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Town of the Week: Kingston

A lot of Upstate weekend visitors overlook Kingston, the Ulster County seat and one time capital of New York State. Granted, many parts of Kingston don’t have that immediate postcard-worthy charm of smaller Upstate towns, especially if you’re coming to Kingston to do your shopping at one of the big box retailers or the mall.

The suburban sprawl you find once you leave Kingston’s lovely downtown area (more on that in a second) probably isn’t going to win any converts, but if you do end up moving Upstate, and you’re not planning on becoming a homesteader, you may find you want to be within a close driver of the bog boxes as you’ll eventually end up in need of them from time to time. (On a related note, I don’t think I could overpraise Kingston’s superb local supermarket, Adams Fairacre Farms on the 9W strip. Stocked full of local produce and products at very competitive prices, it also has suburban-sized wide aisles, a great garden center and amazing selection. For Adams alone, Kingston is worth a second look.) Read the rest of this entry

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What $2200 (or less) a month gets you in Ulster County, NY

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This one is for all the bitter renters. I love ogling affordable homes for sale, but looking at rental listings can be just as fun, and perhaps more realistic. If you’re not ready or able to plunk down the cash for a deed, you can still enjoy living in a real house (with stairs and views and lawncare) in beautiful Upstate New York—and probably for less than you pay for that Brownstone Belt floor-through. Plus, test driving by renting is a great way to see if a community is a good fit and to find out more about the market through on-the-ground research.

Ulster County, NY is a good comparison test case. It’s relatively accessible via the New York State Thruway and the Adirondacks Bus line, and it’s one of the most desirable of the Upstate counties. The hippie college town of New Paltz is there, home to a SUNY campus and its related university activities. The even hippier Woodstock is a little farther north. It also offers a lot to do, as well as many options if you’re in the market for homemade candles. My favorite Ulster County town, though, is undoubtedly Saugerties, which looks like the East Coast’s answer to Cicely, Alaska and is home to Love Bites Cafe, the best lunch spot in the universe. In sum, Ulster County offers natural beauty, a range of pleasant towns to choose from, and isn’t so far off the grid that your city friends won’t track you down.

On to the listings. This lovely, tasteful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath farmhouse in Saugerties rents for $2200 per month offered by Westwood, Metes & Bounds. (You need to register on their site to see the listing details.) It sits on 2 1/4 acres and offers a spacious wraparound porch and great country views. No neighbors in sight and within walking distance to the Hudson. The chef-y looking kitchen is HUGE, as are the common areas, so it looks perfect for entertaining.

My favorite of the bunch is this renovated barn in Woodstock, NY renting for $2000 per month. Close to town, gorgeously renovated, and with a vegetable garden to boot, you’d have to pry me out of this one when the lease was up. I love the sauna-style bathroom and terracotta flooring. The realtor, again Westwood, Metes and Bounds, is also offering the barn as a July and August rental for $3800/month. Jump on it!

Finally, there is this spacious, rambling farmhouse in New Paltz for rent, spotted on Craiglist. 4+bedrooms, 2 baths, 16 wooded acres, all for $2000 per month, lawncare and snow plowing included. It’s 4.5 miles north of town, and you could roller skate on that wraparound porch. Available August 1st and certainly worth asking if they’d be open to a shorter-term rental.

Ulster County NY Gmap

Snow White-ish Saugerties Stone Cottage

Can’t you just see the Seven Dwarfs stumbling out of this one? Maybe that’s because some of those exposed-beam ceilings look rather low. Other than that, it’s pretty hard to find fault with this tastefully updated 1700’s stone cottage. It’s on 12.7 wooded acres, which include a gurgling brook, private pond, a covered gazebo and two other outbuildings. It’s also in Saugerties, which I see as the Catskills’ answer to Cicely, Alaska. The list price is $259,000. I wonder how long this one will stay on the market …

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