(Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a fantastic series from Realtor and writer Kathryn Roan. You can read the first part here.)
Finding the perfect farm is best categorized as online dating. You put your criteria into a search engine, and you get a 100 smiling, shiny faces in return. And like anything else, a ranch’s listing online is the best version of itself. Each profile shows only the best angles, and begs the viewer to “Pick Me! Pick Me!” Only the best features are shown, rarely does the listing mention the crumbling shack with 13 cars in the yard across the street. Much like dating, at the beginning farm shopping is somuchfun and there are just so many possibilities (!). And then you turn 30 and it seems like all the good ones are taken, and the leftovers have serious mommy issues. Sorry, I seem to have over-mixed my metaphor…
I am going to be honest with you. If you don’t drink heavily now, you may start sometime during your property search. For one, it will feel like the perfect property is just out of your reach financially. This happens to everyone, and I mean everyone, no matter the price range. Ok, maybe not those with $10 million to spend, but I don’t know any of those people. (If you do, please direct them to Kathryn@TexasEquestrianProperties.com).
The shopping process can be a beating. You’ll find farms where you love the location, and hate the house. Or you love the house, hate the location, and it doesn’t have a barn. Or you love everything, but it’s on the wrong soil. Inevitably, you’ll find several that look great on paper, only to find out that the only reason it’s in your price range is that it is right next to a rail road track and there’s a decent chance the next door neighbor’s a drug dealer. Most importantly, do not shop way out of your price range. If you cannot afford to buy a Lambo, do not (and I repeat, do not) go test drive a Lambo. Everything else will feel like a 1991 Honda Civic with no doors in comparison. You’ll only set yourself up for disappointment.
These days we tend to think of second homes as being located as a plane flight or at least a several-hour car ride from the primary residence, but it wasn’t always this way. In the days before cars, a smaller distance might provide all the respite necessary.
Photo: E.J. Murphy Realty
Case in point: Weather Watch Farm, a country estate in Litchfield, Connecticut. The 28-acre estate offers rolling green vistas and tranquil meadows just as it has for centuries. The estate includes a colonial farmhouse that dates back to the 1800s and was once home to the Howe family among other residents. Ernest Howe (1872-1915), was a Yale-educated geologist who spent his winters in New Haven but his summers at the farm.
In the winter months, the resort city of Rancho Mirage, California, becomes a popular destination in large part because it boasts one of the warmest winters in the United States. The combination of bright sunshine and snow-capped mountains in the distance create a perfect backdrop for golf, and snowbird recreation. It began to flower in the 1940s and 1950s when Hollywood stars and monied Angelenos sought a warm retreat for the winter months. Golf, martinis, and afternoons by the pool were the order of the day (and not out of fashion yet). There are nine country clubs in the area including Thunderbird and Tamarisk, the country club designed in 1952, that today’s home is located in.
Maybe you’ve just returned from a holiday escape to the hills. Or maybe you are planning a ski outing in a month or two. We all know how much North Texans love to head to the mountains of Colorado to get their downhill fix. One of the top destinations for Dallasites is Telluride, Colorado. The town happens to be the county seat of San Miguel County in southwest Colorado, a former mining town in the San Juan Mountains. But ever since skiers discovered its steep mountains and fabulous snow in about 1972, Telluride has become known as the pinnacle of Colorado mountain living, both in summer and winter.
Telluride is a laid-back Aspen: no Prada store, no Louis Vuitton. Rumor has it that even Starbucks must get permission to move to Telluride, and thus far that permission has not been granted. There is a Starbucks in Mountain Village in Hotel Madeleine, about as close as a Skinny Vanilla Latte will ever get to this place. (more…)
Tom Cruise has listed his 298-acre Telluride spread featuring a 10,000-square-foot main house for sale in Telluride for $59 million. If that sounds like a lot, no worries: the Telluride real estate market is heating up. While Telluride home sales were $18 million in November of 2013, they were double that in 2014: $36.8 million alone in San Miguel County, which includes Telluride and Mountain Village.
There are certain fantasies that seem to be nearly universal, running away to a tropical island, living in a penthouse in a major city, and yes, moving to Italy to a beautiful old estate and making wine.
Here’s your chance. This estate is just a couple of kilometers from the unbelievably charming Tuscan village of Panzano in the Chianti Hills which just happens to be located midway between Florence and Sienna on the via Chiantigiana. The estate is primely situated within the finest vineyards of Chianti Classico and the historical estate of Le Masse di Greve. What could be more perfect than a stone farmhouse on 13 hectares (32 acres) with a hilltop position that allows you to survey the rolling hills of vineyards and properties that have existed in a mostly undisturbed state for centuries?
Jane Stieren and Bill Lacy commissioned a book on their Hill Country ranch.
It’s true that buying a piece of land is like a long-term relationship. The buildings on it may change, as well as the owners, and after many years you are left with something beautiful but different. Haven’t you ever wanted to capture the history and essence of a home or ranch at one point in time? Now you can.
Sure, there are many monographs that make for good coffee table books, but the books that John Bigelow Taylor, a photographer, and his wife, Diane Dubler, create are a category in their own.
Yucaipa? The close-knit community in California’s San Bernardino County isn’t exactly the vacation destination on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but the town has a lot to recommend it, including great recreation opportunities and a quaint downtown. In fact given the town’s commitment to lifelong learning, health, and wellness, it might just be a dream spot for retirees.