Survival guide: Keeping up in the Hamptons


COAST GUARD: Hamptons fest has identity crisis

Eat! Eat!

Della Femina (99 N. Main St., East Hampton, 631-329-6666) and Nick & Toni's (136 N. Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-3550) are both top-notch fooderies with excellent wine cellars and owners who sit on the Hamptons International Film Festival board. Jerry Della Femina was one of the adman behind such campaigns as Joe Isuzu; Toni Ross helped found the festival and chaired the board of directors. While it's possible to get wood-oven pizza at Nick & Toni's, the main menu features outstanding striped bass and tuna steak, which hews close to the local tastes of the sea. Della Femina's menu has a more specific Italian tone but includes seasonal choices like sheep's-milk ricotta and curried carrot ginger soup. Both are reasonably priced but can become particularly crowded during festival season -- when companies like New Line often rent out the restaurants. If you're shut out, try the Asian fusion fare of Bamboo (47 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton, 631-329-9821) or the intriguing Latino menu at Almondito (290 Montauk Hwy., Wainscott, 631-329-6700).

Get Some Zzzzs
No place does quaint quite like the Hamptons. Start with the beloved Maidstone Arms (207 Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-5006), whose foundations date back to the 1600s. With a mere 16 rooms and decorative antiques for sale, it's centrally located and a favorite among visitors. ... Not too many "inns" look like Baker House 1650 (181 Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-4081), but this moss-colored sprawling home is both regal and relaxed. Be advised, however: This level of luxury doesn't come cheap. ... Slightly more reasonable is the Mill House Inn (31 N. Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-9766), which despite being a 200-year-old residence (it became a B&B in 1973) is completely renovated, with modern amenities and a room price to fit most budgets.

Three Bags Full
The streets of the Hamptons can seem like remote outposts of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, but anyone looking for unique items should visit General Home Store (100 Park Place, East Hampton, 631-324-9400), a home-decor spot with linens, greeting cards and tabletop pieces. ... Needful Things (1 Long Wharf, Sag Harbor, 631-725-8658) also offers indoor and outdoor furniture and lighting -- but with an art deco, Asian, European or African flair. ... English Country Antiques and Home Furnishings (26 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton, 631-537-0606) is exactly that -- a busy store of wooden antiques, chandeliers, mirrors and case pieces. ... And for those who'd love to spend their days wandering in history, there's Barntique (327 Montauk Hwy., Moriches, 631-878-4594), known as an "antique village," with 16 separate shops of artwork and collectibles.