The Village of Bayville, celebrating its centennial this year, has long been reputed to be one of the rare relatively affordable residential options in the greater Town of Oyster Bay area, which features the homes of some of Long Island’s most famous and wealthiest denizens.
Visitors and locals alike adore this small North Shore village’s sweeping waterfront location and small-town charm, while also feeling like one could bump into the likes of Billy Joel or Jim Dolan at any given moment.
Also commonly known as Pine Island, Bayville is bordered by the affluent villages of Centre Island to the east, Lattingtown to the west and Mill Neck to the south, but visitors don’t need millions in the bank account to enjoy everything this tranquil village has to offer. Originally a summer colony, over the last century it has grown into one of the North Shore’s most beloved year-round communities, yet it still remains a somewhat hidden gem awaiting the uninitiated.
“Bayville is one of the true hidden gems on our historic North Shore,” said Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladin. “Celebrating its centennial anniversary since incorporation, Bayville is rich in history and offers residents and visitors alike an escape with its beautiful tree-lined streets, suburban neighborhoods, booming downtown, and exquisite scenic views. I encourage visitors to take the time out not only to visit our renowned parks and beaches, such as Centre Island Beach and Stehli Beach, but also take the opportunity to frequent some classic Bayville restaurants and shops.”
In fact, Bayville is such a relaxing place, visitors may not want to do much at all here, aside from sipping a cocktail, watching the waves, and taking in a stunning sunset. But for those who do find the motivation to leave their beach chair behind, some key recommendations include:
Spending time in Bayville is all about making the most of its prime waterfront location. As far as aquatic scenery goes, visitors will be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque spot than Charles E. Ransom Beach (Bayville Ave., 516-624-6160), featuring a pristine 800-foot run of Long Island Sound beachfront that is open to both Town of Oyster Bay residents as well as nonresidents (there is a $10 parking fee for all). Swimming and dogs are not permitted, however beachgoers won’t mind once they experience the breathtaking views afforded here. On a clear day, it’s possible to see across the Sound to Connecticut. This beach is also prized as one of the best spots on LI for watching sunsets. Fishing is permitted and live concerts are held there in the summer.
Those who have their heart set on swimming can head over instead to Centre Island Beach (Bayville Ave./Centre Island Rd., 516-624-6123), which is also open to both town residents and nonresidents. Visitors love the peace and quiet there, as well as the gorgeous view, and there is a refreshment stand in the event your growling stomach disturbs the saltwater serenity. The 650-foot beach is a bit pebbly, as is common on the North Shore, so it is best to bring water shoes or Crocs to make it equally pleasant for the feet.
Another popular Bayville scenic spot is The Crescent Beach Club (333 Bayville Ave., 516-628-3000, thecrescentbeachclub.com), which is famed as a wedding and private events venue, but also offers everyday patrons a memorable experience at its seasonal restaurant Ocean (333 Bayville Ave., 516-628-3330, cometotheocean.com). It’s a premier choice for dining al fresco, and the club’s palm trees and beach bar will make patrons feel like they’re kicking back somewhere in the tropics.
In addition to all that magical Bayville scenery, the area also boasts a bounty of diverse wildlife, which can be experienced firsthand at the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge (631-286-0485, fws.gov), featuring 3,209 acres of subtidal habitats, salt marsh, and a freshwater pond. Fishing is permitted on refuge waters (a saltwater license is required) and boaters tend to converge en masse here from May through September, with as many as 3,000 boats accessing the refuge during peak weekends. And boaters aren’t the only ones who flock here. The area has the largest concentration of waterfowl on the North Shore, including greater scaup, bufflehead and black duck. Northern diamondback terrapin turtles are also a common sight here.
TASTE FOR ADVENTURE
After having a good dose of relaxation, visitors (and their kids, if they have any) might be up for a little more active entertainment. Chances are, they’ll be down for at least a handful of the many amusements offered at Bayville Adventure Park (8 Bayville Ave., 516-624-7433, bayvilleadventurepark.com). There’s pirate miniature golf, bumper boats, a bungee bounce, ropes course and maze, water balloon wars, funhouse and mirror maze, plus an arcade and much more. The park also now runs seasonal haunted houses; Halloween is obviously the biggie, but this year the park also offered a haunted Christmas space featuring that diabolical Krampus, a vampire Valentine’s Day, and a St. Patrick’s Day screamfest complete with an evil leprechaun.
THE BAR SCENE
Another classic ingredient for unwinding in Bayville is enjoying some drinks with friends, preferably near the water, and Bayville offers several well-traveled opportunities for this particular pastime. In addition to the aforementioned Ocean at The Crescent Beach Club, visitors love the waterside ambiance at The Clam Bar at Bridge Marine (40 Ludlam Ave.; 516-628-8688; bridgemarinesales.com/index.php/clam-bar), where they can enjoy great food along with drinks and spend time at one of the true local haunts. It is a seasonal establishment, so when visiting the village outside of peak months, it’s best to call ahead and make sure they’re open for business.
But for those looking to watch a game while downing a few pints, Breakers Sports Bar & Grill (12 Bayville Ave., 516-624-2337, breakerssportsbarandgrill.com) has it covered. Happy Hour happens Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and there’s a large selection of beers to choose from at all times. There’s also an extensive food menu, including 15 different styles of wings, plus appetizers, sandwiches, salads and larger entrees. Breakers offers an outside roof deck and bar for open-air enjoyment when weather permits.
Visitors may also enjoy nightlife with a bit of a nautical theme, in which case Shipwreck Tavern (10 Bayville Ave., 516-628-2628, shipwreckpub.com) will have guests feeling like a rum-soaked first mate in short order. The bar and restaurant feature multiple aquariums as a key part of the décor, containing sharks, moray eels, grouper and other exotic saltwater fish. There’s one massive tank that runs nearly the entire length of the bar, for a mesmerizing view as patrons imbibe. There’s also outdoor dining and a tropical tiki bar, furnished with a large collection of tiki masks and totems hailing from the South Seas.
And finally, for those looking for a can’t-miss nightspot where the food is as delectable as the drinks, Mill Creek Tavern (275 Bayville Ave., Unit A, 516-628-2000, millcreekny.com) should be high on the hit list. The drink offerings include wine, local microbrews and handcrafted cocktails, served up in a cozy, neighborhood setting. It’s the kind of beloved haunt that makes visitors realize that once they’re in Bayville, it’s really hard to ever want to leave.
WHERE TO DINE
Brigitte’s Bayville Luncheonette/The Bridge Cafe
265 Bayville Ave.; 516-624-7070
Clam Bar at Bridge Marine
40 Ludlam Ave.; 516-628-8688; bridgemarinesales.com/index.php/clam-bar
The Crescent Beach Club
333 Bayville Ave., 516-628-3000, thecrescentbeachclub.com
Mill Creek Tavern
275 Bayville Ave., Unit A, 516-628-2000, millcreekny.com
333 Bayville Ave., 516-628-3330, cometotheocean.com
Piccolo Cantina Bay
18 Bayville Ave., Unit A, 516-802-3001
16 Bayville Ave., Unit B, 516-628-2260, ralphspizza.com
14 Bayville Ave., 516-628-1313, bayvillesouvlaki.com
Twin Harbors Restaurant
341 Bayville Ave., 516-628-1700