Water Mill is a tiny hamlet located in Southampton town, which offers all of the quaint charm of a small town, with beautiful views of the water, refreshing sea breezes, and lovely homes. Water Mill is also a town rich in history. It, in fact, originated as a mill in 1644, set up in order for settlers of the nearby town of Southampton to be able to grind grain for their food. Edward Howell was granted the land—40 acres—by England, in order to start this mill, and it soon after became known as a landmark. It became the focal point of a number of other communities, which began to crop up around it, inspired by proximity to the mill. By the 19th century, people began referring to the town itself as Water Mills, and the “s” was later dropped. Water Mill is famous today for being the only place in Southern Long Island to have both a windmill and watermill that both continue to function.
And now, the town’s original watermill is The Water Mill Museum, where visitors can see the wooden shafts, gears, and wheel (since restored) of Long Island’s oldest still-running mill. Inside the museum, one can peruse historical tools of various tradesmen of the time, such as millers, carpenters, weavers, blacksmiths, farmers, and spinners, and purchase cornmeal made at the mill itself. The museum is run by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Water Mill features local arts and crafts exhibitions and is only open in the summer, when the town gets most of its tourism.
Local shops include the Antique Lumber Co., which specializes in lumber retrieved from antique buildings, Donna Parker’s Habitat, which sells a wide array of Italian and French furniture, JDS, Inc., and Water Mill Antiques, a large farmhouse filled to the brim with all sorts of antiques to browse through and purchase. Meanwhile, farm produce can be purchased at The Green Thumb, located on the 77-acre Halsey family farm, which has been running for 11 generations. Completely organic and award-winning, Halsey Farm provides wonderful, high-quality produce and even offers pony rides for children in the summer months. Other high quality food can be bought at Citarella, a gourmet market.
Water Mill is also home to Flying Point Beach, one of the Hamptons’ most popular beaches. Water Mill also has The ARK Project, a barn that has been converted into an enormous sculpture park and preserve. Boasting gorgeous views, The ARK Project is available to be booked for all sorts of parties, banquets, weddings, conferences, reunions, etc.
Area restaurants include Mirko’s Restaurant, Gin Lane, and Robert’s, which provides a vast number of seafood options in a pre-Revolutionary War house.
Hotel accommodations are available in nearby Southampton and at the elegant bed and breakfast, Pondview at Deerfield, which provides guests with a gym, upstairs lounge with a library, washer and dryers, and a beautiful, shingled cottage. It also has a lovely pond out front and idyllic landscaping.
For information on the Water Mill Museum: