|Sag Harbor is often called the “Un-Hamptons.”–-via Wikipedia|
Take a quick ferry ride from Shelter Island or drive slightly west from Bridgehampton, and you’ll discover a whaling port from the past with a charming main street, calming bay waters, and little to no pretense. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sag Harbor was established in the early 1700s and will undoubtedly turn back the clock, yet the tiny village can offer plenty to present-day visitors.
Though the Long Island hamlet is located in the towns of East Hampton and Southampton, Sag Harbor has often been labeled the “Un-Hamptons.” Providing a more laid-back attitude with much less of a summer “scene” than its neighboring towns on the East End, Sag Harbor has a way of draining the stress from your body and signaling relaxation the moment you park the car.
|Michael and I relaxing in Sag Harbor last summer|
Known as a writers’ haven more than a tanners’ paradise, Sag Harbor is where you’ll find plenty of playwrights, actors, novelists, and of course, the New York City weekend crowd minus their pumps and circumstance. Taking only a few minutes to wander up and down the main drag is all anyone needs to fall in love with this beachside town. Colorful, trendy boutiques neighbor retro stores and classic antique shops, while diverse age groups peruse and mingle. (You’re likely to see Baby Boomers rubbing elbows with Millennials.) Modern-day Sag Harbor has a little bit of something for everyone, boosting its reputation to become finer than it’s always been.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Sag Harbor several times the past few summers, and recently just weeks ago. I find that the village feels like a summer vacation spot without trying too hard to be one; this is part of the attraction for me, and I suppose it is for others, too. Many of the village streets are crawling with history – some cottages date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Historical Sag Harbor suggests an appealing coastal lifestyle where one could reside full time rather than summers only. But, with all this relaxed grandeur comes a hefty price tag.
Despite the quaintness and peacefulness of this small town with a population of less than 2,500, Sag Harbor real estate has become unaffordable for the average beachgoer. According to city-data.com, the estimated median house or condo value in 2009 was $798,510, quite a hefty jump from $315,400 in 2000. Though values have dipped a small percentage after the recession – the current median sales price is $747,500 according to Trulia.com – there are few bargains to be found in this popular summer destination.
|Sailboats in Sag Harbor–-credit|
I question if Sag Harbor can maintain its small-town feel in the future. Can this “Un-Hamptons” attraction stay out of the spotlight? Or, will home prices escalate to compete with neighboring towns like Bridgehampton and East Hampton? Only time will tell. Since I’m more of a laid-back gal when I leave Manhattan, I’ll skip those other Hamptons villages on the South Fork. And, when I’m not hanging on the North Fork taking in those gorgeous sunsets on the Long Island Sound – my seasonal landing place – I’ll choose Sag Harbor any day.
|The Sag Harbor Farmer’s Market–credit|