The New York minute is not reserved for those pounding the pavement in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s long applied to those that venture east, making a first or second home there, even if they desire to escape the confines of city living for solace on the beach. COVID-19 hit pause on life as we know it, forcing a new perspective as many sought shelter on the North Fork during quarantine. While life slowly discovers its new normal, summer will look different on the East End this year. For our annual piece on summer entertaining, four local real estate agents share what they envision for the season at home.
The forced shift in how businesses operate and manage employees, coupled with a new perspective on the importance of personal relationships, perhaps may be a value to the real estate industry. People may have more flexibility in where they live as working from home has become the new norm. “Some are seeking the serenity of a year-round weekend getaway from the crowded city,” notes Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty associate real estate broker Donielle Cardinale. “Others plan to make a more significant life change, making this their primary home and keep a smaller place in the city. While some who already own a country house here are looking to trade up to find a home more suitable for the transition to full time residency.”
Cardinale finds there is a focus on lifestyle and room to spread out, both in and outdoors. Buyers are now more concerned with beach or water proximity, pools, and/or farm views. Office space is also a crucial detail, as well as spaces that offer some separation amid an open floor plan. As for summer at home, she sees small group gatherings for cookouts, swimming in the pool, or going out on the boat rather than in public. Her waterfront listing at 5775 Nassau Point Road in Cutchogue is a perfect place to spend the summer with five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and a pool, among other prime amenities. This home is listed for $3.195 million.
Interest in the North Fork real estate market has been strong. Douglas Elliman Real Estate licensed real estate salesperson Nora Conant shares this is a result of relatively low inventory and pent up demand from both buyers and renters. Favorable financing rates have also encouraged buyers to borrow, even when they can afford to purchase with cash. Summer entertaining at these North Fork homes will center around the outdoors.
“For me, a perfect North Fork Summer day would include time spent on or in the water, whether at the beach or on a boat of any sort,” Conant shares. “Some time spent gardening or walking with friends and my dog. Some time spent sourcing, preparing and enjoying local farm, seafood or meat produce, ending with star gazing up at the dark night sky.”
Conant’s listing at 44335 Main Road in Cutchogue is an affordable property, listed at $589,000, with agricultural attractions and room for a pool. The charming three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is close to several beaches and vineyards.
Heading into summer, Century 21 Albertson Realty licensed associate real estate broker Jerry Cibulski sees the return of the staycation. Outdoor activities like biking, jogging, paddleboarding, beach walks, and hiking with others will be a more popular activity. The sense of rush to do everything one can while spending a long weekend on the North Fork is gone, welcoming people to simply relax and enjoy the place they’ve made a home. Taking the outdoors right into the backyard, he’s seen tents, sleeping bags, and fire pits to be popular. If you’re a Jeep owner like Cibulski, rooftop tents on these vehicles are equally fun.
With summer events either off the calendar or going digital, there have been conversations around theme parties with wardrobes, food and beverage, and donations. “For example, a Saturday summer party with clothes from Times Vintage in Greenport,” Cibulski explains. “Food prepared to the theme from local restaurants for pre-order and pick up, charities getting social support and each family sharing in the creative take on the theme and then pulling together front porch parties with neighbors and Zoom video connections throughout the North Fork. We have been doing smaller versions of these on Friday nights and it is really lots of laughs and fun preparing for and engaging in the conversations. We are connecting again with each other on a human level.”
Spend summer on the serene waterfront at 940 Ruch Lane in Southold. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the Arshamomaque Colony, known as “Lazy Days,” is full of history and offers endless opportunities to enjoy summer on the North Fork. It is listed by Cibulski for $1.175 million.
Renters from points west have been looking to trade in the monthly rentals for the entire season, while buyers are looking to quickly find a home now to make their move. In addition to the features already listed, consumers are also looking for upscale amenities, finds Town & Country licensed associate real estate broker Nicholas Planamento. Sharing how lucky those that live on the North Fork are, even with the current environment, he says the creature comforts of local restaurants and shops are still accessible.
Business owners, like Robin Mueller of Green Hill Kitchen in Greenport, personally delivers groceries the restaurant now sells. “Everyone has a different reality, but in the end, what makes the North Fork such a wonderful place – aside from its natural beauty – is the ease to local produce, game, meats and fish,” Planamento shares. “An ideal night at home is sourced from our plentiful farm stands, such as Browder’s Birds for eggs and poultry, Sep’s for the best corn and other veggies, and fresh fish from Charlie Manwaring at Southold Fish Market. To make your table ‘whole,’ be sure to pick up some fresh flowers from Pierpont’s Blossom Farm and a bottle of sparkling at Sparkling Pointe and still wines from Paumanok, McCall, and Macari – my favorite is the Bergen Road!”
In Southold, 1395 Sleepy Hollow Road is a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home on Goose Creek. Complete with room for entertaining, large deck and outdoor sitting areas, and space to accommodate the work-from-home lifestyle, Planamento’s listing is on the market for $1.795 million.
Between the Zoom calls, virtual real estate showings, and more time spent with family, the pandemic has offered much-needed time for self-reflection. In terms of summer entertaining, small gatherings at home will be particularly meaningful, as well as outdoor activities that can be enjoyed safely and at a distance. Homes within close proximity to beaches, parks, and open space will remain popular, as will those that have outdoor kitchens, pools, and plenty of space within to enjoy entertaining with others or even find solitude when needed to complete work or decompress.