For some, elite country clubs like Piping Rock, the Creek Club and the Beaver Dam Winter Sports Club are “a major draw,” said Robert Alex Hulse, a salesman with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.
When Peter Van Der Mije, 37, and his wife, Heather, 36, bought a 1920s carriage house on two and a half acres for $900,000 six years ago, they felt like “odd ducklings because we didn’t have kids and weren’t in a club,” said Mr. Van Der Mije, a restaurateur. “Those were the two elements that drove the social scene.”
The couple later joined the Creek Club. “The people are really genuine,” he added. “It’s not competitive or Stepford-esque.” And their two children enjoy the club’s beach.
Like many of their Manhattan friends, Mr. Van Der Mije’s twin sister, Alexis McAndrew, and her husband, Timothy, 39, initially considered Locust Valley a summer and weekend destination. The McAndrews joined Piping Rock, enjoying dinners, paddle ball, squash, tennis and golf. After four summers renting, in July 2014 they paid $1.05 million for a four-bedroom, three-bath colonial on two acres with a pool and a pool house down the road from her brother. Last May, two months before the birth of the McAndrews’ second son, they made Locust Valley their full-time home.
“There is a sweetness to it,” said Ms. McAndrew, an agent for Daniel Gale, noting that $1 million buys more in Locust Valley than it does in Darien or Greenwich, Conn. “In the summer, it is definitely an alternative to the Hamptons.”
What You’ll Find
Thirty miles from Midtown, Locust Valley is on a lightly traveled stretch of north Nassau County known, because of its gilded past, as the Gold Coast. East of Glen Cove, north of the Brookvilles, south of Bayville and west of the hamlet of Oyster Bay, Locust Valley has 1,300 single-family homes.
Its hub, near the intersection of Forest Avenue and Birch Hill and Buckram Roads, is split by the Long Island Rail Road. Old-fashioned hanging signs identify shops like the Locust Valley Chemists, a pharmacy and gift shop. The Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club attracts 200 children a day to its gymnasiums, art classes, homework help and playing fields. The stately yellow firehouse has balustrades, a cupola and black shutters on the windows. Behind the library are four tennis courts.
With copper beeches, magnolia trees, azaleas and rhododendron, the Locust Valley Cemetery resembles a strolling garden. Designed by the Olmsted brothers, it is documented in the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens.
What You’ll Pay
Inventory is down; prices are up, said Margaret Mateyaschuk, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. In ZIP code 11560 — which includes the residential villages of Lattingtown, Matinecock, Upper Brookville and Mill Neck — there were 56 homes on the market as of March 21, down 6.7 percent from the 65 homes listed a year ago, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. The average selling price is $1.26 million, up from $1.16 million a year ago. And homes are selling quicker, taking an average of 129 days, rather than 150 days a year ago.
Entry-level homes run $500,000 to $800,000, said Regina Rogers, a saleswoman with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, with an occasional cottage listed in the $400,000s. Tear-downs on two acres cost $1 million; houses in move-in condition approach $2 million. Estates of more than five acres in Lattingtown, Matinecock, Upper Brookville and Mill Neck start at $2.5 million; eight- to 10-acre estates list at over $5 million.
Ten homes are for rent. Seasonal rentals command a premium, Ms. Rogers said. The priciest, a four-bedroom, four-bathroom Lattingtown beach house, is $45,000 from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Rob Caldwell, 41, called Locust Valley “utterly charming” and a “friendly, inviting” community. He has lunch with friends on Saturdays at the Buckram Stables Cafe; the Brass Rail and Barney’s are coveted dinner spots. A year ago, Mr. Caldwell moved into a $2,850-a-month three-bedroom, two-bath early 19th-century farmhouse with a barn that he has converted into a seasonal living room, dining area and bar. An avid equestrian, Mr. Caldwell, vice president for communications at Badgley Mischka, rides in the area. “The town’s ties to, and history within, the horse world suit me perfectly,” he said.
Besides restaurants, Locust Valley is known for clothing boutiques, antiques shops and interior design showrooms. During the Art Walk on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, patriotic artwork by local schoolchildren hangs in store windows, said Carol Cotton, vice president of the local Chamber of Commerce. Horse-drawn carriage rides are a pre-Christmas tradition.
The 2,197 students in the Locust Valley Central School District come from Locust Valley, Bayville, Lattingtown, Matinecock, the Brookvilles, Muttontown and Mill Neck. Kindergartners and first- and second-graders attend one of two primary schools. Third- through fifth-graders attend one of two intermediate schools.
Sixth, seventh and eighth grade is at Locust Valley Middle School. Locust Valley High School has 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rates. It has offered an international baccalaureate diploma program since 2004.
Mean SAT scores for 2016 were 516 in critical reading, 534 in mathematics and 502 in writing, versus 489, 501 and 477 statewide.
Two private college preparatory schools run from early childhood through 12th grade. High school tuition at the Portledge School is $32,400 a year; the Friends Academy costs $34,100 a year.
Rush-hour L.I.R.R. trains between Locust Valley and Penn Station take an hour and six minutes to an hour and 10 minutes. Monthly tickets are $297.
Previously known as Buckram for a coarse fabric produced at local mills, the name was changed in 1856 to Locust Valley, reflecting the numerous locust trees along its back roads.
By 1869, rail service reached Locust Valley. In the late 19th century, wealthy industrialists started building baronial weekend and summer mansions and estates.