Bridgehampton is one of the quieter Hamptons communities, a place to get away from the hurly-burly of the better known places and set your own pace. Antique shops, art galleries and restaurants dot the quaint village named for the bridge built by Ezekiel Sandford in 1686 that connected Sagaponack with Mecox.
During the summer and fall, farm stands galore display their bountiful harvests. There are also tennis, golf and horseback riding for those seeking recreation, as well as local beaches and some of Long Island’s finest wineries.
History buffs are drawn to the simple workings of Long Island’s oldest operating water mill in a community appropriately called Water Mill. The mill, ever the focal point of the community, was built in 1644, and was initially used to grind grain into flour for the settlers and feed for the livestock. Later it was used to spin yarn, weave cloth and manufacture paper. At other points in its history it was an ice cream factory, a tea room, a post office and an outlet shop. Today, visitors to the Old Water Mill Museum can work the lathe and learn the art of quilting and weaving at the fully operational mill.
Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. Montauk Highway. Built in 1670, the church still holds Sunday morning worship. ( 631- 537-0863)
Bridgehampton Polo Club. Hayground Road. On six consecutive Saturdays in July and August, thousands of sophisticated spectators congregate to watch some of the world’s most prestigious and celebrated polo teams compete in a distinctive social and sporting event. (212-421-1367)
Bridgehampton Historical Society. The Historical Society manages a number of buildings in the village. The Corwith House is a two-story home built in 1775 and furnished with items from the Victorian era. Nearby are two barns with turn-of-the-century steam engines, and a building with a blacksmith shop. The complex also features a 1902 jailhouse. Open June-Labor Day. ( 631- 537-1088)
Children’s Museum of the East End. The East End’s newest museum was founded on 12 acres donated by Alan and Arlene Alda. Children can explore the history, beauty and treasures of the East End of Long Island there. The museum includes a tree house room and an entire village, fire engine and sailing ship; farm stand, fishing and wind science experiments; a “potato birth to potato chip” exhibit, workshops and programs. Open year round. (631-537-8250)
Water Mill Museum. Old Mill Road, Water Mill. Long Island’s oldest operating water mill dating back to 1644. The museum features early grain-grinding tools, Colonial crafts, special exhibits, art gallery and craft shop. Open from Memorial Day to mid-September. ( 631- 726-4625)
Parks & Recreation
Mecox Beach. Jobs Lane, Bridgehampton. Southampton Town Beach. 250 feet of beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Lifeguards, showers and restrooms, food stand, volleyball courts, sun deck, overlook platform. Seasonal and daily permit holders. ( 631- 283-6011)
Flying Point Beach. Flying Point Road, Water Mill. Southampton Town Beach. 250 feet of beach on Atlantic Ocean. Seasonal permit-holders only. No daily parking. Lifeguards, showers and restrooms, food stand, volleyball courts. ( 631- 283-6011)
Poxabogue County Park. Poxabogue Lane, off Montauk Highway, east of Bridgehampton. 26 acres, with a half-mile nature walk. ( 631- 854-4949)
Poxabogue Golf Course. Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. ( 631- 537-0025)
John E. Berwind Memorial Park. Ocean Road, Bridgehampton. Features Beebe Windmill, built in 1800.
Sagg Swamp Preserve. Sagg Road. About a mile of hiking trails maintained by the Nature Conservancy. ( 631- 329-7689)
Foster Memorial Beach (Long Beach). Long Beach Road, Noyac. Southampton Town beach. One-mile beachfront on Peconic Bay. Lifeguards, showers, restrooms, benches, food stand, overlook platform, sand chair (beach wheelchair). ( 631- 283-6011)
Sagg Main Beach. Sagaponack on Sagg Main Road. Southampton Town beach. 1,500 feet of ocean beach. Lifeguards, showers, restrooms, overlook platform, food stand, sand chair (beach wheelchair), picnic tables, volleyball courts. ( 631- 283-6011)
There are three wineries located in the Hamptons region, all in the Bridgehampton vicinity. They include Channing Daughters Winery, Duck Walk Vineyards and Wölffer Estate.
For more information, call the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce at 631-728-2211 www.hamptonbayschamber.com