Columbia County Lakefront 365K

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OWNING A WATERFRONT PROPERTY is a persistent dream of mine, and I don’t much care, in my fantasy, whether it’s lake, bay, harbor, pond, or river (I’m assuming ocean is out of reach in this lifetime). It seems to me that the shimmering, reflective qualities of water, seen every time you look out the window, would be almost a guarantee of positive chi, full of life and ever-changing.

So I check out waterfront listings from time to time…you know, just for the hell of it. I was alerted to this one, on the border between Dutchess and Columbia counties, by a post on the blog Upstater. Since I was in the area last week, I took an in-person peek.

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Property seen from the road: nice and private, with a detached garage

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Entry door is on the side

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Rear of house toward lake: needs more glass!

This property is all about the lake, and the lake is absolutely bee-yoo-ti-ful. The large lot, leading down to one of the town’s Twin Lakes (the one on which motorized watercraft are NOT permitted), is dramatically steep. The house is nothing to rave about, nor is the town — Elizaville, N.Y., a working-class hamlet with a post office, a laundromat, a deli, a diner, and not much else (besides the lakes).

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Side yard

My verdict: overpriced for the area at an ask of 365K, but if you want lakefront, it’s worth further investigation. The house was unoccupied when I happened by, and I didn’t tour the inside. There was nothing visibly horrifying about its exterior condition, though, and my through-the-window shot of the kitchen, below, bodes pretty well.

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The realtor’s listing is here.

’40s Cottages in Pine Neck

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TODAY MY SISTER AND I wandered the streets of Pine Neck, a bayfront community about three miles west of Sag Harbor, on the north shore of Long Island’s South Fork.

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It should by rights be called Oak Neck for the towering trees that define the neighborhood; it’s not all that piney, but someone must have thought Pine Neck sounded better.

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The area’s cottages, each unique, seem to be mostly of 1940s vintage.

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With few signs of encroaching development, it looks more or less as it did in the days before rock’n’roll.

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We looked last night at some real-estate listings, which confirmed that one thing has changed since the Andrews Sisters ruled the air waves: the prices. The active listings seem to start at about 400K for the smaller, non-waterfront cottages and ascend from there.

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The unusually large (for the area) waterfront property in the two pictures above sold last year for $1.1million.

Most of the houses are on small lots (about one-tenth of an acre), neither derelict nor overly spiffed up. The house below is an exception.

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I’m guessing many of them are still owned by the families that first bought or built them.

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There are few visible ‘For Sale’ signs. The houses below are not necessarily on the market; they’re the ones that caught my eye as we rambled, for one reason or another.

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The sandy beach on Noyac Bay, below, is the reason a community of summer cottages sprung up in this particular spot. None of the houses are more than a few minutes’ walk away.

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Here are a few of the coveted bayfront cottages:

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And some of the local denizens:

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This is my sister’s adorable pea-green rental, below, recently renovated and kitted out with mid-20th century furniture.

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Creekfront Modern in Springs, Negotiable

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I HAVE IT ON GOOD, IF THIRD-HAND, AUTHORITY — from the friend of a friend of a friend — that the 1970s modernist gem, above, on Hog Creek in Springs, N.Y. is highly, highly negotiable. I think the place is pretty fabulous in a Hamptons kind of way, harking back to the boom building years of the 1970s and ’80s.

Cube-like, cedar-sided houses with expansive decks like this one are more common near the ocean, in the former potato fields south of Montauk Highway, than they are here, five miles north of said highway, where the beaches are those of unspoiled and uncrowded Gardiner’s Bay.

So I was sitting at one of those beaches the other evening, watching the sun set and running my mouth to a friend about how I’d still love to trade in my cute ’40s cottage for either an old farmhouse or a place with some kind, any kind, of water view.

My friend said she knew of a house nearby that was still on the market after a year, and that the owner, now elderly and fed up with it all, was very eager to sell. She put in a call to her friend — the friend of the owner — who gave us the address. “It’s a square box,” he said dismissively, and we went off to look at it with low hopes.

In fact, I found the house — on 2/3 of a wooded acre, with frontage and a boat launch on Hog Creek, above, which leads into Gardiner’s Bay — very attractive. I have no objection at all to the architecture. I like its symmetry, proportions, and wraparound decks. We couldn’t access the upper deck, which would have provided a better view of the creek, but peered into the windows of the three bedrooms on the lower level.

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Pay no attention to the original ask of 825K. I’m given to understand an offer of 500K would not be unreasonable under the circumstances. The house is part of the Lion’s Head neighborhood association, with its own bayfront marina and beach, a mile or so north of Maidstone.

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The house is not for me, after all; I’d still rather have a 19th century farmhouse. But I can’t help fantasizing furniture from Design Within Reach (or its ilk), rya rugs, super-graphics on the walls, great modern lighting.

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For those who embrace such a vision, the listing, with interior photos, is here.

Shelter Island ‘Folk’ Victorians 495/595K

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SHELTER ISLAND IS AN IDYLLIC PLACE, tucked between the North and South Forks of Long Island and accessible only by ferry. In its northwest corner is an almost perfectly preserved community of 1870s cottages with steeply pitched roofs and distinctive wood trim, along with more elaborate houses of the 1880s.

That corner of the island is Shelter Island Heights, with a total of 141 vintage houses on roughly 300 acres. About 100 of them were built by the Methodist Episcopal Church which, for eight short years in the 1870s, used the area for religious camp meetings. Frederick Law Olmstead had a hand in laying out the  park-like open spaces, curving roads, and groves of trees.

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The first wave of construction consisted of about 70 cottages with steeply pitched gable roofs and elaborate wood trim, similar to those found at camp meeting sites like Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Ocean Grove, N.J.,

Two such houses, top, in Shelter Island Heights — next door neighbors, in fact — are now on the market. Both are circa 1879, with water views, as well as occasional views of cars lined up to board the North Ferry for Greenport.

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5 Clinton Avenue, for 495K, above, is an unheated 4BR, 1.5 bath cottage with a wraparound front porch and open second floor balcony. Go here for more info and pics.

2 Waverly Place, asking 595K, below, is similar, but with 3 BR, electric heat, and a large side yard. There more info here.

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Both are convenient to charming and low-key shops and restaurants, as well as tennis, beach, ferry, and marina.

Please note: I am not a real estate broker, nor do I have any financial interest in the sale of any property mentioned on this blog. I just like spreading the word about unique, historic properties and what I believe are solid investment opportunities.

Greenport Waterview Cottage 499K

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IN SWELTERING TIMES LIKE THESE, even the sight of water is a relief.

Oceanfront may be out of reach for most of us, but if bay, sound, harbor, creek, or inlet will do, that opens up the possibilities considerably.

Here’s a 1960 Cape-style cottage on 1.25 acres at the head of Pipes Creek in Greenport, on Long Island’s North Fork, with views out to Shelter Island Sound. It’s got 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and an enclosed porch. Total square footage is 1,890, and taxes are $6,500/year (bit of a bummer, that).

To see pictures of the interior, go here.

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It’s an exclusive listing with Jeanmarie Bay of Town & Country Real Estate,
631-298-0600 x 109 or 917-519-4180, jbay@1TownandCountry.com. Tell her I sent you.