THIS is the one that got away. This is the heartbreaker, the one I can’t stop thinking about, measuring all others against. “Another house will come along,” said the same person who told me there wasn’t anything on the North Fork of Long Island for under 300K. Well, there was, and it was a beaut, but I didn’t get there fast enough. I was driving out to meet a broker one Saturday morning last June, when she called to say the place (which had been on the market for a month) had just gone to contract. For 275K. OK, it had no heat, and no kitchen or bathroom to speak of, but where else are you going to find a c.1875 revival-meeting cottage with TWO screened porches and stained glass windows, in a circle of same, a short distance from the Peconic Bay? The others in the circle (Campground Circle in Jamesport, if you must know) had been bastardized or cutesified or modernized beyond recognition — except this one.
A lot has happened since last June. I’ve taken a few more house-hunting trips to the Hampton Bays area and the North Fork, to no avail. On my last foray, I didn’t even take my camera out of my bag, that’s how dreary and depressing the houses in my price range were (even though that range has crept up a bit). Mortgage money has dried up, of course, but I’ll worry about that later. First I have to find the house.
Come along with me as I continue my search for the beach house of my dreams. It doesn’t even have to be a beach house, really. Proximity to any body of water will do — if not the ocean, sound or bay, give me a lake, pond or stream. The Hudson Valley is looking better — certainly it’s cheaper than Long Island. And, truth to tell, it doesn’t even have to be a house. I’ll take a cottage, a bungalow, a cabin, a converted boat shed or chicken coop. Oh, and I was kidding about the ‘perfect.’ No roof? No plumbing? No problem. As long as it’s OLD and loaded with charm and feels like me.