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Growing Up in The Hamptons

BY Anna Grazulis and Kendyl Kearly | June 25, 2018 | Feature Features

Every summer, a new wave of families make their mark on the east end. Some have a history that dates back generations, while others have just moved in. Here is a snapshot of family life out east.
Molly Howard, far right, with her siblings (Eliza, Jackson and Chris) at her family home in Southampton

Molly Howard
For Molly Howard, the Hamptons are filled with memories. Having summered out East since the age of 7, the co-founder of clothing brand La Ligne, sold at Bridgehampton’s Carbon38, has stories to tell—like the time she and childhood friend Sophie Elgort were locked out of the family’s midrenovation home. Howard attempted to shimmy through the skylight and got stuck, only to be found by Elgort’s father, Arthur, who, “naturally, turned it into a photo shoot.”

Memories at the home are still in the making, evidenced by the family photo taken at her sister Eliza’s engagement party at their father’s Southampton house. “The day after this photo was taken, my sister found out she was pregnant,” Howard says. “My niece, Saylor, is pretty much my life.”

One of the traditions Saylor will grow up to know is the Howard Family Memorial Day Weekend Boules Tournament. “My grandmother, Fay Howard, lived the last 15 years of her life in Cannes and spent much of her day playing boules,” Howard says. “We all learned from her, and in her honor, we have a big competition every summer, where we dress as she did and battle it out to get our name on the family trophy.” A friendly family competition that’s guaranteed to bridge generations still to come.

Photographer Howie Guja (left) captures his family in the East End.

Howie Guja
From behind his lens, photographer Howie Guja offers an encompassing portrayal of the Hamptons’ beauty: sailboats sloshing through the wake, copses of trees shading beach cottages, fog clinging to the bay surface and sunsets more vivid than vacation memories. These motifs have earned him 33,400 Instagram followers as he explores the Hamptons and abroad.

“The light and landscape of eastern Long Island is so distinct,” he says. “It’s an incredible part of the world that offers both quietude and natural pristine beauty. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!”

Guja is debuting an online print shop where framed prints will be available. “Anything that has character jumps out at me: charming old homes, vintage cars, wooden boats, landscapes and natural scenes. These are the things that speak to me,” he says.

As he works, his family will adventure with him. “With two young children who love being outside, we will typically be found at area beaches and walking trails and preserves,” Guja says. “We like to get off the beaten path, from Cedar Point to Jessup Neck to Napeague.”

Sasha & Oli Benz
Although she hails from Australia, Sasha Benz, creative director of Montauk’s The Surf Lodge, is now nearly as much of a Hamptons fixture as the legendary venue she works at. “It’s not like any place I’ve ever been,” she says of the hamlet she moved to four years ago. “It’s got the combination of surf-meets-city with an array of epic restaurants and local hangout vibes. It’s as close as being back in Australia but only three hours from one of the biggest cities in the world.”

She and model-turned-DJ husband Oli recently welcomed their second child, Baybi, giving their 2-year old son, Rhythm, a little sister. Despite leading busy lives (the power couple is also in the process of renovating their Montauk dream home, a 1940s wood-shingle surf shack), family time ultimately rules. “We love what we now call ‘family date night,’ an early dinner at one of the local restaurants, watching the sunset,“ Sasha says. “There’s something comforting about letting your kids grow up in that environment.”

Sophie & Charlotte Bickley
The idea behind Sophie and Charlotte Bickley’s style blog was as original as the founders themselves: Provide advice for sisters with different, unique styles and senses of self.

“We want to be recognized in the fashion industry as being able to successfully influence our followers,” says 25-year-old Sophie (left), who describes her style as “eccentric, contemporary, spontaneous” in contrast to younger sister, Charlotte (right), 23, who lists off “posh, feminine, current” when talking about her vibe.

Every year, the sister act summers in Southampton, where their days are filled with “beach picnics, finding the perfect lobster roll, shopping in East Hampton and trying every ice cream shop regardless of its location!” —all activities that make perfect backdrops for their complementing ensembles that are a hit on their shared Instagram feed, @yin_2my_yang. When the two aren’t frolicking in the flower field that’s next door to their house, they’re planning for the future of their brand. Nearly in unison, they say, “We’d love to partner with a big-name store and create a clothing line.”

Erin Breen & Katie McClure
This season, ethically sourced clothing label Mirth is making its debut at Everything But Water in East Hampton, but founders and sisters Erin Breen and Katie McClure have been coming out East for years. “The Hamptons are about simple days, getting back to basics, and enjoying nature and tradition,” says Erin, who decamps every summer from Houston, Texas, to her in-laws’ house in East Hampton. “Our son Declan goes to camp out here—it’s special to see him do the same things his dad did growing up here in the ’80s.” When younger sister Katie comes to town to play auntie, the whole family can be found crashing waves or strolling through town for treats—of course, wearing Mirth caftans as cover-ups. “We spend our days swimming with the cousins at Egypt Beach, getting doughnuts at Dreesens and picking through Round Swamp’s farmstand,” says Katie, who previously worked in textile development at Marc Jacobs. During the winter back in Texas, summer memories are hard to shake. “We both dream about Hampton Chutney Co.’s cardamom iced coffee all year!”

Candice Miller
Candice Miller was used to researching the best of everything: where to eat, where to shop and where to stay well in her native New York. When it came to pregnancy and parenting, she was no different and decided to share her knowledge with Mama & Tata, a blog she started with her sister Jenna Crespi. “Our site gives women the opportunity to nurture themselves while also being a mother,” says Miller, a mom of two girls and head buyer at Southampton shop Tenet. “The role of mother can be consuming at times. It’s really important to have ‘me’ time and carve out space for yourself. I’d like to try to give mothers the opportunity to do things for themselves.”

Throughout the summer, she's sharing her favorite spots for family fun on the blog. “Whether it's culture and art, water sports, various camps, or mommy and me classes, I’ve found amazing opportunities for families to do activities together,” she says. “My kids love everything from Paddle Diva to Jackson Pollock Studio. They’re always on the go!”

Alexandra Macon
“We love the Hamptons because it’s a convenient distance from the city, and the proximity of historic homes, woods and lush greenery so close to the beach is pretty spectacular,” says Alexandra Macon, Over the Moon founder, Water Mill resident and mother of two. “Our kids are big fans of the playground in Southampton, Stevenson’s Toys & Games and Sip’n Soda. We basically hit up those three things every weekend, on repeat—and couldn’t be happier!”

Annabelle & Max Moehlmann
“Any summer weekend is cause for celebration in my book,” says Annabelle Moehlmann, who loves to entertain at her family's historic Georgica Pond estate, where she and husband Maximilian were married two seasons ago. “It’s one big family gathering; my mom stays in the guest house, and Max’s two younger sisters always invite a ton of friends.” When she’s not setting an alfresco table on the porch with finds from her decor shop, Land of Belle, she’s on the water with a gang that spans generations. “We paddleboard or sail right from the backyard to nearby beaches,” she says. “We love to pack a picnic and stay there all day.”

Alison Bruhn & Delia Folk
Defying typical mother-daughter dynamics are stylist Alison Bruhn and fashion blogger Delia Folk, who have teamed up for a YouTube channel, The Style That Binds Us. “Since my mom is a stylist, it is refreshing to hear her take on current happenings in the industry,” says Folk, a jewelry buyer by day. “We are both tapped into the world of fashion, and I like that we can divide and conquer to make sure we are both up-to-date on what’s happening.” Bruhn, who splits time between New York City, Alabama and the Hamptons, describes her daughter as a “best friend, co-worker, inspiration and career coach.”

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