Shelter Island, NY

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

Project Type

Conservation

Acreage

105.0

Things to do

Hiking, Birdwatching, Photography, Nature Study, Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room

Access

Public

Address
80 N Ferry Rd, Shelter Island, NY 11964

About

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, located on Shelter Island, today is a multi-faceted educational, agricultural, natural and historic treasure.

In the mid-2000s, the Trust began working with the property's owner, Eben Fiske Ostby and his nephew, Bennett Konesni, to develop a conservation plan for the historic 240-acre property, which had been in continuous ownership by the family since 1652. Mr. Ostby and Mr. Konesni co-founded the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.

In December 2009, Mr. Ostby donated a perpetual easement on 22 acres along Gardiners Creek to Peconic Land Trust; and in August 2012, Mr. Ostby donated 26 acres of farmland to the recently created non-profit, the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, allowing the nonprofit to sell the associated development rights to the County and Town, with additional funding from the Federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program.

In November 2012, Mr. Ostby donated to the non-profit a further 57+- acres along the eastern boundary of Sylvester Manor on Manhanset Road, from which Suffolk County and the Town of Shelter Island purchased the development rights. The purchase was funded with dedicated land protection funds: 70 percent by the County from its quarter percent Bonded Drinking Water Protection Farmland Preservation Program and 30% by the Town from its Community Preservation Fund, a 2% tax on real estate transactions. The development rights sale increased the permanently protected land at the Manor to more than 105 acres.

In 2014, Mr. Ostby donated the circa 1735 manor house, its grounds and barns, the 1810 windmill, farm fields, woodlands, wetlands and shorefront—a total of about 142 acres—to Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. This is in addition to the 83.5 acres previously donated to the educational farm in 2012. The family retains an 11+- acre parcel along Gardiners Creek.

Sites

“I am thrilled that we were able to partner with all levels of government to protect this historic farmland. This is truly an enormous step in the preservation of Sylvester Manor and a major part of Shelter Island, and I thank everyone who worked to make it happen.”

Eben Fiske Ostby, Sylvester Manor owner and 10th-generation proprietor.

Sylvester Manor History

Sylvester Manor was established in 1652 on fertile land at the head of a protected harbor on Shelter Island, and it is one of the few places in America to have been in the hands of the same family since its colonial origins. Before that time, Native Americans of the Manhanset Tribe used the land for fishing, hunting and small-scale crop production. Sylvester Manor served as a residence for one of America’s first food industrialists (and an inventor of baking powder), Eben Norton Horsford, as well as functioning as a farm for the past two centuries, serving regional markets.

Sylvester Manor’s role as an East End history and education center is well founded. In addition to being a working farm, the property is an important early American archaeological site complemented by over 20,000 primary documents — family papers, books and letters, archived at New York University’s Fales Library and remaining in the Manor house collection. The University of Massachusetts in Boston has held an archaeological field school on the property intermittently since 1998 and continues to excavate new sites and research the artifacts found.

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is working to re-establish agriculture on Shelter Island in a sustainable way. Long a part of the Island’s heritage, active farming died out on Shelter Island in the 1980s, a demise attributed to residential development and an overpopulation of deer. The preservation of Manor land under the County’s farmland program will guarantee that all activities on the preserved land are agricultural in nature.

Visitor Information

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is a 240-acre historic plantation and nonprofit educational farm on Shelter Island, NY, engaging all ages in farm-based and cultural programs.

The grounds and trails are open from dawn to dusk, April through October.

To learn more about visiting hours, including tours of the Manor house, and its farmstand dates and hours, check out their website www.sylvestermanor.org

Get Directions

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

Get Directions

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

80 N Ferry Rd, Shelter Island, NY 11964

Things To Do

Hiking
Hiking
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Photography
Photography
Nature Study
Nature Study
Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room
Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room

Get Involved

Community Supported Agricuture (CSA) as Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

Interested in Sylvester Manor's Community Supported Agriculture share program? Visit them online:

https://www.sylvestermanor.org...