Historic Upstate New York Farmhouse 350K


THIS LISTING COMES DIRECT TO YOU from a longtime blog reader of mine, Lillian DeMauro, who is selling her late 18th century house outside Andes, New York, in Delaware County’s Catskill Mountains, under three hours from NYC.andes_ny

Looks and sounds good to me. For more specifics, read on:

Built c.1790 as a tavern along the Esopus Turnpike, the house has served as a community meeting house, a link on the Underground Railroad and, more recently, a farmhouse.

The house was featured in the 2013 book A Simpler Way Of Life, Old Farmhouses of New York & New England.

There are five fireplaces, two with bake ovens, several pine-sheathed rooms, original chestnut / pine flooring throughout, plaster walls throughout. The house retains “original surfacing at a rare level,” writes Lillian, including sheathing, plaster, flooring, staircases, paneling and paint.

Rooms include 4-5 bedrooms, 1 bath, library, dining room, living room. “Rooms can be used flexibly; you decide,” Lillian writes.

Much work has been done since 2000, including new cedar shingle siding, new hot air heating system, new hot water heater, plumbing, wiring and new basement.

The house sits on two-thirds of an acre, surrounded by state-owned or leased land, planted gardens, lawn and trees.

In Lillian words, it’s “near 21st century cultural and social amenities, with the natural world at your back door.”Among the nearby diversions: hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, tennis, golf, world-class trout fishing, theatre and opera.

For more info: Paul or Lillian, 607-746-7199 or  lilliandem@gmail.com


Landmark Philly Dollhouse 450K

photoAS READERS OF THIS BLOG KNOW, I have a great fondness for diminutive antique row houses, whether part of a mews (a row of converted stables or carriage houses) or just working- class homes along a narrow alley. They’re often coveted for their cuteness, and there’s none cuter than Elfreth’s Alley in Old City, Philadelphia, an intact, double-sided row of two dozen 18th century brick houses with multi-paned windows, dormers, wood shutters, and other Colonial details, including a few still-extant mirrors attached to the shutters on the upper floor, projecting a few inches over the street.

Elfreth’s Alley is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the United States, as you will hear many a group-herding tour guide say. There’s a museum in two adjoining houses — the only two open to the public — where for a $5 donation you can poke into several evocative rooms and hear stories of how families with seven or eight children managed to live in such tight quarters and maybe run a dressmaking business out of the front room besides.

One of the most frequently asked questions on Elfreth’s Alley is “Do people really live here?” Yes, they do. Right now, #130, top, is on the market for 450K, and has been for a few months. The whole well-documented story of the 7-room, 1,196-square-foot house, built in the 1740s, and its inhabitants, is here. The listing agent is Edward Gay, (215) 563-6724.

A similar house two doors down at #134 sold just last month for 420K. Check this link for its sales price history. For a little house of the 18th century, it hasn’t done badly for itself in the 21st.


Photo: visitphilly.com

Xmas in Orient


THE OYSTERPONDS HISTORICAL SOCIETY lucked out yesterday. The annual holiday house tour of Orient, N.Y., easternmost town on Long Island’s North Fork, took place Saturday afternoon, before the Big Snow.

I was there, enjoying hot cider and cookies in eyebrow Colonials, Greek Revivals, and Victorians, all decked out in wreaths and garlands. My favorite was the colonnaded Webb House, below, a onetime tavern built in the mid-18th century and twice moved from other locations before ending up in Orient in 1955.




Scroll down to see more of what Orient and the nearby towns of East Marion and Greenport have to offer in the way of old houses.











Yard Sale Triumph!

IMG_2445FOR FIVE MONTHS, I’ve been scouring local yard sales and thrift shops for something that would serve as a pantry/additional storage in my Springs, Long Island, cottage kitchen.

I was thinking maybe I’d find a 1920s Hoosier cabinet, or something more modern that I could paint. I knew I wanted closed storage on top and bottom, with an open area in the middle that would be a handy ‘staging area’ for keys, mail, radio, etc., and could be used as a bar or buffet for entertaining.

But nothing had turned up in all this time…until last Saturday. As usual, I bought the East Hampton Star, and one of the yard sale classifieds advertised a “rustic, handmade hutch.” I made a beeline for that sale, and was there before 9 in the morning.

The hutch, located in the basement woodshop of Leo Snyder, a longtime local resident, is a beaut. It even comes with a legend: it’s made of old wood from an 18th century barn in East Hampton that was demolished in the 1970s. At that time, Leo took some of the old pine, which certainly looks like it could be 300 years old, richly colored and gnarly, and made this seven-foot-tall cabinet with leather hinges and handles. He and his wife used it for over 30 years, and now, even though he said it was like “parting with a family member,” they were ready to say goodbye to it.

I paid $500 for it, gladly. Leo and his son-in-law delivered it yesterday, and it absolutely makes my kitchen — elevates the whole house, as a matter of fact.

I ♥ Philadelphia


Thomas Bond, physician, 1712-1784

I’M IN PHILADELPHIA at the moment, in the breakfast room, below, of the Thomas Bond House, a delightful small hotel in Old City. The building dates from 1769, and I’m in my element, taking in the worn pine floors, 12-over-12 windows, toile de jouy wallpaper, Windsor chairs, etc. I’m a sucker even for the hokey details like electrified candlesticks in all the windows.




The Bond House is across the street from another of my favorite Philly places, which would be exceedingly corny if it wasn’t done so very well. City Tavern, below, is a painstaking re-creation of the pub/inn where George, Ben, and the rest spent many happy hours, on its original site.


That’s where I went yesterday for a late lunch (“midday fare”) after I concluded the business that brought me here: meeting with a contractor about interior repairs in my Queen Village building, following major roof failure during last month’s rainstorms, and welcoming a new tenant in Old Kensington.

I love to sit in a corner booth at the authentically underlit City Tavern, eating cornbread-encrusted oysters and sipping a citrus-y pale ale from Alexander Hamilton’s own recipe, served by waitstaff in bonnets or breeches who say “Good afternoon” rather than “Hey, what can I get ya?”


Today I’ll try for about the 5th time to get into the elusive Bishop White House, above, a fully furnished house of the 1780s run by the National Park Service. When I called yesterday for information, I was told its opening was ‘contingent upon staff.’

Happily, the Colonial garden at Walnut and 4th, below, is always open.