Of all the Hamptons hamlets that have experienced zooming prices over the past 20 or so years, perhaps none has gained more than Sag Harbor. That’s Sag Harbor Village, to be precise, as much of neighboring Noyac, which is not quite so expensive, as well as uber-pricey North Haven, where current and past owners include Richard Gere, Jimmy Buffett, Christie Brinkley, and Julie Andrews, both have Sag Harbor zip codes but aren’t what locals typically think of when referring to the town.
Sag Harbor was once considered the ugly stepchild of the Hamptons. Unlike the rest of the Hamptons, which historically have been farming or fishing communities, Sag Harbor was an industrial powerhouse. Because it offers a protected deep water harbor, the town became a very active port, and by 1789, Sag Harbor had more tons of square-rigged ships engaged in commerce than even New York. Indeed, that same year, the second Congress declared the town the first official port upon entering the United States.
Whaling was the most important activity associated with Sag Harbor, but as a wealthy industrial town, other commercial activities took place as well. Some far-sighted whaling boat owners and captains built a cotton mill in 1836 and as whales became scarce, whale boats transported cotton instead. Later, Joseph Fahys built a watch case factory in Sag Harbor. The factory lay derelict for decades, but now houses high-end condominiums.
In the past decade, well-heeled buyers have rediscovered the charming port village, real estate prices have skyrocketed, and the harbor is now filled with enormous yachts rather than whale ships. This village property is a great example of the area’s rising prices. In 1997, it sold for $200,000; twenty-five years and a new house later, the asking price is $20 million, ten times as much. This would represent a new record for the village if it sells close to asking price. The two-acre property is repped by Susan Breitenbach at Corcoran.
A number of news outlets commented last week about a heated bidding war for a North Haven estate that was asking $17 million. While nice enough and on the water, that house feels a bit dated and McMansion-y. Plus, it does not offer a sandy beach. This property, while slightly smaller, does offer direct access to a sandy crescent beach on Sag Harbor Bay, and, arguably, a more appealing house. Owned by Stephen Siegal, a New York-based real estate mogul who makes his primary home a Park Avenue townhouse, there’s an 8,000-square-foot classic shingled residence with 200 feet of waterfront.
Set behind gates and totally private, the estate’s outdoor highlights include a swim dock, a huge covered entertaining pavilion with full kitchen, bar, and outdoor stone fireplace, a 50-foot pool, and a cabana bath. There’s also a meditation garden, a bocce court, and, unusually, a croquet field.
Indoors, there are spacious rooms for entertaining and low-key relaxing, including living and dining rooms with great views, a large kitchen for whipping up holiday dinners and weekend buffets, and several inviting covered porches. The home’s eight bedrooms, seven full baths, and two half-baths include two master suites that each have private decks overlooking the harbor. Everything is done in a simple, understated coastal style, nothing glitzy or overdone, despite the multimillionaires-only price.
Not enough space? Croquet field rained out or frozen over? Fortunately, the finished basement presents a cornucopia of country club-style indoor pursuits: wine tasting room with special air filtration for cigar smokers; home theater; billiards room; gym with steam room, sauna, and spa shower.
No matter the weather, or the season, there’s always something to do here. Provided, of course, that you can pay the $20 million entry fee!