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John Steinbeck’s Sag Harbour Home For Sale

For the first time in 60 years, the Sag Harbour oceanfront cottage and octagonal writing retreat where John Steinbeck wrote The Winter of Our Discontent and Travels With Charley are for sale, priced at $16.75 million. It was Steinbeck’s self-described “Eden,” his home from 1955 until he died in 1968.

One of America’s most important writers with both a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize, Steinbeck’s classic works include the novella Of Mice and Men (his dog chewed up the original manuscript) and the novels Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. John spent most of his early life in Southern California where he worked odd jobs, including farmworker, handyman, and tour guide before his success as a writer in his early 30s. Many of his best works were inspired by the people of California and from the trips he took across the United States.

Although California was his home state where there is a National Steinbeck Centre Museum and his Salinas boyhood home has been restored and open to the public, Steinbeck moved to New York in 1941, switching between New York City and Long Island’s Sag Harbour. At first a vacation and weekend getaway, in 1955, Steinbeck bought a Sag Harbour waterfront cottage, the place he called “my little fishing place”, where he stayed for most of the rest of his life. With almost two acres and views over Morris Cove and Upper Sag Harbour Cove, Steinbeck built a writing hut where he could work with no distractions and water views over Morris Cove and Upper Sag Harbour. The writing hut is still intact and carefully preserved much as it was when Steinbeck left with his dog in 1960 to begin his 10,000-mile road trip that became Travels with Charley.  Steinbeck took a huge interest in Sag Harbour, helping to start the town’s annual whaling festival and the landmark Beebe Windmill construction, where the Sag Harbour Chamber of Commerce is now located. In 2019, Sag Harbour dedicated a town park in his name.

Steinbeck’s beloved cottage and writing hut are located on 586 feet of waterfront on two sides with emerald lawn and a scattering of old-growth shade trees, the property includes a pool, which Steinbeck referred to as his “cement pond,” a guest house, and one of his favourite things: a 60-foot pier from which he enjoyed fishing.

The main cottage has two bedrooms, two baths and a large stone fireplace in the living room, which has beamed cathedral ceilings. The Steinbecks created a library loft above the living room. Throughout the cottage are many windows and French doors that let sunlight spill across the rooms. The next owner will be able to sit in the writer’s hut re-reading Steinbeck’s novels that were pencilled on a yellow pad while sitting in this very spot.

Sag Harbour and its Hamptons surrounds have long been a celebrity magnet. Richard Gere, Jimmy Buffett, Howard Stern and Paul Simon are a few of the A-listers who are happy homeowners in the Hamptons.

The listing agent is Doreen Atkins, Sotheby’s International Realty, Bridgehampton Brokerage.

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