Thursday, August 2, 2012

Southampton By Bike And The Longest Post Ever

 

2.30am. Right. 4 hours sleep. I don't think it's jet lag, I truly think it's excitement, anticipation. I mean, I'm off to East Hampton on the train in 7 hours time. One can never be too early in rising!

So how do I put yesterday into 25 words or less? Yesterday was a dream come true for me. Riding the streets and lanes of Southampton? Every. Single. House...... I was doing the 'bike chuck' every 10 metres to take a photo. It got ridiculous! I was turning down photo opportunities galore after a while as you get a bit blasé seeing mansion after mansion. "Nope, that one is too similar to the last one, nope, don't like the letterbox, nope, too tudor-ish". I was making excuses so I didn't have to wheel my bike and just walk! .....as the on the bike - off the bike photo opportunities were so plentiful I worked myself into a bit of a state and just ended up crying like a baby. I blew kisses at the ones that. took. my. breath. away.....and you know what? I had to do this alone. It was almost spiritual for me. It was precious. I was sharing my dream with my best friend. Me. We've come a long way in the past 5 years..me and her. I needed to do this so much. I took some video footage of just cruising down the streets so I could remember the hedges and the soft breeze and the letter boxes and the grand gates and driveways....and the pussy cats that came out to greet me. Lonely perhaps? The video ends when I crash and say the word 's@$t. Those brakes on that bike were too good, too sensitive to touch.

So the day started so early for me! I woke at midnight after only 3 hours sleep. I tried and tried to sleep but I couldn't ...so I blogged, just as I am doing now....'The Midnight Blogger'. I was so hungry, as my appetite is all over the place and I hadn't eaten dinner before I went to bed. My last meal had been that lobster salad for one, at lunch, on the pavement outside that dear little restaurant in the village. I had a whine on twitter about me needing a 3 course meal right then and there, with 9 hours still to go until breakfast. Arghhh! Killer. I got lots of midnight twitter sympathy (as it was daytime over your way) so that helped me through the night...with Faux Fuchsia even offering to cook me a roast, if she could have. Bless.


 
I made it to morning and rattled around this beautiful old house while the owners were pottering around setting up for the day. I savoured their cosy Great Room and all their mementos and trinkets. Kim, one of the owners let me shuffle through some of her old photos of the old place during its restoration. I spent ages in the beautiful garden, drinking in the birdsong and the flowers. We had breakfast in the garden which I tweeted the hell out of. Yeah I lost a few followers. "will you stop with the English garden tweets already? Enough!"
 
Spent way too long enjoying the company of fellow travellers over breakfast.....one from New York who gave me his card, said,"here, if you want to see a real New York office, look me up when you're back in town" ....something about the Rockefeller centre? Doing. It.

So I hightailed it into town, after the owners found some sunscreen for me (don't start me on the hospitality of this place in this post, it's a whole separate blog post in itself), hired a bike and took off for the Hampton Designer Showhouse. Almost got mowed down by a building contractor's truck. That would have been a fitting end. Can't get used to riding on the wrong side of the road. Couldn't have done the car thing. Look left A-M, look left!


Do you know the best thing about the Hampton Designer Showhouse? The volunteers! Elegant women in their mature years who were up for a good old chat. I stayed 3 hours. I also got in for free as the coordinator, Mary, reckoned I deserved a reward coming all that way to see the joint.
 
Mary phoned Mr Bakes, the kitchen designer and told him I was in town, so he turned up and I picked his brain re the entire kitchen. Oh the workmanship. I don't want to come home to Australian workmanship. Nothing will ever be good enough now that I have been to the other side!

Look!
It's perfectly acceptable to have a pool house made out of four posts and call it a pool house in The Hamptons. So there.
Even the designer called it a pool house.
Vindicated!!!!
The Showhouse deserves a whole post of its own, well actually each room does!..... so I will share a few snippets here and then bring out the big guns when I have more time. More time. It's 7 hours until my train and it's the middle of the night. More time! Actually this post is making me sleepy again.

After the Showhouse, I headed down Flying Point Road towards the coast, knowing that there were mansions to be found. The roads were flat and there was a beautiful breeze. I drank it all in.

Even the weeds were pretty.
 
So, yes, the bike was chucked by the side of the road on and off for the rest of the day .... as I stopped and rode and stopped and rode. I kept my iPhone shoved in my bra as I needed quick access to it. It was not pretty, the bike chucking and the phone fetching. I got to Gin Lane beach and just abandoned that poor bike for my beach mansion pilgrimage. No-one was going to steal it for goodness sake. It was right next to the private bathing club where membership is only CONSIDERED, not allowed, but considered, if you are in 'The Blue Book' . Google it! You don't steal bikes when you have maids and butlers and play tennis in your whites at the 'Meadows' club or on your own court in your $30 million beach shack on Meadows Lane (ave price on the lane).

Anyway, I climbed those dunes like nobody's business. The sand was so hot but I had to get up close to those jewels on the dunes. One place looked abandoned for the summer so I undid the unlocked lock and snuck in for a closer photo, after a commando roll or too! I have scratches on my arms from climbing into hedges to get grainy long distant shots of fortresses. Southampton battle scars. It's funny, they are under lock and key and gates and high hedges and security cameras from the road, yet from the beach, you can jump the fence...that's if the dogs, or the security guards, or the alarm system or the moat!!! doesn't get you first.


I am going to post this post here, before I load up any more pictures as Blogsy keeps crashing and I am scared I am going to lose this post so come back, I am loading more pictures into my text.
 
The beaches are beautiful. We've been conned. Australia is not the only country with the best beaches in the world people. Take it from me. Gin Lane Beach! Coopers Beach! (where it costs $45 to park your car in the car park even if you are only staying 10 minutes). They even have walkways on the sand to the water, if you don't want to get sandy feet there and back!

And the beach in the public areas is groomed to perfection. Not a footprint! I laughed out loud.

I dipped my toes in the Atlantic all the way on my walk back to fetch my bike. The water temperature was perfect. There was no one on the beach. They were all in the private bathing club sections...so this little hillbilly Aussie had the run of the beach....and the mansions!

The bike rental time ended way too soon and I found myself back in the village starving to death. I headed to the famous deli and chuckled that they all thought I was English!! Giddaaaay, hey mate, we are so far from English, it's not funny. I bought the best lobster roll I have ever had in my life...actually it was the first lobster roll I have had in my life. Full. Of. Lobster. I found a little table in a not so busy restaurant around the corner (in a spot where they didn't notice me!) and sat and savoured that lobster roll. It was spiritual.

Strawberry ice cream in a cone? Don't mind if I do. Who am I? I never have icecream in a cone.

I wandered back down main street to my lodgings and wept while I told Kim about my wonderful day. She knew I'd been crying all day because of my mascara streaks. I'd spent the whole day looking like a panda and didn't realise it until I took a peek in the mirror. Mascara and sunscreen and sweat...it had been a doozy of a day. I took the best shower ever and fell asleep with more tears. So grateful.

A-M xx

 

26 comments:

  1. Dear AM, our excitement is infectious and I am so happy for you.I myself am dying with illness so am up all night and can tweet etc. Love all the snaps and love that you are so rapt but as your lawyer please take my advice and do not trespass. Loving the photos x

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  2. I'm so happy for you I can feel your excitement and emotions. I remember when I finally got to the Musee D'Orsay after studying art for years at Uni. I stodd in front of some of those incredible paintings and cried, so yes, I get it and it's really wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading and seeing more x

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  3. Oh my friggin god- I was rolling and crying with you hon. Thank you for posting te most wonderful post. Apart from your boys why the hell would you come back? Heaven heaven heaven!

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  4. I don't think I have ever known anyone who has had more enjoyment from a trip ever! Or for that matter who has shared it so willingly and with so much joy. I really feel as though I have been there with you and whilst you may think you are doing this on your own I assure you A-M you are not because all those pale grey shadows behind you are all of us as we trail along in your wake!!!
    Keep travelling girl...I am so enjoying this!! xxx

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  5. So happy for you that you are enjoying it so much!

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  6. I think we'd better get your pulse checked A-M as I think you may have died and gone to Heaven. I'm sympathy eating for you, so don't worry.

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  7. Sounds like you are having a great time, sounds heavenly.

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  8. I agree with Faux Fuchsia. Whatever you do, don't get arrested climbing fences in the US. You'll be in SO much trouble. (And the worst bit is you'll never be allowed back in the US again.) But we LOVE your photos - and your excitement! The weather looks glorious too - the perfect day for a Bike Tour of Hamptons Mansions. Have you seen East Hampton yet? You'll have to go back another time to do the rest. Take the boys. They would love it.

    Oh - and I loved how they phoned Mr Bakes, the kitchen designer, to come over and go through the craftsmanship with you! What a lovely man. He would have appreciated your enthusiasm - and was probably very touched. The wine cooler was fantastic too.

    xxx

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  9. I agree with Faux Fuchsia. Whatever you do, don't get arrested climbing fences in the US. But we LOVE your photos - and your excitement! The weather looks glorious too - the perfect day for a Bike Tour of Hamptons Mansions. Have you seen East Hampton yet? You'll have to go back another time to do the rest. Take the boys. They would love it.

    Oh - and I loved how they phoned Mr Bakes, the kitchen designer, to come over and go through the craftsmanship with you! What a lovely man. He would have appreciated your enthusiasm - and was probably very touched. The wine cooler was fantastic too.

    xxx

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  10. Keep the posts coming - I am loving it - actually can't wipe the smile off my face at your antics! Only the most stylish of us can pull off panda eyes - remember that! Rx

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  11. I feel like you are on the set of Revenge. So glad you are having such an amazing time. It is now on my bucket list XXX

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  12. I loved seeing the Hamptons with you! It's on my bucket list to do someday. I love houses especially ones that are well taken care of and who wouldn't love to have a beach home or even one of those mansions on the water. I can't believe you don't have ice cream cones down under! I'm surprised someone hasn't tapped into that business opportunity. Sometimes we missed the accent and immediately think "English" when it's "Aussie". Usually after a few more words I will catch on. I hope you get some sleep. I'm looking forward to the rest of your trip here.

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  13. Can I just say I think you're totally adorable! I love that you've loved your Hampton experience so much! But I do find one thing troubling - how is it that you've never had ice cream in a cone? I feel certain Australia has cones.

    I hope you continue to have a wonderful time!

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  14. Can I just say that I think you're totally adorable! I love that you're loving every moment in the Hamptons. But one thing is troubling - how have you never had an ice cream cone? I feel certain that Australia has cones. :)

    I hope you continue to have a wonderful time!

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  15. Goodness, A-M, you're leaving buckets of salty tears in the Hamptons! I wonder if the sea level will rise!:) I've so throughly enjoyed this trip with you! One thing I had wanted to mention before you left for your trip is to try to visit the Sicis showroom when back in NYC, but don't blame me when your jaw hurts from gaping! Stay safe!

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  16. Died and gone to heaven! I really did lol about the bike crash! I have saved a couple of your photos for reference, the stairs, the kitchen island breakfast bar - I have had this in my mind for ages and the first time i have ever seen it done just how i imagined it, thank you! I guess when you have that much money you can get great homes, but its the people inside that count, just keeping it real ya know! Have a fabulous time and really wish i was there!

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  17. Forget the Olympics, this is gold! A-M, wish I was getting a dink from you on that bike...please tell me, what is the kitchen splashback made from? It's amazing

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  18. What a delightfully wonderful insane funny post. I think I'm officially A-M Hampton obsessed! I need nothing else to inspire me,bring it on A-M! xx

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  19. Oh A.M I am so enjoying all of your posts form the USA I am in tears of joy for you & laughter you write so well, I had a funny vision of when the people who are away from there houses return & watch the CC footage & see you doing camando rolls around the lawn :)) tee hee.
    Glad the experience has been wonderful for you its been a pleasure reading about it!! :) x

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  20. A-M this is quite possibly one of THE BEST posts you have ever done!!!! I am loving every single bit of it and am sick with envy. Keep enjoying ...x

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  21. You know what the negative side of A-M's wonderful postings is? It is whilst this is a place full of OMG moments to a girl from Brisbane, to the Americans especially the locals this is just the way it is. Got to ask yourself why we cannot get the craftsmanship and variety eh?
    Keep them coming A-M we are in heaven!

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  22. A-M!!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. You are amazing!

    <3

    B

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  23. My goodness...A-M!!! Your enthusiasm is so refreshing! Living my entire life on the north shore of Long Island I sometimes take for granted ALL that we have here. As I plan my annual trip out east for the designer's show house in a few weeks, I will think of you and remember your joy...your words...your wonderful photographs...I will remember your spectacular visit to New York! God bless you A-M. You are one. special. lady.
    Stay safe.

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  24. Your joyful journey continues to inspire and delight me! I feel so happy for you. I feel like you are living the dream. xx

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  25. Hi lovely I have been catching up on your week and you have made my Friday night. You are living the dream Babe:). You just need to stop wearing mascara lol. I am sitting here drooling and telling DH well you know where our next holiday is going to be...I am so excited for you. Love that kitchen too. I hope the rest of the holiday is just as wonderful. I can't wait to hear all about it.

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  26. Hello wonderful A-M, let your spirit soar and treasure every ounce of joy and happiness.
    Mrs B xxx

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx