Their favorite beaches and best-kept secrets may differ, but fivestylish women agree: There’s no place like the Hamptons
t is impossible to capture the essence of the Hamptons in just one word or statement. Whole books are written in an attempt to do just that. But ask around and you’ll hear the same thing uttered over and over: The Hamptons is like nowhere else on earth. This skinny stretch of land on New York’s Long Island, known affectionately as the South Fork and the East End, is unique in its closeness to a world capital and far-flung spirit. It seems at once the center of the universe and a wild, distant frontier. It is also immensely rich in history, culture, art and style. To try to capture its spirit is like catching shadows, but we attempted just that through the stories of five women-about-town—or -island, rather. Through a fashion editor and a new mother, as well as an artist and a budding young philanthropist, discover the Hamptons as it is now and as it will be this summer. (Just don’t expect them all to spill their secrets; you’ll have to go east to discover them yourself.)
NAME: Delfina Blaquier, mother of four and wife of polo player Nacho Figueras
OCCUPATION: Photographer. Her photographs are shown at Vered Gallery(http://www.veredart.com/) in East Hampton.
HAMPTONS HAMLET: Bridgehampton
Ralph Lauren: What have you not yet done in the Hamptons that you’d like to do this season?Delfina Blaquier: I always say I will start to go to the pottery studio in Sag Harbor (http://www.nancyrobbinspottery.com/); I just never have time to do it.
What do your children love to do in the Hamptons?My eldest son, Hilario, loves to surf. Aurora is very keen on horses, so she goes to Topping Riding Club (http://www.toppingridingclub.net/) for pony camp, and the youngest, Artemio, enjoys the beach.
What’s your summer Hamptons uniform?I always have a bathing suit with me, because I like to go to the beach all the time, and you never know when you’ll need a suit.
How has the scenery and the experience of life in the Hamptons influenced your art?I think the Hamptons have a magical afternoon light. Every time I have my camera with me and that moment comes, I feel lucky. I know I’ll have a new set of amazing photos. Most of my photos of women are taken at that time in the Hamptons.
How has your growing family adapted to living part-time in the Hamptons?We leave our country [Argentina] in the beginning of winter, so it’s great to arrive in the Hamptons when the weather is so much better. We all feel very happy to know that the Hamptons are waiting for us the next year. It’s always summer when we go!
NAME: Rachelle Hruska, new mother and wife
OCCUPATION: Founder and owner of Guest of a Guest (http://guestofaguest.com), a website that features news, exclusive interviews and events in the Hamptons
HAMPTONS HAMLET: Montauk
Ralph Lauren: What brought you to the Hamptons, and what was your first experience here?Rachelle Hruska: My first time in the Hamptons was the first summer I moved to New York City, almost eight years ago. I spent a weekend here with friends.
What keeps you coming back?It’s a necessary escape from the mayhem of Manhattan. I grew up in Nebraska, so its wide-open spaces bring me back to my home.
What do the Hamptons have that no other place in the world has?Besides having incredible works of nature—rolling cliffs, amazing beaches, surf, lakes, trails—Montauk is rich in history and urban legends, like the Montauk Indians and the Montauk Project. I love learning its unique history.
Where do you see Guest of a Guest’s biggest impact out east?I think we have the best event coverage and up-to-the-minute calendar for people traveling out east. We also have the most extensive roundup of what happened each weekend, including the photos to prove it.
What’s a typical workday for you during the summer season?It’s always different depending on where I am. When working in Montauk, I like to work from home with the doors open to the ocean. I like to invite our seasonal writers and editors over to join me.
Gayle Perry Sobel
NAME: Gayle Perry Sobel, wife and mother
OCCUPATION: Advertising executive and host of the HEAT gala, which benefits the Ellen Hermanson Foundation (http://www.ellensrun.org/about_us.html) and Southampton Hospital
HAMPTONS HAMLET: Water Mill
Ralph Lauren: What brought you to the Hamptons, and what was your first experience here?Gayle Perry Sobel: I grew up in Locust Valley [on Long Island], so the Hamptons were not far away for my family. My first experience was visiting the beaches of Montauk as a little girl, which I found massive and captivating.
What is your favorite time of year to visit or live here?The fall and winter seasons are my favorite. I love the smell of the crisp air and the autumn light, that there are fewer people visiting than in the height of summer, pumpkin and apple picking and enjoying the cozy fires at home. It feels a bit more idyllic then.
What are your best memories from last summer’s fourth annual HEAT party?There was a forecast of rain, and indeed it came right at 5:30 p.m., an hour and a half before guests were due to arrive. Our lawn was a muddy mess. Despite this, nearly everyone showed up, and it was a record-breaking fund-raiser. Security guards carried women across huge puddles, and although we were all sinking into the mud, DJ Phresh inspired nearly everyone to dance. There was amazing energy under the tent. It was electrifying and an incredible way to begin celebrating my 40th, which was two days later.
What have you not yet done in the Hamptons that you’d like to do this season?Master paddle-boarding on Mecox Bay and try the Tracy Anderson Method (http://tracyandersonmethod.com/) in Bridgehampton.
NAME: Danielle Winick
OCCUPATION: NYU Stern School of Business student and chairperson of An Evening of Smiles, which benefits Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org/)
HAMPTONS HAMLET: Southampton
Ralph Lauren: What brought you to the Hamptons, and what was your first experience here?Danielle Winick: Since I was a baby, my parents and I have spent our summers here. My first memory of the place is of going to Dockers (http://www.dockerswaterside.com/) with my mother on Sunday nights.
What does a visit to the Hamptons do for your state of mind and for those around you?My friends call it the Hamptons effect—a laid-back vibe that allows us to just unwind. With the Hamptons effect, we are able to step away from the craziness of city life and enjoy each other’s company, uninterrupted and unrushed. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are only a couple hours outside of New York City! As a result, whenever our time out east comes to an end, there’s always a sad feeling similar to the last day of summer camp.
What’s your summer Hamptons uniform?This place is synonymous with a classic, all-American look, so I spend a lot of time in simple white dresses and aviator sunglasses [and carrying] a canvas tote.
How has your involvement with Operation Smile changed your experience of living in the Hamptons?Planning the event was stressful, but in the end, each hurdle was worth it. After going on missions to Vietnam and Bolivia, I developed a greater appreciation for the life I live and the ability I have to make a difference in the world. I wanted my event to build on the connections I have made with the people I have met through my charity missions and bring awareness to the cause each summer in a fun, relaxed setting.
NAME: Julie Henderson
OCCUPATION: Model and philanthropist
HAMPTONS HAMLET: Southampton
Ralph Lauren: What brought you to the Hamptons, and what was your first experience here?Julie Henderson: My first trip to the Hamptons was about eight years ago for a photo shoot. It was in the off-season, so I didn’t get to experience the area in all its glory. I go now because it’s the perfect summer escape from the city.
What is your favorite time of year to visit or live here?The summer is always a fun time, but my favorite might be the fall and winter. I love how quiet it can be, and I really love how festive it is during the holiday season.
What does a visit to the Hamptons do for your state of mind and for those around you?There is something about driving in and seeing the Welcome to Southampton sign that really puts my mind at ease. With the ocean just a few blocks away, it really forces you to take a deep breath and relax. I always go back to the city feeling refreshed and reenergized.
Can you describe the energy in the Hamptons?Very chill. It’s all about hanging out with friends, going to a barbecue or riding your bike around town or to the beach. It’s all about wearing flip-flops and beach clothes.
Can you describe your Hamptons style in three words?Free, simple and comfortable.
Discover the ladies’ favorite places to eat, play and socialize,as well as some of their best secrets to enjoying the East End
CARY RANDOLPH FULLER is the women’s fashion editor at Ralph Lauren.