There was a saying in the 1950s that went,
for the sporting rich; Bridgehampton for the nearly rich; East Hampton for the
and while the saying may hold more true than not, there's
more to the Hamptons than just shopping on the main drags, socializing, and
sunning on the beach. Some of the smaller, less glitzy communities on the East
End have much to offer those seeking a simpler lifestyle.A-List Architecture
Technically part of Westhampton, the tiny
hamlet of Quogue was founded in the mid-1600's and is a real vacation community
showpiece, with meticulously cared-for lawns spreading out in front of some
of the most beautiful Victorian homes on the East Coast. While historic Quogue
is dominated by sterling examples of last-century architecture, further out
from the town center, toward the ocean and on the beachfront, you can catch
glimpses of astonishingly modern homes and sprawling mansions set back from
the water amongst the trees.
Quogue is one of the oldest communities on Long Island, but really came into its own as a destination when it got railroad service in the mid-1800's. Vacationers fell in love with the area and put down roots, establishing hotels, B&B's, and restaurants to host day-trippers and summer vacationers from the city.
The Other Quogue
To the east of Quogue, is - you guessed it - East
Quogue, which started life as Fourth Neck the late 1600's, was renamed Atlanticville
in 1852, and finally settled in as East Quogue in 1899, after the railroad came
through. By that time, East Quogue was a magnet for tourists, with dozens of
hotels, boarding houses, inns, and guest homes. Today, people come for the quaint
surroundings that are the Hamptons stock in trade, as well as the nearby beaches
and thriving nightlife. The Duck Capital of the World?
village of Eastport merged itself out of Seatuck and Waterville - two even smaller
maritime hamlets - in the 1850's, the area was primarily devoted to commercial
duck farming, which had begun by the1800's. Within a few more decades, Eastport
was shipping out more than six million ducks per year, and had - perhaps not surprisingly - become
known as the duck capital of the world.
Since most of the duck farms closed in the latter part of the 19th century, Eastport has turned its economic focus to tourism, and has capitalized on both its historic charm and surrounding natural beauty. Visitors not particularly thrilled by duck-lore can check out antiques bargain shopping in Eastport proper. Main Street is perfect for hunting for unique vases and carved maple end tables you just won't find at Pottery Barn back home. The quaint streets of Eastport offer a great opportunity for window shopping and admiring the waterfront of the Great South Bay. Eastport is also home to Lily Pond - known locally as simply "the Lake" - which is a quiet natural oasis off the beaten path and well away from all the activity in the heart of town.
History on the Water
While it began as a busy whaling port on
the north side of the South Fork, Sag Harbor now is known for its Colonial-era
streets shaded by age-old trees, a grand array of restaurants and historic homes,
as well as a friendly, small-town atmosphere.
An enormous array of boats and yachts dot the harbor, reminiscent of the community's history of fishing, and farther into town one can enjoy the quiet calm of Sag Harbor's fine dining and museums.
One must-see is the old Customs House, which was built in 1789 when Sag Harbor - along with New York City - was designated the first port of entry into the country. The historic building was also home to Long Island's first post office. Today, the museum displays historical documents and furnishings from its various incarnations.