Chic, celebrity-filled, sensational – these are words that describe Southampton. Add to this white sand beaches, impressive estates and a variety of recreational activities and the town of Southampton is truly an ideal place to visit.
Established in 1640 by English colonists as the first settlement in New York State, the community has preserved a good deal of its “Colonial” atmosphere. The Village of Southampton and several local buildings are included in the National Historic Registry. Visitors can take a self-guided historical walking tour with maps available at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce. Highlights of the tour include the Southampton Historical Museum and the Old Halsey Homestead, which is the oldest frame house in the state and served as English General Erskine’s headquarters while British troops were stationed in this area during the American Revolution.
An art community evolved around the turn of the century after William Merritt Chase founded The Art School in Shinnecock Hills, now called The Art Village. Due in part to the natural scenery and soft, diffused light and wispy clouds encompassing the South Fork, artists such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Fairfield Porter, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers and Eric Fischl maintained studios in the area.
Quaint shops on historic, tree-lined streets such as Jobs Lane dot Southampton Village. Approximately 200 retail stores in the village include antique shops, art galleries, fine giftware, gourmet shops and unique clothing boutiques. There are more than 20 restaurants in Southampton Village alone, with prices ranging from economy to fine dining. The Hamptons’ major health care facility, Southampton Hospital, is located in the village and attends to the medical and surgical needs of visitors and residents.
The village boasts seven miles of unspoiled beaches, some with free parking available. Town beaches have daily parking passes on a first-come, first-served basis. Southampton’s waters are a haven for boating and fishing. Shinnecock is a popular dive spot, and Tiana, Shinnecock, Peconic and Noyac Bays are popular among windsurfers.
There are also outstanding tennis facilities available, as well as three golf courses. The Shinnecock Golf Club, the site of the 1896, 1986, 1995 and the 2004 U.S. Open, is the oldest private 18-hole golf course in America. Stony Brook Southampton, Stony Brook University’s new four-year campus with a focus on the environment, recently took over the campus of Southampton College, preserving the open space and its historic windmill. The Southampton Cultural & Civic Center, The Parrish Art Museum and the Rogers Memorial Library sponsor a variety of activities for adults and children, including plays, art shows, concerts, readings and workshops. The Shinnecock Indians hold their Annual Labor Day Powwow, which is open to the public, at their reservation just outside of Southampton.
Conscience Point Historic Site and Nature Walk. Four miles from Southampton Village, off North Sea Road. A large boulder bears a plaque with the inscription: “Near this spot in June, 1640, landed the Colonists from Lynn, Mass., who founded Southampton, the first English settlement in the State of New York.” Offers a great view of the Peconic Bay, and a nature trail leads through a rich variety of native shore plants. Open year-round, sunrise to sunset. Free admission.
First Presbyterian Church of Southampton. South Main Street. Oldest church in New York State, started in 1640. ( 631- 283-1296)
The Thomas Halsey Homestead. 249 S. Main St. Built in 1660. Open July through mid-October. ( 631- 283-3527)
Pelletreau Silver Shop. 78 Main Street. Built in 1686. Founded by Captain Elias Pelletreau, famous colonial silversmith and Revolutionary War patriot, shortly after he completed his apprenticeship in New York City. Pelletreau silver, made some 200 years ago (between 1750 and 1810) in the quaint shop, is sought by collectors of early American silver. Maintained by the Southampton Historical Museums and Research Center, visitors can view the forge, ancient workbench, early tools and examples ofPelletreau’s craft in a guided tour. Free admission, classes in jewelry making offered year-round. Open year-round. (287-0056)
The Parrish Art Museum. Jobs Lane. Founded in 1898, the Museum is devoted to American art of the 19th and 20th centuries; major works by William Merritt Chase and Fairfield Porter; sculpture garden and arboretum; changing exhibitions, lectures and concerts. Open year-round. ( 631- 283-2118)
Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum. West Gate Road at the Shinnecock Reservation and Montauk Highway. Museum features information about the tribe’s 200-year history through wall-length murals, implements, baskets, crafts, furniture and in-depth photographic gallery. Open yearround. ( 631- 287-4923)
The Southampton Historical Museums and Research Center. 17 Meeting House Lane. Since 1898, housed in the Rogers Mansion Main Museum Building, an 1843 whalingcaptain’s home with widow’s walk and rooms furnished in the period. Three galleries feature a collection of antique dolls and toys as well as books, manuscripts, photographs, Indian artifacts, and interpretation of regional history through changing exhibits and activities. On the grounds are a one-room school house, a pre-Revolutionary barn, carriage house, blacksmith and carpentry shops, apothecary store, country store, and a saloon which recreate a vision of post-Civil
War Southampton. Open April-December and by appointment. ( 631- 283-2494)
St. Andrew’s Dune Church. Dune Road. Built by the U.S. government in 1851 as a Life Saving Station, and later bought by Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas and presented to the church in 1879. On many of the windows and walls are beautifully inscribed biblical texts, some by Tiffany. Relics of off-shore shipwrecks can be seen on the grounds. Services each Sunday, June-September.
Scenic Route–Estate Section. Tour the streets of Southampton’s estate section. The former summer colony of New York’s wealthiest was first established in the 1890s and is now home to the world’s captains of industry. From the roads, visitors can see imposing mansion residences and gardens. A landmark house on Pond Lane was built
in 1899 for Secretary of War Elihu Root.
Parks & Recreation
Shinnecock East County Park. (89 Acres)Outerbeach camping for self-contained vehicles only; salt-water fishing. ( 631- 852-8899)
Shinnecock Canal County Marina. (6.5 Acres) Fuel dock, sewage pump-out station, restrooms, electrical hookups and water. Transient slips available for visitors. ( 631- 852-8291)
Suffolk Hills County Park. (985 acres) Off County Road 51. Part of the Pine Barrens acquisition. ( 631- 854-4949)
Cooper’s Beach. Dune Road. Southampton Village Beach. Oceanfront beach for daily parking. Fee. ( 631- 283-0247)
Mecox Bay. Site for windsurfing, boating and ice boating in winter.
Morton Wildlife Refuge. Noyac Road. 187 acres of diverse habitats for protection of migratory birds. Overlooks Noyac and Peconic Bays. Open daily year-round. ( 631- 286-0485)
For more information, call the Southampton Chamber of Commerce at 631-283-0402 or visit www.southamptonchamber.com