August in the Hamptons can test the patience of Zen masters can't it? All the honking and getting cut off, congestion is at its densest, and the heat, did we mention the heat? So, let’s all take a deep breath, regroup, and focus on what we love about the Hamptons so we can spend these last few weeks of summer in our happiest state of mind. If you’re into nature, art and relaxing like we are, the Hamlet of Springs is the perfect place to explore in August—it’s spread out, and never over-crowded, so arriving at each destination is like discovering a magical little secret. Come with us as we reveal our favorite spots for a super-chill August day in Springs.
On Saturdays from 9-1, in the center of the charming historic district is the Springs Farmers Market. The perfect place to meander around, grab some goodies, and enjoy this special little area surrounded by Ashwagh Hall, the old Blacksmith Shop, the library, the Presbyterian Church and Pussy’s Pond where you can bring your snacks and sit on the benches or stroll the surrounding nature trails (yup, that’s the real name of this little pond, the origin story involves a bag of kittens, but that’s all we’re gonna say right now.)
THE BLACKSMITH SHOP
Springs is basically a wide peninsula surrounded by water, so there are a bunch of distinct and beautiful bay beaches to explore. Some of our favorites are:
- MAIDSTONE – Park along the strip before the pavilion for quiet time, or park past the pavilion and go left for a more bustling scene with truck access, fishing, and a cool dredged area for swimming. Restrooms are pavilion adjacent.
- GERARD POINT/LOUSE POINT – These two beaches are accessible from totally different areas of Springs, but you could kayak, paddleboard, or even swim between them (just be careful of boats.) Both sunrises and sunsets are stunning from these locations, and the drive out to each point is beautiful as well. Keep in mind neither beach has a restroom, guards or picnic amenities.
MORE SPRINGS BEACHES: Flaggy Hole, Barnes Hole, Fireplace Beach, plus Lion Head and Clearwater beaches if you can find a friend with private access, then technically in Amagansett but basically in Springs are Albert's Landing, Little Albert's Landing and Fresh Pond, all outstanding.
Beachplum jelly (and jam) recipes are family heirlooms in the Hamptons, passed down for hundreds of years, and we're about to share one of the best from our staffer Hannah, whose family has lived in Springs and Amagansett since the 1600's. Her grandmother's jelly recipe is double-strained for a jewel-like magenta vibrance, and perfectly balanced with complexity from a bit of light brown sugar. It's a relatively simple process to make the jelly and so worth it, and it keeps for years if the jars are sterilized and sealed properly.
Every year is hit-or-miss, sometimes there are none at all, but 2023 is turning out to be an epic beachplum season. Hannah's gramma says to start at either Maidstone, Sammy's Beach or Lazy Point to collect the fruit, she's very particular. You'll see the low scrubby bushes covered with purple/blue plums the size of big grapes. Start by filling up a big bucket with 10+ cups of the ripest/darkest (but still firm) beachplums you can find. It's a great activity to do with kids!
- 6 standard jelly jars (8oz each) with popping lids
- 4 cups of beachplum juice (extracted from about 10 cups of fruit)
- 5 cups of white sugar
- 1 cup of light brown sugar (grandma's secret swap)
- 1 box of powdered or 1 package of liquid fruit pectin (typically sure-jell or certo)
- Lots of cheesecloth (double straining is another family secret) you can use a jelly bag, but layer extra cheesecloth inside
- A 12 or 18 quart pot for boiling (in a pinch you can use an 8 quart but watch it closely and stir a lot, the fruit expands and foams, and you don't want a boil-over)
- Follow the package instructions to sterilize your jelly jars (boiling and setting to dry)
- Rinse your fruit and pick out any big twigs or leaves (no need to pull every stem)
- Add the rinsed fruit and 2 cups of filtered water to your pot
- Simmer for 30 minutes while constantly stirring and crushing the fruit with your spoon
- Let it cool, then strain through 2 layers of cheesecloth pressing gently, then take your liquid and strain again through 3 fresh layers of cheesecloth to get a jewel-like translucency (family secrets)
- Back into a big clean pot goes the strained juice, sugar and pectin, boil hard for a minute stirring constantly (it will foam up high, use your biggest pot)
- Skim the foam and pour the hot liquid into your sterilized jars, put lids on tightly, as it cools you'll hear a pop of the lid sealing. Any jars that don't pop simply need to be eaten first. The popped ones make great gifts (if you can part with them.)
Serve your homemade beachplum jelly on warm buttered bread (our fav) or shake it up into a cocktail, bake it with brie, try it with greek yogurt, pancakes, french toast, or serve it with your next charcuterie board. Let us know how it goes in the comments!
For post-beach coffee, snacks, and shopping, we highly recommend S & S Corner Shop. This hideaway spot is a treasure trove of unique gifts, sundries, art books, local produce, and lots more. You’re guaranteed to leave with a bag full of unexpected scores.
ART AND NATURE
The vast natural landscapes and the way sunlight reflects off the water in every direction has made Springs a destination for artists since the dawning of the abstract expressionism movement in the 1940’s and 50’s. These are some of our favorite ways to immerse ourselves in the art culture of this unique area.
- THE POLLOCK - KRASNER HOUSE & STUDY CENTER – Open Thursday thru Sunday. The most popular way to experience this special venue is by reserving a guided tour, but they also have these amazing Family Workshops that we highly recommend (only 2 classes left for the season, register here) with hands-on drip painting for the kids.
HISTORICAL PHOTO OF POLLOCK - KRASNER STUDIO
- LONGHOUSE RESERVE – Technically part of Northwest Woods, we included this incredible spot anyway because it’s super close and truly fits the vibe of the day. LongHouse is all about living with art in the context of nature. There are exhibitions, classes, and workshops, but our favorite part is meandering around the vast and beautifully curated sculpture gardens, where art and nature become one in the most uplifting and inspirational way.
- STILL CRAVING MORE ART? – Check out Ashwagh Hall, The Arts Center at Duck Creek Farm, The Lieber Collection, or take a stroll around Green River Cemetery to visit the gravesites of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Elaine DeKooning, Charles Gwathmey, Alfonso Ossorio, Ad Reinhardt, and Hannah Wilke, just to name a few.
JUDITH AND GERSON LEIBER - THE LEIBER COLLECTION
All this art is making us hungry! Head over to Rita Cantina down by Maidstone Beach for some outstanding ‘Modern Coastal Mexican’ fare. It’s got a casual, cozy vibe with booths indoors and picnic tables set in the sand outside, plus gluten free and vegetarian options so there’s something for everyone. Meg loves to get the duck carnitas to share with her table.
There’s something really special about Springs that you just need to experience first-hand. It feels truly authentic, down to earth, and cool, and everyone just tends to slow down a little bit when they get here. It’s the perfect destination for that August Hamptons burnout. Let us know what you think in the comments below!