Shop Small and Give Back

"Small Business Saturday" is one of my favorite ideas, but I feel pretty strongly that it should last more than just one day.  Last year, I did almost all of my holiday shopping at small independent shops, and managed to assemble gift baskets that not only were sold locally, but also produced exclusively in Putnam and Dutchess Counties. If you're not sure where to start, I've listed a handful of my favorite shops and producers below.

There's also one very important thing to keep in mind while you're preparing for Cyber Monday - Amazon offers a program called "Amazon Smile" - just go to smile.amazon.com, select your favorite charity, and every time you shop Amazon will make a donation. No extra cost and all of the same products as regular Amazon.

Happy Gifting!

Life After Peak Foliage

Leaf season has mostly wrapped up for this year in the Hudson Valley, and peppermint has already ousted pumpkin spice as the latte flavoring of choice. But despite the end of "Starbucks Autumn", there's still no shortage of reasons to explore north of New York City.

Though the foliage is an obvious draw in early fall, I find that November is probably my favorite month here. Distant hillsides and water bodies previously hidden by leaves now peek through picture windows; it's cold enough to use the fireplace, but there is no sting to the air. 

If you're thinking of doing some exploring this weekend, the weather looks perfect for hiking. If you're feeling ambitious, consider a climb to the top of Mount Beacon - you'll be rewarded with views of the Manhattan skyline, and the whole panorama of the Hudson Highlands. More info here: http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/mountbeacon

If you'd rather not break a sweat, take a short walk from the Beacon train station to Dia:Beacon and explore thought-provoking art in a remarkable setting. Weekend tours start at 1pm: http://diaart.org/program/calendar/public-tours-at-diabeacon-tour-2016-08-27

While in Beacon, stop by the Roundhouse for lunch or brunch - take a window table if you can!

If you still have the energy, spend the afternoon shopping. The Stormville Flea Market is hosting its "Christmas in November" market this weekend. It's about 20 minutes' drive from Beacon. If you'd rather not stray from the river, drive or take the trolley down to Cold Spring. Don't miss Burkelman (fine home goods) and Cold Spring Apothecary. I did nearly all of my holiday shopping last year in Cold Spring - I expect to do the same again this year!

Have a great weekend & happy trails - KW

 

Coming Soon: Spy Hill

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to represent the sellers of a most remarkable home - Spy Hill (also "Maple Hill"), the home of famed Revolutionary War spy Enoch Crosby.  I'm pleased to say that I'll have the opportunity to present Spy Hill once again - now renovated to an exacting standard, and offered fully furnished by an accomplished Manhattan design team. An incredible chance for the discriminating buyer to purchase a country estate that is completely turn-key, down to the linens. More information coming soon!
 

 

The River That Flows Both Ways

I've spent my entire adult life living near the Hudson River - first in the West Village and now up here in its namesake valley. But until last week, I'd never actually gotten into the water. This was in part due to lack of skills and equipment - I'm not a great swimmer, and I don't own a boat or jet ski.  It didn't occur to me that a little bit north of home I could find an affordable vessel, and expert instruction in how to pilot it.  At The River Connection in Hyde Park, Marshall Seddon offers approachable instruction in top-end boats. During my 2-hour tour with the Hudson Valley Women in Business, we navigated the changing current while admiring interesting riverfront architecture and splendid wildlife (including several bald eagles).

If you're looking to make a day of it - start off with your kayak trip, then head to the nearby Culinary Institute of America for a hearty lunch.  From there, you'll be a stone's throw from two important properties: the Vanderbilt Mansion Historic Site, and the Home of FDR National Historic Site. Both are well worth a tour. Wrap up with a stop at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, and dinner at the Artist's Palate if you've stayed late enough.

 

Take a Drive - Antiques and Covered Bridges

I drive about 35,000 miles each year on average - almost entirely on back roads, criss-crossing the Taconics and the Litchfield Hills. I'm lucky to live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and over the past few years I've frequently found myself mapping out road trips for friends anxious to escape the city. With that in mind, I'm hoping to occasionally share some of my favorite routes here. Thankfully Dutchess and Litchfield have really excellent tourism pages, so I'm leaving the hard work (the actual driving directions) to them.  But the links I post are all routes that I have driven and enjoyed myself, and I'll offer some annotations, too. 

Trip One: Litchfield Hills, "Antiquing Tour II" - featuring two(!) covered bridges. The Northwest CT tourism folks have laid out the itinerary here: http://www.litchfieldhills.com/attractions/options.jsp?oid=444.  

Your GPS will probably want you to take I-84 to Route 7 to get to the starting point, but I'd suggest something slightly different. Coming from points south, take I-684 to the end, and then stay on Route 22 North. If you're hungry already, you can stop for a casual bite to eat at the famous Red Rooster Drive In, or a more serious meal at the creative and locally-minded Clocktower Grill - both about 2 miles after the end of the highway. Continue north on Route 22 until you reach Havilland Hollow Road - turn right to head east. Along Havilland Hollow Road you'll pass two important nature preserves - Michael Ciaiola Conservation Area and the newly-formed Great Hollow Nature Preserve. There's more to say about them than can be covered here - both offer excellent hiking and impressive wildlife. At the end of Havilland Hollow Road, turn left to travel north on Route 37. You'll pass through the lovely and tranquil town of Sherman, coveted by weekenders for its bucolic scenery and low taxes. Route 37 continues along, skirting the north edge of Candlewood Lake, until it arrives at Route 7 in New Milford. Turn right to follow the Housatonic towards New Milford's Green, and the intended starting point of the itinerary in the link. 

Places to eat along the way:
- New Preston: the most charming miniature Main Street. Grab a sandwich at Nine Main and peruse the eclectic selection of home goods at Privet House. 
- Kent: If you don't have time for a full meal at Gifford's, try the takeaway from J.P Gifford around the corner. The grilled brie and pear is worthy of a last meal. If you aren't stuffed yet, wander down to the Coffee and Chocolate Co., which delivers exactly what the name promises.
- West Cornwall: If you'd like to stop somewhere casual, The Wandering Moose is rural and friendly, with a broad menu.
- Litchfield: you'll pass through on your way back, so if it's late enough for dinner consider settling in for a proper meal at the lauded West Street Grill.
- Bantam: If it's not yet dinnertime, stop in at Arethusa Dairy for a truly decadent cup of ice cream; take a block of cheese to go. 

Happy Trails!  

 

 

 

Up and Running

It's been incredibly exciting to get started in my new "home" at Keller Williams over the past few weeks.  In particular I am excited to begin leveraging the firm's national and global presence, which I believe will be especially powerful for my equestrian clients.  As I get my bearings, I'm hoping to make many changes and additions to the site - stay tuned!  

Discover SilverBrook Farm

I'm so pleased to be representing the sellers of this extraordinary country estate in Millbrook, NY. SilverBrook Farm boasts over 53 acres of gently rolling fields, well-tended forest and a pristine trout stream. The professional equestrian facilities include 11 stalls in two barns, six large paddocks and an outdoor ring. The heart of the property is its 6-bedroom Federal home, which blends a rich history with an artful modern restoration. Learn more at www.millbrook.estate .

 

Spring 2015 - Off to a Busy Start

It's been busy these past few weeks as we've worked to prepare our sellers for the spring market. I'm incredibly excited about these new listings:

401 Maple Road, Brewster, NY - this historic 4-bedroom home boasts year-round views of the Middlebranch Reservoir as well as an inground pool and large studio over the 3-car garage. Impeccably cared for and thoughtfully updated. Close to recreation, train, shops & highways. Will be wonderful for full-time residents and weekenders alike. MLS # 4513640

16 Wakan Drive, Katonah, NY - Spacious contemporary with striking great room. 4 bedrooms, loft-style office spaces, huge finished basement. Tranquil setting in an estate area; minutes to train, school, highway. Co-listed with Carol Goldberg. MLS # 4509833

134 Mclain Street, Bedford Corners, NY - The perfect home for entertaining with a striking gallery, great room with vaulted ceilings, and an expansive dining room. Four bedrooms including an impressive master suite. A covered patio overlooks the private, level back lawn. Walk to shops, restaurants, train. Co-listed with Carol Goldberg. MLS # 4509457

New Listing: Maple Hill Farm

I'm incredibly proud to represent this extraordinary historic property in Southeast, NY.  A few photos on Facebook now, many more to come next week!

Maple Hill Farm: An iconic Colonial property. Located along a dirt road overlooking the Middlebranch Reservoir, this country retreat is only 1 hour's drive to NYC and 8 minutes to the train. The former home of a Revolutionary War spy, it has been tastefully updated, combining modern convenience with respect for history. The main house features a marble foyer, spacious formal dining & living rooms with fireplaces, and an updated eat-in kitchen with Viking appliances. The 2nd floor boasts 5 bedrooms & 3 full baths, including a gracious master suite with fireplace, steam shower and jacuzzi. The grounds include a 54' Gunite pool, terraces, specimen plantings & room for tennis. Many original outbuildings have been preserved & adapted to modern use, including a 2bed/2bath guest house, professional greenhouse, cabana w/ full bath, and stables. Putnam Trailway & boat area are just steps away for cycling, running, and fishing. Incredible value, impossible to reproduce.

Q1 2014 Market Highlights

The latest market update from the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors out, and by most measures 2014 is off to a strong start. Some excerpts:

"The first quarter median sale price of a single family house in Westchester was $600,000, an increase of $85,000 or 16.5% over last year’s median...In Putnam the increase was 11.0%, taking the median price to $318,000."

"Overall, the lower Hudson region’s real estate market appears to be shedding the last of any remaining baggage from the recession that bottomed sales and prices in 2009. With some few exceptions there is now strong pent-up demand by buyers in most parts of the region, in all price ranges, and among all residential property types."

Read the full report here:
http://hgar.com/images/PDF/Public/SR1stQtr2014%20FINAL.pdf