Perhaps because it has no bars, restaurants, or souvenir shops, Orient, the easternmost village on the North Fork, isn’t as popular with summer visitors as its neighbors to the west. Yet for the writers, artists, architects, farming families, and nature-lovers who live here, Orient’s secluded location at the end of a causeway is a big part of its allure (admittedly, the Orient Yacht Club where members gather for weekly suppers, and the nearby 363-acre Orient Beach State Park, with its maritime forest, also play a role). And then there is the hamlet’s glorious land’s end light and unusual number of beautifully preserved old houses. As real-estate agent Janet Markarian of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, notes, “The people who buy homes in Orient aren’t here because they can’t afford the Hamptons but because they don’t want to be in the Hamptons.” (Markarian herself exemplifies this view, having moved to the town after a career as a textile conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.) As a bonus, high-end home prices in Orient are lower than they are in the Hamptons. From January 31 to March 31, the median price of a home in Orient was $632,000, with the most expensive selling for $2,650,000, according to a market report by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. Here are Markarian’s top three historic listings for under $2 million:
1. Village Lane Cottage, $695,000. A steal at $695,000, this three bedroom, one and a half bathroom cottage on Village Lane dates to 1850 and has retained many of its original features, including a big old-fashioned screen porch with floor-to-ceiling windows. The house has views of Poquatuck Park, the village green, and you can catch a glimpse of the bay from the front porch.
2. Franklin House, $1,295,000. The Franklin House, so-called because it was once owned by Captain Charles M. Franklin, the master of the schooner W.J. Hedges, has been occupied by members of the same family for generations. The three bedroom, two and a half bathroom waterview house has a large common area with vaulted ceilings on the site of the original summer kitchen. It also has a second sitting room and a formal dining room with period details throughout.
3. Shaw House, $1,595,000. Built in 1730, this two-story, 1,750 square-foot house at the edge of Orient Harbor, was originally owned by a dockmaster named Richard Shaw, who oversaw New England-bound potato boats that sailed out of Orient. In the 1980’s, the house underwent a major renovation, one that was sensitive to the historic character of its structure.Today the three bedroom, two and a half bathroom house features three fireplaces, a wood stove, ultra-wide floorboards, beamed ceilings, white wainscotting, and an an upper deck with broad views of the harbor and Shelter Island. Though it’s in the heart of the village, the house has, notes Markarian, “a surprising amount of privacy.”