Shelter Island ‘Folk’ Victorians 495/595K


SHELTER ISLAND IS AN IDYLLIC PLACE, tucked between the North and South Forks of Long Island and accessible only by ferry. In its northwest corner is an almost perfectly preserved community of 1870s cottages with steeply pitched roofs and distinctive wood trim, along with more elaborate houses of the 1880s.

That corner of the island is Shelter Island Heights, with a total of 141 vintage houses on roughly 300 acres. About 100 of them were built by the Methodist Episcopal Church which, for eight short years in the 1870s, used the area for religious camp meetings. Frederick Law Olmstead had a hand in laying out the  park-like open spaces, curving roads, and groves of trees.


The first wave of construction consisted of about 70 cottages with steeply pitched gable roofs and elaborate wood trim, similar to those found at camp meeting sites like Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Ocean Grove, N.J.,

Two such houses, top, in Shelter Island Heights — next door neighbors, in fact — are now on the market. Both are circa 1879, with water views, as well as occasional views of cars lined up to board the North Ferry for Greenport.


5 Clinton Avenue, for 495K, above, is an unheated 4BR, 1.5 bath cottage with a wraparound front porch and open second floor balcony. Go here for more info and pics.

2 Waverly Place, asking 595K, below, is similar, but with 3 BR, electric heat, and a large side yard. There more info here.


Both are convenient to charming and low-key shops and restaurants, as well as tennis, beach, ferry, and marina.

Please note: I am not a real estate broker, nor do I have any financial interest in the sale of any property mentioned on this blog. I just like spreading the word about unique, historic properties and what I believe are solid investment opportunities.

North Fork Revival Cottage 440K


The one that got away, above

A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, I started this blog with a post moaning about the “perfect cottage” that got away. Someone went to contract on it, for 275K, as I was driving out to South Jamesport, Long Island, to take a look. I was bummed about it for months.

It was very special, part of a circle of late 19th century gingerbread-style summer cottages once used for revival meetings, similar to those found in Ocean Grove, N.J., and Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. I hadn’t known any such thing existed on Long Island until I saw this group. I’ve revisited it a couple of times since. “My” house has been painted and fixed up, but not TOO fixed up. The beauty of this particular cottage, for me, is that it was completely un-renovated, with old-fashioned bathrooms and kitchens, just the way I like my old houses.


The one you can have

Well, guess what? The cottage next door is now on the market, and has been for about a month. Yesterday I swung by to see for myself. From the outside, it’s a charmer, unlike a couple of houses in the circle that have been more or less ruined. It’s set back a little for a nice, tucked-away feeling, and it’s bigger than the other, with a separate garage and shed. Looks to be in fine condition; it’s even winterized and has central air.


Side view

The kitchen, however, to judge from the listing pics, looks like a bit of a modern horror show, and though the house has some period detail, including windows edged with colored glass, it could take some doing to restore the original feel.



Campground Circle is a five-minute bike ride from a good Peconic Bay beach, and I think the asking price is fair.

Someone go buy it, and hurry. Click here for the listing, in case you missed it the first time;-)


Other buildings on Campground Circle, above