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John Steinbeck's Sag Harbor cottage reduced to $16.75 million

John Steinbeck used this bayfront Sag Harbor cottage

John Steinbeck used this bayfront Sag Harbor cottage as a summer retreat from 1955 until his death in 1968, and wrote "Travels With Charley" in a writing hut on the property. Credit:'s International Realty / Richard Taverna

The asking price on the home of American writer John Steinbeck, who wrote two of his most notable works from a writing hut perched on his Sag Harbor waterfront property, has been reduced from $17.9 million to $16.75 million.

Steinbeck bought the 1,200-square-foot house in 1955 and used it as a summer retreat until his death in 1968. The home had been in trust after the death of his third wife, Elaine Anderson Steinbeck, in 2003. During his years at the bayfront spot, the writer penned two novels, "Travels with Charley" about the 10,000-mile journey he took with his French poodle, and his last novel, "The Winter of Our Discontent."

The two-bedroom, two-bath main cottage, on Sag Harbor Bay with views of Morris Cove, sits on just under two acres, with a pool, shade trees and 586 feet of waterfront on two sides, as well as a 60-foot fishing pier used by Steinbeck. It was listed for $17.9 million earlier this year, the first time in 60 years it had come on the market.

The living room looks out on the water and has a stone fireplace and cathedral ceilings with wooden beams. There’s a library loft above the living room built by the Steinbecks.

Steinbeck wrote his novels in the hexagonal-shaped writing hut he built that is still intact, offering 360-degree views from the water’s edge.

"Being there is awe-inspiring," says the property’s listing agent, Doreen L. Atkins of Sotheby’s International Realty in Southampton.

A California native, Steinbeck was best known for his controversial Pulitzer-Prize-winning "The Grapes of Wrath," about the life of the traveling "Okies" during the Great Depression. His other famous works include "East of Eden" and "Of Mice and Men."

Steinbeck was also a correspondent for Newsday during the Vietnam War, writing "Letters to Alicia," which refer to Newsday’s founder and first publisher, Alicia Patterson.

During his time in Sag Harbor, Steinbeck helped found the town’s annual whaling festival and construction of the landmark Beebe Windmill. A town park there is dedicated in his honor.

Taxes on the property in 2020 were $21,482. It is located in the Sag Harbor School District.

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