Home Is Where The Hamptons Are

Written By: Shay  Siegel

I was born in a house that my father built. That’s not a rip off line from Richard Nixon either; it’s actually true. The difference between our houses though, is my house is in The Hamptons. I still live there today and I’ve never felt the connection to any one thing in my life that I have to this house. It’s way back in the woods, way on top of a hill, not a neighbor in sight—if you screamed, no one would hear you––well, maybe people on the next street would, but they wouldn’t see you, that’s for sure. It is a place worthy of awe.

I’ve traveled to many places in my short, but long twenty-five years. I’ve explored the cliffs of Moher in Ireland, Stone Henge in England, the Dead Sea and the Western Wall in Israel. I’ve gone to Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Canada, at least thirty US states, Etcetera Etcetera. I lived in Boca Raton, FL when I was a senior in high school. I went to college at Tulane in NEW ORLEANS. How could anyone want to leave a city as great and unique as New Orleans? I’ll tell you how—if you were born in The Hamptons.

I moved to West Chester for grad school three years ago, and finally after all of these years of traveling and temporarily living in other places, I returned home. Home is the key word. In all the places I lived, I never considered any of them my home. I loved the experience and I enjoyed being there, but I always knew there would be an expiration date, only a matter of time until I returned to where I belonged—the house that my father built in the Hamptons.

My parents have discussed selling the house a few times, and basically 19 out of 20 people they would tell this to (they talk to a lot of people) would say, “Why?” That’s right… Why? It’s so secluded. We get to see deer grazing in our backyard, tossing carrots for them to nibble on. We get to watch humming birds take sips of nectar from the feeders hanging on the deck. We get to see turkeys trot up our hill on Thanksgiving Day (we’re vegetarians, they trust us.) If you like nature then there’s really no better place to be. We have hiking trails that stretch all the way back into the woods, a beautiful pool and patio, a tennis court, a deck to have all the vegetarian BBQs wanted and needed.

Now, forgetting about the house that my father built for a moment and simply looking at The Hamptons as a whole, I still wonder why anyone would want to live anywhere else. Okay, the summer is short, sure. But, isn’t it worth it? Stand up paddleboard, walks and swims at the ocean, seasonal restaurants, boat rides, golf and tennis, concerts under the stars, nature preserves, and basically just being outside all day long. But, then we get to fall and there are still awesome activities. Pumpkin and apple picking, hayrides, haunted trails at Halloween, More nature preserves where you can hand feed birds, and of course, more hiking.

When I started grad school three years ago in West Chester it was a very overwhelming time for me. I am extremely shy and have a lot of social anxiety; so going into a Writing program with as little as seven people in a class where it’s largely discussion based was enough to warrant some panic attacks. After a few weeks in the program, I questioned what I was doing there and gave serious thought to dropping out and going back in the future when I was better prepared. During this anxious time, I came home to The Hamptons in late September and I went to Ponquogue Beach to reflect. I sat in the sand, somewhat depressed and scared but everything was secondary to the peace I felt at that beach. No matter how stressful a situation is, I know that I can count on just going outdoors in my hometown, listen to the silence and stillness, watch the salt stained waves wash over the sand and the wind ruffle the leaves of the trees, and I start to feel better without even having anything resolved. Something as simple––but not really simple at all––is what creates a home.

I’ll admit that winter is sub-par and it lasts far longer than it ever should. But unless you live in a place that is actually warm all year round, you’re going to stay inside everyday anyway to avoid the feeling that your fingers are about to snap off, so you may as well stay indoors in The Hamptons where you can be reminded of all the great things that will be taking place in just a few months.

It may sound typical, obvious and even a little snobby to state all the great things about The Hamptons. I mean there are problems just like there is everywhere else, but what stands out is how beautiful they are and the sense of peace they create—even when the beaches and roads are overflowing with people, that simplicity and serenity can still be found. It must be what stands out to others too, because they’re the ones braving the traffic every Friday and Sunday, getting passed by snails on the LIE. They’re the ones trying to cram every last activity into a short weekend before they head back to the city or wherever else. They’re the ones that don’t call this place their home and yet love it just as much. I would almost say it’s worth it to make the trek out every week, but I really hate sitting in a car or on planes or trains or buses. I don’t even think I’d like a helicopter­­––which of course some of these weekend Hamptoners use. Nope, I don’t like any means of transportation, I’d rather take all those extra hours to sit at the beach or pool, being bronzed by the sun and listening to the soft music of birds. So really, it’s not worth it—because, why ever leave?