I met my Long Island Lesbian Travel Oracle one summer night bellied up to the bar with a steak and dirty martini. I noticed her at first, wide-smiled and whispering in the ear of the bartender. She was setting up a surprise for the woman she was with, who had recently found a new job. Soon, a cupcake rolled out from the kitchen with a candle in it, and while we clapped, they kissed.
I had not seen any lesbians in the Hamptons before that moment. There were no lesbian bars and while I had heard the stories of star-crossed lovers on the beach and posh all-women parties behind the hedgerows, the baby-dyke in me was eager to find and join this community. Like any solid butch, I asked the bartender to buy their next round on me. Next thing I knew, the three of us were taking a shot of Jameson.
“Come dancing with us!”
“Where to?” I asked.
“The Stephen Talkhouse — it’s industry night.”
I had recently moved out to the Amagansett dunes to pursue a writer’s life. At the time, my dream was never of skyscrapers and subway rides. I wanted the beach and I wanted its crashing waves. I wanted to be the female Andy Warhol or like the other literary luminaries who escaped to the Hamptons for it bucolic beauty and avant-garde vibe. I got lucky when I landed a job writing for the infamous Dan’s Papers, a weekly magazine covering all things lifestyle in the Hamptons.
The first thing I noticed at the Stephen Talkhouse was that these people weren’t dressed like the weekenders — I barely noticed any linen or Nantucket reds. The oracle pulled me into the back bar where I noticed something else that caught my eye, an entire wall of nude women photographed. This wasn’t the type of nudity that makes you squirm in front of mom — this was art. She took my hand and pulled me close to a picture. “That’s me,” she said. And she was right. It was a beautiful picture of her, mid-air, and diving into the water.
That rest of that night and summer, the oracle showed me a different side to the Hamptons. She showed me local watering holes where women held drum circles, went spearfishing and surfing, took painting classes, and sat around bonfires to drink beers and talk. Although a bit harder to find, gay culture has been an integral part of the Hamptons ever since the area’s natural beauty began to attract creative luminaries in the 1950’s.
If you’re on the hunt for babes at the beach then a short three-hour trip due east of Midtown Manhattan to the Hamptons might surprise you as more than a playground for the lesbian-rich-and-famous, but a place where lesbian culture is integrated and full of charming, romantic spaces where women are waiting to connect. Here are few spots where women go not just to post their rosé on Instagram, but to relax in all that the Hamptons have to offer.
Eats and Drinks
The Clam Bar (Amagansett): A causal roadside seafood shack. It’s the perfect spot to grab a beer and lobster roll after a day on the beach. The Clam Bar is also a perfect place to sit at the bar and wait for the dykes on bikes to roll up.
Liar’s Saloon (Montauk): A dive-bar to the core, this longtime staple is as they say, “come as you are.” A gathering spot for many of the local fisherman in the village, the secret drink to order is their famous mudslide but just don’t have more than one. You never know who you will meet because dykes are fishermen, too.
On The Arty Side
Long House Reserve (East Hampton): The Long House Reserve is a 16-acre reserve and sculpture garden featuring pieces from Yoko Ono, Willem de Kooning, and Dale Chilhuly. If coming solo, bring your camera and notebook. You will be inspired by the way the sculptures effortlessly meld into the landscape.
Southampton Arts Center (Southampton): A hub for arts and culture nestled inside an iconic building. The Southampton Arts Center delivers programming year-round through an impressive array of partners including New York Academy of Art, Hamptons International Film Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Telluride Mountain film, The Watermill Center, and more. With the recent upgrade of the theater, it’s a great way to meet likeminded women.
Romantic Hangout Spots
Elizabeth Morton Nature Sanctuary (Noyac): A stunning 187-acre National Wildlife Refuge situated on a peninsula surrounded by Noyac and Little Peconic bays. With an abundance of native bird species and waterfowl, most visitors come with birdseed to watch in awe of the birds that will eat from your hand. This is a great hidden gem for those looking to impress their nature-loving partners or weekend dates.
Camp Hero State Park (Montauk): What’s more romantic than overlooking 100-foot high ocean bluffs? Honestly, nothing. Even my brother proposed to his wife here. Camp Hero State Park also has beautiful views such as the historic Montauk Lighthouse. Pack a light picnic and wander around its 415 acres of maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, and dramatic ocean vistas.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard (Sagaponac): Producing some of the best wines and ciders in the country, this gorgeous vineyard is located on the same grounds as the Wölffer Estate Stables, a premier equestrian facility that lends the iconic horse imagery for the estate’s wines. While a very popular destination, come here with a date on a weeknight and enjoy a cheese plate and jazz ensemble.
Almond Restaurant (Bridgehampton): Although this space has long been frequented by the (mostly male) gays, don’t be discouraged! It’s recently become more of a catch-all queer spot over the years. Stop in on a Friday night for after-dinner drinks and steamy conversation with the ladies.
Murf’s Tavern (Sag Harbor): This longtime community bar is situated inside small saltbox, and a great place to meet new friends in the area. With a retro look and feel inside, the drinks are strong and consistent. Blend in with the locals when you play your hand at the Murf’s ring toss.