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Was wondering about good value spots for a vacation home. Not talking Hamptons, been talked to death. I'm talking about somewhere where you can get some land and a small house for a few hundred thousand. Somewhere a little "away" but not that hard to get to, with some sort of town nearby. Train access is nice, but driving is doable. Near water is nice, but not critical. I guess we're really talking a step or two up from "cabin in the woods".
I've been checking out...
East side of hudson (Red Hook, Rhinebeck) - close to more frequent trains
West side of hudon (Saugerties, etc) - a little more rural, dollars go further
Classic catskills (past Monticello)
What about popping in down the jersey shore but just off... something like a Tom's River.
Anything else I should be looking at?
How about Berkshires, Poconos, or somewhere picturesque in CT?
Ive been thru this excercise a few times, studying maps, looking lake areas upstate, Vermont, Pennsylvania, any affordable sandy ocean beachfront, etc.
My dad's advice (after owning a few boats and 2nd houses in the poconos,florida,etc) always prevailed. "If you go on vacation, rent, don't ever buy. No matter how many times you use it or whatever value it increases, it doesn't cover what you truly spend vs the cost and the freedom to rent or hotel."
But I do still look. Cannot believe how expensive (it is stunning) Lake George is. (and far)
Now of course there was some bad luck with trying to rent out 2nd houses and follow up may not have been the best. But that's what happens.
SWE: I really recommend east side of hudson. Yes, a little pricier than west side but also better returns when you sell. But also, better amenities -- like more varied ski areas -- better restaurants, more fun events. Plus if you ever want to leave your property (we hardly ever left our small patch of paradise) a day trip to Tanglewood or Jacob's Pillow or Williamstown is a great trip. Those spots are all too far from the west side of hudson.
I like the towns of Taconic, Hillsdale and Hudson as they are close to the beautiful Taconic drive as well as the trains. It is a very reasonable distance. Rhinebeck is a bit more expensive. And if you go north of Hillsdale, it is even less -- like north chatham or kinder hook. If you draw concentric cirlces from the GWBridge with the first circle 2hrs, distance (Rhinebeck) then 2.5 hrs (Hillsdale) then 3(north Chatham) you will have about 20% price difference between each circle -- or at least that was the case when I sold in 2007.
Also Great Barrington in MA is a beautiful, quaint town with some good buys. But that is in 3hr territory.
I have spent a lot of leisure time both east and west of the Hudson from Rhinebeck to Hudson.
I love places, towns and restaurants about equally on both sides. If you can find a place overlooking the Hudson River, I prefer the sun not setting in my eyes so prefer, west side.
Just be sure that bridge access isn't too far away.
I like transportation options so this area is great. Amtrak, bus and driving. It is great having guests arrive by train. You know when they are arriving and leaving LOL
Try the Northfork of Long Island. It's on the sound. Try orient, greenport, southhold, - Parts can be expensive, but many are reasonable. There are a quite few other towns. Access by LIRR, bus, car. Very country, many vineyards. There's probably a website called Northfork Realty or similar. You can start there.
If you can find a North fork deal that would be beautiful.
I remember when I first started doing business in Pittsburgh. Asked a local if there were any areas that we should avoid. We were told, no, there's no trouble.
After spending some time there, I asked the question, are there any areas we should visit? Naturally, the answer was similarly, no.
Cape Cod -- 3 1/2 - 4 hrs by car. Gorgeous.
Queens with a really high fence.
Less traffic on the weekend, close to great eats and fewer know it all big shots.
Cape Cod in under 4 hours by car is wishful thinking during nice weather, especially if you're traveling beyond Sandwich or Pocasset. I did the drive back to the city yesterday afternoon and it was just shy of five hours from the Bourne Bridge to Manhattan.
When US Airways dropped the LaGuardia - Hyannis route, the Cape became a lot less attractive.
Bucks County, PA north of New Hope. 1 1/2-2 hours from Manhattan. Beautiful.
Bucks county is indeed beautiful.
If a vacation home means a weekend home, i do not see any place more than 2 hours away as qualifying, unless you don't have a day job. If you are not going to use the house routinely, it makes no sense to buy one. We use ours 40 weekends a year (and longe periods here and there), but spending 6 hours to get somewhere routinely that you spend 40 hours at will get old fast. Our house (North Fork) is 1.5 hours door to door, which is entirely tolerable even with a busy schedule. One other tidbid to bear in mind about being a weekender if you have a demanding day job: it is much harder to do this if there are not restaurants and businesses that are compatible with that schedule If you leave Manhattan on a Friday at 7:30 but all of the stores and restaurants are closed at 9 pm, you will be very hungary and thirsty when you get there with cupboards bare
our house east of the Hudson was chosen by creating an 80 miles circle from Manhattan. the commute and the ability to make a day trip for our busy life was important. we also wanted to avoid the Hampton's suburbia or to that matter anything in long island. We selected a location with zoning restriction of at least 5 acres and yet we did not wish to feel isolated in the middle of nowhere. The criteria has worked well for the last 15 years and the occasional trips on the lIE and 27 just reinforce the point of going north on 684.At the end, a house must be maintenance free (as much as possible) and a place that provides the seduction of a "double life", different than your weekday activities. It's annual burden should not exceed the comfort zone of your income. It should be an added escape but not the only one.
Bucks County is indeed beautiful and easy to get to. You can have a rural retreat and pop into town for some pretty decent eats (Hamilton Grill Room, Lambertville, NJ). Just stay far enough away from the Delaware River if you do buy.
Try it out, stay at Chimney Hill Estate in Lambertville, NJ- they also raise alpacas!
Highly recommend somewhere along the Hudson like Garrison or the more affordable Cold Spring. It's about 60-75 minutes from Manhattan and easily accessible by car (multiple routes) or by a beautiful train ride along the river. There's rarely any traffic to get there or back, even in the summer, unlike the Hamptons. Very picturesque and a non-scene.
I've had a house in Ulster County for nine years now. 90miles north of city. West side of Hudson is a bit cheaper than the east side; the rest of its appeal is very subjective. There are no trains past Harriman (exit 16 on Thruway) but the bus connections (Adirondack Trailways) out of Port Authority are reliable and reasonable.
I forgot to add that I absolutely love it and spend approx 45 weekends a year up there and most of my vacation. There is alot of choose from in terms of inventory.
I echo the sentiment of renting. It is simply not worth the expense and hassle and upkeep of maintaining a second residence, that is, unless you don't have to work for a living or you can afford to maintain a staff presence at your second home. With the money you spend by not buying a second home, you can easily pay for weekend trips, every weekend, to a different locale, where you won't spend your valuable free time pulling weeds and cleaning the pool.
i heartily agree. here is one listing from ulster county that i just grabbed randomly.
there are a large number of home owners who have decided either that they can't sell or won't sell and are attempting to rent their second homes on a yearly basis. everyone stresses how negotiable they are and realistic owners realize that they are better off with someone actually using the house than letting it sit.
remember that a lot of the general upkeep expenses are the same whether the house is occupied or not leaving a lot of room for negotiation.
Thanks for all the input...
REmom, I actually mention to mention Poconos/PA. Haven't looked in a while, but I know folks talked about cheap stuff there 5 years ago. Any particular spots?
"My dad's advice (after owning a few boats and 2nd houses in the poconos,florida,etc) always prevailed. "If you go on vacation, rent, don't ever buy. No matter how many times you use it or whatever value it increases, it doesn't cover what you truly spend vs the cost and the freedom to rent or hotel."
I TOTALLY hear you. I've been saying this for a while, the economics don't add up.
But I'm looking for something not for the income, it is consumption, and I do want a place where I can leave stuff. Personal stuff I won't get into, but I'm looking for a place with some permanence... and I'm thinking specifically of cheaper locales to keep the cost of that consumption low.
Apt, I've heard folks mention Hudson... but I drove through and it was an absolute dump. Projects all over the place. Is there another better part I'm missing?
realtime, your description sounds pretty close... any towns in particular to think about?
Still some good deals in Cold Spring.
Nicer than Hudson, IMO.
it depends on your budget. Anywhere from Quaker Hill, Pawling to the area like sherman, outside of Patterson, Dover and along that line. I would not go north than Millbrook since it extends my 80 miles circle.
My wife and I have been renting a house near Saugerties for the past 14 months and looking for property during that time. I think it is a great idea to rent first and it has offered us a lot of insight and helped us define a bit more clearly what we are looking for. We go up almost every weekend and spent at least 1 or 2 full weeks there as well. It has given us the conviction that it is something we really enjoy and something we want to make a permanent part of our lives so as long as we keep our monthly consumption number about the same, after taxes and maintenance, it is really a no brainer. Gas and tolls add up as does gardening supplies, plants, and other outdoor stuff we enjoy there that we can't do here but for us it is worth it.
If we time it right, we can do door to door in 2hrs from Brooklyn crossing at Tappan Zee. The area around Stone Ridge is probably one of the prettiest areas in Ulster County but we have looked some on the East Side of the river as well. Chatham is stunning but starting to get pretty far out there. For us, it has really come down to how much land we can get in our budget and how much privacy it offers. Our rental is on a very private 4-5 acres but after looking at a lot of property, we have decided that it usually takes closer to 8-10 acres to really provide enough privacy and "grounds" for nice gardens etc. without feeling too suburban.
Hope this helps but the best advice I have is to rent a place in an area you are interested in and use the time up there to look around and really get familiar with it and take your time to find the right property.
upstate new york to buy a farm
another important issue is the avoidance of bridges and tunnel, therefor the recommendation for 684 going north...
On your way up the Taconic to Columbia County, it's just you, your suprisingly expensive wasteful car, the cops and the deer.
The thing about upstate is the power outages can be frequent.
If you are secluded you will be calling the nearest neighbor to find out if it's just your house or a larger area affected.
I'm talking about Woodstock.
is there anything that you aren't wrong about?
Actually, I installed a 14kw generator which turned out to be a great investment. It senses when power is out for more than 90 seconds and turns on automatically. 100 gallons of propane can power it non-stop for a week or so. As for calling your neighbors, not true. Central Hudson, the regional power company, has a good website through which you can find out if power if out at your home simply by entering your phone number. Not having power in the summer is not great but not having it due to a blizzard in the winter and having pipes freeze (while you happen to be on vacation in the Caribbean) is a disaster.
Ulster Country, my friend.
Hmm, I wonder if there is a streeteasy poster named ulstercounty.
Perhaps. Would love to meet him or her. Hope they post. I, on the other hand, only have attention span for the creation of one alias.
don't sell yourself short.
@somewhereelse. Apparently you missed Warren street in Hudson...
SWE, a friend has a lovely home in the Lake Naomi area of the Poconos. It's well under 2 hrs drive from Manhattan and has lots of nice houses under $200k.
I have friends with homes in Lake Naomi. I have to say I was a bit snobby about not liking the Poconos, then I visited (Naomi) and was pleasantly surprised. When they said it was a "development" I imagined all the same cheaply built houses like the ads in the daily News for commuter homes. Lake Naomi was very rural and they have a nice little club, lake and golf course. I think it is a good option if you are on a tight budget, the homes are really cheap! It will shock you.
We really love the town of Warwick in Orange County. A lot of activities close by, good restaurants, golf etc. Also a wonderful little winery among many other things.The Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery is a great day or weekend trip as well. http://www.wvwinery.com/
The Burkhardt Group
now for something completely different.....we have a house on a Maine island. Five hours from downtown Manhattan, 20 minute frequent ferries, oceanfront, stunningly beautiful and easy access to Portland for great restaurants, movies, music---even a real museum. It's also possible to fly into Ptlnd.
SWE: No, you don't get a property in Hudson, unless you plan to open an antique store and want to live above it. But if you take the train to Hudson and go in any direction for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, it is beautiful. There are many little towns. I was in Hillsdale and I loved it. But I had too much property and too much upkeep. If you get a secluded spot, even a half acre is enough for a little garden and big time peace. North Redhook, the area around Bard, Taconic, Kinderhook -- all beautiful.
Btw, I have a great, curmudgeonly broker up there if you are interested in the area. She got me a great deal when I bought and an even greater one when I sold.
I have a house in Lake Naomi and I love it. Poconos is very family friendly and this is an all season area. Ski and indoor facility in the winter. Sailing, boating and golf during the summer. Close to outlet and casino too. http://www.lakenaomiclub.com/ the house prices are still relatively cheap in the area. Yes, under $200k.
The traveling is ok, I live in Gramacy Park area and it takes me about 90 min - 100 min door to door without breaking the law.
But I have to echo the previous e-mail, owning a second/vacation home could be costly. It is well beyond the mortgage and taxes. Depends on your comfort level, things like internet asset, cable/satellite, heat, electricity, gas, snow removal and garbage pick up will add up. Think of your normal bills x 2. Especially during the winter, you have to keep the heat on so the pipe doesn’t burst. Not to mention occasional maintenances. Stuff like that most manhanttanite won't expect.
If you could look beyond that, it's great. Every time, I get there, all the stress just goes away and every time I come back to the city I feel refresh. All your friends will be either envy or calling you. Beside, you don’t ever have to pack or unpack. Go in and leave anytime you want. Plus, you also save money for storage!
At the end of the day, a vacation home is truly a luxury for anyone who could afford it. I would definitely recommend you rent one in the area before you buy. Good luck with the search.
thanks again for all the advice. realtime, going to check those out. bhh, definitely thinking of renting first.
REmom, I thought poconos, but didn't know a spot... I'll start with Lake Naomi
apt 23, loved redhook and the bard area, thought about that as an option, a little cheaper than rhinbeck, which is one of the pretties spots I saw.
Oh, one question.. for bucks county or poconos, what are the public transportation options?
Not that I would think of doing it mysef... but I'm thinking for having friends come up, pick them up at the bus/train station, that kind of thing.
so, it is pretty much buses from PA?
yeah, pretty much.
You can get to Trenton easily from Penn Station via NJTransit...the problem is getting from Trenton to Upper Bucks. SEPTA rail serves Lower Bucks, but this is not a very desirable area for second homes...unless you're looking for a mid-century Levittown Jubilee.
beagle: It's true for my friends that would rather just call the neighbors on the phone to find out. It's a community sense of checking on each other:
"Hi, do you have power, we're in the dark here".
"No. Power is out."
"Oh, you guys O.K. Need anything?"
"Nope, we're good."
Then they cook dinner over the fireplace.
Not to be a downer, but I am watching dear ones put in a new pool/landscaping/floors/kitchen post-Irene, and I'd remind everyone that owning a vacation home means you not only do "routine" maintenance, you also run the risk of having to deal with acts of God in a way that you are pretty protected from when you own an apartment.
swe: yes the bard area is not only beautiful but the frank gehry building is spectacular. It is mesmerizing in the rain. And the performances there are amazing. I have seen great concerts and first rate theatre there. Rhinebeck is also beautiful but it is much more expensive. But red hook is close by -- by country standards--so you would have all the culinary and social perks that rhinebeck has to offer. And I found that if you have a little land so you can garden (or have a pool) and cook outdoors, you never leave your property. Your friends will find you.
"you also run the risk of having to deal with acts of God in a way that you are pretty protected from when you own an apartment"
Of course, we often deal with worse. Outside of a Wizard of Oz situation, I think I'll take some action from God over actions from horrific neighbors. Noise, smoke, fish farm smells (hear that story?), bedbugs, floods, you name it.
We deal with a lot because of our friendly neighbors.
I must say that second house is great at first but once the kids hit middle school and the bat mitzvah season hits, they really do not want to go. It is also constant upkeep and headache. You also feel like you kind of have to go because you are spending so much money on the place. My advice is to rent for a year or two and if that is still what you want then buy. I certainly would love to unload the weakend place with a reasonable hit (there is usually a hit).
swe: If you're going to be a step above the cabin in the woods and still with no neighbors in sight
you want to get to know the ones nearest to your home.
With kids you'll need a generator. Most year round residents have generators and many weekenders just shop for enough food for each day or the weekend so you won't be stocked up in the freezer. (the blackouts are romantic without the kids around). Still, people are neighborly if they know that you aren't obnoxious city folk.
There are year-round residents, many people have lived there all their lives. You will be "Folk coming up from the city". So go into the town's general store and introduce yourself. The shopkeeper will say something like" Oh, you bought the ------'s house. The ------'s are your nearest neighbors and the ----'s are on the end of your road." Introductions can be made there.
Nice to exchange phone numbers with them in case of an emergency.
In case of Wizard of Oz situation -- follow the Yellow Brick Road.
The Levon Helm Band will be performing a set in honor of Levon, with special guests at MountainJam. 11PM
They are going to fire up that mountain!
Possibly in a state with lower taxes in case your family might want to make it the primary residence at some future point.
Eumenides, apt23 already thought of that She has a place in Miami.