If you’ve been living in these parts recently, you know the weather has been frigid at best, gray and gloomy at worst. Sub-freezing temperatures and wind chills in mid-January forced even the staunchest morning outdoor joggers to the treadmill (or, perhaps, a blissful date with the snooze button).
Though any day can be a beach day in the Hamptons, the real-deal ones that involve fun in the (warm) sun feel like ions away. The temptation during the winter months is to hibernate inside. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that — unless cabin fever sets in. Though the Hamptons is known for its pristine beaches and gorgeous gardens, there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had.
Throughout the winter, some of the Hamptons’ top indoor attractions and restaurants remain open for business, providing us with a double-whammy of something to do and heat.
From museums to karaoke with a side of burgers and beer, these are the best things to do inside on the South Fork this winter.
Take advantage of restaurant deals
Miss Restaurant Week? You can still indulge in a delicious bargain at local restaurants. Make it a date night at Fresno (East Hampton), where the sky-lit dining room puts a fun twist on “Bringing the outdoors in.” A buzzy Thursday date-night deal includes a complimentary ½ carafe of wine. Almond’s (Bridgehampton) French menu may have a more refined flare, but you can get silly on Saturdays — Karaoke runs from 9 p.m. to midnight. A $39 two-course prix fixe menu is also available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and all night on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. More of an early bird? Get the worm (brunch) at Lulu Kitchen & Bar (Sag Harbor), complete with $12 mimosas, Bloody Marys (and other boozy beverages) that pair perfectly with oysters, French toast and eggs.
Learn something new as a family
If you miss sitting by the ocean, visit with marine life at the Long Island Aquarium (Riverhead). Its spot in Riverhead makes it a shorter ride for up-Islanders and easily accessible for South Fork locals alike. Warm up in the butterfly room, see sharks from a safe distance and let Finding Nemo-loving tiny tykes spot all the clown fish they can at this fun-for-all-ages establishment.
Speaking of little ones, a trip to the Children’s Museum of the East End (Bridgehampton) is a hands-on affair. Let kids dress up like firefighters or peruse a grocery store as their imaginations run wild (and not in your living room with breakable items). Guild Hall (East Hampton) continues to host programming throughout the month, including workshops, pop-up performances from local schools and creative labs, some geared towards families and others for adults.
The winter line-up at LTV Studios (Wainscott) includes Black History Month programming, like a celebration of Black comedians such as Eddie Murphy and Godfrey Cambridge (Feb. 3) and a look at the life of Sidney Poitier, the first African American to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
Indulge in art
For a more mature day out, the lauded Parrish Art Museum (Water Mill) remains open Thursday through Monday and is something of a love letter to East End art. Local galleries also give folks a chance to peruse art and take home a new statement piece.
See a live stage performance
From live music to theatrical performances, the Hamptons proves that the world remains a stage even in the dead of winter. The Suffolk’s (Riverhead) calendar is chock full of tribute bands, including those paying homage to Elton John (Feb. 2) and AC/DC (Feb. 17). Meanwhile, Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor’s Center for the Arts (Sag Harbor) lineup includes Disney’s 101 Dalmatian Kids perfect for entertaining little ones sans screens and Long Island Music Hall of Famer Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, who will perform original songs and their riffs on classic hits to the stage on Feb. 3.
Speaking of live tunes, the Cabin Fever Music Festival will hit both Forks this February, kicking off at Clubhouse Hamptons (East Hampton) on Feb. 3 and concluding with a party at the legendary Stephen Talkhouse (Amagansett) on Feb. 24.
Find your next read
Keen on cozying up on the couch with a good book? Find it somewhere other than Amazon and reduce your risk of restlessness by venturing out to an independent bookstore. Southampton Books and Sag Harbor Books, Book Hampton (East Hampton) and Black Cat Books (Shelter Island) are among the locally-owned bookstores brimming with titles.
Go wine tasting
While sitting on a patio sipping Summer in a Bottle at Wölffer Estate Vineyard is still a few months out, winter is the perfect time to find a new favorite vino at a local winery. The Hamptons is home to three wineries. One, the aforementioned Wölffer Estate Vineyard (Sagaponack), is home to a Claletto Cabernet Sauvignon that’s balanced, heavy and complex all at once. Channing Daughters Winery (Bridgehampton) has textured, dry Merlots that are perfect pizza party guests. A short trip away, Duck Walk Vineyards (Water Mill) has a sweet blueberry port that qualifies as a Hamptons hidden gem.