35 Shore Rd., Shelter Island
Just north of most of the action, Shelter Island remains one of the quieter parts of the Hamptons—cynics would say it's a bit like Montauk in the old days, before real estate values in the area exploded. Owned by André Balazs, Sunset Beach Hotel sidles right up next to the ocean, with just twenty guest rooms that all have private porches looking out onto the water. As at any Balazs hotel, the food (and especially drink) scene is on point, with a great little European-style restaurant and a bar that offers some of the area's best DJs. Easy access to the beach also makes activities blessedly easy here—bikes are complimentary, and the hotel will happily arrange for beach chairs, paddleboards, and boats so guests can water-ski, fish, or just explore the area by water. Good to know: The beach here is west-facing, so it's a great place to watch the sunset.
13 Grand Ave., Shelter Island
This lovely shop, which happens to focus strictly on all-natural, USA-made products, recently relocated to a sweet little space on Shelter Island. In addition to Lurk, their house line of organic perfumes, the brand roster isn't particularly deep, with just a few dozen standbys—like May Lindstrom, True Nature Botanicals, and Aster & Bay—but each has been thoroughly vetted by owner/perfumer Anne Nelson Sanford. Dry goods-wise, there's shirting by California Tailor, Shawn Burke bags, and Takara jewelry.
The Chequit (Closed)
23 Grand Ave., Shelter Island
After a grand reopening following a major renovation, The Chequit is officially on our Hamptons short-list. The 37-room hotel feels more like a bed and breakfast, which is good since a glitzy resort wouldn't feel at all right on quaint Shelter Island.
Vine Street Café
41 S. Ferry Rd., Shelter Island
The seafood at this Shelter Island gem is pretty outstanding—the Bouillabaisse alone is worth a ferry ride from the mainland. All cooking is done by couple Terry Harwood and Lisa Murphy, and ingredients are sourced exclusively from local purveyors. Take a bit of the magic home with you from the adjoining market, were you'll find fresh foods to-go as well as sauces, pastas, and a slew of gourmet pantry-essentials.
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