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Buying on Shelter Island

Historic Sylvester Manor on July 21, 2015, is

Historic Sylvester Manor on July 21, 2015, is one of the attractions of Shelter Island. The manor is Shelter Island's 1652 homestead. Currently it includes an organic farm, historic plantation and arts and education center. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Shelter Island is on the eastern end of Long Island, surrounded by Shelter Island Sound and Gardiners Bay. Less than 100 miles away from New York City, it can be reached by ferry from the North and South forks. Nearly one-third of the island's land mass is the 2,039-acre Mashomack Preserve.

In the past three years, Shelter Island has become not only a summer destination for those who are looking for an alternative to the Hamptons but more of a year-round residence, particularly during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

"Once you get off the ferry, you are in a different world," says Melina Wein, resident and owner of M. Wein Realty Inc. "We don't have traffic lights. We don't have traffic. We have everything everyone else has. We are just not overloaded, so it is a much simpler way of life."

Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty couldn't agree more and shares a recent experience: "After 40 years, the local chamber of commerce decided they were not able to do their annual fireworks on July 11. Four young residents who live on the island stepped up and organized the event so everyone can enjoy it. Now the tradition continues with the younger generation. I was so proud."

Wein, who also co-wrote "Shelter Island, the Comprehensive Guide 2015: A Beautiful Place to Visit, a Great Place to Live," a 192-page guide for renters, owners and day trippers, adds, "In Shelter Island, you also get more for your dollar."

Linda McCarthy, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty and a Shelter Island resident, says, "We are finding that our buyers want a place to get away, ride their bicycles, go cross-country skiing."

She says she is also seeing a trend in which the homes that are move-in ready are in higher demand. "Most people don't want to spend time on a house project when they are here; they just want to get in and go," she says.

The major residential areas are The Heights with older Victorians, Rams Island, Dering Harbor and the Silver Beach Association. Wein, whose firm specializes in waterfront properties, adds that Nostrand Parkway, Rams Island and Dering Harbor homes can easily run into the high millions. "This area is a hidden treasure," she says. "Right now the highest-priced home on Shelter Island is over $20 million, and that is the asking price."


SALES PRICES: June 1, 2014, to June 30, 2105, there were 17 sales with a medium price of $660,000, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island data. The low price was $394,000 and the high price was $1,975,000. From June 2013, to June 2014, during the same period, there were 14 sales. The median price was $606,000 with a low of $325,000 and a high of $9.5 million.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Mashomack Preserve is 2,039 acres of woodlands and fields; Sylvester Manor; Shelter Island Historical Society Havens House and Museum, and the Clark Arts Center where there are concerts by the  Perlman Music Program, Shelter Island Campus. The summer music school was founded by Toby Perlman, the wife of violinist Itzhak Perlman, who is on the faculty.


Town: Shelter Island

Area: 27.1 total square miles; 12.1 land square miles; 15.0 square miles water

ZIP code: 11964, 11965

Population: 1,333

Median age: 55.9

Median household income: $73,895

Media home value: $686,000

LIRR time to NYC: From Greenport, the closest stop to Shelter Island, 2 hours and 50 minutes at peak. Shelter Island can be reached by the North Ferry from Greenport to the north (about an eight-minute trip) or from North Haven to the south (about a five-minute trip).

Monthly LIRR ticket: $485

School district: Shelter Island School District

Sources: 2010 Census; MLSLI. COM; LIRR
*Based on sales in the past six months, according to MLSLI


Number of houses: 28

Price range: $395,000 to $4.75 million

Tax range: $1,486 to $21,148


Tuthill Drive, $2.9 million

On the market for 23 days, this waterfront home on a private road on Ram Island sold in January for $200 below the original asking price. Built in 1938, the house was fully renovated and is on 217 feet of bulkheaded waterfront on Coecles Harbor with a deepwater dock. Features include four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a living room overlooking the harbor with a cathedral ceiling and floor-to-ceiling fireplace built from the stone from the harbor. It is on a .79-acre lot. Taxes are $12,385.

Burro Hall Lane, $707,500

With an original asking price of $755,000, this seven-room Craftsman-style house sold this month. It was on the market for 111 days. Built in 2005, the house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a fireplace and a full basement. It is also handicapped accessible. It is on a .92-acre lot. Taxes are $4,025.

South Midway Road, $1.59 million

Built in 1986 by designer-architect Ralph Rast, this eight-room Contemporary with views of West Neck Harbor sold last month for $85,000 below the original asking price. It was on the market 258 days. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a front covered porch. It is on a .94-acre lot. Taxes are $6,874.


Starter, $495,000

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage built in 1906 has been renovated. Features include an open kitchen, a dining and living area with a stone fireplace, a new back deck, a full basement and a newly paved driveway. It is on a .31-acre lot. Taxes are $2,508.94. Yvonne Dickerson Purcell, M. Wein Realty Inc., 917-494-5351.

Trade-up, $1.375 million

Set on 1.9 acres, this nine-room Colonial has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a half-bath. Built in 2000, the house includes a family room with a fireplace that leads to a poolside patio. There is also a full basement and a detached three-car garage with a one-bedroom apartment. Taxes are $7,907. Linda McCarthy, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 631-745-2626.

High end, $11.75 million

Set on 3.1 acres with  views of Shelter Island and Peconic Bay, this waterfront estate, built in 2006, was inspired by Edwin Lutyens, a designer of English country homes. Features include a deepwater dock with electric and water, an eat-in kitchen, a heated in-ground pool and a carriage house that has a living room with a fireplace and an en-suite bedroom on the main floor. Taxes are $36,704. Melina Wein, M. Wein Realty Inc., 631-834-1885.

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