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Best of the Hamptons 2010

Family time out East

The Hamptons season officially kicks off this weekend, and whether you’re mooching, renting, or chillin’ at your own lovely beach pad, here are our picks for this summer’s best family offerings.

Best Beach For Toddlers: The Poles, Montauk
Cynthia Rowley, one of our favorite Hamptons moms, gave us this insider tip: go to Ditch Plains Beach and enter by the first parking lot (not the one by East Deck); head to the right of the lifeguard stand, and there is a nice break in the ocean for kids to swim. Locals call it The Poles, since it used to be an old dock years ago.
 
Best Babysitting Service: Lucky L’il Darlings
LLD, a popular Manhattan babysitting service covering more than 150 families, has just launched a weekend service in the Hamptons. Their college-educated sitters are fun, trustworthy and energetic. Book at least one week in advance for a full weekend sitter. LLD also offers single-evening coverage, based on availability. $100 annual membership fee, then $17 per hour for one child; $250 for 1-2 children overnight (24-hours).
Lucky L’il Darlings (LLD)
Bookings:  lindsay.bell@luckylildarlings.com
luckylildarlings.com

Best Hostess Gifts: The Store at the Surf Lodge
Surf Lodge in Montauk has just opened a store selling Diptyque candles, gorgeous hand-blocked cotton sarongs, and Jill Platner jewelry. Kids can play on the beach at the Lodge with dad, while you browse.
The Store at the Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere St., Montauk
631.238.5190
thesurflodge.com

Best Drop-in Activity: South Fork Natural History Museum
We love the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton (the pretend ice cream shop is too much fun), but right across the street is an undiscovered jewel that’s far less crowded on summer weekends: The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center. There’s a touch tank, and great scavenger hunts within the museum, as well as nature walks and workshops for both kids and parents.
Children’s Museum of the East End
376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike
631.537.8250
cmee.org
Cost: general admission $9; free for babies under one
The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center
377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
631.537.9735
http://www.sofo.org
Cost: $7 adults; $5 for kids (3 to 12); kids 2 and under free
 
Best New Spot To Take The Kids for Dinner: Serafina
Serafina has just opened its first Hamptons outpost. The East Hampton version of the northern Italian eatery promises the same kid-friendly vibe as the 79th-and-Madison location (before 8pm). There’ll be an outside patio, seating 45, which the owners say is perfect for families. They suggest making a reservation on weekends, but say Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are probably fine for walk-ins.
Serafina
104 N. Main St., East Hampton
631.267.3500
serafinarestaurant.com

Best Manhattan Satellite Program: Citibabes-To-Go
You don’t need to be a Citibabes member to book their Hamptons classes, which start today (July 1) and run through the end of August. They offer a variety of art and music-based programs for tots starting at 18 months. Classes meet for a minimum of four weeks, at your home, a park, or the beach. Prices start at $180 per child; Citibabes members get a 10 percent discount.
To book: info@citbabes.com
212.334.5440
citibabes.com

Best Opportunity To Drop The Baby Weight: SoulCycle
Aside from Tracy Anderson’s new pop-up studio in Sag Harbor, SoulCycle is still the place to be when it comes to the cardio scene. The insanely popular spin classes fill up days in advance, so book early. New this year: an outdoor biking club, fresh cracked coconuts at the SoulCycle Juice Bar, and a live DJ for late-afternoon spinning. Single ride, $36.
SoulCycle Hamptons
The Barns at 264 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton
631.537-3630
soul-cycle.com

Best Date Night: Navy Beach
The just-opened Navy Beach restaurant in Montauk dishes up steak frites, delicious lobster rolls and stunning sunsets over, yes, Navy Beach. Order the Elderflower Caipirinha made with Leblon Cachaca and St. Germain ($10). You can dine with your toes in the sand, or indoors with beach views. Be sure to make a reservation—two-hour waiting lists are not unheard of, without a booking.
Navy Beach
16 Navy Road
631.668. 6868
navybeach.com

Best New Kids’ Store: Playful Learning
Educational toys are the focus at Playful Learning, a new storefront in Sag Harbor. Mom-of-two Mariah Bruehl stocks cool books and developmentally appropriate toys for kids aged 3 to 12. Summer workshops are available, too, including “All About Me,” a four-week program in which kids can sort, classify and graph to enhance awareness of their own identities and loved ones. Wednesdays in July, from 10am to 11am. Ages 3 to 5; $120.
Playful Learning
78 Main Street, #14
631.889 4406
playfulearning.com

Best Farm Stand: Amagansett Farmer’s Market
Let your tots select their own fruits and veggies from the locally grown produce at Amagansett Farmer’s Market, a one-stop shop with its own cheese, meat and fish counters and a bakery. Devour sandwiches and lattes at tables in the garden before bagging up some first-of-the-season corn, which just arrived from Riverhead.
Amagansett Farmer’s Market
367 Main St
Amagansett
631.267.3894

Best Private Swim Lessons: SwimJim
The Manhattan-based swim school SwimJim has been offering lessons in pools at private homes in the Hamptons for nearly five years. Lessons are for ages six months to adult ($35 registration fee, plus $80 per half-hour; semi-private lessons are $70 per child, and three kids are $60 per child). SwimJim also offers classes at Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club, for club members.
SwimJim
212.749.7335
swimjim.com

Best Rainy Weekend Activity: Surf Craft
Mother-of-two Jodi Jefferson had the brilliant idea of organizing drop-off arts and crafts programs for little ones at hotels and restaurants including The Surf Lodge, the Montauk Yacht Club, Navy Beach, Sole East and at The Inn at Quogue. The idea is that mom and dad get to have a quiet brunch or dinner while the kids get to make cool art projects like a “stained glass” Superman figure on a driftwood hanger. $25 per hour.
Surf Craft Summer Art Program for Kids
516.263.9779
surfcraftny.com