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Maidstone Arms, East Hampton, Long Island

Famous for Attracting the Famous

East Hampton is a town of Gatsbyish vacation homes hidden behind tall hedges on lanes that cluster around the village. Situated about 130 miles from Manhattan, the village is one of the metropolitan area's most popular sites for second houses and is famous for attracting the famous—CEOs and other executives, as well as artists, writers, media and theater people. Stroll Main Street on a Saturday afternoon and you'll see many weekend residents shopping, taking care of chores or chatting with neighbors.

Private hospitality is big here—gossip columns are filled with who visited whom—but don't fret if you don't have a friend to stay with. At the Maidstone Arms you will feel like a houseguest. It's cozy and attractive and looks as though it belongs in a spread in Martha Stewart Living. The inn dates from 1740 (the town from 1648). Maidstone Arms changed hands in 1991 and the new owner gave it a charming "old" look including white shingles, blue shutters, a striped awning and a bar filled with nautical mementos. We also like the location, across from the pond and village green and within walking distance of the galleries and stores.

What was once primarily a summer community because of the nearby beaches is now popular year-round. It is not unusual even in winter for the Maidstone Arms restaurant to be full on Saturday nights. When we dined there the service was a bit slow, but the food was well worth the wait. The grilled filet mignon with herbed goat cheese and smoked mushroom sauce was a dish that ranked high in culinary inspiration.

Maidstone Arms, 207 Main Street, Easthampton, NY 11937. Tel. (631) 324-5006. Rates start at $165 for a double room, continental breakfast included, and reach $275 for a suite. Cottages start at $295. Three-night weekend minimum stay is required in summer and two-night minimum stay on other weekends. Dinners are expensive. Reserve well in advance on weekends for the dining room, as well as the rooms. www.maidstonearms.com


Museums, fishing, wineries and theaters are in the vicinity.

Winter 1994-95