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Things to do in the Hamptons — before the summer crowds come

They are coming. The summer crowd is about to descend on the Hamptons, but you can beat it there. In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend, much of the South Fork is already open for business, clear to Montauk. Here are five ideas:

Shop and stroll

SHOP AND STROLL - You're not likely to
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

You’re not likely to have to fight for a parking spot in Southampton, where you can easily spend a few hours wandering the village’s shop-lined streets. Browse luxe bedding and home decor at Hildreth’s (shown here), a classic department store that dates back to the mid-1800s — you may see celebs picking out furnishings for their summer houses (631-283-2300, hildreths.com). The original Tate’s Bake Shop — whose cookies now line supermarket shelves all over the country — is here, too (631-283-9830, tatesbakeshop.com)...In East Hampton, it’s hard to miss Ralph Lauren’s Main Street shops with polos and high-end sportswear for every member of the family (631-324-1222, ralphlauren.com). More high-end boutique shopping awaits on Newton Lane.

Hit the beach

Get a sneak preview of the hamlet's personality
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

It’s never easy to go to the beach in the Hamptons if you don’t live there. But preseason, anyone can lay eyes on renowned Coopers Beach in Southampton village, which doesn’t require parking permits until Memorial Day weekend (631-283-0247).

Montauk’s reign as the ultimate hot spot for hip yet affordable summer fun is about to be tested another season. Get a sneak preview of the hamlet’s personality at its annual preseason music festival Thursday, May 19,  through next Sunday, May 22. Eighty-eight acts are scheduled to play free shows at bars, restaurants, hotels and shops, as well as the village green. Expect mostly acoustic folk and rock at venues that will be overrun come summer, including: The Tallest Trees in the Universe at Montauk Brewing Company (4 p.m. next Friday), Butchers Blind at Swallow East (10:30 p.m. next Friday) and six shows at the hipster enclave The Surf Lodge (next Saturday and Sunday), whose free summer indie band concerts on the outdoor deck draw swarms. Also a deal: the festival’s opening night party Thursday at Gurney’s Montauk, where $45 gets three hours of open bar and hors d’oeuvres, and nine different acts (631-668-5077, montaukmusicfestival.com).

 

See a show

SEE A SHOW - The Stephen Talkhouse in
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Walter McBride

The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett draws a mix of celebrities, locals and tourists for its live music calendar that features well-known artists in a casual, come-as-you-are scene. Its summer schedule already has launched, and you’ll find shorter lines and more breathing space for ticketed preseason performances by the Strecker Band ($10, at 10 May 13) and Phoebe Legere ($20, May 14 at 8; 631-267-3117, stephentalkhouse.com).

Sample the bar scene

The Mill Roadhouse in Westhampton Beach features live
Photo Credit: John Griffin

The Mill Roadhouse in Westhampton Beach features live acoustic music every Friday and Saturday from 8-11 p.m., as well as craft beers and seasonal cocktails (631-684-9413). Fridays are also a hot night for a deal at Dockers Waterside, shown here, in East Quogue, which won't be hosting bands until Memorial Day Weekend, but already has launched its weekly 3:30-6:30 p.m. happy hour with $5 appetizers and $5 drinks.

Go to Montauk--for the music

1 GO TO MONTAUK -- FOR THE MUSIC
Photo Credit: Aaron Zebrook

Montauk’s reign as the ultimate hot spot for hip yet affordable summer fun is about to be tested another season. Get a sneak preview of the hamlet’s personality at its annual preseason music festival Thursday through next Sunday. Eighty-eight acts are scheduled to play free shows at bars, restaurants, hotels and shops, as well as the village green. Expect mostly acoustic folk and rock at venues that will be overrun come summer, including: The Tallest Trees in the Universe at Montauk Brewing Company (4 p.m. next Friday), Butchers Blind at Swallow East (10:30 p.m. next Friday) and six shows at the hipster enclave The Surf Lodge (next Saturday and Sunday), whose free summer indie band concerts on the outdoor deck draw swarms. Also a deal: the festival’s opening night party Thursday at Gurney’s Montauk, where $45 gets three hours of open bar and hors d’oeuvres,
and nine different acts (631-668-5077, montaukmusicfestival.com).

Check out the restaurants

RESTAURANTS - Wolffer Kitchen is the first Long
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

It’s the first Long Island restaurant opened by a winery, the excellent Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack. Recommended: local oysters; crabcake with frisee, piquillo peppers, favas and a bacon vinaigrette; roasted chicken with creamy polenta; tilefish with English peas and fingerling potatoes; spicy crab gemelli pasta with Calabrian chilies, broccoli rabe and roasted garlic; grilled sirloin steak frites with Wölffer merlot sauce. 631-725-0101, wolfferkitchen.com

 

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