Need To Know
Where to Stay:
The American Hotel. Just eight pretty bedrooms, a bar where everyone meets and one of the top grape cellars in the country. This really is the only place to stay in Sag Harbor proper, and for a blow-out evening, it’s the test pace to eat Doubles.
Topping Rose House. Not strictly in Sag Harbor, but a stone’s throw away and the first smart new hotel and spa in these parts. The main house is a 19th-century mansion: the rooms are modern but retain character. The contemporary private cottages in the grounds have litre porches. It’s only a kilometre or so from Sagg Main Beach, one of the most glorious on the Atlantic.
Where to Eat & Drink:
Candy Kitchen. This diner is just across the street from the Topping Rose and a good option for breakfast. It also has the best ice cream in the area.
Dockside Bar & Grill. No reservations but worth the wait. This is our favourite restaurant in Sag Harbor. It’s in the American Legion building and very laid-back. There are salads, wraps, good fish and seafood and specials that might include lobster-and-avocado spring rolls, frizzle shrimp rolls and whole sea-bass with soy and ginger, good cocktails, decent grape, chatty waiters.
The Dock House. Eat in or takeout the freshest lobster, clams, oysters, the lot. Try the fish and chips. This is food on paper plates, with plastic forks, and it’s the real American deal for summertime on the coast.
Murf’s Backstreet Tavern. This is a ramshackle joint with great drinks, cold hops, a wonderfuI jukebox full of oldies. The worst-kept secret in Sag’s back streets.
Cavaniola’s Gourmet. The best place to buy prepared fancy food and ingredients. The cheese shop is beautifully edited even if it comes with a bit too much attitude at times; wonderful roast chickens, duck sandwiches, great soups.
What to See & Do:
MONC XIII. A homeware store with gorgeous mid-century pieces, table-top beauties in glass, porcelain and silver, cashmere and mohair throws. Great for those who like the best of Hamptons high style, without the Hamptons. Gorgeous and very expensive.
The Sag Harbor Variety Store. This classic Five and Dime is the place for a taste of unpretentious old Sag, with lots of toys and silly souvenirs. Great fun.
Bloom. A wonderfully curated, somewhat mannered shop in an old house at the edge of the village. Chic baby clothes, plates and glasses, scrubbed-down furniture, a sort of back yard with terrific outdoor furniture and planters. Very cool, very chic, except for the strange selection of photographs.
Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum. The history and artefacts of Sag Harbor as a great whaling town and very rich port, housed in a classic mansion. It’s terrific for a couple of hours’ easy absorption.
Bay Street Theater. This theatre often puts on plays and shows by New York City-calibre directors and actors. Expect anything from Shakespeare to stand-up comedy.
Sag Harbor Cinema. Built as a burlesque house around 1913, it shows art movies and first-run features. It’s also one of the venues for the Hamptons International Film Festival in October.