If you live in New York City, you discover various “weekend escapes” not long after arriving. I’ve been going “upstate”, as we say here, for more than half of my life. It’s been a low-cost alternative (compared to the nosebleed expensive Hamptons) that I’ve seen grow in popularity over the years. What happens is, people get weekend places, meet someone, fall in love, make a family and often-times make that permanent move to their own small town. If you want to read more about the psychology of moving “upstate” check out “30 Things You Need to Know About The Hudson Valley Before You Move There”,here. It’s right on the money. And speaking of money, you CAN get a small two-bedroom upstate for about $100K – if you really look (but you’ll need to put in $50-75K to redo the kitchen, bathrooms and finishes, almost surely.) But two hours away from the city $250-300K is the sweet spot. If you drive further away, it gets cheaper.
This is all backstory to a new project called Hudson Woods. My old buddy and former photo editor for Us Weekly, photographer Brittain Stone, has a place in nearby Accord with his InStyle Creative Director wife, Rina and their two kids. Last year, he told me of this new project he was involved in and I was intrigued to see it come to fruition. On 131 acres, Hudson Woods is 26 architect-designed houses crafted from locally-sourced, sustainable materials. They’ve made it their mission to connect with local craftsmen, retail, food sources, you name it, so this isn’t a foreign zone plopped down but an integral part of the area, that will help sustain it. These houses aren’t cheap, but they seem to have everything you could dream of. You’ll find yourself in the midst of like-minded neighbors (most probably New Yorkers) in an idyllic setting. Being upstate all these years, I’ve dreamt of projects like this – gathering together my city pals to make a utopian community in the woods – but these guys have actually done it! (No small feat.) If you think there are lots of modernist houses upstate, I can tell you too, that the inventory is practically zero. Plus, if you’re going to spend $600-700K you might as well have that investment in a community rather than as a one-off, which makes it harder to resell. I hope someone I know buys one so I can check it out. In the meantime, I can dream, can’t I?