The Ulster County town of Olive is known for its stunning views, picturesque woodsy landscapes, lovely farmhouses, and desirable proximity to the Ashokan Reservoir. It’s also known for low property taxes. Well, low property taxes is a pretty relative concept when it comes to Ulster County. Compared to other places around the Hudson Valley area on the west side of the Hudson, Olive (including the hamlet of Olivebridge, as well as a handful of other rural hamlets in town) offers a slight bargain. And if you’re looking at houses upstate, the taxes could make or break a real estate deal. Olive is located around the western end of the reservoir and about 2.5 hours from Brooklyn.
Exteriors with loads of curb appeal. Interiors that feel up-to-date yet comfortable and homey. That’s what we’re all about this week on Brownstoner Upstate. We are experiencing some house crushes on a renovated farmhouse in Highland, a more-bang-for-your-buck beauty in Athens, a charming retro cabin in Phoenicia, and the perfect contemporary ski getaway near Hunter Mountain. Enjoy…
Still considering a winter excursion to upstate New York for a little skiing? There’s still time. Here are some short-term rental properties that will put you close to the slopes on the outside while keeping you warm and cozy on the inside.
It’s safe to say that we look at hundreds of real estate listings a day. Sometimes for work, but mostly for fun. Because so many properties are passing before our eyes, we tend to initially focus on the exterior. And if the exterior doesn’t do it for us, we skip over it. We also know that sometimes a lackluster exterior hides a unique or an attractive interior we never would have guessed existed based on the outside, so we try to look beyond the first photo of a home’s facade as often as we can. This week’s list includes homes that, upon first glance, elicited a resounding “meh” from us until we saw what lies on the other side of the front door.
ICYMI: Travel + Leisure named the Catskills as one of its Best Places to Travel in 2015, and we’re not going to argue. In our completely unverified unscientific opinion, we seem to see more and more visitors popping up during the warmer months at local farmer’s markets and walking around our streets, gawking upward at cool, old buildings. People are catching on to the fact that it’s paradise in your own backyard up here. There’s a change in the air around the Catskill Mountains, and while we don’t think the tourist industry alone can completely revitalize the Catskills, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that it will play a large role. How do casinos factor in to all of this? Well, that’s a whole post in and of itself and a subject that’s been extensively covered, but it’s what the voters wanted, so they shall receive it. Meanwhile, as we enter into a brand new year, let’s head into the mountains and see what the real estate market holds for us (spoiler alert: a lot of good stuff).
…we’ve been so good this year, washing our dishes after using them and keeping our rooms tidy. All we want for Christmas is a brand new house. Or an old house. Or a little bit of both. We’ll even help you out, St. Nick, by providing a list of four properties we could definitely get used to living in, given enough time, of course. Below, please find our wish list, which includes one farmhouse in Olivebridge, one Gothic in Rhinebeck, and two contemporaries in Woodstock. And a partridge in a pear tree.
(P.S. The cookies and bourbon are on the table next to the tree.)
We’re digging on Kingston these days, what with last weekend’s Made in Kingston, an event that showcases local businesses and makers, and the upcoming wildly popular New Year’s Eve celebration in uptown (this year’s theme is circus freak show). The Ulster County city and first capital of New York seems to get cooler by the second, with new music venues, restaurants, and shops cropping up all the time. Kingston is also home to the O+ Festival, which aims to connect musicians and artists with health care professionals. And, it’s not called the Gateway to the Catskills for no reason. A short drive will take you straight to mountain views and nature. There are lots of real estate options in and around the city, from farmhouses on land not far from town to sweet homes in residential neighborhoods located approximately two hours from Brooklyn. Here’s a handful, all priced under $160,000.
Ever wonder why anyone would leave the city for upstate New York? After all, there’s a distinct lack of good takeout up here as well as impractical public transportation options. And as winter creeps ever closer by the day, a whole new world of problems presents itself to the denizens of the countryside (expensive heat, roads not plowed, bleak surroundings — just to name a few).
The allure is obvious. Sure, upstate housing stock is cheaper by a long shot, but the lure of nature can be a hard one to deny, especially when you spend a while gazing at farmhouses, wondering what it would be like to ramble around one of these stately, venerable places (like the ones featured here) situated on a piece of land large enough to ensure that if you don’t want to rub elbows with another living soul for several days in a row, you won’t have to. And you have to admit, that does have its benefits, even if that means you won’t see a snow plow for several days, either.
Even our most expensive property today is below our self-imposed affordability ceiling of $250,000 (subject to change, of course, based entirely upon whim). But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring the charm. Seriously, look at those floors. And the French doors. And the kitchen. Beautiful. Situated on a full acre in southern Ulster County on the Orange County border. Beds: 3. Baths: 2. Square Feet: 1748. Lot Size: 1.1 acres. Est. Taxes: $7110. Distance from Brooklyn: 2 hours.
Our title today is RTMMYCMDTW — that well-known acronym for rentals that might make you consider moving during the winter. I’ve moved during the winter in four different states: Alaska, California, Michigan and New York (alphabetical order). Needless to say, packing up a moving van on a December day in San Francisco is much more pleasant than unloading a moving van in upstate New York a week later. Alas, nothing to be done. Sometimes, when you gotta move, you gotta move. These days, it would take a lot to convince me to move in the winter. Or in the rain. Or at all. The rentals I found today in the Upstate listings, however, might change my mind about the idea. Maybe. Probably not. Okay, maybe for this one, a 1938 Bauhaus in the artists’ colony…
For the right price, we’ll overlook a multitude of house-related sins. Bad wood paneling, unsightly paint jobs, cramped kitchen quarters, you name it. But these beauties are just fine the way they are: easy on both the eyes and the budget, located in both the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.