Category Archives: East Versus West

East vs West, or Where You Can Find A Countryhouse with a Pool for $300,000

I’d live in a shack if it came with pool. Even if you’re not a swimmer, there’s something about looking outside and seeing a square of chlorinated blue that makes the world feel so expansive, or at least Cheever-esque.

This week, I tried to find something better than a shack with a pool on the side, while keeping the price tag around $300, 000. In very pretty Germantown in Columbia County, we found this 1970s split-level on a rolling property with great mountain views for $310,000. The house isn’t much to speak of—textbook ’70s middle-class suburban—-but the 2.0 acre property is idyllic.

Across the river and farther north, we found a show-stopper of a historic home in Ravena in Albany County for $295,00. I’m not crazy about the mauve exterior and the home is in desperate need of some thoughtful landscaping, but if you’ve always dreamed of owning a rambling nineteenth-century farm house with a Edith Wharton-novel worthy name, the Vanderzee House could be your chance.

This one also comes with a pool as well as nearly 5 acres. You’d be further afield than in Germantown—at least an extra twenty minutes in the car—though Ravena is right off the 21B thruway stop.  Comes with a pool, too—but how much house is too much house?

Stats and pics on the jump.

  Read the rest of this entry

East vs. West; Saugerties vs Red Hook for under $250, 000

One of the first things you need to figure out if you’re buying a home north of NYC is which side of the river is for you. We profile towns and properties both East and West of the Hudson here on Upstater, but we thought we’d try to make the comparisons a bit more immediately graspable. East vs. West is our attempt to do just that: looking at homes for roughly the same price point in two comparable towns on different sides of the river.

For our throw-down, I wanted to compare Saugerties and Tivoli—-both quirky little towns with a lot of curb appeal, interesting full-timers and plenty of part-timers too. The problem was I couldn’t find much of anything in Tivoli for around $250,000. As Lisa has discussed, housing stock in Tivoli is tight—and expensive. To find something nice for roughly $250, 000, I had to move a little north to Red Hook, which is also a lovely place and quite desirable.

Let’s start with Saugerties first, where I found this cozy cottage for $234, 900.  I’m not using cozy as an euphemism for small: the house really does look like a nice place to curl up with a good book, thanks to the cobblestone fireplace, hand-hewn exposed beams and the deep screened in porch, all of which you can see in the pics at the top. It’s 1212 square feet for 3 beds, 2 baths, 1 acre of land, and three beds, two baths.

In Red Hook, I found this pretty 1899 farmhouse for $249,000. It’s bigger than the house in Saugerties—this one has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 2644 feet of interior space. There’s less acreage, though, with only half an acre here. The interiors of the Saugerties home are clearer more modern, not only because it’s fifty years younger, but I think if you cleared away the clutter and drapes in the Red Hook farmhouse, you’d find some good bones.

Let us know which one you think is the better deal! Stats for each place on the jump. Read the rest of this entry

East Versus West: Swimming Holes

One plus for the west side of the Hudson River is that it’s far more swimmable. Lakes, swimming holes, and the wonderful Esopus Creek abound.

A few weeks ago, we hit this wonderful swimming hole, just behind the Inn at Leeds. Because the water was low, tens of natural rock pools had formed, some with mini waterfalls throwing through them.

True, it was only 20 minutes from where we were staying in Dutchess County on the west side, but roosting over on the east means many more choices and less driving. In the coming weeks, I’ll be keeping my eye on Leeds real estate to see if something creekside comes up. Nothing worth mentioning on the offering block this week.

East Versus West: What Side of the River Is Right For You? #1

We’re going to spend a lot of time in the future talking about the differences between the east and west sides of the Hudson. We expect it will draw some ire from both sides, and that’s fine. Let’s duke it out once and for all–which side do you think is better, and why? We’ll be polling residents, real estate agents and vacationers for their opinions, but in the meantime, here are some quotes I gathered from a recent upstate trip. You’ll notice some of them take a morally superior tone on behalf of the east side residents–those who live in Tivoli, Germantown, Milan, Ancram and other hamlets serviced by the Taconic and Amtrak. On the other hand, the west side has one big leg up on the east: cheaper prices.

  • “The west side is for people who want to be in nature; the east side is for people who want to look at nature. Do you want to be in the mountains, or have mountain views?”
  • “The west side has a lot more gray ponytails.”
  • “The west side has folk artists who paint flowers; the east side has Chelsea artists who make sculptures of folk artists painting flowers.” 
  • “On the west side, you have access to big box services (like the Wal-Mart and Target along 9W in Kingston); on the east side, you have boutique services.”
  • “On the east side, you get the sense that man has conquered nature; on the west side, you still feel that nature reigns.”

Well, folks? Agree? Disagree? Have a strong allegiance to one side or the other? We are prepared to eat our hats here, although, for the record, these are not the opinions of Upstater, just the opinions of people Upstater happened to be hanging out with.

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