The secret New York island you need to buy into

Most New Yorkers have never heard of Fishers Island, the under-the-radar 9-mile-long islet wedged between Connecticut’s shore and the North Fork of Long Island.

And most locals on the unspoiled island have typically liked it that way, preferring instead to keep its bucolic charm and empty beaches to themselves.

The remote community is home to a mere 250 year-round residents. The only ferry serving Fishers Island operates out of New London, Conn., nearly a three hour’s drive or Amtrak train ride from Manhattan.

Longtime Fishers resident Heather Burnham outside her gift shop, the Beach Plum, one of the island’s few retail spots.Peter M Weber/

But New Yorkers looking to escape the swelling crowds and rising home prices in places like the Hamptons or Jersey Shore this summer, may find Fishers Island’s relaxed, laidback vibe the perfect alternative.

With all the charm of Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, Fishers Island offers a rich history, scant traffic and generally gentler home prices compared to other moneyed summer locations. And after years of an extremely low inventory of homes for sale, the beachy enclave is seeing more properties hit the market.

“It’s a fairly tight-knit community with an authentic small town feel in summer,” says Jim Reid, a real estate agent at Mystic Isle Realty who has been selling and renting homes on the island for decades. Raised in Manhattan, his parents started coming to Fishers Island in the 1950s. His father eventually moved for good from the city in the mid 1970s and started the real estate firm that Reid runs today.

Though the island’s notoriously scant housing supply has always been challenging for second-home shoppers — there are only about 650 homes in total — it has about 25 homes currently on the market, listing data show. That’s a third more than last summer, as sellers keen to offload properties are bringing them to market.

Jim Reid of Mystic Isle Realty both lives — and sells…

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