1. Where to Stay
Bunk with two artists at the year-and-a-half-old Art House Bed and Breakfast (from $295) in the historically artsy Springs area of East Hampton. The owners, glass artist and painter Rosalind Brenner and mixed-media artist Michael Cardacino, built the home with customized details, including exterior stone patterns and the lavender-bordered pool, and they’ll happily show you their studios and sell work off the walls.
Find Nordic influences at c/o The Maidstone (from $225) a 150-year-old East Hampton inn that last year re-opened under new, Swedish ownership with colorful décor and rooms inspired by the likes of Alfred Nobel and Edvard Munch. The public spaces function as galleries that feature rotating photography exhibits, and there’s free yoga every morning in the Buddha garden.
Immerse yourself in the stylish scene at the newly reopened Capri (from $195), where you can buy the art displayed in public areas or at the Cynthia Rowley-curated shop through a partnership with the website Exhibition A. The modern-nautical rooms are all huddled around the pool, which turns into a lounge at night with a DJ spinning on the deck.
Get some art history with breakfast at Blakes B&B, (77 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton; 631-324-1815; from $179 with two-night minimum), an 1810 shingled farmhouse owned by Jeanie Blake, a 30-year veteran of the New York gallery world. Her four-room inn is filled with art by friends like Keith Sonnier, Brice Marden, and Mark di Suvero.
2. Where to Eat
Stop by newly opened Little Red for grilled cheese with brie, slow-roasted duck, braised cabbage, and Dijon ($24) paired with one of their local wines on tap, like Paumanok Chenin Blanc ($12), made on the North Fork in Aquebogue. The red-and-white interior is filled with abstract oil paintings by local artist Mark Humphrey, whose gallery is on Main Street, and you can also grab an order of fish and chips ($26) to enjoy lakeside in nearby Agawam Park.
Choose from five options (from $11), including vegan and mako shark, prepared by James Beard nominee Alan Hughes at the new Banzai Burger. Or order from the sushi bar, where chef Isao Yoshimura turns fluke and black sea bass he catches himself into sashimi ($17). After dinner, drink $4 PBRs and play a game of pick-up ping-pong in the gravel courtyard.
Try to get a table at the new Southampton outpost of Sag Harbor’s popular Tutto Il Giorno (56 Nugent St.; 631-377-3611), where you can enjoy refined dishes like whole branzino served with a fennel and cherry tomato relish ($33). Part-owner Gabby Karan De Felice (daughter of Donna Karan) designed the modern space, filling it with paintings from local artists and some from Haiti as a nod to her mom’s initiative to support the country at her Urban Zen shop in Sag Harbor.
3. What to Do
Find secondary-market Warhol prints and John Chamberlain sculptures with ease at East Hampton’s new Gallery Valentine, an offshoot of a Palm Beach gallery. For newer work, go to the year-old Eric Firestone Gallery, which shows contemporary art and photography with a focus on pop culture, street art, and graphic works. This summer, the gallery commissioned Ryan McGinness and Shepard Fairey, among others, to paint U.S. Air Force nose-cones that gallery-owner Firestone gathered from the Arizona desert.
Head away from the center of town to LOCAL 87, a new gallery by established book-and-art dealers Glenn Horowitz and John McWhinnie, whose two other locations are down the road. McWhinnie runs the space, which showcases established Hamptons artists (Matthew Satz, Nick Weber, Jamison Ellis, and Peter Dayton) alongside international-caliber artists he represents in his Upper East Side location, such as Richard Prince. Browse the artist catalogues McWhinnie publishes and don’t miss the collectible porn section in back, which features first volumes of late-’60s erotica magazines Sugar and Psychedelic.
Stop into the summer-season space Halsey Mckay Gallery a few doors down. It was opened in May by curator Hilary Schaffner and painter Ryan Wallace; the two are showing installations, mixed-media work, and more by edgy, emerging artists, many from Brooklyn. They’re also trying to cultivate a community: See if you can swing an invite to their monthly artist dinners celebrating openings held in area homes and cooked by Wallace’s wife, who’s a chef at raw foods restaurant The Juicy Naam in Sag Harbor.
4. Insider’s Tip
Join in-the-know art lovers at the fifties-modern home of Esperanza León, which also houses her SOLAR gallery (hours are by appointment and openings are by reservation only). The Venezuela-born gallerist gave up her East Hampton gallery space six years ago and has been hosting bi-monthly openings and artist talks for emerging Latin American artists in her home ever since. Don’t miss the “Artists on Artists” discussions, when she invites local artists to lead discussions of the work on view, or her sporadic tours of local artists’ studios.
5. Oddball Day
Spend a day outside the galleries and enjoy the outdoors. Start with a walk along Accabonac Road in the Springs area of East Hampton, where the abstract expressionist movement began in the 1940s, or join the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society for a free, guided walk of the area, including the Pollock-Krasner House, where Jackson Pollock lived and worked. Make an appointment in advance for a tour ($5-$10) of the house and studio ($5-$10). Afterward, head over to Green River Cemetery (Accabonac Road and Lilla Lane, East Hampton) where you’ll find Pollock’s signature on a huge rock, large film reels signifying the grave of a filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek, and the resting places of various other artists and creatives with ties to the area. Head to Amagansett for a hearty lobster roll on house-made brioche ($21) in the funky Sea Slug Lounge at Fish Farm Multi-Aquaculture Systems (429 Cranberry Hole Rd.; 631-267-3341). Bring a bottle of wine and grab a spot at a picnic table with a view of Gardners Bay. Afterward, detour to the Bargain Box Thrift Shop and scour the racks for Jil Sander, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and other designer discards, and get the clerk to open the Furniture Barn out back. End your day with a rum and tonic ($12.50) on the porch of 165-year-old The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, a historical gathering spot for area intellectuals. Spend some time sitting under the smoking moose-head in the clubby tap room and order a glass from what Wine Spectator calls one of the most extensive wine cellars in the world. On Sunday evenings, an artsy crowd of locals gathers for cocktails, including painter Donald Sultan, filmmaker Max Scott, sculptor Elaine Grove, and photographer Jane Martin.
Plan for your trip by watching videos at Plum TV Hamptons to see what’s new this summer. The luxury media company also puts out Plum Hamptons, a glossy you can pick up at stores in the area.
Pick up Voyeur, a full-color newsprint arts magazine put out by The Sag Harbor Express newspaper for commentary on local exhibits.