Southampton village began with a small group of English puritans who sailed from Lynn, Massachusetts in 1640 and landed at Conscious Point. With the help of a residential Shinnecock Indian guide, the early colonist were led over a woodland trail. Named after the British earl of Southampton it was the oldest English settlement in the state of New York.
Just as the Irving Hotel, now known as the Village Latch is also the oldest hostelry in New York state. And in 1701 the Shinnecock Indian reservation was established and is the oldest Native American reservation in the United States.
The white settlers were welcomed and helped by the Shinnecock tribe. They not only gave them land to live on but shared their knowledge of planting corn, growing crops, digging clams and scallops from nearby bays, fertilizing with fish and trapping game. Duck raising, long island potatoes, sweet corn and fishing were the main industries.
Southampton with its bucolic setting and its magnificent natural light has attracted artists for many years. Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, William Merritt Chase to Robert Wilson who recently established the avant guard Watermill Center. They continue to be a major presence here.
Dr. Stephen Letterman who has been compiling a list of top beaches in the United States says "When most people think of beach vacation destinations, they go south, not me. I think that the east end of long Island is a well-kept secret for most Americans"
Southampton's Coopers beach has been a contender for the top spot in recent years. Now it is the #1 in the United States. (Based on the quality of the water, temperature, cleanliness, sand and safety) There are no Condominiums or Hotels on it, just miles and miles of pristine beaches. And, our Village Latch is the closest Hotel to the beach, just less than a mile.
Martin White, the owner, says "I've been all over the world from New Guinea to Cote D'Azur and none compare to our beach. It's wide and the sand is like baby powder and the parking area is very close, you don't have to walk a long ways away.
And now more than any other area in the east end, Southampton is known not only for its history but also its status as one of the world's most luxurious resort. With the expansion of the railroad to eastern long island during the 18th century, wealthy New Yorkers found refuge from the densely polluted city to the beauty of the farm lands and the pastoral countryside and just as today, it's unspoiled sandy beaches.
Large estates and manor houses, then called "summer cottage" began to be built near the ocean and the start of our modern real estate market was created. The Village Latch Inn and our Terry Cottage (believed to be designed by Stanford White) is perfectly located right at the entrance to the village on a sprawling five acre estate is still an elegant hotel just as it was at the turn of the century and those glorious "Great Gatsby" days.
It is now a haven for celebrities, Politicians and sophisticated travelers from around the world, Europe, South America and Asia. Including Vice Presidents Gore and Biden. They give Southampton its reputation for affluence and exclusivity.