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Buying in St. James, a hamlet where quaint and luxury meet

A westbound train on the Port Jefferson Branch

A westbound train on the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road arrives at the historic St. James station on July 1, 2016. Credit: Heather Walsh

The beauty of St. James, says resident and real estate agent Denise Voelker, lies in the hamlet’s ability to maintain its historic charm and small-town atmosphere.

St. James, located on the North Shore of Suffolk County and neighbored by the incorporated villages of Head of the Harbor and Nissequogue, features various sites that combine both elements. It also offers a mix of affordable and luxury houses.

“It’s a real nice cross-section of homes in St. James,” says Voelker, who works in Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s St. James office. “You can buy your first home here where you’re just starting out and you can end up living just outside of St. James, in Nissequogue and Head of the Harbor, where you might end up with your dream home.”

No landmark symbolizes the community’s history more than the St. James General Store, which was built in 1857 and is the oldest continually operating general store in the country. Located on Moriches Road, the store sells candy and gifts and has an old-fashioned feel that evokes images of the community’s past when patrons arrived on horse-and-buggy.

Nearby is Deepwells Farm, an 1845 Victorian mansion that was once home to New York City Mayor William J. Gaynor. The site now hosts community events. An upcoming event is  an outdoor summer movie screening of Disney’s “Zootopia” on Wednesday, July 20.

The St. James railroad station, built in 1873, is the second oldest on the Long Island Rail Road, says Smithtown historian Bradley Harris, who has lived in St. James since 1969. The post office retains a small country-style atmosphere, says 33-year St. James community resident and Coach Realtors agent Bonnie Glenn. The community itself, she adds, has a “special feeling of hometown America.”

Both the railroad station and post office are on Lake Avenue, which runs through downtown and hosts the town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Veteran’s Day Parade and St. James Day, an annual street fair held on the last weekend of September.

And residents need not head out East to visit a vineyard. They can simply stay right in town. Wine is crafted locally at Whisper Vineyards on Edgewood Road and also at Harmony Vineyards in Head of the Harbor. Oenophiles can visit for tastings or to attend events, such as the paint-and-sip event scheduled for July 28 at Whisper Vineyards.


There are seven condos on the market, ranging in price from $252,500 to $1.748 million.


From June 1, 2015, to June 29, 2016, 121 homes were sold, with a median price of $425,000, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. The low price was $185,000 and the high was $1.175 million. During that time period a year earlier, there were 107 home sales with a median price of $394,000. The price range was $211,000 to $1.35 million.


Most students attend Smithtown High School East. In 2015, 66 percent of its graduates earned a Regents diploma with advanced destination. That’s down 3 percent from 2014.


Town: Smithtown

Area: 4.5 square miles

ZIP code: 11780

Population: 13,338

Median age: 43.0

Media household income: $98,576

Median home value: $424,000

LIRR: St. James to NYC 88-109 minutes

Monthly ticket: $377

School district: Smithtown



Originally listed for $419,000, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom cape sold in December after 197 days on the market. The home, built in 1962, features an open kitchen, which is updated with granite countertops, wooden cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar that extends into the living room. The basement has a family room and a full bathroom. The 0.23-acre property, which is fully fenced, includes a large backyard and patio. The taxes are $8,800.


After 70 days on the market, this four-bedroom, 2 1⁄2-bathroom Contemporary sold for $59,000 less than its asking price. The 1987 home, on a 0.93-acre property, has an open floor plan and cathedral ceilings. The formal living room includes a fireplace, and the updated kitchen features granite countertops and sliding glass doors that open to the patio. The inground pool in the backyard is surrounded by a paving stone patio. Taxes: $19,952.


This five-bedroom, 3 1⁄2-bathroom Colonial was on the market 98 days and sold for $88,000 below its asking price. The master bedroom of the 1995 home, which is set on a 1-acre plot, has high ceilings, an updated bathroom, a fireplace and a walk-in closet. The eat-in kitchen features granite counters and a center island. French doors open to a deck that overlooks a heated inground pool and hot tub surrounded by stone patio. Taxes: $19,347.


Starter, $329,999

This three-bedroom, one-bathroom ranch features a den with a wood-burning fireplace and a finished basement on a 0.26-acre lot. The taxes are $9,190. Maureen Akerberg, Henrietta Homes & Properties, 631-862-6999.

Trade-up, $839,000

This four-bedroom ranch, on 1.04 acres, has 3 1⁄2 baths and a chef’s kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The taxes are $19,045. Bonnie Glenn, Coach Real Estate, 631-921-1494.

High-end, $1.1 million

This five-bedroom, 3 1⁄2-bath Colonial, on a 0.48-acre lot in a gated community, includes a custom hand-carved spiral staircase, ceramic tile floors and 10-foot ceilings on the first floor. The taxes are $25,424. Regina Eldridge, RE/MAX Beyond, 631-553-6243.


Number of houses 59

Price range $329,999 to $1.375 million

Tax range $5,951 to $39,163


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