Lay of the land: Driving through Dix Hills, you’ll find Colonials and ranches widely spaced apart, set back from the street, and surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns. Here, bond traders live next door to working farmers. “I live on what was a horse farm. Before that it was a potato farm. And I’m zoned for horses!” says Alissa Sue Taff. Houses in Dix Hills are built on one-acre lots, considered large for Long Island, where the average is a quarter acre. Ivy Palmer and her husband did the reverse commute for a while, working on Long Island and living on East 57th Street. But after walling off part of their living room to create space for their daughter, they wised up and moved to the Island. “We had a 950-square-foot apartment in the city,” Palmer says. “Now we have a beautiful four-bedroom home on one acre with a basement and a backyard.”
Meet the neighbors: Dix Hills attracts families of various cultures and religions—you’ll find Buddhist temples just minutes from Korean Methodist churches. For some families, the diversity of the town is its most appealing quality. “Dix Hills has something for everyone,” says resident Patricia Giambalvo. But for most, it comes down to space: “Open space, greenery, and peace and quiet are a major part of the draw,” says Sheila Saks, of House Beautiful, the local civic association. The close proximity to the Sound is another big sell. “Many families dock their boats in Huntington Harbor,” says one neighbor.
Needful things: Because the town is zoned for agriculture, there are no retail stores in Dix Hills, except for a few garden nurseries. “We’ve come together to keep the area residential. That’s always been our goal. If you want to have a supermarket or a 7-Eleven, you don’t move here,” says Saks. Residents drive to neighboring Melville, Huntington, and Farmingdale for shopping and dining. “We don’t have a downtown area where people can congregate, so we tend to congregate through our schools,” says Taff, who is the school-board president for the Half Hollow Hills Central School District. “That’s what draws us together more than anything.”
School report: “I can’t say enough about the school district,” says Giambalvo, the mother of a recent graduate and a current junior in the school system. “They’re very open to parent participation.” The average SAT score for an HHH student is 1092; 84 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges. The school district spends approximately $13,000 per student annually.
Commute: Dix Hills is 36 miles from midtown Manhattan. The train from Huntington Station (a twenty-minute drive from Dix Hills) to Penn Station takes a little over an hour.
Recommended realtors: Cheryl Grossman, Re/Max Northshore (631-493-0542); Cynthia Leimsider, Coldwell Banker Sammis—Dix Hills (631-673-4444); Barbara Bianchini, Prudential Long Island Realty (631-427-9191).
See also: Dix Hills Web Guide