montana landscape

Texans love the fierce, independent spirit, wide-open spaces, and natural beauty of Montana. The fourth-largest state has long been a favored vacation home setting for folks from North Texas, made even better last summer when American Airlines instituted daily nonstop seasonal flights to Bozeman Yellowstone Airport, the gateway to the area known as “Big Sky,” from May through September — prime time to get away from triple-digit heat.

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Denman - Exterior 1

Do you believe a vacation home is a refuge to literally get away from it all?  Perhaps the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest calls to you, but Seattle has become too “Microsoft Millionaire” for you.  How about hopping across the Canadian border to one of the Gulf Islands between the mainland of British Columbia (containing the City of Vancouver) and the large Island of Vancouver?  Denman Island has just what the doctor ordered.

Located at 1800 Triple Rock Road is this gem of an eco-friendly house rests on a pinch over five acres with relaxing views of the forest canopy, Baynes Sound waterway and the Vancouver Island mountains in the distance.  Named Butterfly House due to the roofline, the home is a modest 670 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom.  It’s listed with Margaret Rabena of Pemberton Homes for $439,000.

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Christy Rost

Swan’s Nest in Summer. All photos courtesy of Christy Rost.

If you follow television and radio chefs and cooking teachers, you’re likely to be familiar with Christy Rost, who hosted the Texas-based television cooking and lifestyle show Just Like Home for 12 years, and a PBS special in 2009 that has become a Thanksgiving tradition, re-airing nationally every November since. Rost and her husband, Randy, maintain a home in DallChristy Rostas where they live for much of the year, but bought a second home in Colorado in 2006, which they have renovated to applause. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance recently honored the Rosts with the Theobald Award for historic preservation and advocacy for their outstanding remodel and preservation of Swan’s Nest, a house built in 1898 by Colorado gold baron Benjamin Stanley Revett for his bride.

Christy and Randy purchased the property in August 2006 and spent years restoring the home, preserving practical historic detail, but bringing its infrastructure up to modern standards. A registered nurse by training, Rost has authored 3 cookbooks, is a regular on the cooking TV and radio circuit, and does all her own home design. Here’s more on this lovely lady, her top-caliber mountain home renovation, the Thanksgiving show that presents highlights of the project and inspiration for holiday meals …

 

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Aspen, Colorado

All photos by Shawn O’Connor. Floor plans are courtesy of the Residences at the Little Nell.

 

Seven weeks ago while visiting Denver, we decided on making a quick road trip to Aspen for a night. As always, I was awestruck by the beauty of the Colorado roadways — rugged rocks, lush green forests, blue skies, scenic vistas, not a speck of litter in sight during several hours of driving. Heading over a pass near the end of our journey to Aspen, lacey white particles began falling from the sky, denser and denser as we climbed, accumulating on the ground around us. Snow! In August! In this hemisphere!

The moment brought to mind: it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming ski season— what better place to start is there than Aspen, a preeminent location in the Rockies and one of the most popular destinations for Texans seeking a top-tier mountain homes? (more…)

 

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Wyoming real estate may be hot, but the temperature is a whole lot cooler up there. And Texans just love it, including our Governor, who had an unfortunate mishap there involving hot water.

And if you saw Ebby’s latest Grande Vie magazine, you may have seen my latest vacation home story on the Snake River Sporting Club, just outside Jackson.

This summer marks the 125th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, the great national treasure and home to half the world’s geysers, grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk. The lure of Yellowstone draws millions of visitors every year, and this year may be a bonanza.

Now you can own your own small (or large) piece of Wyoming at one of the finest residential and lifestyle club communities in the northwest: the Snake River Sporting Club at Jackson Hole.

In 2013, a group of Atlanta investors known as Cygnus, run by Christopher Swann, brought a strong infusion of capital to complete, rejuvenate and develop the club. 

They have spared no expense: 11.5 million plus 2 million for the golf course. 

Located just south of the confluence of the Snake and Hoback rivers, about 12 miles from the town of Jackson, the Snake River Sporting Club offers 800-acres of unbelievable lifestyle experience. Live and play here when it’s 110 degrees in Dallas, and just be kind enough to put all the fun on Facebook. Owner/investor Christopher Swann says it is the perfect marriage of rugged nature and authentic western lifestyle.  I have already mapped the mileage to Dallas: 1309 miles. A 20 hour drive or a direct 3 hour flight on America. Or there is always private.

SRSC Bridge

This is truly God’s country. (more…)

Houston AK Map

Not a fan of fans?  Is the beach just a sandy frying pan?  Well, if a hot summer of 65 degrees is paradise to you, head to Houston!  Located about 60 miles from Anchorage, Houston, AK., offers the perfect summer experience of long cool days and short nights.  How short?  Try twilight at midnight in July.

On your way from Anchorage to your second home in Houston, you’ll pass through Wasilla, home of a Walmart Supercenter where you better stock up, and where if you look closely you’ll see the Russians from one backyard!  The whole area is part of the Matanuska Valley that includes the Little Susitna River or Mat-Su to the locals. Houston has a population of about 2,100 while the Mat-Su contains an estimated 89,000.

This ain't I-45!

This ain’t I-45!

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Vacation home sales in the U.S. are at their highest ever, or at least since the national Association of Realtors began tracking vacation home buyer trends in 2003. Vacation home sales are up a whopping 57.4% from 2013, with an estimated 1.13 million vacation homes going under contract last year.

Most of those purchases are in the south and west.

Now may be the best time ever to buy a vacation home in Telluride, Colorado for BOTH winter and summer.

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Telluride snow

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…)