Living the high life in the Hudson Valley

Working farms and sleek glass boxes draw buyers shunning Hamptons scene

TRD New York /
May.May 09, 2016 01:00 PM

It’s long been considered the anti-Hamptons, but the Hudson Valley has a lot more going for it than just rejecting the scene (and prices) of the East End.

For today’s buyers, just as in the past, the main draw is nature. Views of the Hudson Valley, the Catskills and verdant countryside attracted illustrious families like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts along with J. P. Morgan and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The natural beauty of the area continues to beckon hiking, fishing, canoeing and biking enthusiasts.

“The scenery is stunning,” said Adam Hade, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence/Christie’s International Real Estate. “To escape from the city and live in this type of setting — and just two hours from New York City — is extremely unique.”

Hade is seeing a steady increase of buyers looking to the Hudson Valley as a getaway destination. “I’ve worked with numerous homebuyers who have explored the Hamptons for a second home but have ultimately decided against buying in that area,” he said. Overcrowding and stories of people sitting in traffic for hours discouraged them.

Unlike the relatively compact Hamptons, when you’re talking about Hudson Valley, you’re talking about a sprawling area that comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities, from Albany and Troy southward to Yonkers in Westchester County.

Vacation home buyers from New York City are largely focused on Columbia County, where the median sale price for 2015 was $202,000, and Dutchess County, where the median price was $260,000, according to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance — a far cry from the median price for a Hamptons home, which hit $950,000 for 2015, according to real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman.

With such a wide area to cover, this month LLNYC offers a ranking of notable homes on the market, determined by using Zillow and contacting brokers, who provided some listings not yet on the MLS. Some homes are more humble than our typical opulent spreads, but all feature vast square footage and acreage for comparatively lower figures.

Consider this ranking of homes on the market in Hudson Valley an invitation to pursue the outdoor dreams of your choice on your own property.

Dutchess County ranges along the Hudson River from Beacon in the south, where the Dia:Beacon modern art museum is located, to the village of Tivoli in the north, and is bordered on the east by Connecticut. While development has introduced suburban-style homes, the landscape also still features picturesque farms with red barns and grazing horses.

Columbia County lies between the Hudson River and Massachusetts. The county seat, Hudson, the city located along the west border, is experiencing a revival, thanks to new antique stops, restaurants and art galleries.

The buyers that broker Elyse Harney Morris, an owner of Elyse Harney Real Estate, works with are “done with the Hamptons” but often don’t start out looking at Hudson Valley.

“So many people want the Berkshires, but then they realize that it’s an extra 20 to 40 minutes from New York City. The magic number is two hours,” she said.

She works with many New York City residents looking to buy second homes in the much-desired villages of Millerton and Millbrook in Dutchess County and the town of Ancram in Columbia County. Her typical clients, 40-something-year-old couples with children, “don’t want a fixer-upper,” she said.

“What are selling are turn-key homes where all you have to bring is your toothbrush and you can start enjoying all we have to offer here,” Morris said.

That includes Hudson Valley’s farm-to-table culture. “We’ve always had great farmers markets, but now they are open year-round,” Morris said. The Millerton Farmers Market, for example, includes Dutchess County farmers who sell their own heirloom vegetables, heritage meats and micro greens.

Foodie culture here is also fueled by the famed Culinary Institute of America in Dutchess County, which turns out leading celebrity chefs, and some of its graduates stick around to open their own eateries. Morris pointed out CIA graduate Daphna Mizrahi’s popular restaurant as just one example. Mizrahi, a winner last year on Food Network’s “Chopped,” is the chef and owner at Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room in Amenia.

Also generating buzz in Amenia: The Silo Ridge Field Club, a luxury resort community that will have 245 residentiual units, an 18-hole golf course and and an Olympic-quality private equestrian center among its recreational offerings. Developers broke ground on the $500 million project in March. Pre-designed homes will be priced between $1 million and $10 million, while custom homes may cost over $30 million.

Consider this ranking of homes on the market in Hudson Valley an invitation to pursue the outdoor dreams of your choice on your own property — whether that includes raising heirloom chickens or playing a game of tennis.

33 Barclay Street, Saugerties, NY
$12,000,000 – 13,892 square feet

Cue the romantic buyer with a vision. Known as Bright Bank, this assemblage of an 1848 mansion and farm buildings sits high on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, according to listing agent Heather Croner of Heather Croner Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty. The 137-acre property, on the outskirts of the historic village of Saugerties, includes its own private bay and rights to restore a deep-water dock mooring. The brick mansion has been partially restored, with state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems installed, said Croner, and many original architectural details intact. The space is ready to be finished to a new owner’s taste, she said. The current plan calls for four master suites; however, the square footage allows for eight or nine bedrooms.

Dales Bridge Road, Germantown, NY
$10,800,000 four beds, four baths; 4,595 square feet

Live your dream — especially if your dream involves working the land — at this property called Mountain Range Farm, which has views of the Catskills. This is a 738-acre working farm with rolling land, fenced pastures, vineyards and orchards as well as a wide, flowing creek and several large ponds. The historic main house, a brick home built in 1814, has been updated and is move-in ready, said listing agent Heather Croner. Other buildings include a second main house, guest house and staff accommodations and a barn. Amenities include a tennis court and swimming pool.

101 Roundhill Road, Cold Spring, NY
$8,999,000 – six beds, five baths, two half baths; 11,127 square feet

Make a stately entrance down the nearly mile-long driveway to this Hudson River estate on the top of Round Hill. The 26-acre property is gated and fenced and the 16-year-old home features granite construction, according to listing agent Frank Haymson of Douglas Elliman, who said there are an additional 60 acres available. It is only several minutes from the fashionable Hudson River town of Cold Spring and only a one-hour drive to Manhattan. Highlights include a pool, gym, home theater and wine cellar as well as views of the Hudson River, West Point and the New York City skyline.

215 Mill Road, Rhinebeck, NY
$8,995,000 – six beds, six baths; 1,482 square feet

Talk about drama. This modern home features four structures connected by a series of covered walkways, built around a 60-foot waterfall. There are views of the Landsman Kill River throughout the property, which was built in 1985 and set on 26 acres. It is minutes from the desirable village of Rhinebeck. Robert Morini of Houlihan Lawrence is the listing agent.

51 Hall Hill Road, Ancram, NY
$8,250,000 three beds, one bath; 2,400 square feet

Epiphany Farm is not, as listing agent Andrew Hingson of Klemm Real Estate stressed, “a McMansion.” Its style is more “Little House on the Prarie” with incredible views. The property is located in Ancram, a rural and protected town with fields and woods drained by the Roeliff Jansen Kill as it meanders to the Hudson River. The property sits astride both sides of the waterway and is connected by a bridge and offers 547 “storybook” acres with Taconic and Catskill mountain views. There are two antique houses, circa 1850, and antique pegged post and beam barns. On the grounds are three ponds and over 120 acres of mature woods with trails.

Esopus, NY
$7,900,000 six beds, six full baths, two half baths

Perched high above the west bank of the Hudson River is a modern home on 20 acres in a historic neighborhood. Designed by architect Norman Jaffe, it was built for the present owner and completed in 1993 on a site opposite the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vanderbilt Mansion national historic sites. The owner is very private and the address was not provided. There is an indoor swimming pool and an impressive colonnade lit by skylights. “We’re seeing more and more modern homes on the market,” said listing agent Heather Croner of Heather Croner Real Estate. “People find it easer to live with a simpler floor plan.”

132 Seeley Road, Lagrangeville, NY
$7,750,000 three beds, four baths; 7,131 square feet

This home in Clove Valley, built in 2010, is set high on a hill to take advantage of views across the Hudson Valley to the Catskill Mountains. The open floor plan features French limestone, Italian walnut flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows and raised fireplaces. The home’s three levels are serviced by an elevator. Highlights include a designer Downsview kitchen, central gallery, great room with a 2,500-square-foot terrace and outdoor kitchen. It occupies an 87-acre setting with a pond and waterfall. Terraced gardens, meadows and woodland provide a backdrop for entertaining with a 60-foot infinity pool, outdoor fire pit and two-bedroom pool house that doubles as a guest house. John Friend of Houlihan Lawrence is the listing agent.

1132 Chestnut Ridge Road, Dover Plains, NY
$6,985,000 nine beds, eight baths; 3,832 square feet

This property, Chestnut Ridge Farm, was originally the Millbrook Polo Field and would make any horse lover’s heart beat fast. It has two barns with matted stalls, heated tack rooms, grooming stalls and an indoor riding arena. There are 2.8 miles of fenced pasture and 200 acres of riding trails with mountaintop views, stretching west to the Catskills and across the Hudson Valley. “This is a working horse farm, although it doesn’t have to be. It is a very flexible property and would make a wonderful family compound,” said listing agent Elyse Harney Morris of Elyse Harney Real Estate. There are two guesthouses and a pool house as well. It was originally priced at $15 million when it went on the market a year and a half ago.

35 Killearn Road, Millbrook, NY
$7,400,000 five beds, three full baths, one half bath; 4,000 square feet

There is room to roam with complete privacy at this property called Tower Hall. The house sits on 100-plus acres, is built of weathered stone and has a corner tower. It is surrounded by gardens and sited for maximum natural light. There are views of meadows with hills beyond and uninterrupted views. Additional features include a conservatory linked by a glass gallery to the ground floor, media room, wine cellar and multiple meditative reading nooks. Other features include a barn with an apartment and artist’s studio and a swimming pool. Heather Croner is the listing agent.

Old Route 82, Hudson, NY
$5,999,000 – six beds, seven full baths, three half baths; 8,800 square feet

A strong counterpoint to the barns and farm houses of Hudson Valley is Taghkanic House, a modernist two-level home on 115 acres designed by Thomas Phifer, the architect’s first residential commission after leaving Richard Meier’s firm. The grounds were created by landscape architect Dan Kiley and feature a long driveway through sweeping meadows. A four-exposure, floor-to-ceiling glass and steel pavilion holds the living and dining areas and showcases vistas of the Catskill Mountains. John Friend of Houlihan Lawrence is the listing agent.

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