Monday, July 14, 2014

Rediscovering Hamptons Hamlet, now with more Style!

Happening in the Hamptons - Sag Harbor Rising

New York's eastern end of Long Island is endlessly beautiful, regardless of the weather or season.  This area, home to some of the most renown beaches in the world, is a water lover's paradise.  But, as was the case for my family and I yesterday, not every day is a beach day.  Thankfully, there is plenty else to do.

We took a ride to picture-perfect Sag Harbor --  settled in the early 1700s, this was once a thriving whaling town. Today, the shops on the main street of Sag Harbor, unlike those of its swanky neighbors  (East Hampton and Bridgehampton), are almost a throw back to another era. The wonderfully nostalgic village, with its narrow streets, an old fashioned Five and Dime, bohemian shops, and an old sailers Inn (which is now a stylish hotel), brings us back to a bygone time.  This quaint New England style wharfing hamlet is always a treat to walk.  Which is exactly what we did on this trip -- and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the town is rapidly transforming!  Now antique shops with $200 bottles of perfume, Hermes cashmere throws, and brightly colored lacquered doors are popping up next to historic diners and hardware stores.

The largest, most noticeable update to the village of Sag Harbor is the ambitious $40 million dollar renovation project to the old Bulova watch factory in the center of town, appropriately called Watchcase. The project has seamlessly kept the old world feel of the existing factory and adjacent buildings and has fully updated them,  keeping the fabric of the community intact.

So much of today's design seems to depend on a mid-century aesthetic, which brought plenty of drama to the design community a few years ago. But, it has run its course and has become a bit insipid. I look forward to fresh design concepts where mid-century is less pronounced. The Watchcase has enlisted Architectural Digest top 100 architect and interior designer, Steven Gambrel, to design this ambitious project. He has superb vision, and does not appear to overtly design from a mid-century perspective.  Gambrel, along with city planning and restoration specialists are transforming this once lifeless section of Sag Harbor into tasteful homes.  Its gorgeous!

This exquisite restoration and hot location, however,  comes with a hefty price tag (and monthly maintenance)!   But I hear that sales are brisk, with over 75% of the units at Watchcase sold!
See New York Times article:

Whether interested in Watchcase or not, taking a trip to Sag Harbor is well worth it; especially if you have never been or it has been a while.  Visiting both the traditional shops and the uber-hip ateliers are a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon.

Checking out brass knocker at Monc XIII
Capturing style, in Sag Harbor 
Sniffing Bellocq Teas at Astier de Villatte 

When in Sag Harbor check out:

The American Hotel
Page Restaurant, for an amazing Lobster BLT 
Cavaniola's Gourmet Cheese Shop - not only the best cheese out east, but knowledgeable staff to help guide you into making the right choice!
The  Bay Street Theater, where Broadway's talent summers!
Monc XIII,  new and vintage pieces are tastefully arranged like a comfortable living room.
Bay Burger,  great lunch -- tatter tots for kids and nice fish sandwich for adults,

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