Getting Spiritual in the Hamptons
When it all gets to be too much, here are some places to visit where you can restore your spirit and still have fun.
Yes, you read that right. The Hamptons, magnet for celebs and hot young things pursuing beach bling days and lubricated nights in the area’s various hamlets, also has a spiritual side. That’s not so weird if you think about it. After all, the first visitors to the Hamptons were originally drawn to the natural beauty of the ocean beaches, the farm fields and the breath-taking sunrises and sunsets. They looked to the Hamptons for a place to escape the intense pleasures and pressures of urban life, and to breathe in a more spiritual life experience.
The Hamptons were “discovered” anew in the early 90’s, when large houses started to replace the modest homes that had fit naturally into the environment rather than dominating it. Conversations in the Hamptons these days almost always circle around real estate – who bought/sold what and for how much – or which famous face was spotted doing what to whom. It’s kind of fun and a drag at the same time, but there is still enough of the good stuff left to keep us coming back.
When it all gets to be too much, here are some places to visit where you can restore your spirit and still have fun. Spirituality should always have a sense of enjoyment to it or else it’s, well, no fun!
The New Thought Spiritual Center, Watermill
Housed in the Watermill Community House, a beautiful old building that is in itself a spiritual experience, New Thought offers a “gathering” every Sunday 10:00 – 11:00 AM and all are welcome. You can feel your shoulders drop a few inches as you enter this 1800s building. While you will hear the G-d word from time to time, this is not a religious experience.
The program includes some songs (sung with great gusto by all attendees), a meditation, a talk on a spiritual topic and an almost evangelical delight in coming together to give thanks for the many good things in life and especially in the immediate community. It is followed by coffee and cookies/fruit which is provided gratis, but you can also scoot down the road to the Hampton’s Coffee Company for a blissful organic breakfast – a spiritual experience in itself.
Vajravarahi Buddhist Meditation, Sag Harbor
Classes at the Vajravarahi Meditation Center are offered at various times on a daily basis in a lovely meditation room at 112 Hampton Street, Sag Harbor. Run by Venerable Geshe Kelsang since 2001, classes offer a guided meditation, a talk on different aspects of meditation and Buddhist philosophy followed by a discussion and question/answer period.
On Friday evenings, there is a Sunset Garden Party following the meditation class. On Sundays, there is an outdoor meditation from 7:00-7:40 at the Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton.
Meditation at The LongHouse
The LongHouse is located on Hands Creek Road in East Hampton and is a spiritual experience in and of itself with its beautiful gardens and sculptures by famous artists. Every Saturday at 8:00 AM, from June to August, Jim Owen leads a meditation session on the main lawn of this beautiful estate.
The sessions are $20 each, but special prices are available if you sign up for more than one. Bring chairs unless you like, and are able, to assume the lotus position on the verdant grass. It’s a wonderful way to get your head on straight after Friday night revelries and before more of the same on Saturday.
Tai Chi at the Library
The Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton has ongoing Tai Chi classes every Thursday at 10:15. It costs $45 for about two months of classes. The classes are led by Mary Bouchever who creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere as she leads the class through the beginner moves for tai chi.
A non-competitive mood is stressed (sic!) and especially good for those whose bodies (and minds) are not up for the more demanding forms of yoga. There is a mix of ages, but it skews towards older ladies. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself in a park in China where tai chi is widely practiced regularly and enthusiastically for its calming and healthful benefits.
I hope you get to enjoy some or all of these spiritual experiences. Just remember to BREATHE!!!!
For a really white place, These are very eastern concepts. Every bit of this shouts out as eastern teachings yet the place looks borderline racist white America
great article! Thanks for sharing spiritual experience in Hampton. In the Longhouse i’d love to meditate. The Tai Chi idea at the Library is great.
Water Mill is my favorite town. Do you know of any other activities there? For those of you who don’t know — It’s listed as the sixth most expensive Small Town in the United States by Business Week, offers some of the most beautiful Mecox Bay front property, miles and miles of farms and fields a handful of ocean beaches to relax at, and is home to Hampton Coffee.
Not off the top of my head, but the New Thought gathering is a great network for finding out about what else is going on. Enjoy!
The longhouse in Hamptons is very peaceful place.A great place to relax and take interesting pictures. Thanks for sharing information about Hampton in spiritual way.
Thanks for giving such useful information about “Hampton”. This article really help me when i get a chance to visit this place.
I lost my imterest in The Hamptons after “Kourtney & Khloé Take the Hamptons” but this article kind of helped me change my mind. Thank you. 🙂
Kourtney and Co. are here for a blink of an eye and really don’t have any impact on those of us who live here year round. The Hamptons are crammed with many folks who are here just because it’s a beautiful place to be, not because the beautiful people are here. You take what you want and you leave the rest!!
Great post. Pretty much covers everything. But as a part time local I have a tip for the first time visitors.
Don’t jog on montauk highway. There are PLENTY of safer and more scenic backroads for you to jog on. Plus you won’t be huffing engine exhaust. Seriously though, you might think you look cool or something, but the locals laugh at you when you jog on montauk highway. Biking on montauk highway is ok if you have to.
I don’t wanna be a downer but The Hamptons are getting overrun with daytrippers and a chain-store vibe. And it totally ruined the place.
Come in September through March when it is quieter and still very beautiful.
You mean high-end chain stores, like Ralph Lauren and Tiffany’s? You’d probably like Sag Harbor better, in that case. Less stores like that and more people who go for the whole summer (or live there year round). 😉
My mom lives in the east of Hamptons. The east end of Long Island is a matchless place of natural beauty, tranquility, small-town kindness, and safety.
Hi! Thanks for the great info. I don’t have a car and I’m looking for an easily accessible place to go to in the Hamptons to go to. Is Montauk the place? Someone said that it cost $25/way and 4 hours on the train. Is that true? I’m just looking to go there for a day trip and them head back to Manhattan for the night.
The Hamptons Jitney is about $30 and in the off season you can be in Montauk in 3 hours.
Montauk is the farthest town from Manhattan… it takes about 3 hours to get there. Definitely not good for a day trip. Any of the towns are kinda far if you’re not staying overnight… Why not try Greenwich instead?