A gateway to Fire Island, Sayville draws visitors to its walkable Main Street

Sayville residents Joe and Barbara Muller on Main Street, which bustles with restaurants and specialty shops. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

By Liza N. Burby
Source: Newsday

THE SCOOP In Sayville, you’re never far from the Great South Bay and a ferry ride to Fire Island communities like Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines and the Sunken Forest, says Eileen Tyznar, president of the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce. In addition, the Sayville train station is on the Montauk branch of the Long Island Rail Road. “A lot of times people use Sayville as a halfway mark from Manhattan to Montauk,” she says.

“And we even have our own winery, which we’re very proud of,” Tyznar says, referring to Loughlin Vineyard, which is on the grounds of one of the area’s original estates, Meadowcroft. It’s surrounded by San Souci Lakes Nature Preserve, a 316-acre county park with hiking trails and lily pad-filled lakes.

Ferries head to Fire Island from the Sayville Ferry Terminal in late August. Credit: James Carbone

Sayville was founded by John Edwards in 1761 when he built a house on what is the northwest corner of Foster Avenue and Edwards Street. The hamlet was known for its timber and oyster businesses, but its ongoing reputation as a summer tourist destination began when the South Side Railroad arrived in 1868. At one point there were more than 30 hotels in the area.

Dubbed the “friendliest town in America” by California State University at Fresno in 1994, Sayville has a walkable Main Street with boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops like a spice store and the 40-year-old Sayville Chocolatier. There’s also a movie theater, bowling, miniature golf and the bayfront Bathing Beach, as well as an annual August Summerfest.

All these features contribute to the fact that housing inventory moves quickly in Sayville. Tyznar says that’s partly because once people move there, they tend to stay.

Homes along Kemi Lane. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Though homes along the water can go for around $1 million, Tyznar says Sayville is still a good place to find a starter home, which go for an average $590,000, and some less than $500,000. “There are a lot of young families that start here with their first homes like a small ranch and then they move up into bigger homes,” she says.

Carine Powers, an agent with Century 21 Bays Edge Realty, adds that home styles include Colonials, Capes and high ranches, and Victorian-style homes that are 100 years old or more. “But they’ve all been renovated,” she says. “Everyone in Sayville keeps up their properties.”

A winter walk at Sayville Marina Park. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

CONDOS AND CO-OPS There is one condo on the market, priced at $382,990.

SALE PRICES Between Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2022, there were 155 home sales with a median sale price of $535,000, according to OneKey MLS. The low price for that period was $ 250,000 and the high was $1.6 million. During that period a year earlier there were 144 home sales with a median sale price of $480,000. The price range was $250,000 to $1.2 million.


Town Islip

Area 5.3 square miles

ZIP code 11782

Population 16,569

Median age 44.9

Median household income $116,005

Median home value $565,000*

Monthly LIRR ticket from Sayville $405

School districts, graduation rates, Sayville (97%), Connetquot (95%), Sachem (94%)

Parks Sayville Marina Park, Gillette Park

Libraries Sayville, Connetquot, Sachem

Hospitals South Shore University, Long Island Community Hospital

Transit Suffolk County Transit Routes 40, 57, 59

SOURCES: 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates; OneKey MLS; LIRR, data.nysed.gov *Based on 73 sales in the past six months, according to OneKey MLS