Shelter Island Estate Offers Parklike Acreage

Shelter Island
The equestrian estate at 44 St. Mary’s Road has been coined “Lady’s Legacy” after a mare who called it home.
Courtesy of Corcoran

A sprawling Shelter Island horse property on 8.45 acres is unlike many estates in that it can be turned into a compound of sorts, or the new owners could get creative and even run a business on the land.

The property at 44 St. Mary’s Road is on the market for $4.495 million. The asking price is a reduction from when it was listed with another agency, says listing agent Peter McCracken, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group. Timothy Burch and David Tenenbaum of Brown Harris Stevens have the co-exclusive with Corcoran.

Built in 1985, the 3,225-square-foot farmhouse-style home has three bedrooms and four bathrooms.

A nearby two-story building has a loft studio guesthouse with central heat and air conditioning, a kitchenette, an office, an additional full bath and a balcony overlooking the pool.

Currently, the first floor of this auxiliary structure is being used as a one-car garage and storage area, but could easily be utilized as a two-car garage or pool house, notes McCracken.

The barn on the propertyCourtesy of Corcoran

“It’s all C of O’d,” says McCracken, referring to the building having the proper permits and certificate of occupancy from the Town of Shelter Island.

The main house has an inviting wraparound front porch, hardwood floors, and a hexagonally-shaped dining room and sunroom. The kitchen has cherrywood cabinets and blue and yellow tiled backsplash and counters. The sunroom, which has a slate floor, is off the primary suite.

“It can be used as an office or a little sitting room — whatever you like,” McCracken says.

The primary suite’s bathroom features a traditional sink and Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower.

Upstairs, two en-suite bedrooms surround a large great room.

The finished walkout lower level has a tiled floor, built-in bookcases, a full bathroom, an office and a large living area, which can be used as a playroom, with French doors that lead out to a cedar grove.

Shelter Island
An aerial view of the property with Coecles Harbor not far awayCourtesy of Corcoran

Location, Location, Location

The property, which is close to South Ferry Road, which accesses both the north and south ferries to Greenport and Sag Harbor, respectively, has a three-stall horse stable, two-story barn, and two paddocks, and an 18-by-44-foot gunite pool and brick patio.

“It’s very private back there,” McCracken says.

Owner Rory Vecsey, who named the estate “Lady’s Legacy,” became an owner in 1998, initially as a summer house, but eventually got tired of commuting from the city.

“I decided to move out here and built the barn. The barn was built for a mare named ‘Lady,’” says Vecsey.

Having grown up summering on Shelter Island, Vecsey was very familiar with the property and noted that the barn is located where the original house, which had been owned by a minister of a local church, had stood before its demolition.

“The next owner built the house where it is now and I expanded it and renovated it and added a pool to it, and finished off the garage as a livable space,” says Vecsey.

Though it was never used for farming, the property was situated close to a working bottle factory, notes Vecsey.

“Countless bottles from the 1800s would come up from the ground for years,” she says.

The property is very unique because it resembles an old-time estate, says Vecsey.

“It’s surrounded by neighbors and fences and woods, but it’s parklike acres, like an enchanted forest,” Vecsey says. “And yet it’s in the center of town.”

Shelter Island
Old growth trees provide privacy for pool and patio.Courtesy of Corcoran

Subdividable Land

The property is located in a C-residential zone, which means that it must keep a residence on it, notes McCracken. Annual property taxes are $11,187.

“If you decide not to keep it as a horse farm, you can really change it into almost anything that you’d want it to. You can do a yoga studio, pilates. You can do any licensed holding business there,” says McCracken, adding that it can also be subdivided into four separate two-acre lots.

A home on this sized property is a rare find on Shelter Island, says McCracken, noting that most properties on the island are between one and two acres.

“It’s a very well-maintained, beautiful property, great location,” he says. “It’s very rare that you have the horse barn there and the different paddocks. It’s just a great property; very unique to Shelter Island.”

Shelter Island
A hexagonally shaped sunroom adjoins the primary suite.Courtesy of Corcoran

Currently, there are very few homes on the market on Shelter Island.

“Our inventory is at an extremely all-time low,” McCracken says. “To get a house with a pool, guest house, mini farm — if that’s what you want to do with it — is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

For her part, Vecsey would be sad to see the property subdivided, but realizes that once she sells, it’s not within her control.

“It would be upsetting because the number of generations of wildlife that I’ve watched there,it’s amazing to me,” Vecsey says, noting that she’s watched deer, owls, barn swallows, hummingbirds, hawks, and mockingbirds amid the pine trees, many of which are over 400 years old.

An eye-catching hearth serves as a focal point for the living room.Courtesy of Corcoran

A Special Place

Because it is accessible only by ferry, Shelter Island is an incredibly unique place on Long Island, notes McCracken.

“Shelter Island has wonderful beaches, first-class restaurants and a sense of a real community.

The island relies on many volunteers to keep the island a small town community,” McCracken says.

The island is rich in history, much of it extant and accessible, including Chequit Inn and Rams Head Inn, notes McCracken.

“Sylvester Manor was established in 1651 as a provisioning plantation for the Barbadian sugar trade. It is still in operation as a working community farm with a farm stand during the season,” he says, adding, “They are not making any more land, which is why this specific property is unique, since it is subdividable.”

For Vecsey, Shelter Island will forever hold a special place in her heart.

“I summered on Shelter Island my entire life,” she said. “From the time I was six months old, I spent every Memorial Day weekend and summer here. It has always remained a special and unique place.”

Editor’s note: This property belongs to the editor-in-chief’s family.

This article appeared in the Jan. 19, 2024 issue of Behind The Hedges, which also is published in the Dan’s Palm Beach edition in February. Read the full digital version of the magazine online. 

The foyerCourtesy of Corcoran
The primary suiteCourtesy of Corcoran
Shelter Island
The floor border and built-ins are some of the interesting elements of the dining room.Courtesy of Corcoran
Shelter Island
The space above the garage can be used as an office or a guest suite.Courtesy of Corcoran