A recap of #HamptonsRetreat, an intimate blogger retreat hosted in Southampton, New York.
Last month I hosted my fourth food blogger retreat in the beautiful city of Southampton, New York located in The Hamptons. We kicked off the fun in Manhattan upon arrival so be sure to check out my guide to 24 Hours in New York City in case you missed it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of hosting blogger retreats it’s this: it takes a team. Fortunately for me, I had the pleasure of working with two of the BEST: Gina of SkinnyTaste and Lexi of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.
While I’m sure these retreats look more like vacation than work, I want to be very clear: this retreat took 11 months of planning, 682 emails and endless Google docs to pull off. That said, I would do it again in a heart beat and highly recommend hosting or attending a blogger retreat to anyone who asks.
The number one reason I find hosting retreats to be invaluable? Face time, away from the phone and computer, with fellow bloggers. In my book, there is nothing more worthwhile.
Instead of staying in 7 or 8 individual hotel rooms, we decided to rent a house. The benefits of all being under one roof is that everyone can mix and mingle casually.
Whether it’s over a friendly round of foosball in the basement or casually over coffee during breakfast, I’ve always found that the best conversations are those that take place organically.
To keep everyone caffeinated and well-fueled, Nespresso provided us with several of their gorgeous machines and plenty of coffee and espresso. I loved it so much I plan to incorporate one of their machines into my new home office.
Unlike a large blogging conference, retreats give you more of that one-on-one time with other bloggers. And unlike being in individual hotel rooms, renting a house keeps everyone together throughout the entire retreat which leads to more of these wonderful impromptu moments like the one pictured above. I’m certain I was sharing something ground breaking. Just kidding, I was probably talking about avocado toast.
Whenever I host a retreat, I always like to include an activity that allows people visiting to explore the local area. Many of us (myself included) have never stepped foot in the Hamptons so this was the perfect opportunity to partner with Discover Long Island to literally discover Long Island.
They were so gracious to help us arrange a tour and tasting a local winery, Bedell Cellars. The wine was delicious and the vineyard was breathtaking. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the North Fork of Long Island.
Again, unlike a traditional blogger meet up at a convention or client press trip, these relaxed blogger retreats offer more casual face time with others that truly make the experience worthwhile.
To get our group of fifteen around Long Island, Tran-Star Executive provided us with two gigantic limos. Be sure to check them out for any of your transportation needs in the Hamptons. I’d also like to give a shout out to Lorissa’s Kitchen for providing the high-protein car snacks!
If you’re looking for a great spot to dine out in Southampton, don’t miss Union Cantina. This modern Mexican eatery features farm to table dishes including ceviche, skirt steak enchiladas, lobster tacos and more.
Pro Tip: Be sure to order the pan fried whole snapper with plantains, onions and tomatoes. It was out of this world good!
After exploring the local area, we decided to spend the rest of the retreat in our rental house (mansion?) so that we could take advantage of the beautiful home, pool and grounds.
As much as I’d like to tell you we never ate again after all that Mexican food, everyone was pretty thrilled when we started to bring out pool snacks to the back patio.
To help keep everyone cool, we served an afternoon ice cream break with a little help from our friends at Halo Top Creamery. Pro Tip: Peanut Butter Cup is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
For a special treat on our final evening, we decided to hire a private chef to cook for the group in the house. Chef Renee Blackman truly pulled out all the stops for our group!
Every dish she served was bold in flavor yet perfectly balanced. For example, she served this sweet, tangy and slightly spicy tuna and watermelon salad that to this day I can’t stop thinking about. Here are a few more photos from our incredible dinner experience with Chef Renee.
BTW That photo above? An incredible dessert table inspired by my favorite Netflix series of all time: Chef’s Table.
For breakfast each morning in the house we served up gorgeous platters on a buffet for avocado toast and bagels with lox.
For protein, Vital Farms kept our fridge stocked with their gorgeous pasture-raised eggs and butter.
On the side we served Green Giant veggie tots for a healthy spin on the traditional tater tots. My boys eat these at home and love the cauliflower ones!
We finished the retreat off with mimosas and a toast to a successful retreat! While there is never enough time with others, I am so grateful for the few days we got to live like royalty on the Hamptons. Cheers to the next retreat!
To see more of my travel destinations, check out my Pinterest board!