Having lived in NYC for the better part of a decade, I am fully aware of the necessity to escape the city at times. Two hours (without traffic…which can be rare) from Manhattan are the heavenly Hamptons. Stretching expanses of pristine beaches, sea grass dunes and a constant sea breeze beckon, offering an idyllic escape from the concrete jungle. For a few days, a full week or more, there is plenty to do and a plethora of R&R to be had.
You’ve most likely heard of the Hamptons and think of it as a luxurious hideaway for the ultra-rich, but there is accessible luxury to be had as well. White Fences Inn in Water Mill (a Hamptons village) is a boutique luxury Bed and Breakfast owned and operated by local husband and wife, Eric and Liz Brodar. Previous owners of an award winning inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Brodars are veterans in the B&B business and cater to a clientele looking for the luxury of the Hamptons while staying unpretentious and refreshingly low key. Located just one mile from the beach and two miles from Southampton’s town center, the location is perfect for experiencing all that the Hamptons have to offer.
I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of staying at White Fences for two nights earlier this month. Upon arrival we were greeted by the owners and their adorable dog Bailey, mascot of the inn. We were shown to our room and then given a free admission pass for two to the Parrish Art Museum, just down the road, and a free premiere tasting for two at the local Wolffer Estate Vineyard. Settling into our room, complete with Frette linens, bathrobe and towels, we relaxed a bit and freshened up. A quick espresso from the in-room Nespresso machine perked me right up and we were ready to explore.
Travel by car is, in my opinion, is the best way to get around and really see all corners of the Hamptons. Bikes are also an option when visiting. While car traffic can be heavy during the summer months, the main roads can also be quite busy for bikers so you’d need to take extra caution. With a car you’re able to explore the other villages that are a bit far on bike. The traffic from NYC to the Hamptons on the weekends during the summer is notoriously terrible so be forewarned. From NYC you can catch a train to the Hamptons, but act fast because these trains sell out as soon as the tickets go on sale. Another option, if in a hurry or looking to splash some cash, is to arrive via helicopter. Regular service to and from the Hamptons can be booked. Note that these options leave you without a car, but offer their own perks certainly.
Our first stop after the hotel was the beach. We meandered a bit to take a look at some of the local homes and beautiful streets. Though only a mile from the beach, I suggest taking some time when you leave the inn to explore the surrounding neighborhoods. Stunning homes and centuries old oak trees lining the wide roadways create a picturesque and classic northeast scene. Taking in a bit of the sunset at the beach, we watched the locals stroll. Some were out with their dogs for their nightly walk while others enjoyed conversation sauntering along the shore. It all seemed so perfect. I kept thinking how lucky the locals were to have this sort of daily ritual to partake in. It was a scene that encouraged daydreaming for sure.
Owner Liz had kindly offered numerous suggestions for spots to grab dinner during our visit and from the beach we headed to Little Red. There are restaurant options for every occasion and taste in the area. We were in the mood for something more low key after our drive from the city and Little Red was the perfect choice. Dining al fresco on the patio, surrounded by boxwood privet hedges, we chowed down on the specialty Little Red Burgers. Menu items include many locally sourced ingredients. All of the dishes coming out of the kitchen looked utterly delectable. We helped ourselves to a couple pints from the local Montauk Brewing Company as well. A few doors down from Little Red is the Southampton Public House which brews their own beer. We stopped by after dinner for a taste and their brews were excellent. The ambience was a low key, local vibe and a quiet spot (at least when we were there) to cap off the night.
Waking up from a perfect sleep in one of the more comfortable beds I’ve had the chance to slumber in, we headed out to inn’s poolside patio to enjoy breakfast. I’ve stayed at numerous B&B’s, but never have I been treated to such a healthy and enjoyable breakfast before this stay. Organic small batch coffee from Portland, Maine and fresh orange juice were served first. Next came delicate slices of lemon and blueberry cake. It melted in my mouth, the perfect accompaniment to the delicious coffee. Banana Breakfast “Sundae” followed. Fresh bananas, Greek yogurt, whole walnuts all drizzled with honey was simply scrumptious. A third course of baked oatmeal filled with fresh berries and a side of maple bacon was made even tastier by the maple syrup that had been lightly poured over the entire dish. My mouth still waters just thinking about it. It was a sensational meal.
Pleasantly full and ready for the day, we headed out for the beach. The inn provided us with beach chairs, umbrella and towels for the day, such a great perk and one less thing to have to travel with from the city. Having visited before the high season kicked into gear, we were able to spend the day at Cooper’s Beach, a locals-only beach throughout the summer season. I suggest going just before the high season begins as we did. The sunbathers were sparse and Cooper’s is a picture perfect beach complete with beachside grill where you can order lunch and bathrooms for beachgoers. It’s nice to be able to enjoy a spot that you know is one of the best if it’s reserved for the locals during the season.
If you’re not much of a beach bum like myself, there is still plenty to do in the Hamptons. The shopping, for one, could entertain any fashionista throughout their entire stay. If you like to swim but aren’t a fan of the salt water the pool at White Fences is an ideal spot for you. Lounge chairs and umbrellas offer a respite from the sun while the pool offers a the perfect plunge to cool off. Fishing, boating, wine tasting, antiquing, museum hopping and more are available to locals and tourists alike throughout the area.
After a solid five hours of sun we headed back to White Fences to wash up and get ready for our final night. We were off to our tasting at Wolffer. A beautiful setting just a few miles from the hotel, the outdoor patio offers views over acres upon acres of chardonnay vines. To accompany our complimentary premier tasting (four healthy tasting pours of the vineyards four best wines) we ordered a charcuterie board and took in the sights. The winery design has a classic Tuscan feel to it, a wonderful spot to unwind after a “stressful” day of sunbathing. For dinner we stopped in Bridgehampton center at World Pie, a boutique pizzeria. Classic toppings and Italian dishes are offered as well as the unexpected such as duck quesadillas. The pizzeria certainly caters to their clientele’s varying tastes.
Returning to the hotel I had one last obligation to attend to. The extra deep soaking tub had been calling my name since I arrived. Unwinding with glass of cabernet and a luxurious bath was the perfect way to relax before curling up in my Frette robe to read for a bit. Knowing that we had to hit the road rather early the next morning, Liz and Eric were kind enough to accommodate us with a slightly earlier breakfast, light enough given our rush but still hardy enough to hold us over for our drive. Warm banana and Nutella muffins were served and followed by ricotta topped with fresh berries and a balsamic reduction. We were even given coffee in to-go cups for the road. The Brodars’ attention to detail was exemplary. Everything during our stay exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait to visit White Fences Inn again. Not only do I give the inn five stars, but the hosts deserve another five stars all their own for their hospitality throughout our stay.
Disclosure: Most of our property, service & product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced by any sponsor.