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Sea Cliff, N.Y.: A Close-Knit, Walkable Village

Sea Cliff also confounded the expectations of Moses Nadel, 41, who thought Long Island was too “flashy” after he visited Syosset, where his wife, Lara, 40, grew up. But after years in an alcove studio in a Greenwich Village co-op — which seemed much smaller after 2016, when their son was born — the family was ready to trade up.

Years of hunting in Westchester and Brooklyn yielded little. And not just any community would do. As Mr. Nadel put it, “I’ve lived in a lot of epicenters of interestingness” — including Santa Fe, N.M., Portland, Ore., and Hudson, N.Y., where the couple met. Today, they own a design company that makes ottomans, handbags and jewelry.

Artsy and laid-back like Mr. Nadel’s previous addresses, Sea Cliff was instantly appealing. Earlier this year, for $700,000, the Nadels bought a contemporary house there with a lighthouse-like turret attached to a 19th-century cottage, which offers plenty of living space and room for their business, to boot.

“It’s a magical little town,” he said.

Part of the town of Oyster Bay, Sea Cliff, with about 5,000 people, occupies a 120-foot bluff with vistas that reach past bobbing boats across the Long Island Sound to Westchester.

Credit...Stefano Ukmar for The New York Times

For about two centuries, the Carpenter family farmed and logged the bluff, until the Metropolitan Camp-Ground Association, a New York-based Methodist group, decided to make a spiritually themed summer getaway of the scenic place. In 1871, the association paid $70,000 for a 240-acre parcel west of Main Avenue, today known as the Flats. Then, according to historical accounts, it spent $200,000 to construct roads and a pier.

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