Historic East Hampton
The town includes the village of East Hampton, part of the village of Sag Harbor, (the other part belongs to Southampton Town) and the unincorporated hamlets of Wainscott, Springs, Amagansett and Montauk which together make the Town of East Hampton.
On a modern note, what sets East Hampton apart from the other Hamptons is a government intent on preserving its quaint and charming small town character - here you won't see sprawling malls, neon lights, fast food stores and other modern day intrusions (not even self-serve gas stations) littering the highways and roads leading into East Hampton.
Coming from the West, Wainscott is the first hamlet you go through when entering the town limits. It is basically still much farmland though there are many new vacation homes among the old ones dating back to the 1700's.
North of Wainscott is Sag Harbor, a quaint village that was once an important whaling town and until the middle of the last century, rivaled New York as the busiest port of entry in the United States. Its spectacular views and idyllic setting make it a favorite of writers and artists who seek inspiration away from the social frenzy of the other villages.
There is an amusing anecdote about Sag Harbor during the latter part of the last century. Since the village is part in Southampton and part in East Hampton, and one town was "dry" while the other was "wet", the street that was on the dividing line was named Division Street. At the end of the street, on the wharf, was a bar: predictably, half the bar was dry, and half was wet. We assume customers stuck to one side of the bar.
The Village of East Hampton was voted "America's Most Beautiful Village" by National Geographic. Thanks to a strong preservationist policy, the village has maintained its quaint, small town character. There are majestic old elms, green expanses, windmills, of the English, not Dutch variety, and the famous Town Pond with its with 300 year old cemetery - a virtual voyage back in time.
Right in the middle of the village, before the historic Hook Windmill that dominates the green triangle is a fork in the road leading on the left (North Main Street) to the northern part of the town and on the right (Montauk Highway) leading further east.
SpringsGoing north leads one to Springs, a hamlet surrounded by Accabonac Harbor, Gardiner's Bay, and Three Mile Harbor. Springs is also famous as the home of the painters Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and the Krasner-Pollock Museum. Some of the most spectacular and serene beaches can be found here in the calm of the bay waters.
NapeagueFinally, east of Amagansett lie 11 miles of road leading to Montauk, the eastern most point on Long Island. Napeague Strip, which is part of the road between Amagansett and Montauk and runs parallel to the ocean and Gardiner Bay, is a spectacular drive along the undulating dunes with its beach grasses, scrub pines and clusters of weather beaten beach houses.
No discussion of East Hampton can be complete without a mention of Gardiner's Island, nestled within Gardiner's Bay. This is almost a feudal fiefdom which has been in the hands of the Gardiner family for over 300 years. It was bought by Lion Gardiner from Wyandanch, the Sachem of the Montauket Indian tribe.
Actually, it was a gift to Lion Gardiner for the help he gave to the Sachem's daughter, but Gardiner bought it to shore up his title. He even went so far as to have the colonial governor confirm his title, just to make sure. Make sure he did, because his descendants, including the current Lord of the Manor, still own it: NO TRESSPASSING!
Gardiner, by the way, was also a confidente of Captain Kidd who is said to have buried his pirate treasure on the island. It has never been found.
Montauk is bordered by Block Island Sound on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the south. Jutting out from a promontory is the famous Montauk Lighthouse, built in 1796 as a beacon to guide ships and guard them against running ashore. This is the end of Long Island - after this, it's Portugal!