East Hampton Main Street
It’s About More Than Shopping
So she arrived on a Sunday night, and snuggled under a down quilt with the fireplace flickering. The detective in me determines the cause of the red smears and brown blotches in her journal are from chocolate chip cookies and a bottle of 2014 Prime Number from Roanoke Vineyards - the perfect pairing for planning tomorrow’s shopping
As if throwing a dart at a map on the wall, she drifted off to sleep knowing that tomorrow morning her adventure would start by wandering out the front door of the Mill House Inn in East Hampton Village.
Mill House Inn November 2018
She only took a quick glance, for a moment her eyes said Madison or 5th Avenue, maybe Soho. Boutique shops, store windows that might have an artist’s signature taking credit for design, color, texture, arrangement, lighting. A bistro or trattoria offering lunch or an early dinner. The aromas of coffee and a baguette fresh from the oven, maybe an afternoon macchiato and almond macaroons. After all dinner is a long ways away and there is more shopping on the agenda, yes a small bite to eat first. Maybe a few moments browsing the latest novels and a quick perusal of the local theatre movie schedule.
The dramatic landscape of Long Island's East End, pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches, some of the most beautiful villages in America, an old whaling town and a scattering of shops one needs to search for to actually find are the telltale signs that Manhattan is 100 miles to the west.
These villages and small towns are all linked by slow country roads, most traveling east. Often they bear the same name, 'Main Street', but most are also known as Route 27 or Montauk Highway. She is well aware that shopping here is different. Many store names might be found in Manhattan, LA or Palm Beach; but after the summer fades this is a blissfully quiet and relaxing place to wander aimlessly and window shop to your heart's content.
Though a bit of buying is in order, that’s why she has fashioned this list, well maybe it’s more of sketching a map leading to her secret treasures. Certainly there is a shop or ten with an ethos that speaks to your heart, one that places its principles first - she has already identified quite a few. Some in fact have captured her heart.
She always feels different after shopping Out East; with the hustle and bustle removed, a bit of your soul remains intact. When her shopping list was crafted she found a group of curators, makers, designers and inventors, who are hell bent on changing the status quo. This is a different kind of shopping. The collection of stores on the East End is not so much planned but organic, just like most of the Hamptons.
From time to time the shops play ‘musical chairs.’ One says so long for now, another arrives or returns. She well knows her favorite brands that have departed are alive and well in the cloud, but experiencing them in person the first time made all the difference. Of course a few of the really big names are in attendance, as they should be - they are the best of the best. They inspire the kind of work that makes us all better.
Shops on East Hampton Main Street
I must confess, when she went for a second macchiato I stole a glance at her list, well maybe it was more like a journal . . .
- Reserve a car for one day, the Inn will take care of it
- Take a cab to Sag Harbor, from there it’s great to walk
- Dinner at the Palm with the owner of that new store on Newtown, Sandy?
- It’s always a short walk back to the Inn, for a glass of wine and a cheese plate
- But - make sure I bring something back for everyone
- This is my trip, it’s about more than shopping - buy stuff for me too
- Make sure I try all the new places, not just my favorites
- Dinner at Rowdy, movie afterwards
- Get a massage, the Inn takes care of that, remember to ask . . .
- This is the perfect alone trip. Why does everyone ask if I want company?
- It’s not everyone’s shopping trip - it’s my gift to me
- It's not about what you buy, but how and where
It's time to explore the East End. Let's start with a stroll through the Village. Of course you're invited to come along for the walk, let's see what we see . . .