The Hamptons on a Budget
By Jessica Taryn
A Taste of the Town
The summer night breeze caresses customers' sun-burned skin, relieving the day's intense heat. The sweet, unmistakable aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, pies and French vanilla coffee surround them.
Lucky to find a seat on a bench outside Simon’s Beach Bakery, a variety of people come together to listen to the sound of a young, local band covering their favorite rock songs. A hundred people congregate on the sidewalk, singing and dancing.
Two women in high heeled pumps, bright print, skin-tight Capri pants, expensive designer tank tops and large, 'movie star-esque', sunglasses “Twist and Shout” side by side with a couple in torn Levi shorts, and cotton ‘Westhampton Beach’ T-shirts made just down the street in the T-shirt shop.
No VIP list Here
Now this doesn’t sound like the scene in an exclusive, ‘VIP only’ location, does it? Simon’s Beach Bakery, in Westhampton, NY is truly a small taste of the Hamptons as a whole; fun, classy, upbeat, but not too uptight. While many nightclubs, bars and restaurants seem to have an exclusively rich and famous crowd, many places in the Hamptons, like Simon’s Bakery, offer a more laid back atmosphere.
Another common misconception is that you have to spend your life savings to visit the Hamptons for a few days. While many Bed and Breakfasts and hotels are priced in the high hundreds, or even thousands per night, the Hamptons offer many inexpensive options for a relaxing, fun filled vacation. The key to a cheap visit is going during the week. Restaurants, hotels, and events often hold weekday rates and specials, saving you a bundle of money while you still get to enjoy the Hamptons.
Hamptons hotels on a budget
Fine Dining for Less
There are many restaurants that offer entrées for under $10 without losing the Hamptons dining feel. In Southampton, an American restaurant called Barristers provides excellent meals, a casual atmosphere and a screened in porch for outdoor dining. It is located right in the center of town next to the Southampton Beadery, which is perfect place for the jewelry buff to create a Hamptons souvenir.
La Parmigiana of Southampton serves fine Italian cuisine priced between eight and 21 dollars. Belle’s Café is a moderately priced Cajun restaurant in Westhampton, and Sip N’ Soda is a Southampton retro luncheonette with meals under eight dollars. There are also relatively inexpensive delis, bagel shops, and pizzerias all over the Hamptons.
My personal favorite Hamptons dinner, however, is in Westhampton Beach at the very end of Dunes Road at the Beach Hut snack bar. On Wednesdays and Sundays, a live bands plays on the beach, while you enjoy your lobster dinner special (a 1 ¼ pound lobster and corn on the cob for only $10.99) and kick back with twofer Margaritas. Pick up a local Dan’s Paper while on the island for other ‘on the beach’ specials.
Beaches and other Hamptons Attractions
While many beaches require permits and have expensive parking on the weekends, they are typically not too crowded and less expensive on weekdays. However, parking can still be costly and it may pay to walk, take a taxi, or carpool to the beach. Cooper Neck and Old Town Beaches are the most popular public beaches in the area, both located in Southampton, as well as Roger’s Beach and Pavilion in Westhampton.
While the stores and boutiques in the Hamptons may seem a bit pricey, keep an eye out for a great deal or big sale. Max and Gino’s, a clothing store in Westhampton, often has a sale rack outside with designer brand clothing for very cheap. The Shoe-Inn also has some great summer sales. Window shopping is always fun as well.
At night, after stopping by Simon’s Bakery for a cup of coffee and a quick dance, visit Shock Ice Cream and Candy Store in Westhampton. It’s located behind Shock Baby clothing store and is a must-see when visiting the Hamptons. Shock has every candy, homemade candied pop-corn, and every ice cream flavor imaginable-from apple pie to cotton candy to chocolate covered banana.
The Hamptons often have inexpensive concerts and shows at the Performing Arts Center, deals on museum tickets, beach parties with under $10 admission fees, and free horseshows at the local stables. And don’t forget a camera! Aside from great beach views and sunsets that you may want to capture, the Hamptons are famous for frequent celebrity citings.
Jessica Taryn is a former intern at GoNOMAD. She attends law school in Long Island.
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