Located near Long Island’s eastern end, Shelter Island is a small, charming community that prides itself on being a secluded, remote haven, far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Being a purposefully quiet town, it deliberately lacks some of the amenities most people expect, such as movie theatres and nightclubs, and you most likely won’t find any large chains here. The town doesn’t even have residential mail delivery. All residents instead have post office boxes. The town prides itself on its quaint, isolated charm, which continues to attract families every year.
Shelter Island has a long history and was, in fact, included in the land grant drawn up by England’s King James I for the Plymouth Company in 1620. After a long period of being contested by the British and the Dutch, the British finally won out and began to occupy the town. In 1871, the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Church opened it as a summer resort. Meetings occurred on Shelter Island for a number of years, before moving elsewhere. During this time period, however, Robert Morris Copeland oversaw the development of the island, building houses in American styles such as Colonial Revival and Queen Anne. In 1875, he constructed the Union Chapel, which still stands today and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, as has Shelter Island Heights.
Shelter Island also houses wide tracts of wetlands that are protected by the United States government as a nature preserve. Almost a full third of Shelter Island is actually The Nature Conservancy’s property and is perpetually kept in its original state. People can visit, via various trails, one of which is a “Braille trail” for the blind and visually impaired.
Although it is small, Shelter Island offers visitors and tourists a variety of places to stay. Some local bed and breakfasts include Azalea House, Beach House, Beech Tree House, Belle Crest House, and Candle Lite Inn and Guest House. Meanwhile, the town also has some more traditional hotels, such as the Chequit Inn, the Sunset Beach Hotel, Ram’s Head Inn, Shelter Island Hideaway, Dering Harbor Inn, and Pridwin Resort Hotel.
Area restaurants, many of which capitalize on the fresh fish and seafood available on the island, include the Dockside Café, Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant and Bar, Café 27, Stars, Two Ed’s Seafood Restaurant, John’s Grill, Commander Cody’s Fish Shoppe, Luna, Salty Dog, Hungry Goat, Vine Street Café, and Planet Bliss. And while the town does lack large chain stores, one can find a number of small, quirky stores like Dworkin & Daughter Antiques, Fallen Angel Antiques, Cornucopia, Jack’s Marine, which specializes in marine toys and hardware, and Wish Rock Studio, which not only features custom framing and fine art, painting, glass, and sculpture, but also sells bestselling books.
Besides Wish Rock, Shelter Island also has an assortment of art galleries, such as Shelter Island Pottery, Mike Zisser Studio, Hap’s Ironworks, and the Peggy Mach Gallery.
Transportation includes the North Ferry, the South Ferry, the Cross-Sound Ferry, North Fork Express, the Hampton Jitney, and the LIRR.
For more information: http://www.shelterisland.org