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HEAD TO THE HAMPTONS!

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by Melissa B. Stoller

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You don’t need to rent or own a house in the Hamptons to enjoy summer fun with your family. We stayed at three resorts, and enjoyed wonderful amenities, excellent beaches, great dining, and family activities.

The Inn at Quogue combines old-world charm with modern amenities. The resort features suites, cottages, a pool, bicycles, and a spa. The Inn’s restaurant serves excellent regional American cuisine. (631-653-6560 and www.innatquogue.com). The Inn at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor is an all-season waterfront resort that boasts a pool, tennis court, and fabulous view of the harbor. Accommodations include suites and deluxe lofts, and all rooms are equipped with kitchenettes. (631-725-2100 and www.baronscove.com). The Hampton Maid in Hampton Bays overlooks the Shinnecock Bay. The resort offers a playground, pool, antique shop, and beautifully appointed rooms and cottages. Don’t miss the delicious country-style breakfast. (631-728-4166 and www.hamptonmaid.com). Another hotel that makes it easy for parents to customize a Hamptons getaway with the kids, and even the family pet, the Southhampton Inn has 90 large and airy 'Hamptons-style' rooms and amenities that include a heated swimming pool, tennis court, a kids’ game room and access to Coopers Beach in Southampton Village, rated among the top 10 best beaches for families in the country. The Inn offers choices of four-, five- or six-day stays, or monthly plans, and pets can come along for an additional fee. (1-800- 832-6500 and www.southamptoninn.com). Our favorite waterfront restaurants include: B Smith’s in Sag Harbor (631-725-5858), The Lobster Inn in Southampton (631-283-1525), and Indian Cove (631-728-5366) and Oaklands (631-728-6900) in Hampton Bays.

The Hamptons beaches are the biggest summer attraction, but other recreational activities provide interesting diversions. For theater including children’s shows, head to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (631-288-1500 and www.whbpac.org) and The Bay Street Theatre on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor (631-725-9500 and www.baystreet.org). For outdoor concerts, Westhampton Beach’s Village Green hosts a free concert series and children’s program (631-288-3337), and Sag Harbor hosts free concerts. Many communities also host outdoor arts and crafts shows. Try kayaking or canoeing with Main Beach Surf and Sport in Wainscot (631-537-2716), or mini-golf at Lynch Links in Southampton (631-283-0049). Explore a nature center and trails at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge (631-653-4771). Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead delights with shows, an outdoor interactive salt marsh, and an environmental cruise. They also have a 120,000-gallon shark exhibit, “Lost City of Atlantis”, and the largest living coral reef in the country. (631-208-9200 and www.atlantismarineworld.com). Summertime also means carnivals in Southampton, Hampton Bays, and Sag Harbor. For horse enthusiasts, visit the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton in August (631-537-3177 and www.hamptonclassic.com), or ride at the Quogue Horse & Pony Farm (631-653-5987). Whatever activities you choose, enjoy a Hamptons summer!

Resources: Hamptons Travel Guide (877-FUNONLI and www.hamptonstravelguide.com); www.eastendcommunity.com (with links to Chambers of Commerce); and www.danspapers.com.

Off-season

By Nancy Bevilaqua

Nine years ago, my husband and I got married, on a perfect June evening, on a patio overlooking the Atlantic at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk. The particulars of the Inn’s amenities and décor were a bliss-induced blur at the time — it was enough that Lorenzo, the Judge, and the ocean were there. And I can assure you that I wasn’t thinking about what it might be like to stay at Gurney’s with a 4-year-old. Well, now I’ve stayed at Gurney's with a 4-year-old. I had my doubts about bringing Alessandro (the product of the aforementioned marriage) to Gurney’s, particularly off-season. Unlike most resorts these days, the Inn doesn’t have a children’s program, and, judging from its website, its raisons d‚etre are its spa and its wedding facilities. Those are pretty good raisons, but when I’m going to a place that doesn’t make a point of welcoming children, I’m always concerned that my son will be regarded as a little nuisance who will disrupt dinner and color on the furniture. As soon as we got into our room and looked out toward the Atlantic from our balcony, however, my misgivings subsided — there was a playground on the beach. At dinner in the Inn’s Sea Grille restaurant, there were families with children at almost every table, and no one looked askance at them. The waiters didn’t fall all over themselves trying to endear themselves to Alessandro (he hates that, anyway), but they were friendly and relaxed with him. So we relaxed. (Gurney’s doesn’t have a children’s menu, but they do offer children’s meals. The pasta sauces, by the way, taste as if someone’s Italian grandmother is sent into the kitchen every morning to make them from scratch). The following morning, Alessandro entertained my husband on the beach while I went into the spa to have seaweed gel and lotion massaged into my skin as I breathed in lavender, rose and rosemary vapors — another bliss-inducing experience. Children are not allowed in the spa (with one exception — Gurney's offers special prenatal spa services), but the Inn does provide babysitting (usually by "off-duty" employees) for $12 per hour. Gurney’s’ heated, indoor pool (4 feet at the shallow end) makes an off-season stay with children quite a bit less likely to be peppered with the dreaded "I’m bored" complaint (children’s pool hours are usually noon to 2:30pm, and 6 to 8pm). Some off-site, year-round options include horseback riding at Deep Hollow Ranch (631-668-2744), visiting Montauk’s lighthouse (1-888-MTK-POINT), and seal-watching hikes (631-668-5000). From Manhattan, you can get to Montauk in about three hours. If your family is looking for some off-season bliss of its own, it‚s a distance worth covering. For information, room rates, or reservations, call 631-668-2345, or go to www.gurneys-inn.com. Gurney's provides free shuttle service to and from the Montauk train station and the Hampton Jitney stop in town.

All-season indulgence The Sea Water Spa at Gurney’s is billed as the only true Thalasso center in the continental U.S. — that is, the practitioners use sea water and products of the sea to treat ailments and enhance good health. You can indulge in hydro massage (in seawater), exercise in heated sea water pools, and try seaweed-based body treatments. The belief is that with Thalasso therapies, the skin absorbs minerals in proper combinations that will restore balance and rejuvenate. “Nature always supplies the balance for human beings” is a hard one to argue against. In warm weather, the hydrotherapies can be enhanced by exercise in the sea air. Gurney’s' location — right on a beautiful expanse of beach — allows for walks by the ocean. Year-round, however, you can choose from a variety of massage styles; wraps and scrubs (how about a thermal peppermint wrap or nourishing organic rose body treatment?); facials, and salon services. Dads-to-be might want to consider a gift of the special Day of Pregnancy Pampering. Call 1-800-8-GURNEY, or access www.gurneys-inn.com for more details.

 


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