This Palenville property is the kind of listing that always catches my eye. A graceful white farmhouse, ideally built before women had the vote, is basically my platonic ideal of an Upstate property. I sometimes feel like Victorian vernacular builders knew how to market to me even better than those geniuses behind the Anthropogie catalog.
While I think this one has such nice curb appeal, I wish the listing included more interior photos. The outdoor space isn’t large but it has some good selling points, too. It’s on a relatively quiet street, across the road from Kaaterskill Creek. The realtor points out that the yard is big and flat enough for a pool. The location is village-seeping-into-country: not totally private, but plenty of trees as well as that creek. Note that Palenville really doesn’t have much of a town center, so Catskill would be the closest town. You’d be close, too, to Kaaterskill Falls and some good hiking, though a good thirty minute drive from skiing farther up the mountain so it would be harder to make this one into a ski or winter rental.
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So I’ve decided that Durham/Cornwallville is the Greenpoint of the Catskills, or at least of Greene County. It’s kind of inconvenient, but has its own discrete charms, and it’s reasonably close to the stuff to do in Windham/Hunter (aka Williamsburg?) or even Woodstock/Saugerties (East Village/LES?). Because of the inconvenience—no easy public transportation, a longer drive for groceries, etc—the prices are considerably lower than in prime ski country or more famous hippie country (see previously mentioned towns). This makes buying a home in Durham (and its hamlet Cornwallville) much like buying a place in Greenpoint, ten years ago. It’s a bit of a hike to the bigger draws, but you can get a deal and the off-the-beaten path nature has it’s own sort of guarantee of wildness. (My analogy does not allow for massive high rise developments alongside polluted bodies of water, but I’ll work on that.)
This cheap farmhouse on Cornwallville’s scenic main drag is representative of the deals in the area. As mentioned, my former real estate agent raves about the sense of community in little Cornwallville. This 1800’s farmhouse looks spacious, if a bit low-slung, with plenty of hardwood floors and exposed beams and a wood stove for cold nights. The property extends beyond the fenced in backyard, with a view of woods and mountains. That fence gives it a slightly suburban feel that just screams “put a pool in it!” to me.
Asking Price: $134,500
Square feet: 1800
Land: .3 acres
Distance to NYC: 138 miles; 2 hours, 48 minutes