Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Early September fun!

As I write this, we're in between threatened thunderstorms (nothing compared to the folks anxiously watching Hurricane Irma's path through the Caribbean), but the weather report shows the skies clearing and we're on tap for a glorious weekend. And that's good because there's a lot on tap over this weekend!

Sag Harbor's Harborfest begins Saturday morning, September 9 and runs through Sunday. Described as the largest block party extending out over the water, Harborfest celebrates Sag Harbor's maritime and especially whaling history and incorporates an arts and crafts fair, games, food, history, and fun for the whole family. 

Further east, Montauk's Seafood Festival also begins on Saturday and runs through the weekend. Featuring local fish and shellfish, local wines and craft beer and live entertainment, it's billed as a great family friendly event.

And, closer to A Butler's Manor, Saturday also is the grand opening of Hank's Pumpkintown, which grows larger and larger each year with more attractions on the farm for the kids. (And for those of us who want to avoid the traffic that this spectacle entails, just ask--we've got a map that will get you around it.)


In spite of the pumpkins, it ain't fall quite yet! At a forecasted 72 degrees this weekend, after checking out the festivals above, the beach is looking mighty appealing...at A Butler's Manor, we've got your beach chair and beach bag ready to go. Book your visit to Southampton's top-rated boutique inn and spend some down time in the Hamptons!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Holding onto history...and losing it

If you've been to our Southampton bed and breakfast before, chances are you've noticed the large meadow-like vacant lot to the north of us, on the other side of our car park. Perhaps we've told you, as part of the history of our house, that the lot, and the house standing on it, was owned by the last direct descendant of the Jagger family, who settled in Southampton in the mid-1600s. Originally tanners, the family eventually became farmers and at one point owned all the property in about a one mile radius of us. The house at 244 North Main that we call A Butler's Manor, built in 1860 by William Jagger, and it's our understanding that the house north of us at 276 North Main was built by his son. It appears on an 1894 Village Survey map that hangs in our upstairs hallway as belonging to J.M. Jagger.

When we moved here, we met and became friends with Glena Jagger, and Chris in particular spent quite a bit of time with her. One of my favorite memories is the time she stayed the night with us. She'd had surgery and the hospital wouldn't let her go home because no one lived with her, so she called us and asked to book a room. She refused to let us comp her, but she did permit us to drive her back up to her doctor in Riverhead the following day for post-op follow up. I thought it appropriate to offer her Goose Creek, our most historical room with its original wooden ceiling. Over breakfast the next morning, she told me that her grandparents had lived in the house until she was in high school. When she was small, she'd had scarlet fever (highly contagious) and her beloved older sister Elizabeth had moved to their grandparent's house for several weeks while Glena was quarantened at home. This had been the first time she had ever stayed a night in our house.
Goose Creek

Glena was a feisty little lady who had a degree in chemistry and had never married, who had been born in the house she lived in and intended to die in it. She had artifacts dating back to the early 1700's including ledgers from her tanner ancestors that documented the trade of goods and services between neighbors, in English pounds sterling that was the currency at the time--all of which was destined for the Southampton Historical Society. Her will stated her desire to divide up the proceeds of her estate between a number of beloved charitable organizations. I don't think she liked it, but did recognize that after her death her property would be sold and likely subdivided. That's just the way it works.

Glena died five years ago, and after a couple of acrimonious court cases (one brought by Chris) and planning board roadblocks, the three+ acre lot is to be subdivided into three one-acre parcels called the Jagger Estates, with a 6,000+/- square foot house to be built upon each. This week, the builder received approval to demolish Glena's house and begin clearing the property for development.

We watched on Wednesday as a house that had likely been many, many months in the building, that had withstood the Great Hurricane of 1938 without the slightest flooding, that had housed a woman from cradle to grave came down under the jaws of a bulldozer's claw in less than three hours.



Was it historical? Not historical enough. Was it architecturally significant? Only as it related to one woman's, and one family's long history in the village of Southampton. Was it worth salvaging? In practical terms, no. Too much remedial work involved even if the layout was desirable.

Still.

So today, as I look out my kitchen window at the blank where once I saw the brown siding of our neighbor's house, I think wistfully of Glena and her long life and rich family history. And wish the use of her family name as a development was more of a tribute to the longevity of that family line. And hope the new houses, when they are built, are in fact traditional in architecture, as proposed.

Though much updated and upgraded to meet the needs of our many guests, the Jagger family house of yesteryear still can be found in the bones of A Butler's Manor. and we take great pride in maintaining it. 

Come experience the melding of the modern and the historical at A Butler's Manor, Southampton's best boutique inn.



Friday, June 30, 2017

Seeing the Hamptons like a local!


At A Butler's Manor, the Fourth of July holiday generally brings out a fairly "local" crowd for us -- meaning most of our guests are from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Most have been to the Hamptons before and are out here to enjoy the beach, shopping, and parties, so chances are they won't be sampling our latest endeavor to help new visitors explore and appreciate "our" Hamptons.

Many years ago, Chris and I developed an itinerary to help new visitors find their way around the villages that comprise the collective "Hamptons."  With today's propensity for cell phones, tablets, and social media, we decided to take it a step further, and make it even more fun. So we created the Selfie Scavenger Hunt of the Hamptons--a tour of the area that takes in some of the iconic sights and adds many more whimsical ones, those little corners of the area that make it special. Know this: There is far more to the Hamptons than the beaches and Montauk Highway! 

The idea behind the Selfie Scavenger Hunt is that you follow the clues, find these locations and take a selfie of yourself there. (Double points for those posted on Instagram or Facebook and hashtagged #abutlersmanor!) Find as many locations as time and interest permit, and you'll return with not only a much greater understanding of this beautiful area, but you'll have an exemplary photo journal to look back on!

A sample of the clues:

  • There are two one-room schoolhouses in the area, both still operational. Find one of them
  • Find the enormous house off Daniel’s Lane that looks like a hotel complex (hint: best seen driving west)
  • Find the historical marker on South Sagg Road with an arachnoid reference
  • Take a pic of the price of lobster salad at Loaves & Fishes Stand and post it to our Facebook page with a comment!
  • Near the corner of Madison and Henry, find a very large sculpture that’s perhaps making strides in the art world
  • Road sign that might indicate a depressing place to live?
  • Find the sign “Wino Way” at Wolffer Estates Vineyard

Here are some of the visuals of the locations on the tour!








Are you intrigued yet? Doesn't that sound like fun? Come join us at A Butler's Manor, Southampton's #1-ranked Bed & Breakfast, and make sure you ask for a copy of the Selfie Scavenger Hunt for a chance to see the Hamptons the way we locals do! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sprucing up for the season's start!

Noon, Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, and the town is hopping. There's excitement and a touch of panic in the air as everyone does their last minute spit and polish before the Grand Opening of the Summer Season. In some cases, this is literally true, as a couple of our newest merchants in Southampton Village are putting the finishing touches on their summer pop up shops -- Sydney and I passed one merchant who was installing their sign! Our funny weather (overcast but warm) means that clothing on the shoppers runs the gamut between jeans, boots, and scarves to shorts and flip flops. No one knows what the weekend will bring, but everyone's hopeful for some sunshine!

Chris and I have been putting our own spit-shine on A Butler's Manor, with some exciting changes of our own. First: Goose Creek has gotten a makeover...and now features a KING bed! A little creative work with the wardrobe has allowed us to add a little seating area to the room. What do you think?



Secondly: Check out the new layout of our dining room!

And a fun little change: We've updated the nameplates on the doors to reflect bit more of a "butler" feel (think Downton Abbey). When you visit, take a picture in the hat and post it to Instagram and hashtag us! #abutlersmanor #bowlerized

So that's the news as we begin the Summer of 2017! Watch this space for some other changes to come -- or better yet, book now at Southampton's #1-ranked Bed & Breakfast Inn and experience them in person!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Where to find those "Stately Home & Garden" Tours in the Hamptons

It always feels like High Spring when the cherry trees are in bloom.  Chris is busy putting in all sorts of vegetables, while Sydney crashes through the bushes on squirrel patrol.They are both sooooo happy to be out in the garden.

I was talking to our guest Karen today who wondered if there were any houses or gardens that were open to the public, like the mansion tours you find in Newport, RI. (Or the Downton Abbey tours of Highclere Castle in Berkshire, England.) Sadly, that's not a Hamptons thing; all the houses that aren't historical properties are in private hands, and the only time you'll find them open to the public is for a charitable cause.
With one exception! THIS FRIDAY, May 12, is National Public Gardens Day, and therefore, three of the most beautiful public gardens in our area are offering a free one-hour guided tour. The participating gardens are Bridge Gardens (Bridgehampton)--10:30 AM, Madoo Conservancy  (Sagaponack)--1:00 PM, and Long House Reserve (East Hampton)--3:00 PM.

As to those tours for charitable causes, there are a few of them coming up:

Saturday, June 3: The Southampton Historical Museum's "Insider's Tour" of private homes in Southampton's finest neighborhoods runs between 1:00-4:00 PM, followed by a champagne reception at the Museum's Rogers Mansion. Tickets are $95 in advance, $110 on the day of the tour. For info or to purchase tickets, call 631.283.2494 or visit  southamptonhistoricalmuseum.org

Saturday and Sunday, June 10 & 11: Parrish Art Museum's "Landscape Pleasures" weekend kicks off with a Saturday morning symposium, followed by Sunday's self-guided garden tour of East End gardens and properties. Tickets for the two-day event start at $175 and may be purchased by calling 631-283-2118, ext. 133, or visiting parrishart.org

Saturday, June 17: Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)'s 31st Annual Garden Tour will feature a self-guided tour of 6+ gardens around East Hampton. Tickets are $85 for the tour, or $175 which includes a pre-tour cocktail party on Friday, June 16, at a private residence. Tickets are available by calling 631-537-0400 or visiting arfhamptons.org

Friday, July 7: Join the annual Friends of John Jermain Library house tour of area home in Sag Harbor between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 the day of the tour. More info: 631-725-1396.

Friday, July 14: Westhampton Performing Arts Center's annual house and garden tour and luncheon at the Westhampton Beach Country Club from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM features homes in Westhampton, Quogue, and East Quogue. Tickets are $85 (tour only) or $125 (including the luncheon). Call 631-288-2350 for tickets, or visit whbpac.org.

So grab your idea sketchbook and your garden party hat and make your plans now to come visit us at A Butler's Manor, your Southampton, NY Bed and Breakfast. Take a tour and benefit one of our great causes, then return and spend all the time you like in our English garden, without the crowds...we'll have the tea ready for you!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happiest in the Hamptons--Spring!

Early spring is always such a tough call. The weather may be clear and cool, as it was earlier this week, or it can be drizzly and chilly, as it was today. Or sometimes, we even get a heat wave! In our first year of operation, 2002, we were serving breakfast in the garden this week because temps had spiked to near 80 degrees.

It was the first day of the Spring Sidewalk Sale in Southampton Village, and the merchants on Main and Job's Lane gamely battled the periodic drizzle. Thankfully, the weather seems poised to clear tonight, so that tomorrow's Sidewalk Sale should be a warmer experience! Saw this cute display of merchandise on a recent walk down Main Street, Southampton. Bet this line will sell out fast!

In the meantime, our wood burning fireplace is creating a great place to return to after exploring the area.

Got word of an article just published in Architectural Digest that listed nine of America's most beautiful golf coursesAt the top of the list, of course, is Augusta National in Georgia, where the annual Master's Tournament was recently held. But how gratifying is it to learn that THREE of the remaining eight courses are located right here in the HamptonsShinnecock Hills Golf Club and National Golf Links, next door to each other here in Southampton, and The Bridge in Bridgehampton. Pretty impressive! (And no, sadly, we don't have an in at any of them to get a tee time, alas.)

Chris and I are busy planting, painting, and rearranging to add new touches to A Butler's Manor. In the next few weeks, look for some tweaks in our dining room, Goose Creek, and Villefranche. Watch this space for details!

And here's our new take on the doors to our rooms, playing up our butlering background. Fans of Downton Abbey will recognize the ubiquitous bowler worn by the venerable Mr. Carson. Make sure you take a selfie in the bowler hat when you visit! Extra credit for posting it to Instagram and or Facebook! #abutlersmanor #bowlerized 

This past Wednesday, I had an opportunity to demonstrate some of our signature breakfast dishes at Rogers Memorial Library. The theme I chose was entrees that can be prepared the night before and baked off in the morning. We featured one savory dish and one sweet dish, and our Raisin Bran Muffins. Chris came along to serve out the samples and charm everyone and generally play magician's assistant. It was a lot of fun!

Speaking of creativity in the kitchen, I've been having some fun making some breakfasts I can only really do when the house isn't full...menus that are just too labor-intensive for a full house. This is what was on the menu this morning: Orange Ebelskivers --a filled pancake--with fresh strawberries and Nutella...looks yummy, no? One of the perks of offseason visits!!


Spring is a great time to explore the Hamptons and the North Fork before the crowds get here, and where you stay is an important part of your Hamptons experience. Come visit us at A Butler's Manor, your Southampton, NY Bed & BreakfastClick here to check out our available rooms. 

Hope to see you soon!





Friday, April 7, 2017

Welcoming Spring 2017!

We opened for the 2017 Season this week. It's early Spring, and that always makes us excited for the new experiences to come. I'm looking at paint chips and ideas for the guest rooms, while the garden has had its spring cleaning, and Chris is happily planning and planting.  He's got himself a little temporary greenhouse in which to start his seedlings, which should be an improvement on previous years when flats occupied floor space all over the office until size and weather permitted their replanting outdoors.
Beginnings of the vegetable garden!

Sydney and Kim in Palm Springs, en route back to the Manor

You'll find a new addition to the staff at A Butler's Manor: Chris and I adopted a dog over the winter. Her name is Sydney, and she's four years old, rescued from a shelter in Mexico! She's probably some mix of breeds, but she's definitely of the hunter class (perhaps Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever?) because she is a sweet, mellow little girl...until she goes outside.And then -- if it moves, she chases it. With Sydney on patrol, we should have far fewer squirrels and rabbits in the garden. (Chris figures she earns all her goodies just for that service.)

The first guests of our new season were a lovely couple from the Philly area. John Stango is an artist and he's out here to transition between galleries. His work is fairly large in scale, so the art dealer met them here in the living room to inspect his canvasses. They are fun, bright pop-art pieces and he joked that we could redecorate the Manor with them. What do you think?





In other news, it's always interesting watching transformations in the village. To that end, we're scheduled to try out one of the latest restaurant changes tomorrow night: Job's Lane Gastropub, a completely new endeavor by Billy Oster, who has operated the prime corner of Windmill Lane and Job's Lane as Tuscan House for the past 13 years.  Gastropub promises to offer the best of the Tuscan House plus "Euro-American pub fare." Watch this space for the report!