John Steinbeck’s ‘Little Fishing Place’ in Sag Harbor Is on the Market

John Steinbeck’s ‘Little Fishing Place’ in Sag Harbor Is on the Market

John Steinbeck's longtime home in Sag Harbor, New York, a cozy cottage on a quiet bay where he spent his summers writing and fishing, is on the market for the first time in more than six decades.

The celebrated writer, whose works include "Of Mice and Men" and "Grapes of Wrath," for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, bought the house off Sag Harbor Bay in 1955 with his third wife, Elaine Anderson Steinbeck, a former Actress and Broadway Stage Manager. He split his time between this Hamptons residence and her Upper East Side apartment until his death in 1968.

Steinbeck called the house in Sag Harbor in his book "Travels with Charley" as "my little fishing spot", in which he recorded his cross-country road trip with his beloved dog. And it was at home where he began that 10,000-mile journey in 1960 and where he wrote his last novel, "The Winter of Our Discontent," set in a fictional coastal town similar to Sag Harbor.

Recognition…Bettmann via Getty Images

The 1.8 hectare property, around 2 km from the village center, is being sold through a trust founded by Ms. Steinbeck before her death in 2003. Over the years, John Steinbeck and Elaine Steinbeck's families have fought litigation and feuds over rights to his works and, at times, ownership of the Sag Harbor home.

The price for the house is $ 17.9 million, according to stockbroker Doreen L. Atkins of Sotheby & # 39; s International Realty. Annual property taxes for Sag Harbor and Southampton, where the village is located, total $ 32,295.

The single story clapboard cottage is located near the water's edge on a grassy peninsula between Morris and Upper Sag Harbor Coves. The house is surrounded by oak, walnut and cherry trees and has a freeform pool that family members refer to as a "cement pond" halfway through the property. There are also two other buildings near the water: Steinbeck's 100 square meter, hexagonal “writing house”, which he affectionately named Joyous Guard after Sir Lancelot's castle; and a 120 square meter guest house known as the "Cozy Cabin" with two single beds, a bathroom and an outdoor shower. There is a two car garage with a rear shed and a 60 foot pier.

Mrs. Atkins called the house "special and rare".

"You don't usually get a pier or water," she said, also noting that the property was "private and protected", in large part because of its slope. “It has historical value because Steinbeck owned it. He was present in the village. "

Steinbeck was often spotted around Sag Harbor in his fisherman's hat and rubber boots, visiting places like Cove Delicatessen on Main Street, and socializing with his fishing friends. He was also seen on his 22-foot cabin boat, the Fayre Eleyne, which was named after his wife.

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Two summers ago the village honored its famous resident with the opening of the 1.25 acre John Steinbeck Waterfront Park.

Clark Covert, one of Mrs. Steinbeck's nephews and trustee of her estate, has fond memories of the summers he spent at home as a child. "Elaine invited each of us to spend a week or two with her – a week in town and a week out and about in Sag Harbor," said Covert, who runs a financial services company in Austin, Texas. "It was a different world for us."

He and his older brother, he said, particularly enjoyed swimming in the pool, looking for clams and crabs on their little beach, and playing croquet with their aunt on the lawn. Mr. Covert and other family members continued to use the property over the years, often helping to maintain it. "I went upstairs every spring to open it and every fall and closed it," he said.

But in recent years, he said, the house has been less used by his family. "With the death of Aunt Elaine and mother, we lost the most important reasons for all of us to go there," he said.

The main building, painted dark gray, is behind a long gravel road. A sign next to the front door reads “Eden”. The house measures 1,220 square feet and contains two bedrooms and two full baths, plus what Steinbeck calls a library loft.

The house is entered through a small foyer with a skylight that leads to a living room with high ceilings with wood paneling, exposed wooden beams, and a large fieldstone fireplace that features a painting of Steinbeck's standard poodle Charley on the mantelpiece. Custom-made bookcases are filled with some of Steinbeck's favorite books, who won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The living room has a dining area with French doors that lead to an outside terrace. Behind the living room is a conservatory and kitchen with countertops and a zinc-clad center island. A spiral staircase in the living room connects to the loft with a window, which has additional bookshelves and two day beds.

Off the living room is a guest room. The master en-suite bedroom is at the end of a long hallway that features various photos of Steinbeck, his family and friends. The suite has sliding glass doors that open outwards. There is also a second bathroom off the hall.

There are oak floors throughout the house and several oversized windows that let in lots of light and offer breathtaking views of the picturesque surroundings.

"It's a little house," said Ms. Atkins. "And it has that quaint feeling."


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