East Hampton is a town of Gatsbyish vacation homes hidden
behind tall hedges on lanes that cluster around the village. Situated about
130 miles from Manhattan, the village is one of the metropolitan area's most
popular sites for second houses and is famous for attracting the famous—CEOs
and other executives, as well as artists, writers, media and theater people.
Stroll Main Street on a Saturday afternoon and you'll see many
weekend residents shopping, taking care of chores or chatting with neighbors.
Private hospitality is big here—gossip columns are filled with who visited
whom—but don't fret if you don't have a friend to stay with. At the Maidstone
Arms you will feel like a houseguest. It's cozy and attractive and
looks as though it belongs in a spread in Martha Stewart Living. The inn dates
from 1740 (the town from 1648). Maidstone Arms changed hands in 1991 and the
new owner gave it a charming "old" look including white shingles,
blue shutters, a striped awning and a bar filled with nautical mementos. We
also like the location, across from the pond and village green and within walking
distance of the galleries and stores.
What was once primarily a summer community because of the nearby beaches is now
popular year-round. It is not unusual even in winter for the Maidstone Arms restaurant
to be full on Saturday nights. When we dined there the service was a bit slow, but
the food was well worth the wait. The grilled filet mignon with herbed goat cheese
and smoked mushroom sauce was a dish that ranked high in culinary inspiration.
Maidstone Arms, 207 Main Street, Easthampton, NY 11937. Tel. (631) 324-5006.
Rates start at $165 for a double room, continental breakfast included, and reach
$275 for a suite. Cottages start at $295. Three-night weekend minimum stay is
required in summer and two-night minimum stay on other weekends. Dinners are
expensive. Reserve well in advance on weekends for the dining room, as well
as the rooms. www.maidstonearms.com
Museums, fishing, wineries and theaters are in the vicinity.