A sleepy town near NYC might become the next summer hotspot, thanks to 1 man

howie guja

Courtesy Howie Guja

Howie Guja's Instagram is turning people on to Bellport.

Forget the Hamptons, if Howie Guja, photographer and real estate agent, keeps doing what he's doing, Bellport, NY, will be the next hot vacation destination.

Guja grew up in Babylon Village in Suffolk County - only about a 30 minute drive away from Bellport. Yet he stumbled upon it almost by accident as a student at the School of Visual Arts, when his sister's friend needed a ride there.

"As soon as you turn on South Country Road, you step back in time," he said. "It's just beautiful, beautiful leafy streets, white picket fences, clapboard and shingled homes, green shutters. I said, 'I have to come back here.'"Advertisement

He did come back, and has lived in Bellport with his family since 2006.

His photos of the idyllic surroundings have earned him over 21,000 followers on Instagram, which draws visitors from around the world, some of whom even turn into residents themselves.

Some locals worry that Guja's Instagram will make Bellport too popular. One couple that he showed around town after they reached out through Instagram made an offer on a house on the spot.
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He has since sold 10 homes - a large number considering Bellport is only two square miles.

The village may be small, but it continues to attract big names in fashion, art, and culture. Past residents include Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, designer Isaac Mizrahi, and First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Designer Francisco Costa, actress Isabella Rossellini, and art dealer Angela Westwater currently call it home.Despite boasting some notable locals, Guja maintains that Bellport isn't "sceney."Advertisement

"There's no traffic, there's no waiting to get into restaurants - it's just a quiet, laid back place where people aren't really showing off or anything," he said. "It's not a seen-and-be-seen kind of place."