History & Culture
Hampton Bays has played catch-up to the other, more popular Hamptons. In the 18th century, in a much smaller version, it was the dubious “star” of a sprinkling of hamlets that together made up Good Ground. The 11 hamlets were combined in 1922 and given the name Hampton Bays to appeal to the summer tourism trade. As with many places in the Hamptons, geography dictates, or at least inspires, the culture. Because Hampton Bays is blessed with so many protected bodies of water, it’s a haven for watersports and boating enthusiasts — there’s windsurfing, paddleboarding, and sailing aplenty. And the hamlet’s spirit has a high-minded, crunchy flavor best represented by the Ecological Culture Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on environmental stewardship, pedestrian-friendliness, eco-tourism, historical preservation, and other efforts that connect to the area’s original Good Ground moniker. The organization’s concurrent goal is to keep generic, suburban sprawl at bay (no pun intended).