GREAT SOUTH BAY - They are saltwater shacks that sit on the marshlands of the Great South Bay. Known as the Bay Houses, the wooden, haphazard structures of long ago represent Long Islanders' need to be close to the sea.

At one time there were a few hundred small shacks that sat on the marshlands of Long Island's South Shore. Historian Nancy Solomon wrote a book about the Bay Houses and their maritime history.

At first they served as a place for fishermen, who after a day of harvesting shellfish and salt hay, would stay there overnight instead of rowing the long trip back to the mainland.

Some of the houses have been passed down from generation to generation.

The Bay Houses not only remind of Long Island's maritime heritage, they also hold a treasure trove of tales and legends.

The houses have been modernized over the years, but you still have to get there by boat.