• Michael Petersohn
  • 06/24/24
Written by Christina Norwood
A hint of small-town living in the Hamptons

Dotted with old windmills, stretches of farmland and waterfront views, Bridgehampton is a hamlet in the Town of Southampton. Founded in 1640, the town is one of the oldest in the United States, but Bridgehampton didn’t become distinct until the first bridge was constructed over Sagaponack Pond in 1686 — earning the community its name, which locals sometimes shorten to a simple, on-the-nose “Bridge.” Today, Bridgehampton marks the center of the famous Hamptons, and although it has changed a lot over the centuries, generations of locals have worked to keep it from becoming overdeveloped. “You have picturesque, beautiful farmland, you’ve got horse farms, you have forests, and you also have beautiful beaches,” says Michael Petersohn, a licensed real estate salesperson at Brown Harris Stevens who has lived and sold in the area for 25 years. “And the town is very quaint, it’s very walkable, there are a number of choices of things to do there, restaurants and shopping.” Although many people come here to vacation, there’s also a core community that lives here full-time as well as people who spend enough time in their second homes here to feel like a true part of the community. “Compared to other areas in the Hamptons, Bridgehampton has more of a small-town feel,” says Kelly DiJorio, a local real estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International.
Beaches on 5 miles of coastline

“There are a lot of options for things to do in Bridge,” says DiJorio. “There’s biking, surfing, museums, fishing.” With over 5 miles of oceanfront, Bridgehampton’s many beaches provide plenty of options when locals want to relax in the sand or catch some waves. Ocean Road Beach is a popular surfing spot, and W. Scott Cameron Beach is located on a narrow stretch of sand between the Atlantic Ocean and Mecox Bay, making it known for its gorgeous views. Sagg Main Beach is also perched between the Atlantic and another body of water — in this case, Sagaponack Pond. Sagg Swamp Preserve offers hiking trails and a break from the sand, but even more hiking, fishing and birdwatching can be found just outside the neighborhood at the 190-acre Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge. The Children’s Museum at East End offers interactive exhibits like a ship and a miniature golf course where children learn about physics and math.
Estates with acreage on and off the water

With quiet, winding streets lined with trees, pastures or farmland, homes here are a little more spread out, often sitting on an acre or more — though it is also possible to find a house on about half an acre. Colonials are incredibly common here, including grand Dutch Colonials, and houses often sport wood shingle siding. Newer homes sometimes adopt this traditional appearance, while others are built in sleek modern and contemporary designs. Bare-bones fixer-uppers start at about $1.4 million, but many homes here rocket far past that. An updated estate on the waterfront can easily climb to $25 million, but others reach prices like $50 million or even $70 million. The CAP Index crime score is 1 out of 10. The national average is 4.
Taxes on home purchases preserve land

“What a lot of people don’t know about buying in the Hamptons is that there’s a program called the Community Preservation Fund, or CPF,” Petersohn says. “There’s a tax when you purchase a home — not when you sell it — of 2.5% and that 2.5% goes into a fund where they buy back land and retire it. So sometimes when you’re driving through the Hamptons, you’ll pass by a giant potato farm right by the ocean, like it was 300 years ago, but that’s because the CPF steps in and buys scenic properties in particular, but they also buy land so that animals can migrate from neighborhood to neighborhood.” The program has retired thousands of acres of land in the Hamptons, which Petersohn also says inflates home and land prices by shrinking the supply, all while keeping the area beautiful.
The Hampton Classic

Every year, Bridgeport hosts The Hampton Classic. “It’s a horse show that takes place in midsummer, and it’s a big to-do with lots of celebrities and equestrians from around the world,” Petersohn says. “It’s a very big meet-and-greet event.” As a Grand Prix that draws riders from around the world, it’s one of the largest show-jumping competitions in the United States.
Dining along Montauk Highway, local wineries

Bridgehampton has a small, walkable stretch of restaurants and shops along Montauk Highway. DiJorio recommends Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen for breakfast, and Almond is a popular hangout spot serving French cuisine. Dopo il Ponte is an Italian restaurant with a casual ambiance and a wood-burning pizza oven. “The food’s really great and it’s a fun scene,” Petersohn says. Bobby Van's Steakhouse is a Bridgehampton institution — with its flagship location opening here in 1969 — serving chops and seafood in a white tablecloth setting. A few local businesses, including clothing and furniture shops, a florist and an art gallery are also dotted through the little downtown. Venturing into the surrounding rural areas reveals several wineries with tasting rooms. Wölffer Estate Vineyard is one of the most popular, and its tasting room is available by reservation only. Major retailers like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are located alongside one of the country’s last Kmart locations, and groceries are available at King Kullen.
Highly rated East Hampton and Southampton schools

Much of the neighborhood is served by the East Hampton School District, which gets an A from Niche. Children attend John M. Marshall Elementary School, which has an A-minus, and East Hampton Middle School, which also has an A-minus as well as a student-to-teacher ratio of 7-to-1, before moving to East Hampton High School. Niche gives the high school an A and lists it among the top 10 public high schools in Suffolk County. Portions of Bridgehampton’s western side are instead served by the Southampton Union Free School District, which also gets an A. Alternatively, The Ross School is a prestigious pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade private school that earns an A-plus and offers an average class size of 12. Nearby, The Hayground School is a private school teaching pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, but it doesn’t have a grade on Niche or GreatSchools.
Bridgeport LIRR to Penn Station, Montauk Highway

“Bridgehampton is centrally located in the Hamptons, so you have a lot of options, but it’s 40 minutes closer to the city than East Hampton,” says DiJorio. This is true on the Long Island Rail Road as well, which has a station right in Bridgehampton. The train takes about three hours to reach Penn Station. Montauk Highway is the biggest road in Bridgehampton, running right through its heart and making it easy to travel east or west across Long Island. Montauk is 40 minutes away.

Work With Michael

Over 30 years of experience actively managing & owning residential properties. He has an excellent reputation for honesty & integrity, the talent for being a persuasive negotiator, & the keen ability to effectively match buyer and seller.