Historic Rhinebeck under 400K

512113186(2)THE CHELSEA CLINTON WEDDING EFFECT on real estate prices in Rhinebeck, N.Y., if ever there was to be one, seems like a non-starter. As we head into the best time of year for house-hunting — the dead of winter, when only the most serious shoppers are on the case — the mid-Hudson Valley is still very good value, especially compared to eastern Long Island, where for $400,000 your choices are nil but for the dreaded ranch.
In the Rhinebeck area, venerable architecture is not too much to ask for 400K. Were I in the market for an upstate place at this moment — and gosh, maybe I should be — I’d look at these two, a rare brick Federal-style farmhouse for 379K, above, and an 1830s Carpenter Gothic, offered at 399K, right. The listing agent for both is Paul Hallenbeck.

Brick houses are fairly unusual in this part of New York State (most are frame). To find a stately 1849 farmhouse on River Road, very near the Hudson River and the Bard College campus, is a double-whammy (there are no ‘bad parts’ of River Road). The 1.1 acre lot is high and open; the house has 3BR, 2baths, and original details including woodwork, floors, doors, and built-ins, with updated mechanicals, baths, and windows (pics below). Period barn and wildflower meadow included.



Rhinebeck village has almost exclusively old houses, many with some pedigree. The 3BR, 2-1/2 bath on Montgomery Street (all pics below) is an 1830s Carpenter Gothic reminiscent of Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown. It’s on 1.4 acres, with mature trees and a fenced garden; the house has 9-foot ceilings and a large porch, and there’s a classic red barn. The taxes are high for the area at $8,306/year (twice that of the house above), which is a drag.


For more pics and info on both houses, go here.

Note: I am not a real estate broker, nor do I have any financial interest in the properties mentioned on this blog. I just like spreading the word about old houses on the market and what I feel are viable investment opportunities.

Bard’s Old-House Collection

THE MOST FAMOUS BUILDING by far on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., is undoubtedly Frank Gehry’s sweeping, swooping titanium concert hall, sited at the far end of a meadow where it reflects the light of the sun and the moon, and never fails to take my breath away.


But before the well-endowed private college was a patron of avant-garde architecture, its campus was a 19th century river village, and some of the old houses remain.


Some are derelict, others in good shape. Some are used as offices; others are privately owned, and come up on the market from time to time. The riverside campus wouldn’t be a bad place to live, I’ve often thought, with access to the college gym, free classical music concerts, and patrolling campus security.


On Sunday, I went to one of those concerts, very uplifting on a rainy day — conservatory students and faculty members playing Beethoven, Schubert, and Saint-Saens in varying combinations  —  and took a few photos.



THE HAMLET OF BARRYTOWN, N.Y., on the Hudson River in northern Dutchess County, is kind of a cabinet of architectural curiosities (which makes Frank Gehry’s titanium-roofed concert hall on the nearby Bard College campus — one of the few recently built structures in the area — almost fit in).

There are a number of churches and houses, some of them octagonal, in Carpenter Gothic style, with carved wood trim that is an earlier and simpler version of Victorian gingerbread.

It’s worth a drive around. There’s lots more where these came from, and not a ranch or split-level among them.

Here’s a link to an 1880 Barrytown house on the market now, with an old-fashioned second-story balcony.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Brownstone Myths & Mysteries

FSBO Hudson Valley Farmhouse + 2 Barns 400K

front porchDO YOU KNOW BARRYTOWN? It’s a fine hamlet right on the Hudson River in northern Dutchess County, a mile from Bard College (for culture) and not far from Red Hook (for useful stuff like supermarkets, restaurants, a hardware store, gasoline….) I doubt there’s a building more recent than 1900 there.barrytown house1

This farmhouse on approximately 1 acre, with two barns and a shed, is for sale by its owner, Eva Mann. She writes: “It is very much a “buy the look” type of place — no major aesthetic changes for the past 75 years.” All the modern conveniences are there, but out of sight.

The house is 1800 sq. ft., with 5 rooms downstairs and 4 rooms upstairs, and 1-1/2 baths. The two barns total 2,000 sq. ft.


For more info: hudsonvalleyhouse@gmail.com


kitchentruck and barn

Tivoli Victorian 249K (plus a bit of context)

NEW TO MARKET IN TIVOLI, N.Y. (Northern Dutchess): A sweet c.1900 house on a quiet side street, asking 249K.  They don’t come up all that often.  For details, go here.


THE FIRST TIME I SAW TIVOLI,  I thought I had traveled back in time to the 1960s and landed in northern California.

Tivoli (pop. 1100) is impossibly cute, its main street lined with front-porch Victorians marching

down to the Hudson River. As practicalities go, the town is fairly useless. There’s no bank, drug store, supermarket, or gas station — just a good Mexican restaurant; a bakery, right, in an old house that makes wonderful scones and baguettes; and a couple of art galleries and antiquarian bookstores.

In the 19th century, Tivoli was a transportation hub; it had a ferry landing and a railroad station. Now it has neither. Three miles off Route 9, it’s a definite detour, and that’s as it should be.

The chi-chi Madalin Hotel and Madalin’s Table, below, opened in 2006, but Tivoli just goes its low-key, hippie throwback way.

Madalin Hotel and Madalin's Table restaurant