N Ys Long Island is the largest island on America’s East Coast — 1,682 square miles l. It is 120 miles eastward m New York City, traveled by the notoriously clogged Long Island Expressway (LIE, or I-495) and including two New York City boroughs (Brooklyn and Queens), congested commuter villages, the farmland and wineries of the North fork, and the world-famous summer resorts of the Hamptons and Montauk on the South Fork.
The waterfront villages of the Hamptons, some dating from the 1600s, stretch west to east from Westhampton Beach to Amagansett; at the end is the fishing community of Montauk. Both locals and the frequent rich and famous summer here, and they all come for what’s possibly the nation’s finest stretch of white-sand beach. Rolling farmland and vineyards, Breathtaking mansions and ranches, and blue skies and sunshine add to the mystique.
The “Hampton mystique” began in Westhampton Beach. In 1870, residents began renting out rooms to travelers who reached the area on the nacent Long Island Railroad. Soon the practice spread and then was not long before the Hamptons had become a resort area of some fame. Now a days the Hamptons are full-blown summer resorts, drawing vacationers, summer-home owners, and twentysomething “summer share” renters out to the south fork by the carload between Memorial and Labor days.
Just east of Westhampton Beach, Quogue and East Quogue are part of the Greater Westhampton area. Quogue’s stately Victorians repose along tree-lined streets, contemporary mansions line the ocean along Dune Road. In East Quogue, acres of farmland and pine forest,still exist as well as beautiful bay and ocean beaches, In contrast; Main Street shopping and lively nightlife.
The town of Southampton was established in 1640 by the English and was the first settlement in New York State. With its Historical Museum, Southampton has a Colonial feel, and its Job Lane’s shopping district oozes chic and old money. Windsurfers enjoy three bays: Peconic, Noyac, and Shinnecock ( also a popular diving spot).
The farming area of Water Mill is the nation’s only community with a functional, working water mill and windmill. Elegant Bridgehampton, just east of Water Mill, has antiques shops, art galleries, and restaurants where you can sip wine made in local vineyards. This is also horse country, and Bridgehampton is home to the Aristocratic annual Hampton Classic Horse Show and the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge.
The gem of the Hamptons, East Hampton was founded by farmers in 1648, and farming remained its main industry until the 1800s, Around then the town began to develop into a fashionable resort. East Hampton’s wealth and Puritan heritage now combine into a particularly understated prosperity, and much of the village remains similar to the 18th century roots. Amagansett is a Native American word meaning “place of good water,” and from its beginning, the town has a tranquility that is perfectly suited to fishing and offshore whaling.
At the easternmost end of the island, Montauk stands in contrast to the sophisticated villages, with its seaside hotels, vibrant fishing and boating community, and surfer-studded beaches. The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the state and the fourth oldest in the U.S.
The North Fork, across the Great Peconic Bay from the Hamptons and the South Fork, is known for its quiet villages, rustic farm stands, and burgeoning wine industry. New England-style hamlets such as Jamesport, Cutchogue, and Southold are peppered with homy restaurants and quirky shops that seems from another era. Clean, uncrowded beaches lie to the south on Great Peconic Bay and to the north on Long Island Sound.Note that most L.I beaches require non resident visitors to obtain a beach permit at the village hall.these are sold on a day or week basis and generally cost less than $20
Shelter Island sits between Long Island’s North and South forks. Visit only by boat (there’s regular ferry service), the 11½-square-mi island offers escape from the summer traffic and crowds of the Hamptons. Quiet country roads wind across the island’s rolling terain, nearly a third of which has been set aside as a nature preserve that’s a bird-watcher’s heaven.