A New Book Reveals Hamptons Hidden Gems

Elizabeth Harper | August 1, 2020 | Culture The Guides

Part-time Southampton resident and author Wendy Lubovich reveals the Hamptons’ secret spots in her new book, 111 Places in the Hamptons That You Must Not Miss ($20, Emons), which hit shelves in early June. “This is the book I’ve been searching for but never found,” she says.“It’s filled with all the hidden, unique andlittle-known places on the East End. These are the places that reveal the character of the Hamptons and the North Fork—the ones you can’t wait to tell your friends about.” Here, she gives a peek inside.

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1. CUSTER OBSERVATORY

See the stars like never before.

This spot on Peconic Bay near Southold has some of the darkest skies on Long Island—perfect for stargazing. On Saturday nights, anyone can come here to peer through the high-powered telescope, through which Pluto and Saturn appear so close they almost don’t seem real. Built in 1939 by a group of amateur astronomers, the inside still feels like a brainy,science-filled clubhouse with plaidarmchairs, heaps of books and vintage telescopes everywhere.

Trivia Time Once a year Custer Observatory celebrates Starfest, anall-night stargazing affair, kicked off with astronomical poetry and“The Astronomer’s Drinking Song.”

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2. ART VILLAGE

Visit a vanished art colony.

Just on the edge of Southampton, you can still spot little vestiges of a once- thriving American art colony. It was run by acclaimed artist William Merritt Chase. Back in the 1890s, if you wanted to paint like the French impressionists, this was the place to come. Visit theenclave today and you’ll find streets thatare still lined with mosaiclike gutters of shimmering beach stones set into cement. Some of the original cottages remain—all privately owned.

Trivia Time This was America’s first out-of-doors art school and it led the way forgenerations of artists today, who flock tothe East End in search of a creative life.

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3. FRANK CASSATA DESIGNS

Step inside a hidden textile wonderland.

If you’re a design enthusiast, this is the place to see. It’s a glorious textile archive stored inside a Southamptonbarn. Beautifully laid out and exquisitelyorganized, this is the collection of a lifetime—all assembled by Frank Cassata. There are shelves piled high with paisley,plaid and floral fabrics. You’ll see racks of vintage dresses and rows of patterned kimonos. Top companies have used the archive for aesthetic inspiration and it’s easy to see why.

Trivia Time Don’t miss the drawers inthe back, filled with vintage and antiquetextile paintings, delicately rendered in gouache. Open by private appointment.

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4. INNERSLEEVE RECORDS

An Amagansett music den devoted to vinyl.

Inside this petite shop, you’ll find thousands of old-school record albums—all meticulously alphabetized into little wooden bins. Handprinted dividers spell out the names Marvin Gaye, Gloria Gaynor, Al Green. In the background, favorite albums are playing on vintage turntables, with the richsounds of vinyl filling the air. Thereis an encyclopedic knowledge of music here, and the passion is infectious. Soon you’ll lose all track of time, browsing through the dizzying array of vintage albums. Welcome to the club.

Trivia Time Take note: The especially rare albums are displayed behind the front counter.

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5. FISH FARM

A one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Set inside a working fish farm, thisAmagansett eatery is strewn with cages, buoys and nets. A disco ball hangs in an abandoned shed. Geese honk in nearby pens. And while the setting is a bit dressed down, the food here is superbly dressed up. Head over to the window and order one of its top-notch lobsterrolls, or try its perfectly fresh fish. Platters come ringed with flowerslike culinary collages.

Trivia Time Come in your swimsuit and dine at one of the picnic tables overlooking GardinersBay. You have escaped theHamptons scene entirely.

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6. LIARS’ SALOON

Where the fishermen tell tales

Hidden inside a Montauk marina,this pint-size saloon is a fisherman’sbest kept secret. There are 21 seats. Draft beers are $1. And the walls are hung with black-and-white photo collages of regulars who have been coming here for years. Right outside,you can glimpse the various fishingvessels tied up in the harbor. It’s old- time Montauk through and through.

Trivia Time While some people say the saloon can be a little salty, thefavorite drink here is actually quitesweet. It’s the Mudslide, mixed with Kahlúa, Baileys Irish Cream, vodka and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

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7. D’AMICO STUDIO

Tour a modernist art-filled abode.

It’s the former home of Victor D’Amico, the founding director of education at the Museum of Modern Art, along with his artist wife, Mabel. Step inside and it’s as if they might return home at any moment. They not only loved art, they lived it. Cobalt vases are artfully arranged. The bathroom door has been turned into a collage. Even Mabel’s handpainted Keds sneakers are lined up inside a closet. Set alongside Gardiners Bay, you get the idea this home was a work in progress—that many of Victor’s pioneering ideas were hatched here.

Trivia Time Upstairs don’t miss the collection of cloth hands adorned with dozens of acrylic resin rings— all made by Mabel herself.

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8. GARDINERS ISLAND

The granddaddy of private properties.

Owned by the Gardiner family since 1639, this island boasts 27 miles of coastline. It has survived NativeAmerican wars, family squabblesand even witchcraft. No visitors are allowed on the island; we can only glimpse it from the opposite shore– white windmill and all. Today the focus is on preserving the island’s natural heritage, which boasts the largest stand of white oak on the Northeast Seaboard.

Trivia Time Captain Kidd is said to have sailed to Gardiners Island in 1699 to stash a treasure chest filledwith gold, rubies and diamonds.



Photography by: Jean Hodgens