As one of the major draws to the East End, waterfronts offer a distinct style of living synonymous with summer. On the North Fork, the appeal has begun to transcend the seasons within the last decade or so, making it a year-round destination. Boats go in the water sooner and stay in longer. Indian Summer and fall beach barbecues, winter walks, and maritime celebrations lend itself to a shorter off-season than years past. There are also varying types of waterfronts on the North Fork, including bays, creeks, harbors, and Long Island Sound, making it accessible to all types of buyers.
“All different price points offer people the ability to get on the water,” says Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty East End Sales Manager Carol Szynaka. “If you look around the South Fork for the vast majority it is the wealthiest people that have access to the water. Here, you can pick up a waterfront property for under $1 million.”
There is also access to waterfronts through private association beaches in some areas, with homes available for $500 – 600K. Szynaka notes that the North Fork used to be a seasonal second home from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The influx of agritainment has extended the season through October, and the Long Island Wine Council has made it desirable for people to visit the East End in the winter months with special events. Today, the area quiets down after January and picks up again mid-March.
“In addition to the waterfront drawing people out here, I do believe it was this whole food movement that has really captured the attention of people that may have previously been drawn to the South Fork,” Szynaka says. “Farm-to-table really picked up on the North Fork. There are a lot of local farms here, many new restaurants, and infrastructure changes. It’s starting to appeal to a broader range of clientele.”
A listing that speaks to the imitable waterfront lifestyle is one Szynaka shares with fellow Real Estate Salesperson Mariah Mills. 19965 Soundview Avenue in Southold is a three bedroom, two full and two half-bathroom Nantucket-style home overlooking Long Island Sound. It is outfitted with a gourmet kitchen, wine cellar, in-ground pool, and other top-grade amenities, not to mention 148-feet of beachfront. This luxury estate is on the market for $2.695 million.
For coastal home décor trends, shops like Phoebe and Belle, touchGOODS, and Material Objects are stocked with assorted wares of varying styles. Local fish markets such as Braun’s Seafood and Southold Fish Market bring the sea to your plate at home to create your own delicious meals, accompanied by fresh produce from any number of local farm strands. The Long Island wine region’s terroir has been described as “salt of the earth meets salt of the sea,” and has produced thousands of cases of award-winning wines annually. For those that enjoy dining out, Greenport and Shelter Island are home to many waterfront restaurants that are accessible by boat. Sit out on the dock at Barba Bianca and enjoy a glass of wine with regional Italian fare or enjoy favorited seafood dishes next to the marina at Salt.
Being near the water is one thing, being on it is another. For Captain Will Lieblein, general manager of Port of Egypt, his family’s business has long endeavored to get people out on the water regardless of the vessel. “We want to make it possible for people to go boating and experience the benefits of spending time on the water, even if they don’t own a boat,” Lieblein says. “We’re totally excited about Boating with Bill, a program we’ve recently introduced that offers free boat handling lessons with my father from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday in July.”
Port of Egypt Marine first opened in 1946 as a fishing station on Southold Bay with founding brothers William Sr., Herb, and Herman Lieblein at the helm. They began selling Grady-White boats in 1960, becoming the world’s oldest Grady-White dealer. With the third generation of the family now on board, the full-service marina aims to share the joys of boating and fishing on the North Fork.
“Our new Grady-White Experiences are all about carefree getaways on the bay with a licensed captain at the helm,” Lieblein shares. “These private cruises are totally customizable — fishing lessons, guided tours, sunset toasts, dinner and lunch cruises. We’re hosting lots of events for boaters, too, like fireworks flotillas, a Poker Run and a follow the leader trip to Block Island. It’s going to be a great summer.”
The full waterfront experience is a combination of long afternoons spent on Long Island Sound and bay beaches, navigating various waterways by boat, paddle boarding and kayaking adventures, and businesses that speak to the coastal lifestyle. Whether you live here full-time, own a second home, or hope to one day get your piece of the North Fork, its pristine waters are here to enjoy regardless of season.