The village of Southampton shares its name with the town of Southampton, which also encompasses Quogue, Sagaponack, North Haven, and other tony villages, and more than a dozen distinct hamlets, including Westhampton, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, and North Sea. (Hamptons terminology: Villages are incorporated; hamlets are not. Every village and hamlet in the Hamptons lies either in the town of Southampton or in the town of East Hampton, its neighbor to the east and north. That ends the geography lesson.) What Southampton village offers is a lesson on where the action is on Long Island’s southern fork. It's the most developed and densely populated spot, as well as the most storied, with historical connections to such illustrious names as Ford, Vanderbilt, and Du Pont.
Named for an English earl and settled in 1640, Southampton takes pride in its long-recorded history. Accounts suggest that the early settlers enjoyed an amicable relationship with the Shinnecock Native Americans, who helped the Europeans settle. By the early 20th century, Southampton established itself as a premier summer resort and became a magnet for the superrich, über-powerful, and supremely successful, and the village boasts some of the most architecturally and historically significant (as well as the most expensive) estates in the country. Boldfaced names who have called the village home include Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, Ian Schrager, Brooke Shields, author Tom Wolfe, and legendary modern artist Roy Lichtenstein. Those culturally pedigreed names signal Southampton’s thriving cultural scene. Galleries abound, and the Southampton Cultural Center is a hub of visual and performing arts (including the Center Stage Theater), as well as educational opportunities.
Southampton has a bustling Main Street for dining and retail therapy, with the Hamptons outpost of the chic Sant Ambroeus (its other elevated locales include Soho, the West Village, and Palm Beach), sending locals into rapturous praise for the crudo and the spaghetti alla chitarra. Snacking options are plentiful: Stop calorie-counting at the Village Gourmet Cheese Shoppe or the Fudge Company, and stock up on the toothsome craft creations from Tate’s Bake Shop (everything from chocolate chip pies to gluten-free bars). Back at home, those massive estates need lots of wall space to fill, so fortunately there’s the Tripoli Gallery and Arthur T. Kalaher Fine Art right in town, as well as the Mark Humphrey Gallery, which has exhibited such artists as Lichtenstein, Alex Katz, Donald Baechler, Helen Frankenthaler, and Ross Bleckner (the gallery is also your best bet for custom framing).
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