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The Hamptons were in many ways designed for summer. But the cooler months are ideal for taking in the South Fork like a local.
Baron’s Cove, a cozy waterfront resort in Sag Harbor, provides the perfect home away from home.
“[Baron’s Cove has a] warm heart with a fragrant fireplace burning through the winter, always welcoming our guests,” said general manager Matthew Wheeler. “It’s a cozy spot in the fall or winter to curl up with a book, drink or loved one.”
When guests walk into the lobby, they immediately feel the warmth of the fireplace and, perhaps, are briefly transported back to childhood winters past.
Soon after, the staff greets them with a glass of champagne, setting the tone for a luxurious stay with a homey feel. The service doesn’t stop with a clink of a glass. A visit to Baron’s Cove is not a transactional experience.
“We try to get to know our guests,” Wheeler said. “Listening is a big part of it. ‘Why are you here? What brings you to the East End?’ And then we can tailor our suggestions.”
If someone wants to get some R&R, they can do so in one of the 67 harbor and village facing rooms (some are dog-friendly) or head to the spa for a massage or facial. Hot toddies are served at the lounge bar, and room service is available.
There’s also a concierge service for guests hoping to make the most out of their stay. Horseback riding on the beach is a popular one. Organized by Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk, the ride goes along the shore of Block Island Sound, allowing riders to take in the sandy beaches and pristine coastline without the summer crowds.
“This time of year you can explore the nooks and crannies and get off the beaten path,” Wheeler said. “[You can] really go out with your own guide and see these white beaches of Montauk, feel and smell the air and enjoy the sites.”
A hike through Mashomack Preserve is another excursion for nature-lovers to consider. Dubbed “The Jewel of the Peconic,” the Shelter Island preserve is located along 12 miles of coastline featuring 2,039 acres of creeks, woodlands, fields and freshwater marshes and is just a quick ferry ride away from the hotel.
“It’s really a chance to see what the virgin landscape looked like out here before the westerners arrived,” Wheeler said. “If you’re into nature and history, that’s a great idea.”
Beyond nature, guests can shop ’til they drop along Main Street. Wheeler also suggested heading to Collette Consignment.
“You’ll find collections of goods from furnishings to paintings, really top-end stuff that tends to flood the market after summer residency,” he said.
And after a day of riding, hiking or shopping, Baron’s Cove is ready to welcome guests for dinner. Hired in July, Chef Jay Lippin’s style of cooking blends perfectly with the hotel’s ambiance.
“His food isn’t pretentious,” Wheeler said. “It’s honest, it’s very much American and very much true to the surroundings.”
This fall and winter, look out for lobster pot pie and Shinnecock scallops served with wild mushroom hash and Long Island pumpkin sauce. Weekly roasts are also in the works: Duck, ribs — foods that stick to the bones in all the right ways.
The hotel is also offering a special Fall Family package that includes accommodations, a Baron’s Cove canvas bag that’s perfect for apple picking and a $20 credit toward the u-pick activities. Guests will also receive complimentary breakfast for two adults daily and complimentary breakfast for two children — should you decide to bring them.
The ambiance at Baron’s Cove may sound different than what some might expect from a Hamptons resort, but Wheeler is quick to remind people the East End offers something for everyone.
“While the reputation of the Hamptons is what it is, the fact of the matter is all these people are coming here for the same reason: to get away from it all an hour and a half from the city,” he said. “And the beauty of the winter and fall is that it really is an hour and a half from the city.”