Friday, January 13, 2012

The Hamptons.
Money, money, money, it’s a rich man’s world!
23rd –28th September
Since leaving Boston the weather had been pretty ordinary, very overcast with some light showers.  The day we headed west towards the Hamptons was  even worse, total fog cover with misty rain everywhere. Visibility was around 50 yards and the sounds of fog horns and bells on marker buoys filled the air, it was more than a little eerie. It turned out to be a total motoring day, no breeze and fog for around 50 of the 70 mile journey. We dropped anchor late in the afternoon at a pretty desolate bay on the tip of Long Island, but it was safe and flat and we were pretty tired from the constant peering into the fog. We burnt through a lot of brain cells that day. Next day  we headed round to Three Mile Harbour at the eastern end of Long Island, it read well in the guide books and proved to be a good anchorage, but it was very remote with only 2 buses a day to the nearest village, so we called a taxi. Soon we were in East Hampton which really had an English village feel to it but way more ritzy. Beautiful tree lined streets were everywhere we turned and we were quite amazed to see a couple of deer roaming freely on the church lawn. After all we weren’t really in the English countryside, this was Long Island.
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The main street of the village was brimming with swanky shops, cafes, property agents and there was even a Tiffany & Co. This little village definitely had style.
After a bit of research one evening we soon discovered what the term “The Hamptons” actually meant, apart from meaning “you have to have lots of money to live here”. It’s a collective noun for a number of villages whose name includes the word Hampton, so there is  East Hampton, North Hampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, West Hampton, Hampton Bays and more than likely a bunch more that we didn’t spot. But ironically there is no plain old Hampton. They share a singular value however, all are inhabited by seriously wealthy people, and many of them drive only the very latest in Mercs, Bentleys, Jags, Bugattis, Rollers, Audi’s, BMW’s, Porsches, Ferraris and a few cars we simply didn’t recognise…now we’re talking serious, serious money here and some of the estates were just mind boggling.
To do the area justice we hired a car for a couple of days when we arrived at Sag Harbor, our next anchorage. On our first day tripping through much of  the Hamptons, we cruised  the thoroughfares checking out the properties, only you couldn’t actually see a lot of them as they often had hedges over 15 feet high surrounding the estate. So we googled them on the Ipad, and they often turned out to be so damn large they could accommodate an 18 hole golf course, and driving range! And if we did happen to catch a glimpse of one of these mega homes they were so over the top it was almost surreal. These places with lots of rooms, pools, tennis courts, gardens and stables were generally just holiday homes. Some people just have way too much money we figure.  
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These are the type of estates that lurk behind the perfectly trimmed hedges of East Hampton.
Day two of our toddle around the Hamptons saw us heading south  past  farming areas where pumpkins abounded. Field after field were covered in these bright orange balls. We knew that Halloween wasn’t far away but my gosh these pumpkins were the biggest we’d ever seen.They gave a whole new meaning to Sting’s song “Fields of Gold”.
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Continuing  a few more miles south along the island we eventually got to the beach area and although it was a pretty foggy day, the beach goers were determined to enjoy the seaside no matter what the weather or the beach signs said.
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On our way back we made a detour over to Shelter Island. This is still part of The Hamptons but with a more rustic feel. There were lots of Inns and  B & B’s. Wild turkeys strutted through the roadside bushes and more deer were spotted darting between the trees. The homes were not as grand as their cousins over in East Hampton, but you sure wouldn’t knock one back if you were offered one.

Anyway, we had a  a great couple of days in The Hamptons, it’s a terrific place to sit and people-watch and once again, the locals were always friendly. Sag Harbour has a couple of great eating venues and a lovely little yacht club where the staff couldn’t have been nicer.
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So friendly in fact were the locals, that when we dropped off the hire car at the airport (there are only a few regular flights but the  private jets are welcome) we were lucky  enough to get a ride back to town, around 8 miles away. Back in town it seemed a good time to have a quiet drink in the local, so off we trotted, only to discover our credit card, the only one we use, was missing, nowhere to be seen…bugger! At that moment high level panic started to take over. We needed to get back out to the airport asap and Annie figured that maybe the police could help. So we  headed off to the local station and explained the card was either in the hire car key drop off box along with the rental papers(the office was now closed for the next 2 days), on the ground somewhere near where we parked the car or on the backseat of the chap’s car who gave us a lift back to town, and we didn’t have a clue who he was.
After explaining all this to the Officer in charge and asking if someone could give us a lift back out, he said that the airport was not in their jurisdiction and sadly,  they couldn’t  help us. Liam then said that we’d have to try our luck at hitching out there, we had absolutely no cash on us and it was starting to get dark. We figured we were pretty much snookered at this point. The Officer obviously thought some more about our dilemma and  was not at all comfortable with our new plan, so he enlisted the aid of a young Officer to drive us out, which we much appreciated. The ride back out to the airport proved to be a bit of fun  as we were given  lessons on police radio procedure, shown how his on-board computer worked and had a run-down of his regular activities, very informative.
Arriving at the airport we soon deduced, after peering through the car window, that the card was not inside the rental car, so Liam retraced his steps and vwallah, some 15 feet away sitting on the ground was the card, there is a god!  For his kind help the Officer (and his boss) was presented with a case of Fosters beer (the young officer’s  choice) and we departed with broad smiles and the ability to continue spending. After that little incident we certainly did need a drink to calm our shattered nerves.
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We had spent eight fascinating days exploring this up-market end of Long Island  Where both the rich and famous live and once again it was time to move on, and this time we were bound for the legendary Big Apple, now that will be exciting!
Cruising Notes : Formalities: Call CBP on # 8772098526 for  The Hamptons,Long Island NY. Anchoring & dinghy dock : To be close to Sag Harbour we anchored outside the breakwall or  you could take a mooring ball in the harbour,??$ per night. Dinghy can be left at the Sag Harbour yacht club, but ask first. Supermarkets: There is a well stocked IGA in the main street as well as a good hardware store.

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