Growing up in an old Victorian with the Long Island Sound and stretches of beach out back, Michael Ayer and his four siblings felt like they had the run of Asharoken, because many of the village’s residents were part-time.
"A lot of the older mansions like this one have been destroyed by fire or wrecking ball," Ayer said of his family’s home, which was built in 1880 and is on the market for the first time in 60 years. It is listed at $1.85 million; taxes are $18,943.
The house, known as the Chesebrough Estate, has five bedrooms, one summer bedroom and three full bathrooms. It retains its period charm with heavy ornamentation and decorative woodwork, hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplaces and original kitchen sink, said Ayer, 55, a marketing consultant.
There are two driveways, wraparound sidewalks, several porches, a small beach cabana and a turret with 180-degree views of the Sound.
Asharoken is an isthmus connecting Northport village to Eatons Neck, with the Sound on one side and Northport Bay on the other. The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote ''The Little Prince'' in Asharoken in 1943. Ayer recalls that as a child a neighbor told him that in the early 20th century one of the Vanderbilts would boat across the bay from his Centerport mansion and visit the Chesebrough home for a night of cards.
The Ayer house needs a hand. "Like a vintage automobile, the house always requires the attention and TLC of an owner who can appreciate its structural beauty and ongoing stability," said Ayer, whose late father, George L. Ayer, served as Asharoken police commissioner.
Michael Ayer said that the siting of the home has protected it from storm damage. "We never had water in the basement," he said. "It never flooded in 60 years of storms and hurricanes."
And the location can mean good value for a buyer, said listing agent Tanya Plackis of EXIT Realty Achieve. "This property, compared to waterfront homes out East, is much more affordable," she said. "It has this incredible endless waterfront view.