You may or may not be familiar with Springs (or The Springs, as many call it—it’s a matter of much heated debate among East Hamptonites), the enclave of East Hampton that runs from the border of town all the way out to the Bay. What draws visitors to Springs? First, it was always a haven for artists. Jackson Pollock lived, worked, and, sadly, died in Springs. Willem de Kooning’s property abutted my own. Abstract Expressionism may not have been born out here, but it certainly took a liking to the landscape. So when you visit—and you should definitely visit—here’s what you should do.
Where to Stay
If you’re looking to stay somewhat close to the village, East Hampton Point (295 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, East Hampton) has well appointed rooms—as well as a restaurant (Moby’s), a swimming pool, a marina, and an unparalleled bay view. For a really inescapably “Springs” experience, try the East Hampton Art House Bed and Breakfast (9 Bon Pinck Way, East Hampton), which includes a fully stocked butler’s pantry, a 66-foot heated pool, complimentary breakfast, an outdoor shower, a gym, and access to East Hampton’s coveted Clearwater Beach (which is part of a private community).
On Saturday mornings, Springs Fireplace Road is abuzz with the weekly farmer’s market, which runs from May through October. You can skip breakfast entirely and nosh happily on what the market has to offer—everything from fresh bread and pastries to in-season berries. There are seafood vendors, for those wishing to pick up a little something for later. When you’re done wandering the impressive array of local vendors and tasting through what the market has to offer, take a stroll through adjacent Ashawagh Hall, where local artist showcase their work.
Speaking of art, it would be a pity to come all the way to the heart of Springs without paying homage to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. Their old Springs home is now the site of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, a National Historic Landmark built in 1879. Pollock used the artist’s studio—originally home to local fishing equipment—to make his drip paintings from 1946 and 1952, and the floors of the studio still betray traces of his work. The museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
You’ve probably worked up an appetite with all of that art appreciation, which means that dinner is probably high on your list of priorities. The great news about Springs is that there’s a view from nearly every restaurant. From 4 to 7 p.m., make a beeline for Bay Kitchen Bar, where happy hour oysters are a dollar apiece and glasses of rosé are a very un-Hamptons $5. Bay Kitchen Bar’s deck overlooks the water and promises an ever-stunning sunset. Not even a mile down the road, Harbor Bistro offers a happy hour menu from 5 to 7 every night, with another great view of the water. Wines and select cocktails are $6, small plates $8, with offerings like potstickers, goat cheese croquettes, and half a dozen oysters available. The restaurant also offers a “sunset menu” in the dining room each evening between 5 and 6 for $29, which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, or an appetizer, entrée, and glass of wine.
General Store Brekkie
I’m deeply committed to this old school breakfast and lunch joint, where half the local population gathers on any given morning. You can get a very delicious bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for $5 (to which you may need to add a homemade scone or donut—I’m just saying). Cases are filled with all kinds of salads and lunch offerings, should you feel the need to stock up for later. The best seating at the General Store is outside, in the Adirondack chairs overlooking the parking lot.
Beach it Real Good
I arrived in the Hamptons an ocean beach devotee, but years of experience has converted my allegiances. I now prefer the mellow vibe of the region’s bays, where the water is more shallow and warmer, and where you can practically roll from your car to the beach. Maidstone Park provides some of the best beachgoing in Springs. It’s a long beach that extends into the channel, where boats are constantly entering and exiting the harbor, making for lovely sea gazing. The shallow, protected water is perfect for young kids, but also for those looking to get on a paddleboard (you can rent one down the road, at Paddle Diva) or simply take a long, wave-absent swim.
The ever-cool Moby’s, which began as a Montauk parking lot pop-up six seasons ago, has found a new 2018 home at East Hampton Point. It’s the perfect place to wind down the weekend, with a glass of rosé and a wood-fired pizza, of course. Pack up your leftovers for the way home; it will make the traffic more palatable.