My name is Vanessa and I have lived in Sag Harbor, New York for four years. I have lived in the Hamptons my entire life. I grew up in neighboring East Hampton.
Sag Harbor can best be described in these five words: close-knit, community, old-fashioned, quaint, and friendly.
Women should consider visiting Sag Harbor because it is a quaint but upbeat town that offers almost everything to suit your taste, style and budget. The daytime is soothing and the nightlife is lively, with events happening around almost every corner, from weekend farmer’s markets and craft shows to gala events on the dock and restaurants open past 12am. Sag Harbor offers some of the best boutique shops and eateries on the east end.
Whether you enjoy sailing adventures, hiking, shopping, organic grocery stores and local markets or evening comedy performances, Sag Harbor has it all…
Sag Harbor City Guide
How do you get to Sag Harbor?
The LIRR train that leaves from Jamaica Station, Queens or the Hampton Jitney from New York City via the Long Island Expressway and Montauk Highway.
What’s the best way to get around Sag Harbor?
Walking or bike riding because everything is so close together.
What’s the best time to visit Sag Harbor?
In September, when the weather is still warm and most of the crowds have returned to the city, or in October during the Hamptons International Film Festival.
What are the different districts/areas of Sag Harbor and can you tell us a little about each?
Sag Harbor encompasses of the village where many historic homes, museums and buildings are still preserved.
One example is the famous Umbrella House, which is oldest house in Sag Harbor and used to house British troops during the Revolutionary War. It is now a liquor store.
The neighboring hamlet of Noyack is home to some of the east end’s best hiking trails, bays, fishing ponds and wildlife sanctuaries.
What advice can you give women about what to pack for their time in Sag Harbor?
Every women should never leave home without:
- a wide brim sun hat,
- their favorite sunglasses,
- a few bikinis/bath suits,
- trendy purse,
- floral or brightly colored sundresses,
- two pairs of flip flops,
- a lightweight jacket,
- tote bag and
- their favorite pair of jeans.
What is the most common misconception about Sag Harbor (and why)?
That most people who visit and or rent in Sag Harbor are from New York City.
Though many visitors during the summer are from Manhattan and Brooklyn, many individuals come to visit and reside in Sag Harbor from Connecticut, Florida, England, Argentina, Canada and France.
Are there any culture shocks women should expect in Sag Harbor?
For such a small community, the weekend summer crowds may become overwhelming.
What are three things every woman must do in Sag Harbor?
- Attend a performance, screening or comedy show at Bay Street Theater.
- Enjoy homemade iced sugar and chocolate chip cookies at the Sag Harbor Baking Co.
- Visit La Superica for their famous margaritas or for a glass of chardonnay at Muse on the Harbor.
What’s the most over-rated thing to do in Sag Harbor?
Seeing celebrities and dining amongst them. They are the same each year and you learn quickly that this is not Hollywood. No paparazzi in sight and people very rarely approach them.
What’s the most traditional meal that every woman should try in Sag Harbor?
Manhattan or New England clam chowder. There is a contest every year in September during Harborfest to see whose local chowder is the winner. I highly recommend The Dock House, open during the summer season.
What’s your favorite restaurant and bar in Sag Harbor and what do you order?
My favorite restaurant is Il Capuccino and my favorite bar is the American Hotel.
At Il Capuccino, they have the most delicious, homemade garlic rolls, eggplant parmigiana and tartufo.
At the American Hotel, they have the best cheese fondue at the bar and have the one of the largest and impressive wine selections on the eastern end of Long Island. There is also a seven-day prix fixe bar menu, including their famous lobster roll sandwich.
Both Il Capuccino and the American Hotel will hit the spot for a romantic dinner or a girl’s night out.
Where’s the best photo opportunity in Sag Harbor?
At sunrise overlooking Bay Street, where you could spot the ducks and swans that congregate there or at sunset over the Sag Harbor–North Haven Bridge, out past the wharf.
Where’s the best place to go shopping and what’s the best gift or souvenir to buy?
The best place to go shopping is Flashbacks. This shops evokes an Indonesian flare with very reasonably priced women’s basics: cardigans, tanks, jeans and tees. They also sell lovely, fragrant soaps, candles, furniture, candy and vintage style toys.
What’s the best outdoor activity in Sag Harbor?
Sunset Paddle boarding near the Sag Harbor Long Wharf, just behind the famous, historic windmill.
What’s the best indoor activity in Sag Harbor?
Yoga at Yoga Shanti, owned by well-known yogis, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. Or, Norma Jean Pilates, a boutique Pilates studio on Division Street. I also recommend viewing an independent or foreign film at the Sag Harbor Cinema.
What do you do to get off the tourist trail?
Avoid RT-114 and Montauk Highway. One way I do this is when I escape to Haven’s Beach off of Bay Street on the outskirts of the village. I also enjoy visiting the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refugee off of Noyack Rd for jogging and bird feeding/sightseeing.
What other advice or tips can you give women considering visiting Sag Harbor?
In the summer, the Hamptons and Sag Harbor are the most crowded. I strongly suggest booking hotel reservations at least three weeks in advance. The most popular weekends are Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. For hotels, I recommend the Sag Harbor Inn and the American Hotel. Both hotels offer delicious breakfasts and are within walking distance to all of Sag Harbor. In fact, what is so fantastic about the village is that everything is in walking distance from one another. For daily parking, there is a seven-day long-term parking lot directly behind the American Hotel on Division Street.
Coming into Sag Harbor, I recommend taking Noyack Rd to RT-114 that will take you directly into Sag Harbor. This is so you avoid the congested Montauk Highway traffic.
The one and two hour parking space limits are very strict. If the long-term parking lot is full, there is a large three-hour parking lot behind Main Street, in front of Yoga Shanti.
Any other thoughts or advice for our women readers?
Additional shops I encourage you to visit are: Calypso St. Barth, the Wharf Shop, Illusions and Colette.
At Muse in the Harbor, there is a Happy Hour (1/2) drinks between 5 and 6pm at the bar.
Walk or bike to Haven’s Beach to avoid a daily parking fee.
What did you think about this city guide?
Join the discussion and leave your comments, tips, and personal experiences in the comments below.
Vanessa Pinto, a longtime resident of Sag Harbor and the Hamptons, is an ESL teacher and tutor, writer and fitness instructor. In her free time she enjoys indoor cycling, t’ai chi, barre, reading antiquarian cookbooks, traveling and hiking. Her favorite travel destinations are Antigua and London, UK. Follow Vanessa and her travels at www.eastendtaste.com and twitter.com/@EastEndTaste.