A Design Lover’s Field Guide to the Hamptons
Choose your own adventure.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:02 AM
When you only have days (or hours) to explore a new city, Domino’s Field Guide is a need-to-know edit of the coolest bars, hotels, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques in the top design cities. Next up: the Hamptons.
Come Memorial Day, the streets of New York City have emptied out. No one wants to spend their weekends sweating on a hot subway platform. Where is everyone? The Hamptons, just a few hours away, is a good guess. Each summer, the destination fills up with those in search of sun, sea, and a healthy dose of lobster rolls. But the coastal seaside hamlets on the east end of Long Island hold many more hidden spots than a certain group of housewives would suggest. And, frankly, that’s the best part.
Summer in the Hamptons is basically a “choose your own adventure” situation. If you love wandering around vintage shops and used book stores, there are places for that. If you want to surf all day and watch a live band play outside at sunset, the area has you covered. If all you want to do is go on an early farmers’ market run and cook up a feast before returning to your hammock, be our guest.
What makes this locale special is the abundance of creatives and makers you’ll find there—some who’ve settled in for the summer, others permanently. There’s Robert McKinley, the hotel designer with a penchant for putting together fully shoppable vacation rentals; Sasha Benz, the creative director with a love for dainty jewelry and vintage homewares; and Sean MacPherson and his wife, Rachelle Hruska, a hotelier–fashion designer duo who love nothing more than a plate of whipped ricotta and a beautiful sunset. Below, we’ve mapped out our perfect weekend in the Hamptons. If you do make it there, stop by and say hi—Domino will be out east very soon…
Where to Stay
McKinley Bungalow: If a vacation rental is more your speed than a hotel (or if you’re traveling with lots of family or friends), book your stay at the McKinley Bungalow. Robert McKinley, the designer behind famed Montauk hot spots Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s, opened this fully shoppable home last summer in Montauk, just a hop and a skip away from famous surfing beach Ditch Plains. Filled with mementos and design moments—Aelfie wall hangings, Cle tiles, Floyd beds—it’s the ideal space for the design lover to unwind. This summer, he’s opening a second property, so stay tuned! Country Club Estates, Montauk
A Room at the Beach: Reopened earlier this summer in Bridgehampton after a painstaking restoration, A Room at the Beach (which was once owned by fashion designer Donna Karan) is a quiet nature respite nestled among a row of redwood trees. The bathrooms undoubtedly steal the show with their rain showers, marble walls, and spa tubs (with views!). 2668 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton
The Maidstone: Located across from the quaintest weeping willow–framed pond on East Hampton’s Main Street is The Maidstone, a small Scandinavian-inspired boutique hotel. Bikes are available for guests, a two-person swing on the porch provides some of the town’s best vistas, and the outdoor space is filled with lawn games like cornhole and giant Connect Four. The 19th-century property is also home to a bar and restaurant that’s perfect for Sunday brunch. 207 Main Street, East Hampton
Gurney’s Star Island: Gurney’s Resort is iconic in Montauk for its year-round Scarpetta restaurant, beach club, and world-class spa. But on the other side of town, the quieter Gurney’s Star Island just opened in the old Montauk Yacht Club. The property has multiple bars and restaurants, a pool, and unobstructed views of the marina. It’s the original resort’s more affordable younger sibling. For the best of both worlds, jump on the shuttle, which transports guests between the two spots every half hour. 32 Star Island Road, Montauk
Where to Eat
Calissa: For arguably the best Greek food on the Atlantic coast, head to Calissa in Water Mill. The breezy restaurant offers a full array of mezze and Greek classics like Saganaki cheese and lamb souvlaki. On balmy summer nights, the patio is a lovely place to nosh on fried cheese and braised eggplant. 1020 Montauk Highway, Water Mill
Shuko Beach: Sushi fans, rejoice! NYC’s famous omakase restaurant is returning to the Hamptons this summer with Shuko Beach, a pop-up at the Highway Restaurant in Wainscott. Expect the same mouthwatering sushi, but in a decidedly more relaxed atmosphere. 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton
Sel Rrose: Opening soon in Montauk is Manhattan’s beloved Sel Rrose outpost. Venturing out from the Lower East Side, this buzzy oyster bar is fitting for Montauk’s more laid-back crowd. After all, what better place to slurp on shellfish than at the beach? 4 South Elmwood Avenue, Montauk
Duryea’s: This waterfront restaurant might be famous for its lobster rolls, but we’re here to tell you that its lobster Cobb salad is even better. Sit under a breezy canopy on Duryea’s pier for lunch, order a bottle of rosé, and get ready for a fresh-off-the-boat feast. 65 Tuthill Road, Montauk
Crow’s Nest: Ask in-the-know Montauk locals what the town’s best restaurant is, and you’ll likely hear Crow’s Nest mentioned more than once. The rustic eatery, owned by Sean MacPherson (also behind the Ludlow and Marlton hotels) and Rachelle Hruska (of Lingua Franca fame), is perched on a hill overlooking Lake Montauk. Head there early to catch the sunset while noshing on a platter of whipped ricotta and summer spaghetti you won’t forget. The property also has a beautiful hotel for those who wish to stay for the weekend. 4 Old West Lake Drive, Montauk
Tacombi: If you need a quick lunch, check out Tacombi. The colorful taqueria serves chips, guac, and margaritas on turquoise picnic tables in the heart of Montauk, along with an array of delicious tacos. 752 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Moby’s: For an alfresco dinner in a buzzy spot, head to Moby’s in the old East Hampton Yacht Club. The space was completely revamped last summer and offers stunning water views. Order a Tuscan kale salad, fluke crudo, and a pizza to share. 295 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, East Hampton
Where to Shop
Monc XIII: For mid-century Italian antiques you might not be able to afford but will never tire of looking at (plus candles and kitchenware you’ll definitely want to bring home). 40 Madison Street, Sag Harbor
Ruby Beets: For seriously great vintage finds to fill your (dream) weekend home. 25 Washington Street, Sag Harbor
Matriark: For a selection of female-owned brands, from fashion to home, with a focus on those that give back to women’s causes. 133 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Melet Mercantile: For unique beachwear, books, photography, and art (and a brand-new Gucci outpost!). 102 Industrial Road, Montauk
Wyld Blue: For vintage goods, dainty jewelry, clothing, homewares, and more items with a breezy, beach vibe, courtesy of Sasha Benz, the Surf Lodge’s creative director. 716 Montauk Highway Level 2, Store 2, Montauk
Cynthia Rowley (Coffee + Flowers): For colorful and beach-ready summer outfits (chic wetsuits included), plus refreshments from the quaintest coffee shop–meets–florist pop-up by the West Village’s The Elk and Popup Florist. 696 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Bluestone Lane Beach Collective: For much-needed morning coffee and a collection of finds from Australian designers, ranging from beachwear to skin care. 786 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Ulla Johnson: For breezy floral dresses you’ll want to wear all summer long. This store is too beautiful to pass up. 4 Amagansett Square, Amagansett
Love Adorned: For chic wind chimes, crystals, and everything else you need to satisfy your inner hippie. 156 Main Street, Amagansett
Reformation Beach House: For more floral dresses (and linen pants) you won’t want to take off. 85 Main Street, East Hampton
St. Frank: For thoughtfully crafted furniture and decor from all around the world. 78 Main Street, East Hampton
Homenature: For quintessential beach house furniture, as well as homewares with a modern edge. 6 Main Street, Southampton
Our Perfect Itinerary
For the perfect Hamptons weekend, start with a pit stop at Wölffer Wine Stand for a glass of rosé (no more than that if you’re driving!) and a cheese board. Every Friday in the summer, the vineyard’s outpost hosts an outdoor concert at sunset, where kids are welcome. The laid-back vibes will set the right tone for the rest of the weekend. From there, check in at your hotel of choice before heading to Moby’s for a dinner overlooking the East Hampton Marina.
In the morning, head to Jack’s, Coffee + Flowers, Bluestone Lane, or Sagtown for your daily dose of caffeine (they’re all equally good, promise). Browse some of the shops in Sag Harbor, Montauk, or Amagansett before heading to the beach. For lunch, grab a quick bite at Organic Krush in Amagansett, or sit down at Duryea’s, Tacombi, or The Gig Shack (which serves a lobster roll on a croissant bun). Next, take a bike ride around Montauk and stop by Ditch Plains, the town’s famous surf beach. If you have a kitchen to cook in, stop by Bhumi Farms, Amber Waves, or Balsam Farms to pick up the freshest ingredients for a seasonal feast. Or head to the Crow’s Nest early for sunset cocktails and dinner.
On Sunday, wake up early for your workout of choice (Soulcycle, Tracy Anderson, and Barry’s Bootcamp all have summer outposts in the various hamlets) and then enjoy an alfresco brunch at Gurney’s Resort and Spa or The Maidstone. Afterward, walk around a few more stores before packing up the car to head home. On your way out, stop by the Parrish Art Museum, a beautiful contemporary gallery located in Water Mill (and maybe add on another visit to nearby Calissa for one last dinner). If you have one more night in the area (lucky you), go to Surf Lodge for its sunset concert and grab a final meal at Scarpetta Beach.
Discover more of our favorite destinations: A Design Lover’s Field Guide to Upstate New York The Design Lover’s Field Guide to the French Riviera A Design Lover’s Field Guide to Ibiza