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 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. 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. Click 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!