Although only a 15-minute drive north of Long Island's chichi Hamptons, Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor feels miles away from the full-court press of high society's playground of the rich and famous.
Sag Harbor's rich heritage as a whaling port and later in manufacturing, most visible in the elaborate brick Watchcase Factory now converted into loft-style town homes, shape the village's vibrant walkable downtown and reflect the community surrounding it.
Overlooking the tranquil harbor yet just a five-minute walk from the village's bustling shops and restaurants, Baron's Cove has been a fixture with a storied past for generations. Luminaries including Jackson Pollock, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, and Kurt Vonnegut regularly met at the inn's on site restaurant in the 1950s and 1960s, swapping stories and planning for the Old Whaler’s Festival, a precursor to today's Harbor Fest. Over time, the inn's two motel-style Bay and Meadow properties became rundown and dated. The restaurant was eventually razed to make way for condominiums that are now next door.
Baron's Cove's coveted location made its recent renaissance inevitable. Only the original layouts of the 67 motel-style rooms were preserved reflecting their origins as simple seaside retreats. The rest was torn down to the framing and completely refurbished with nautically inspired furnishings featuring vintage whaling artwork sourced from nearby antique stores, crisp white linens, fresh carpeting, and powder-blue bedside lamps. Marble vanities and sleek door less showers grace the spacious subway tile–lined bathrooms.
Outside, entryways to each room also got makeovers elevating them from the typical privacy-starved motel exterior. First-floor rooms have individual fenced-in patios outfitted with furniture and small garden areas while on the second floor, partitions create private seating areas recessed from the common-area walkways.
Although historic in appearance, Baron's Cove's nautically inspired reception, bar and lounge area, with restaurant upstairs boasting near panoramic, views are brand new. Architectural flairs like window shutters, multi-pane French doors, and a white wraparound front porch lined with wooden rocking chairs greet you upon arrival.
The sitting area and bar to your right gives off an English-style drawing room aura furnished with wing-back and tufted leather chairs, fireplace against one wall and a piano to the side. Reclaimed timbers and brass Ralph Lauren fixtures accompany artifacts on display like vintage photos, sketches, and whale bones thanks to Baron's Cove's partnership with the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historic Museum.
French doors open onto an outdoor patio/porch with another fireplace and Adirondack chairs where live bands play every night during summer.
Climb a steep wooden staircase leading up to the bright high-ceilinged open beamed restaurant where Executive Chef Matty Boudreau prepares classic fare including surf and turf, expertly grilled burgers, succulent day boat caught fish, and buttery lobster rolls.
Boudreau's background as a BBQ master and member of national award-winning Salty Rinse BBQ team is on full display especially during summertime oyster and Berkshire pig roasts and seafood festivals. Hand crafted cocktails like "Eternal Sunshine" utilize herbs from an onsite garden during season.
Breakfasts are equally enticing with fresh brewed coffee and espresso based drinks, buttermilk pancakes, brioche French toast, and Farm Stand Daily Omelets.
Remember their special offers when booking, like "Travels with Charley," which includes a stay in one of their dog-friendly Village Garden Rooms, a Baron’s Cove monogrammed dog bed & water bowl, disposable waste bags, Baron’s Cove Frisbee, gourmet dog treats, a map outlining suggested walking routes, and a copy of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.
Beach walking at Haven's Beach and Barcelona Neck in the Linda Gronlund Memorial Nature Preserve is respectively only a five and ten-minute drive away, exuding a wide open end-of-the-world feeling similar to Montauk. But for a more direct hassle free approach, Baron’s Cove offers complimentary shuttle service and passes to all Southampton beaches. That comes with beach chairs, umbrellas, plush towels, and your very own picnic basket customized by you the night before. Families enjoy a beach bag filled with goodies like a Frisbee, beach ball, and sandcastle kit.
Simply luxuriating on site is equally celebrated with a heated saltwater pool, tennis court, fitness studio, and spa services. But just in case you change your mind, a concierge awaits in the wings to arrange your itinerary.
Photos: Baron's Cove & Steve Mirsky. Coverage made possible by participating in a partially sponsored visit.