Driving the Backroads Just to See What’s There

IT’S FIVE WEEKS since I moved to Springs, and I’m still discovering the area. My sister is visiting; as we drove around today so I could show her my favorite beaches at Gerard Drive and Louse Point, I saw lots of houses, old and not-so-old, I hadn’t seen before.

This glass-fronted chalet, overlooking Gardiner’s Bay, is on the market for less than I would have guessed: $990K. I’ll bet it would have been $1.2 or $1.3M not long ago.


Side view

Now if I had my druthers, I would own THIS cedar-shingled saltbox, left and below. It’s on quiet Barnes Hole Road — built around 1820, I’m guessing. There’s something so charming and harmonious about it. I love the open storm door, more like a shutter. You know I’ll be driving by frequently just to say hello.


Then again, I can also appreciate a good ’70s modernist house (though not as much as the true antiques), like this one on the cliffs at Barnes Landing. I especially like the steps ‘carved’ into the lawn.


End-of-year bargain$ in Columbia County CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!!

“Recessions create opportunities” – Warren Buffet

Today I scouted properties in Columbia County, ranging from 145K all the way up to 265K (laughable prices for New Yorkers).

Horrendous weather.  Nothing made my heart sing, personally.  But man (and woman), there are deals up here, especially with some cash.  Camera malfunction prevents me from posting pictures, but click on live links below for more info.

–    Best investment. COPAKE LAKE, asking 199K. A PAIR of houses near the lake, with winter view (good enough!) of said lake from deck of one and front porch of the other. Could bring 42K/year in rental income, with a little fixing and maybe a Domino-magazine rehab (one is a ‘70s-looking brown chalet, the other a white-painted 1940s cottage).  Yes – that’s right – in a few years, you could make back your investment.  And you could use them once in a while.  Wonderful with kids.  Downside? Jet skis and near neighbors could be annoying in summer.

–    Most attractive.  ANCRAM.  265K.  Stone’s throw from the Ancram Opera House (that’s what the sign says).  Solidly built, super well-maintained, 1930s bungalow, loads of windows, parquet floors, huge kitchen with pre-war built-ins.  Perfectly livable as-is.  4 acres, gorgeous backyard going down to a ravine and up a hill; not a house in sight (in back).  Old shed and garage in good shape.  Clean dry basement.  All painted a cheerful ochre yellow.  What’s bad? Well, 82’s a little busy for some. And there’s a manufactured home next door, but it’s a super fancy one.

–    Most historic. ANCRAM 169K.  Adorable, fixed-up eyebrow Colonial (early 19th c.) with columned portico. You can see why they perched it, 200 years ago, at the top of a hill, looking west – it’s still the same Berkshire mountain view.  PROS: Damn cute. Great kitchen with farmhouse sink, wood stove, finished attic loft bedroom, v clean.  CONS: Only ½ acre, near the intersection of 82 and Doodletown Road (which, despite its name, can be fairly busy.

–   Most secluded. 145K. HILLSDALE/AUSTERLITZ. At the end of a long, wind-y, muddy road. A tiny, rough cabin, painted turquoise. 4×4 porch kind of falling down.  Listing says 1920 but doesn’t look that old. Those are the cons.  The PLUSES: it’s FOUR wooded acres on the Green River – which is more of a trout stream.  Wooded.  Ya want privacy?  Ya got privacy.  Rt. 22 is up above the property, not far away, but you’re not aware of it.