Mark, I know that you can easily find yourself a lovely home on Long Island, and soon grow to love it.
I wouldn't exactly call Babylon a quick commute. However, there are many people who commute to Manhattan who like being on the Port Washington line (the beginning of the line that stops in Great Neck). There are definitely areas of Port that are not that stuffy, and it does have a main street area with loads of restaurants, and the schools are very good. There are also many lovely homes in your price range in Manhasset, which is also a stop on the Port line. Any of the areas on the north shore are what you make of it as far as stuffiness goes. I have lived on the north shore my entire life, and I have always found the people who are not the snooty, stuffy ones that you sometimes hear about. We are not the women who are going to be in The Housewives of the Gold Coast. Sea Cliff is a little more artsy, but definitely not as good a commute, although $1.5 million would buy you one of the nicest houses I would say.
If you would like to be pre-qualified for a mortgage to buy here, and get more of your questions about the area answered, please give me a call.
Senior Loan Officer