Once a thriving mill town, the hamlet of Yaphank currently is often described as quiet and rural. "Yaphank was a bustling community in the 1800s," says Robert Kessler, president of the Yaphank Historical Society, citing a busy commercial center near four mills along the Carmans River. "People came from all over," Kessler says, adding, "and now it's a very sleepy community, which we kind of like."

Much of Yaphank's past has been preserved with a historic district that boasts about 30 homes -- many of them along Main and East Main streets -- which are listed on the New York State register, says historian Karen Mouzakes.

Situated just west of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Yaphank is also home to Cornell Cooperative Extension's Suffolk County Farm and Education Center and the police Museum at Suffolk Police Headquarters.

Recreation areas include South Haven County Park, offering campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking and horse trails. Yaphank is also popular for its "beautiful" upper and lower lakes, Kessler says.

The community's housing stock offers capes, ranches, Colonials and postmoderns. A new 15-lot subdivision off Mill Road is offering Energy Star homes on half-acre parcels, with prices starting at $359,990, says Susan Fierro, owner of Universal Home Sales in Lake Ronkonkoma. Adam Heller of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate says three new Colonials, priced from $249,000 to $300,000, are being built on on-acre lots.

CONDOS AND TOWN HOUSES
11 listings between $179,850 and $249,000

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SALES PRICES
From June, 1, 2011, to July 29, 2012, there were 25 sales with a median price of $305,000. The low sales price was $160,000, and the high was $443,000. From May 1, 2010, to May 31, 2011, there were 26 sales. The median price was $257,500 with a low of $85,000 (for a foreclosure) and a high of $430,000.

ATTRACTIONS
Long Island Live Steamers railroad in South Haven Park; community yard sale, Sept. 15; Victorian Harvest Tea, Sept. 29; Christmas house tour, Dec. 16

BY THE NUMBERS
Town: Brookhaven

Area: 13.7 square miles

ZIP code: 11980

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Population: 5,945

Median age: 40.1

Median household income: $83,015

Median home value: $345,000*

LIRR time to NYC: About 1 hour 50 minutes, including transfer at Ronkonkoma

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Monthly ticket: $395

School districts: Longwood and South Country

Sources: 2010 Census; mlsli.com; Long Island Rail Road;

*Based on sales in the past six months, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island