Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, exploring Southampton on June 03, 2014. (Photo: David Krieger/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
Walking down Jobs Lane in downtown Southampton last Saturday, I spotted clusters of twentysomethings who looked straight out of South Beach — with their gold platforms, one-shouldered kaftans, and flat-ironed hair — strolling through town. Outside the new Carvel ice cream shop, a gaggle of town police and camera-wielding tourists were clustered by the entrance. Not your typical sights in the tony summer enclave of the Hamptons.
Crowds outside the Carvel in Southampton, waiting for the Kardashians. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
Sure enough, a newly pregnant Kourtney Kardashian and her son Mason emerged moments later, trailed by paparazzi, and jumped into their waiting Escalade.
Over the speakers at Carvel, the local radio station blared, “24-hour Kardashian Coverage.”
And so it began — the summer of the Kardashians. From Southampton to Montauk, the wind of change is blowing through these formerly cloistered beach towns. And now that reality stars have arrived, even the reality TV producers are fleeing.
Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
“It just got to be too much,” says Nick Rigg, who has produced such shows as Househunters International and Ice Holes, which recently premiered on the National Geographic Channel. Rigg started renting in Montauk’s Ditch Plains back in 2010, before the little surf community became the hipster destination of choice. Last year, he sought out the less frenetic town of Amagansett. This year, he’s ditched the area altogether, in favor of quiet Shelter Island, a ferry ride away from the buzz.
I saw it coming two summers ago, when Jayma Cardoso, owner of Montauk’s Surf Lodge wouldn’t let me through the door one Saturday night because I was — as she put it — “part of the problem.” She was referring to positive travel articles I’d written about the hotel and the Hamptons. Hey, it wasn’t my fault that the Surf Lodge decided to flaunt all town codes by allowing thousands of revelers to gather around its firepit and open-air bar.
Montauk’s annual Shark Attack party, hosted by Ben Watts. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
Add to that events like Montauk’s over-the-top Shark Attack Party, hosted by photographer Ben Watts — brother of Naomi — which started as a small under-the-radar event and now gets shut down every summer because of noise complaints and overcrowding. And there are more and more clubs masquerading as hotels, like the Montauk Beach House, which now even has “memberships” to spend time around its pool. Witness this exchange when a Yahoo colleague made a (very fair) complaint about the nonstop poolside party. (Editor’s Note: the hotel informed us that it has since changed its management, and now only has a low-key DJ by the pool from noon to 6pm on Saturdays.)
You can read the whole review here. And check out the manager’s response:
“It’s spoiled,” says Erika Zizzo, a Long Island resident who has been coming here since she was a kid and loves the area so much that she has the map of Long Island tattooed on her side. “Montauk used to be a best-kept secret, but now you can only go there in the winter — that’s how bad it is.”
Related: Nantucket vs. Martha’s Vineyard
Ok, ok, we get it. The Kardashians have taken over Southampton with their new E! show “Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons” and their pop-up shop (Dash) at 64 Jobs Lane, and Montauk is an overcrowded party nightmare. So what’s a traveler to do? Well, as someone who lives in Amagansett and still loves the wonderful low-key diversions these towns have to offer, you follow my guide to the Other Hamptons.
From Montauk to Southampton, here are my 10 favorite spots, where you definitely won’t bump into the Kardashians and where you won’t have to line up for bottle service.
Navy Beach at sunset. (Photo: Peter Dutton/Flickr)
The Sunset Cocktails
Navy Beach, Montauk: Granted, things heat up here as the night goes on, but if you come early and grab a table on the sand, you can’t beat the sunset at this chic beachfront restaurant.
And More Sunset Cocktails
The Montauket, Montauk: The yin to Navy Beach’s yang, the view from this down-and-dirty dive bar is unparalleled.
The Seafood Shack
The Clam Bar, Napeague: A simple, open-air spot with yellow-and-white umbrellas. Order the lobster-stuffed tomato.
Related: Best Secret Beach Towns
Louse Point at sunset. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
Louse Point, Amagansett: Gorgeous bayside hideaway in Accabonac Harbor, where dogs play on the sand while kids go combing for shells.
Lazy Point, Amagansett: A stylish shop run by a Brazilian transplant who sources clothes from back home and can make even vintage kids’ puzzles look chic.
Longhouse Reserve. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
The Art Enclave
Longhouse Reserve, East Hampton: Sculptures by Sol Lewitt and Yoko Ono, plus other large-scale artwork installed on a sprawling estate owned by textile artist Jack Lenor Larsen.
The Antique Store
Sage Street Antiques, Sag Harbor: Open only on Saturday/Sunday and loaded with affordable treasures that define the Hamptons beach house look.
Cavianola’s Gourmet, Sag Harbor: Quite possibly one of the most divine cheese shops on the planet, with takeaway sandwiches for a day at the beach.
The vineyards of Wölffer. (Courtesy: Wolffer Estate Vineyard)
It’s a toss up between Channing Daughters, in Bridgehampton, with its sculpture garden, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard, which hosts a family-friendly Friday night wine-tasting and live music by the vines.
South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, Bridgehampton: The place to learn about the local ecosystems and habitats, with a nin-mile trail through wetlands and woods.
The Local Joint
Fellingham’s, Southampton: An old-school steak house and bar just off Main Street, but miles away in spirit from the land of the Kardashians.
Home Nature in Southampton. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
The Interiors Shop
Home Nature, Southampton and Amagansett – Midcentury modern vintage finds and incredibly curated housewares.
The Affordable Find
Colette, Southampton: A consignment store with locations across town, where local women dump their old Guccis and Puccis.