By Grace Cassidy
When Douglas Elliman agent Andrea “Andi” Parks tells the story of how she fell in love with Long Island’s North Fork, she sounds as if she’s recapping a meet-cute rom-com.
Originally from South Africa, where she graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand, Parks had moved to New York City and worked in the consumer products industry before deciding to further her studies in Florence, Italy. Back again in NYC, where she pursued a career in retail banking, she happened to be visiting a friend in the North Fork agricultural hamlet of Cutchogue, where she went for a drive and got lost.
“There was no Google Maps then, and mobile phones were as tall and heavy as railroad sleepers, so I was really lost,” Parks said.
Having lived in NYC for 10 years by this point, she knew how unusual it was to march right up to a nearby home and ask the owner if she could use the phone. As it turned out, she needn’t have worried.
“They invited me in for lemonade on their deck overlooking the bay,” she recalled. “I was instantly smitten.”
Seeing a “For Sale by Owner” sign out front, Parks actually considered buying it then and there. But with her first child on the way and a just-purchased apartment back in the city, she decided against it.
Happily, another chance came along seven years later, when Parks made a return visit to Cutchogue. Although she got lost again, she managed to find the house—this time, with a realtor’s sign out front. Three hours later, she signed a contract.
“Today, I remain blissfully happy in that house, my Shangri-La,” Parks said.
Over her nearly two decades of living on the North Fork, Parks has been a volunteer firefighter and EMT, served as the Executive Director of the North Fork Promotion Council and worked in the wine industry for a decade. Becoming a real estate agent and joining Douglas Elliman in 2020 has given her the perfect way to show her hometown pride.
“I wanted to help my neighbors, friends, and colleagues realize their home ownership goals and share my love of the North Fork,” she said.
Noting that it occupies the same latitude as France’s famous Bordeaux wine region, Parks waxes rhapsodic about the “bountiful acres of vines” and the natural beauty of the land.
“The pebbly coast along the Peconic Bay and teeming birds and wildlife help make the North Fork a slice of paradise,” she said. “There is truly no place like this on the Eastern Seaboard, especially in such close proximity to New York City.”
And with low inventory and high demand with no signs of slowing down, it’s clear others have gotten wise to the wonders of the North Fork.
“We know the North Fork has now been discovered,” Parks said, noting a recent New York Times story spotlighting Cutchogue as an “Appealing Alternative” to the higher-end Hamptons. “We likely won’t see volume as fast-paced as it was during the Covid years, but the activity we’re seeing now should continue, just on a far more normalized trajectory.”
In the meantime, Parks will be ready and willing to share her North Fork love story.
“I love where I live,” she said. “I am proud to be a global, local neighbor. Selling all that the North Fork has to offer comes naturally!”