Taking It All In

Written By: Debbie  Peters

Growing up on the North Fork of Long Island, little did I know that my teenage years, the most important years of my adolescence would be spent growing up in the small quaint town of South Jamesport where life was fairly simple and quiet. I was a young teenager totally oblivious to what the East End was all about and what it would have to offer, especially in The Hamptons.

Summer nights were spent gathering with close friends on the front lawn of my home in a neighborhood that bordered one of Long Island’s famous potato farms, where most of the homes were single story ranches situated on “just the right size” pieces of property. You knew it was summer when day turned into night and the air became filled with the high-pitched sounds of crickets and tree frogs. The hot beaming sun from earlier in the day caused the blades of grass that we sat upon to become warm and sticky. Listening to songs from Cheap Trick, KISS and AC-DC in the dark from what we had called a “boom Box”, were laughs, giggles, and personal stories shared that lasted for hours. At some point during our reminiscing of the past year school events and personal drama stories, you could hear a Mother’s voice echoing in the distance, “it’s getting late, time to head home”.  Really, is it that time already? Time to remove ourselves from the trusted circle of friends of which we all felt comfortable, a place we could share our thoughts and deepest, darkest secrets. It was a peaceful place. I didn’t want it to end.

Then, time went on.

As the adolescent years faded away, young adulthood snuck in. The circle of friends from the past years dissipated as well. I had no idea where my life was headed, but I definitely took things in stride.

In the late 1980’s and early 90’s, life was good. I came to enjoy the aspects of The Hamptons, not by being born into a family of wealth or a substantial bank account, but by saving some of my hard earned money, not to mention the booming economy at the time.

I can remember spending warm summer nights taking a stroll down the sidewalks of Westhampton Beach. The night air was filled with conversations from various spoken languages. There was no hustle and bustle, just an eclectic crowd in search of good food, a great cup of java and possibly a purchase from one of the various boutique shops that lined the streets of Westhampton Beach.

I particularly enjoyed browsing through the shop of “SHOCK” and “Lynne’s Cards and Gifts” along with some of the other designer clothing shops that had rented space for the summer season.

Oh, but there was one particular place that was a MUST to stop in. Simon’s Beach Bakery! The smell of fresh baked goods and coffee warmed the soul. It was so hard to choose from the array of fresh baked pies, cookies, specialty cakes and pastries that lined the display cases along with the variety of breads.

I will NEVER forget waiting on line to get into Club Merekesh. A dance club, one of the hottest night spots to go in The Hamptons. The rhythm of the music and the nightclub atmosphere inspired so many patrons to get up and dance the night away. Club Merekesh was a weekend must place to go for me.

Aside from “taking it all in”, in the town of Westhampton Beach, there was the town of Southampton. A beautiful tree lined town with many diverse boutiques, shops and restaurants that could satisfy any shopper’s needs. From cheese to children’s shoes, there was something for everyone. It was also fun to watch dog lovers parade their beloved pets up and down Main Street.

I enjoyed browsing through Hildreth’s Home Goods and often left the store with a unique purchase such as the capiz wind chimes that I still admire today. Whether it was a specialty bar of soap to custom furniture for your home, Hildreth’s had it!

I was always in search of great food. The Driver’s Seat located on Jobs Lane serves their famous baked clam casserole which was out of this world and still is today! Google it and you can read the descriptive reviews. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the bright, airy atmosphere after spending a hot summer day of soaking in the rays at one of The Hamptons most beautiful beaches.

I have so many fond memories of growing up in a small North Fork town where everyone new each other’s name to the South Fork where the population was so diverse that no one knew whether or not you came from wealth. Being able to introduce the benefits and pleasures to my children so that they could take it all in, their knowledge and appreciation about the East End of Long Island has deepened.