Tavern Island in Norwalk Harbor with views of Rowayton and Darien

Tavern Island is For Sale for about $11 million.

I remember my first time on this island, about 19 years ago, a tour hosted by friend and island caretaker Geoff Farris. Carefully maintained, beautiful and private, Tavern Island has all the creature comforts that other island lack because it is connected to the mainland for water and electricity. Nearby L’Hammock Island makes its electricity from solar panels and collects its water from the roof.

Tavern’s most recent owner is Albert Zesiger of Zesiger Capital. He purchased Tavern Island in 1982 for $950,000.

I remember seeing a 70 year old Mr. Zesiger swim around his 4 acre island just to keep in shape. Mr. Zeziger had the foresight to purchase a waterfront property in Rowayton and build a terrific stone and steel dock and a garage for his cars. He has two steel boats that can transport he and his guests to the island in any weather and which have no trouble breaking through the occasional ice.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s Tavern Island was a summer camp.

From 1957 until his death in 1966 Tavern Island was owned by Hollywood and Broadway maverick Billy Rose of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” fame. Billy would hoist a flag with a rose on it signifying that the party had started and all of the stars came out from New York City to join him there. There are rumors of Barbara Streisand, Maureen O’Sullivan and Marilyn Monroe partying on Tavern Island.

Writer Lillian Hellman rented the caretaker’s cottage and it is there that Hellman is said to have completed The Little Foxes in the late 1930s.

Olivia illustration


Tavern Island was home to author, illustrator and set designer Ian Falconer as a boy, traveling by boat to school. One can imagine how his adventurous island childhood may have impacted the creation of his famed illustrated character Olivia, from the children’s book series.

What does $11 million buy?

    • A 1900 Tudor home with 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, 2 offices, an exercise room and steam room.
    • A 2-bedroom, 2-bath guest cottage
    • A boat house with a large game room, bedroom and bath
    • A tea house with stunning nighttime views of the New York City lights.
    • Two boats and a half-acre property with a dock and parking lot
Ian Falconer
  • A 75-foot pool that overlooks one of four private beaches

If you have any interest in seeing Tavern Island, give me a call. I have a boat nearby and am always looking for an excuse to use it.

(Tavern Island is currently listed by Rick Higgins of the Higgins Group and Rick can be reached at 203-254-9000)