Published on June 23, 2020

Every summer countless New Yorkers flock to the Catskill Mountains, where they enjoy weekends in nature, relax in cabins double (or triple or quadruple) the size of their city apartments, eat at farm-to-table restaurants, and drop in small shops that fill the quaint upstate downtowns. But this year many of them are looking for something a bit more permanent. As the The New York Times reported, bidding wars are breaking out in the Catskills like never before.

Prospective buyers are a mix of those looking for weekend or summer getaways and those wanting to leave the city for good, having found a new appreciation for the work-from-home lifestyle. In particular, they’re seeking “something funky, cute, and creative-looking,” according to Hilary Smith of Ruth Gale Realty in Ulster County. The bad news is that the increased demand for these homes hasn’t been satiated with the number of listings in this area. But there are plenty of other small towns throughout the state, ideal for those hoping for a serene place to move—like these three.

For Just-Outside-the-City Charm: Tarrytown

Less than an hour’s drive from Manhattan, picturesque Tarrytown is located in Westchester County, right next to Sleepy Hollow. It’s rife with examples of historic architecture, like the Warner Library, built in 1929, and the Gothic Revival Lyndhurst mansion. It’s no wonder city dwellers (such as A Land founder Melissa Lauprete) have found it to be the perfect spot to settle down in a restored old home.

For a Quiet-Yet-Cool Upstate Experience: North Chatham

While self-isolating, the cofounders of the design-build studio Hollymount, Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson, found joy in what they previously considered their weekend home in North Chatham. After purchasing the once-neglected 1827 house 12 years ago, the couple completely revived it—and now enjoy the space and its surrounding town on a more semipermanent basis. A hamlet located a few miles north of the Catskills, North Chatham is not far from Chatham’s vibrant downtown, full of small, independent businesses (like gift shop Pookstyle) and its sustainable small-home community, Art Park.

For a Nature Escape: Amenia

Home to Troutbeck, the charming Hudson Valley hotel beloved by urbanites looking for a calming hideaway, Amenia is a small town about two hours from the city by train. It’s nestled in lush, green surroundings (at least in the spring and summer): The Harlem Valley Rail Trail includes more than 15 miles of paved pathways, and Wethersfield Garden is full of floral inspiration.

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