Local lore says that to live on Long Island, you need a car. But for people whose homes are within walking distance of a downtown area, those car keys aren't always critical.
Newsday's new series, "Walk To Town," will look at five communities where residents can use their feet to get them to restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores and more. In this first installment, we focus on downtown Huntington.
"We walk into town pretty much every day in the summer," says stay-at-home mother Lisa Rostan, who strolls with her young girls. Their typical outings: the Huntington Public Library children's room, Claytime ceramics studio or Faz's Tex-Mex Grill. "We moved from Queens," Rostan says. "We moved out here thinking we couldn't go immediately to super-suburbia."
The Rostans have been there 11 years, and are now "looking for a change," Lisa says, although she hopes that in a new house, if it's outside Huntington, she and her family will be able to continue to walk to town.
Here's a look at the Rostans' home, which is now for sale, and two others on the market near the hamlet's downtown area.
SELLERS: Lisa and Adam Rostan
ADDRESS 67 W. Neck Rd.
WHO LIVES IN THE HOUSE Lisa, 37, Adam, 36, Ella, 8, and Marin, 3. Adam works in marketing in Manhattan and Lisa is a stay-at-home mother
HOW LONG THEY'VE LIVED THERE 11 years
ASKING PRICE $669,000
HOUSE SIZE Four bedrooms, 11/2 baths
HOUSE CHARM Window seats, wood stove in family room, kitchen farmhouse sink, front porch, finished attic with three skylights
FAVORITE FAMILY WALK The farmers market on summer Sundays. They stop in the Dunkin' Donuts on Wall Street for coffee on the way to the weekly pop-up market in a municipal parking lot along Main Street. Marin loves the pickle stand. "You get the pickle on a stick," Lisa says. "It's like a pickle lollipop." The family also gets fresh strawberries, broccoli, zucchini, or flowers.
BEST COUPLE WALK The Paramount theater on New York Avenue for live music. "Next week, we're going to see Jane's Addiction. It's my favorite band," Lisa says. They've also seen Devo and George Clinton. "It's faster to walk there than to drive and then park, Adam says.
ELLA'S CHOSEN DESTINATION Claytime ceramics studio on Gerard Street
MARIN'S NO. 1 VENUE Book Revue on New York Avenue on Tuesday mornings, when story time for the little ones is followed by a simple craft. "I want to go now," Marin says.
STEP BY STEP*
To have a beer and watch the game: 402 steps to Rookies Sports Bar
To mail a letter: 498 steps to Huntington Post Office
To see a movie: 732 steps to AMC Loews Shore 8
SELLERS: Barbara Ward and Peter Swartout
ADDRESS: 18 Willow Ave.
WHO LIVES IN THE HOUSE: Ward, 54, and Swartout, 59, and Lhasa apso dogs Shelby and Belle Amie. Ward is director of admissions at Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Brookville and has a 25-year-old daughter who lives in Nesconset. Swartout is an IT manager at Arrow Electronics in Melville.
HOW LONG THEY'VE LIVED THERE: 13 years
ASKING PRICE: $500,000
HOUSE SIZE: Three-bedroom, two-bath Tudor
HOUSE CHARM: Wood-burning fireplace, stained-glass windows, arched front door, plank wood floors
WHY THEY'RE SELLING: "We're leaving Long Island," Ward says. The husband and wife are positioning themselves for retirement by moving to Delaware, where taxes are lower and where they can build their house from scratch. "That was the dream -- the last house I live in, I build," Ward says.
FAVORITE COUPLE DESTINATION: The Book Revue on New York Avenue. "They have current books and used books," Swartout says. He says he likes to browse, hunting for first-editions or signed books. "I'll walk around for a good hour or two," he says. Agrees Ward: "It's leisurely. You can hang out and read something and decide if you want to buy it."
BEST SPECIAL OCCASION WALK: Mac's Steakhouse on Gerard Street. "The best thing about Mac's is everyone who eats there is our age," jokes Ward. While they say they also love to have the guacamole prepared tableside at Besito Mexican Restaurant on New York Avenue, Ward says, "You go to Besito on a Friday night and you're surrounded by young people coming from work. You feel old. Mac's is our speed."
GUILTY PLEASURE WALK: Bon Bons Chocolatier on Main Street, where Ward picks up chocolate-covered cashews for her husband. "I'll go into Bon Bons at Easter time. I don't have young children, I don't have grandchildren. And still" -- she warns Swartout to cover his ears -- "I spend $120 on chocolate for Easter."
BEST WINDOW SHOPPING: Ward and Swartout both say they love the home and antique stores that dot the village.
STEP BY STEP*
To check out a book: 915 steps to the Huntington Public Library
To get a workout: 983 steps to Pure Barre fitness center
To get a chocolate treat: 1,107 steps to Bon Bons Chocolatier
SELLERS: Meredith and Kevin Shanley
ADDRESS: 75 Dewey St.
WHO LIVES IN THE HOUSE: Meredith, 36, Kevin, 39, Luke, 3, and Ryan, 1. Kevin commutes to his finance job in Manhattan, Meredith is a stay-at-home mother
HOW LONG THEY'VE LIVED THERE: Five years
ASKING PRICE: $910,000
HOUSE SIZE: Three-bedroom, 21/2-bath, 102-year-old center hall Colonial.
HOUSE CHARM: Third-floor play area/guest room with bathroom with claw-foot tub; a half-bath under the stairs that they jokingly call the "Harry Potter" bathroom because the wizard's bedroom was under the stairs. "That's what's fun about old houses -- they have all these little surprises," Meredith says. Farm sink in kitchen, living room fireplace and French doors to screened-in porch.
WHY HUNTINGTON: Kevin grew up in Huntington Bay and graduated from Huntington High School in 1993. The couple was living in Manhattan, and after coming to visit Kevin's family, they'd pass by the house on Dewey, with its charming shutters and magnolia tree in the front yard. Says Meredith: "I always said, 'If that house ever goes up for sale, we have to go look at it.' I'm definitely an old-house person, and this house definitely spoke to me."
WHY THEY'RE MOVING: "As much as we love the house, we would like a little more space for play areas," Meredith says. "We could get it here if we put money in and did a renovation, but I don't know if I can handle that right now. But it will be very bittersweet."
FAVORITE OUTING WITH THE BOYS: Heckscher Park. "They have such a big playground," Meredith says. There's a separate section for little ones away from the bigger kids. And the pond is home to ducks and turtles. They might also stop at Munday's to eat, where Meredith knows the waitresses by name and they know Luke's and Ryan's favorite orders.
BEST DATE-NIGHT WALK: Jonathan's Ristorante on Wall Street. "For a nice dinner out we like to go to Jonathan's," Meredith says. "A lot of times we prefer to eat at the bar if it's just the two of us." Meredith's recommended cocktail: the cucumber/jalapeno martini. "It's just the right mix of spicy and cool," she says. Walking allows the Shanleys to have an alcoholic drink without having to worry about getting in a car, Meredith says.
GO-TO SHOPPING: Value Drugs on New York Avenue. "It has everything from a pharmacy to tube socks to laundry detergent to birthday presents to outdoor patio furniture," Meredith says.
STEP BY STEP*To see a show: 827 steps to The Paramount
To get a latte: 1,178 steps to Starbucks
To see art: 1,244 steps to BJ Spokes Gallery
*MEASURED BY PEDOMETER