Thursday, December 3, 2009
Getting ready for the holidays
As for me, cookies are baked, shopping is progressing, cards are in the works. I found a cool new site called Pandora.com that designs a music "station" around your personal preferences, and so I've created a station called Instrumental Holiday which plays in the background of my computer all day while I work.
So many people think that this time of year is "dead" in the Hamptons. They couldn't be more wrong. True, the traffic looks nothing like a summer weekend -- you can get to East Hampton in twenty minutes, instead of more than double that in August. But each village is decorated for the holidays, with lit Christmas trees flanking the sidewalks of the center of town. And lots to do.
Found some great stuff at last weekend's Parrish Presents bazaar. This is one must-do event for anyone visiting over Thanksgiving weekend: an annual shopping event comprised of wonderful boutique items, a silent auction for incredible things like Chanel handbags and golf and spa weekends at La Costa, and -- our favorite -- a huge "tag sale" of gently used furniture and housewares, donated by the community (often by the very wealthy membership that supports the Parrish Art Museum). There is a benefit cocktail party on Friday night, then the event is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday for a modest $5 entrance fee. We scored tickets to the cocktail party, where we saw more of the Meadow Club membership (affluent residents of the Estate District) than we ever see all summer long.
The funniest thing is how the this party plays out. In the queue of folks waiting for the doors to open at 5 PM there is a vague odor of mothballs in the "country winter wear" (even if it's Prada or Dolce Gabbana) likely unearthed for the first time this year. Few bother to check their coats. Everyone shoots straight past the (wonderful) exhibition in the museum itself, past the open bar and past catering staff proffering hors d'oeuvres, past the boutique and silent auction areas -- straight for the tag sale, which occupies all of the old Rogers Memorial Library next door to the museum. The crowds pushing through the tag sale building resemble a queue on a Disney ride. Parrish staff are attaching red "SOLD" tags right and left for buyers who, in many cases, could afford to buy the whole building. Once the initial pass through the offerings is made, everyone seems to adjourn to pick up a drink and a nibble or two, make one more leisurely pass through the tag sale, before heading back into the museum where the boutique and bar are situated. It is a thoroughly enjoyable event. (And we came home with, among other things, a great slubbed silk chair and ottoman...yeah!)
Here in Southampton, a whole series of holiday-inspired events called Southampton: It's A Wonderful Village are planned. This Saturday, for example, there are guided tours of the Historical Society's Rogers Mansion, all decked out for the season...horse and buggy rides through the village...a parade of fire trucks, each decorated with lights, at dusk...a tree lighting of the enormous evergreen in Agawam Park (which they DO use a cherry picker to decorate!)...outdoor movies shown on the corner of Main and Job's Lanes...lots of music, cookies, cider, and goodwill to men throughout. As soon as our guests are settled and concierged, I'll be in the center of the village, enjoying the holiday spirit!