In 1998 the Town of East Hampton celebrated its 350th anniversary. This alone makes it special; few places in America were settled earlier. Even among those that were, none have the unique character peculiar to East Hampton.
A Cradle of American History
East Hampton was founded in 1648 by a group of farmers & fishermen who came here from Connecticut across Long Island Sound. They came to make their living and not for freedom. Early East Hampton was as much a theocracy as the Massachussetts of the Puritans; we even had our witches and witchcraft trials - but fortunately no hangings or burning at the stake, although we came close.
Farming and fishing was the livelihood for most until the beginning of the 20th century when the town began to attract wealthy families, artists and writers as a refuge from the city.
Bizarre English Laws
This is a unique town in that it is both rural and remote, governed by laws and governing bodies some of which date back to King Charles I, but only barely, since the king was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell's short lived republic in 1649, a year after our founding.
Early Settlers Rule...
The town of East Hampton has such an extraordinary historical heritage that it could easily serve as the classroom of America, while at the same time being the subject of a soap opera, sprinkled with delicious gossip and excitement worthy of any modern day tabloid story. In fact, in the last few years, East Hampton has become less a geographic location than a state of mind.
While it is home to some families that can trace their lineage back 10-12 generations in East Hampton and even earlier, to the village of Maidstone in the North of The County Of Kent, it is also the backyard playground of New York's (and lately, Hollywood's) business, media and entertainment heavyweights.
...Very New Money
It is also home to many of America's movers & shakers, and is replete with all the peculiar baggage that comes with runaway egos engaged in the endless dance of social climbing and posturing.
In fact, some of those egos frequently try to do battle with one of these ancient governing bodies, the Town Trustees, who hold legal title to the waterways and the land under the waterways in the town. The Trustees hold their title by virtue of a land patent from a colonial governor (Dongan) which predates the existence of the State of New York and yet has been upheld repeatedly by the courts of New York.
However, for the casual vacationer it is paradise - a carefree vacation-like atmosphere, quaint New England-type villages and farmlands, some of the most pristine beaches on earth, lots of great restaurants, exciting nightlife, great shopping & antiquing, in other words, all the makings of the ultimate vacation.
Today East Hampton is hot and it's not merely the weather. East Hampton is not only the summer getawawy of choice, it is, if that is possible, even more beautiful, and serene during the fall and winter months. Its year-round charm is what makes it so attractive to artists & writers who seek solitude and inspiration for their work. In fact, some artists claim that East Hampton has a unique kind of light, possibly created by a combination of atmospheric conditions resulting from the proximity of woods and ocean, that gives it a shimmering dancing quality which greatly enhances their ability to produce their artwork.