Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stuff You Should Do: Go Rollerskating in Kerhonkson!

The first time I discovered Skate Time 209 was when I was invited there for a birthday party.  It was my boyfriend’s daughter’s 8th birthday party, and I hadn’t been skating in ages.  Naturally, it took me a while to get my rollerlegs back under me, and my 7-year-old daughter Madeline was positively apoplectic because she couldn’t stay upright on her skates. Nonetheless, we had a marvelous time at Skate Time.  And when we could no longer stand upright from the amount of skating we did, we played a whole bunch of video games, the kind with the ticket dispensers so you could walk out the door with some pencil erasers, whistles and plastic dinosaurs.

There was also a huge indoor skate park attached to it, filled with teens and tweens doing half-pipes and ollies and gleaming cubes or whatever it is that skaterfolk do, but that was a little outside of my abilities.
Skate Time comes completely out of the blue as you head east on route 209, surrounded by auto body shops and farms.  The interior is immaculately clean, and the roller rink itself is an old-school wooden floor.  It’s the type of place that I would hang out in all day and blow all of my allowance on video games…and I’m 36 years old!  Our kids loved it and beg to go back there all the time.  And we would love to, but there’s the thing:  It’s not cheap. Just to walk into the building costs you $8, and if you don’t own your own skates, you can expect to pay another $3 for rental.  If you’ve got two kids (like we do) and need to rent skates for all four of us, that comes out to a hefty $41.  And, if you’re anything like me, you need to have some fries with your skate, so expect to spend another $20 to feed everyone.  And that’s before you hit the skee-ball and air hockey tables.
Nevertheless, it’s a really nice place and definitely worth the money for a once-in-a-while special treat for the family.  Or just leave the kids at home and spend your date-night there.  Because nothing brings a couple closer than watching each other fall down a lot before splitting a giant pretzel and racing each other on the driving games in the arcade.
Skate Time 209 is open Thursday-Sunday, and they have tons of special events.  Times and admission prices, as well as a list of activities available can be found here.

UPSTATE JANE: Keeping Warm and Keeping Modern, In An Upstate House

Why is it always such a difficult process to merge form and function? Since moving into my new home Upstate full-time, I have discovered an ugly fact. I was aware that this new home heats with oil (much to my chagrin and irritation) and I assumed down the line I would have to make the necessary environmentally friendly and energy-efficient changes for our budget and my peace of mind. What I didn’t realize, is that to fill my 275 gallon tank of oil, I would pay $800.00. I also didn’t realize that this 275 gallon tank would last me a month. This is not cranking the heat, but keeping the indoor temperature around 65 degrees. My last house had 3 smart heating solutions. It had a propane back up for creating instant heat when coming inside, it had zoned baseboard heat (rarely used, but on thermostats, convenient and efficient) and it had a wood stoves.  All this combined to a very inexpensive heating source. We were also weekender’s and the old home was 1100 square feet as opposed to 2000. It is something to seriously consider when looking for a home, especially larger homes than 2000 square feet. I just think back to the old mansions I had been pondering!

Fast forward to full-time living and working from home, with a more expensive oil based central heating system, and you are slapped with $800.00 a month during the winter. Well considering our mortgage payments are not much more than that, we cannot “wait” to make the changes, we have to do it…well…NOW. I needed to get a woodstove insert for our large fireplace to act as a furnace/primary heat source.


I recently visited a local shop, and was quite disappointed by the lack of modern or contemporary wood stove inserts for your fireplace. I assumed I may have to pay more for a design that would aesthetically work in our modern home- but I assumed there would at least be one option.  Though not at this store, there are some cool modern free standing wood stoves and fireplaces, see my URBAN JANE post) At this local store I found country wood stoves (great for a different style home) heavy cast iron stoves that protruded far out of the fireplace, and then typical wood stoves with scrolling and ornate details. The salesman suggested I just place one of these wood stoves in front of my fireplace. These solutions are fine for a farmhouse, or an older home- but a home that is about clean lines and modern minimalism an ornate wood stove sitting in front of a linear limestone fireplace, just can’t work.

I was then shown gas fireplace inserts to use propane with. Now propane is the more environmentally friendly option over wood (to some)since it burns cleaner and less carcinogenicity, but it is not necessarily a renewable “green” resource.  It costs about the same to heat as with wood, (Unless you scour for your own decent fallen trees and cut it all yourself and stack 50 cords out back for years down the road.) These models were much slicker looking, and granted they come with no muss or fuss, less maintenance, and can be controlled by a thermostat and timer just like a regular furnace. However, you don’t get that real fire feeling or sound or smell. Is it worth it?

I decided there must be a more attractive wood stove insert out there than this shop was showing me (even though they claimed there was not) When I asked him  about Wittus (whom they did not carry)  he claimed they did not make a wood stove insert like that, and that in Europe they will heat with 3-4 free-standing wood stoves. I then realized I needed to do more of my own research since I knew for a fact that there were some great models in Europe, and there must be some available here to purchase in the U.S.

Below are a few models I have found that are contemporary to modern and offer a high BTU output. They should be able to heat a 2000-2500 square foot home in the winter. However, remember they will not heat your water, so you are still left with your oil heater if you don’t replace it for a propane or electric hot water heater.

The first model is a Wittus wood burning insert- and though expensive (I have read approximately $4,000.00) At $800.00 a month for oil, it would be worth it.

The Optifire Zero Clearance Fireplace (up to 50,000 BTU and heats up to 2500 square feet in the greenest manner possible)  and the H530 insert (up to 30,000 BTU and heats up to 1500 square feet respectively)

The next is Morsø 5660 NA woodstove Fireplace Insert (up to 50,000 BTU and up to 2200 square feet) The viewing window for the fire is smaller and the surround is larger, but this is also a more environmentally friendly stove. It runs approximately $3100.00

They also make another less expensive model which has the same BTU and space heating qualities but it slightly smaller for $2750.00

The last woodstove insert is the FPX 33 Elite Plus Wood Insert wood insert (heats up to 2000 square feet) but does not seem to display all the green qualities. The price seems to be a bit lower though, in the $2000.00 range before add on’s.

Now for the Gas Fireplace’s. These typically cost less money but depending on whom you speak to are more environmentally friendly, are more fuss free, yet also don’t kick out the jams like the wood stoves do, although they claim the same BTU and square foot coverage.

The FPX 34 DVL GSR Insert (up to 40,000 BTU and heats up to 2000 square feet)

two different surrounds with decent looking fronts, both the same fireplace

The next is the Avalaon 33 DVI Gas Fireplace- heats up to 2000 square feet and 40,000 BTU’s

Avalon Gas Fireplace

The last is the Napoleon Inspiration GDI44 heats up to 2500 square feet at 44,000 BTU’s- Remember these are just the inserts you see (not the “fireplace hearths”)

Introducing our New Blogger, Kandy Jo!

Folks, we are super excited to announce the newest member of the Upstater team. We interviewed lots of folks to write for Upstater, but Kandy Harris — a writer, musician and mother who could spend all day looking at real estate listings — stood out. Not only is she a great writer and a cool chick, she’s a local (lives in Saugerties) and travels extensively around Upstater territory. So, she’ll be writing about houses, cool stuff to do and insider, Upstater tips. We’re so glad to have her on board.

UPSTATE JANE: Fixer Upper in Bearsville NY with potential income property 119K

I have been watching this property for a while now…(over a year) and the price keeps going down, it is now at 119K!~

I have peeked around and there are clearly reasons for the price tag. It is a true fixer upper. It appears to have possible foundation problem mainly. Also the siding would have to be replaced, along with  I am sure potential mold problems. It does however have an amazing fireplace, vaulted ceilings, a dining room, grand staircase, and is on a great convenient piece of property with an outbuilding that could easily be converted to an income unit with the addition of a bathroom. (It has a kitchen already) So if you are really looking for a “fixer upper”, and one with potential for income- this may be it.  For full listing click here

Beds:2 Bed  Baths:1 Bath   House Size:1,326 Sq Ft   Lot Size:0.68 Acres

Upstate Wedding Suggestions, Ideas, Experiences? Please Share!

Your faithful Greene County correspondent is getting married! I’m thrilled, but also reeling a bit from my initial phone calls to venues. I’d love to find a beautiful space Upstate to have our wedding and sadly my little Upstate house comes with a correspondingly little lawn. The first venue I called in Greene County has a $4000 site fee for a half day rental, which doesn’t include any set-up or staff (or tables or chairs). Did I mention this is the same site fee that the Brooklyn Boathouse charges, one of the nicer places to get married in the BK, but they give you chairs with that price?

Maybe I’m naive for thinking this steep, but I’d love thoughts from you all on places and ways to have an affordable Upstate wedding. Comments, please!

Greene County Pick of the Week: Athens Country Retreat with Upstate’s Most Gorgeous Kitchen

Ok, the $549,000 price point on this country house is more than I usually allow for my Greene County cheapies, but I couldn’t resist this kitchen. It looks so Tuscan, and not in that cheesy Sopranos-way that usually shows up in American interpretations of Italy.

I’m not alone in my love of this home’s entertaining spaces: the house, built on a former mushroom farm, was featured in Saveur a few years back. The home is new, but it doesn’t quite look it. I think the builder did a great job of using the barn inspiration. The property comes with a ton of land as well as the option to buy an additional 10.4 acre building site. My main quibble is the bedrooms look tight—and I’d like more of them at this price. There is a guest house, but I love having house guests and sleepovers and the feeling that we’re all in it together if a serial killer comes …

Stats and map on the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Upstate Jane: The Renovation of Our Weekend Home, Part 2

So when I left off we had just had a slam dunk success in the first 3 months of owning our weekend home in terms of the renovations we had done. With proper prep and research we had accomplished quite a bit in 3 months time considering we were only there on the weekends. Our contractor did a great job in materializing the design I had created for the kitchen. We were pumped! We also noticed though how a brand new kitchen and floors and partially new guest bath can start to make other flaws glaring! Suddenly our living room seemed shabby. The orange built in’s we had left up from the original owner along with the taupe/tan humongous forced air propane heater were like a big ugly blemish.

My husband and I debated over what color we should paint the built in. We had always assumed we would be rebuilding it at some point. We liked the contrast visually, but it wasn’t exactly originally built the best and there were somethings that were best left un”highlighted”  I had a friend up for the weekend and decided to just paint it white, to let the objects really pop and show off their form more. Here it is before…

And here it is after we painted! I decided to take a risk and paint the propane heater white as well, to help it disappear…it worked!

Once we finished this project, we were all set for the bathroom work to begin. My parents were going to visit in late June, early July,  and I wanted the master bath to be finished by then. We were told it would begin in May/June and would be done in a month. I was so excited! I started ordering away! I had pretty much everything ready except for the tub! My design was ready, my materials were here, my estimate in hand, my schedule was on track!!! Then we waited…and waited…and more waiting…my parents pushed their visit to August…and we waited more. My contractor was so far behind! Now most people would say, why didn’t you just go with someone else?! Fool! HA! I can only explain it like this…my contractor to me is like that guy/girl you had a crush on, that you are willing to wait for until they are “ready” to notice you. I will WAIT for him. We work so well together, and he does such a good job in building my designs, that I needed to hold out for him. Well guess what…I waited until the end of OCTOBER before he started working on the bathroom. Yeah. So lesson learned. I mean, I will still wait for him…but I learned I need to really make sure he is going to START the job when he says. Do I sound like an abused spouse?  It took a long time, since he was working on multiple jobs, and the project  wasn’t finished until JANUARY. A far cry from the kitchen’s speed! To be fair, we were also waiting on the plumber as well,  but…when it was done…wow. Watch the transformation here from weird office/sauna room to my master bathroom, and read more here, then here, and finally hereRead the rest of this entry

Upstate Jane: Gorgeous Dutch Architect Designed Home with Pool on 3.3 acres- 299K

88  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 12780

Swoon. This home is a show piece. Located in Sparrowbush (Near Middletown) this 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home has unbelievable soaring wood ceilings, large finished basement, a huge fireplace, floor to ceiling windows and a pool all on 3.3 acres. All of this and…wait…mountain views.

View the photos below, and see the full listing here

88  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 12780

Property Features

Fireplaces:  1

Air Conditioning:  None

Garage Parking:  0

Area Location:  Deerpark Town

Driveway Description:  Blacktop

Garage Configuration:  None

Heat Zone:  3

Heating Fuel:  Oil Above Ground

Heating Type:  Hot Water, Steam

Property SQFT

Sqft Finished Approx:  2216

Upstate Jane: New Paltz MCM Gem with Great Bones: $265K and Dropping!

I had my eye on this gem for a while, but decided I liked living in Woodstock too much to even visit it. I feared I would get a crush and then make some stupid rash decision…Okay, okay, we DID cruise it, and it was pretty cool in person and in a cool neighborhood. But we never went inside and got to know the house. I did keep updating myself on its price though, and even though I have already signed contracts on another house I thought of this pad for all of YOU out there reading Upstater.  With clean lines, a vaulted ceiling, a wall length stone fireplace and original details plus windows galore  this is a great house.  Click here for full listing.

Address: 15 Cedar Ridge Road, New Paltz NY 12561

Stats: Beds:3 Bed Baths:2 Bath House Size:1,884 Sq Ft Lot Size:2.55 Acres

Price: currently $265k Taxes: (according to $7697

I believe that with some trimming in the backyard of your 2.55 acres- you may even get views of the Gunks! It has some GREAT bones and just needs a little updating. Naturally no pics of the bathroom leads me to the anticipation of walking into a carpeted bathtub surround, or something equally disturbing but let’s not get negative! It could be WONDERFUL! Not sure what those shoji screens are there for, but they were adamant in the listing info that they are NOT included- Nooo problem. For those unfamiliar with New Paltz, it is a cute college town, home of SUNY New Paltz. It has some great restaurants, bars and cute shops. It also is very close to Mohonk trails, wineries and the Gunks for those climbers out there. Although not on the train line, it is about an hour and half to hour 45 with traffic from Manhattan and is on the Trailways bus route!  The house rather reminds me of these killer digs below, owned by designer Amy Butler and her husband David. It has all the makings to be just as fabulous! For a full house tour of their home via Apartment Therapy, click here.


more photos on the jump! Read the rest of this entry

Upstate Jane: My Latest House Crush

Megan Oldenburger, aka Upstate Jane, is the owner of Dichotomy Interiors, an Interior Design and Style firm based in Woodstock, NY. She writes for Upstater about design, home furnishings, real estate and culture.

I get crushes on houses sometimes. I start fantasizing about them, all the things I want to do with them once they are mine, how I would buy it such beautiful things, and treat it so well. How I would spend the rest of my life with it, and grow with it. Well…this time my HUSBAND got the crush. I admit, I did too. This house was something. This home clearly swung both ways and was not afraid to seduce both of us.

Side of house and side entry

It was a chance encounter. We weren’t expecting to meet. Just on a simple Sunday drive when we saw the signs. OPEN HOUSE.

this stone path leads down from the entry over the brook

Sure, we see these signs all the time, and we don’t go pulling down just any old properties driveway. But this one was special. It was on a road we had “travelled” before. We had dabbled with another home down that street. Could it be that same house AGAIN? That previous house was off the market last we checked (had a lien on her, poor thing) Liens are like a leper in real estate. No one can touch you if they wanted, you are on your own island. The only thing you can do is hope for a quick foreclosure. We thought it could only be one other thing, the BIG stone house with the renovated barn.

We took the bait.

front entry hall

We pulled down the looong tree lined driveway with a babbling brook running alongside it with a picket fenced bridge leading down from the entry. Then, off to our left…It stood, just looking at us to come  up and chat. We drove up the curved road past the pretty red barn and saw her original stonework, and multiple chimneys. A large shed, and a screened in slate porch. As we entered we began through what is the dining room with it’s wide original stone and stucco fireplace and beamed ceilings. It just got better from there. I don’t want to “kiss and tell” but I will tell you that my husband was shooting off more pictures and prancing around like he had been kissed for the first time!

OH! This house has a past- in the 40’s and 50’s it was owned by Jane Burr, pioneering feminist, novelist/poet and was used as an Inn for writers. It’s current owners are a well known model and a musician/actor. Like I said though, I won’t kiss and tell.

In the end we couldn’t afford this gorgeous masterpiece, it is a bit overpriced still for the market, and the taxes just killed it for us. Time will tell. We visited again to make sure it was love and not lust, but the luster faded. This truly is an amazing property but there are a few things that need to be taken care of. In the end I needed to find something that was less expensive and less intimidating. For some lucky person though, willing to put the work in, this is going to be an amazing purchase. Oh, and if that lucky person is reading this right now…I would LOVE to help you renovate it!

Here is the listing and stats

Location: Woodstock

Beds:4 Bed (plus the barn studio)

Baths:2 Bath (3 if you count the barn studio)

House Size:2,281 Sq Ft

Lot Size:5.78 Acres

Last years taxes (here’s the kicker): $14,528

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