There’s no surer way to be invited back than to come bearing gifts.
Any visitor to the Hamptons has, at one point or another, been a houseguest. Friends with beachfront properties or quaint family homes in town are a staple of East End travel. Here, the four “B”s (Baked goods, Bath products, Booze, and Bites) that are our favorite picks to make you the life of the party – or to bring a little Hamptons back home with you. After all, pet sitters and house sitters deserve a taste of vacation, too!
If a friend invites you for a home-cooked dinner…show you’re in the know with a sweet treat from Tate’s Bake Shop (43 North Sea Rd. Southampton, 631.780.6511). Their “Spring has Sprung” tin includes chocolate chip cookies, coconut macarons, and chewy blondies and brownies sure to end the meal sweetly (and keep you in the chef’s good graces).
If it’s a Hamptons sleepover…wow your host the morning after with breakfast from Blue Duck Bakery Café (four locations, in Southampton, Greenport, Riverhead, and Southold). A crusty loaf of their European-style bread is just the thing for toast with jam to accompany a pot of coffee. For extra credit, pick up a couple of farm-fresh eggs and some maple syrup and whip up French toast. Easy like Sunday morning.
If the recipient has a sweet tooth…satisfy it with a pound of fudge or assorted salt water taffy from Southampton Fudge Company (67 Main St. Southampton, 631.283.8108). We’re especially partial to these throwback confections as a take-home treat: nothing says “Thanks for picking up the mail!” like a gooey, chewy taste of the seashore.
If you want to set the mood…a sweet-smelling candle from Hamptons Handpoured (order online, 631.374.1587) will evoke happy memories of your visit long after you’re gone. Each premium scent is named for a Long Island town, so remind the homeowner of your beach-y good time in Amagansett (tonka-coriander-gardenia) or bring home a breezy afternoon in Hampton Bays (driftwood-lilac-seabreeze) perfect for reminiscing once the summer comes to an end.
If you got your hands dirty…clean up your act with Southampton Soap Co. (order online, 631.613.6041). Perhaps you and your pals dug up carrots and picked tomatoes in the garden. Or need to freshen up after a long afternoon in the sun on the strand. Get the gang sudsy with Uplifting Geranium or Lemon Rosemary and you’ll all be clean and shiny (and sweet smelling!) in time for dinner.
If you plan to soak up the sun…protect yourselves with premium skincare from Hampton Sun (order online,866.977.4838). Whether your Hamptons host likes to lay out or stays out of the midday rays, there’s sunscreen, self-tanners, and even after-sun care as a token of your appreciation for access to their resident parking pass and a sun-soaked day at the beach.
If you’re entertaining…fuel the revelry with four bottles for the price of one: Bridge Lane Wines’ Rosé Box (order online or buy from the tasting room at 35 Cox Neck Rd. Mattituck, 631.298.1942). That’s three liters of the good stuff, from established winery Lieb Cellars’ hip off-shoot, Bridge Lane, for what you might spend on two glasses over a posh dinner. Their summery Cabernet Franc-based rosé pairs perfectly with fresh grilled seafood or crisp summer salads.
If it was a dark and stormy night…laugh off a weekend’s worth of foul weather with a bottle of Sag Harbor Rum (order online or buy from better wine and spirits stores throughout the Hamptons, 917.225.2007). This hand-crafted spirit is perfect with ginger beer for a Dark & Stormy, and is also ideal for sipping on the rocks while you reminisce about how beautiful it was once the rain subsided.
If it’s an all-night kind of party…make yourself a hero and show up with a couple of six-packs from Montauk Brewing Co. (62 South Erie Ave. Montauk, 631.668.8471). Their signature Summer Ale is only available from March through August, and only in 12-oz. cans designed for waterfront sipping – before or after dark. Reach for one with a burger in the afternoon, and keep a few on ice for when the sun goes down and the bonfire gets going.
If it’s a family affair…come prepared for Little League games or movie nights with a tub of sea salt kettle corn from The Hamptons Popcorn Company (order online, 888.947.6726). Forget Cracker Jack; this locally produced snack food staple comes in ready-to-travel tins and a dizzying assortment of sweet and savory flavors, from classy white truffle parmesan to retro orange cheddar to decadent chocolate caramel crunch.
If you’re staying with Ina Garten…or anyone who appreciates the finer things, you can’t go wrong with a raw, infused, or smoked salt from Hamptons Salt Company (53 Hill St. Southampton, 844.473.2725). Anticipating artisanal margaritas? We suggest “The Bartender,” with lemon, lime, and jalapeño salts for rimming glasses. En route to a cook-out? Consider “The Grill Master,” with smoked hickory, smoked mesquite, and espresso salts. You get the idea: this is idiot-proof chef gifting at its finest.
If you’re running late (and in a pickle!)…contribute the picnic staple no one thinks to bring and pick up a jar of Backyard Brine pickles (order online or buy from better food markets throughout the Hamptons, 631.754.1050). Available at shops along the length of Long Island, these North Fork-produced pucker-inducing pleasures are an ideal last-minute gift that you can snag when you stop to fill up on the drive out east. The recipient will never know you didn’t remember a gift until you got to Ronkonkoma.