set among one of the premier luxury real estate markets for condos, mansions and estates worldwide.

Boasting a long list of writers, artists and actors in residence, cultural events like concerts, readings, plays and regularly scheduled gallery openings are a consistent here. Beyond the flip-flop feel of eternal summer is the prestigious Hamptons International Film Festival, which draws thousands every fall. But this area is also a place of farm stands and wineries, historic sights and maritime heritage. Picturesque Sag Harbor, for instance, is a former whaling port settled in the early 1700s and listed on the National Register of Historic Villages.  Like Southampton and East Hampton, its walkable Main Street features plenty of fashionable shops, elegant boutiques and highly rated restaurants.  More laid back and rustic is Montauk, where a historic lighthouse originally commissioned by President George Washington beams towards the Atlantic. Equestrians, golfers and anglers stay busy here.

As abundant as its lifestyle activities is the range of real estate options. From charming, historic shingle-style cottages and Victorians to sweeping estates and contemporary mansions on multi-acre parcels, there’s architectural diversity to indulge all tastes. Residences with private tennis courts and pools are among common country club-type amenities. This is a luxury real estate market that has been on an upward swing for years, with eight-figure home sales going strong as Manhattanites, West Coasters and overseas investors continue to be drawn to the majestic coastline and enchanting neighborhoods of The Hamptons.