The Weekenders: Welcome to the Country

  |  June 8, 2012

Welcome to The Weekenders, a new weekly(ish) column by blogger Kim McGalliard, a Brooklynite with a weekend pad in Greene County who’s going to answer all your pressing questions about how the upstate/downstate life works. Who keeps your pipes from freezing in the winter? How do you discern your perfect country house — in town, modern, rural, vintage? And what of this pesky tax man and his country house levees?

Kim grew up in the mountains of Colorado, but has been a city girl in San Francisco and New York for 20 years. She’s very happy to be back in the country, even if it’s only for the weekends (for now anyway).  She also blogs about cooking and usability at Edible/Usable. Feel free to leave questions and topic suggestions for Kim in the comments sections.

Catskills Barn

Ever since my boyfriend and I bought a house in the Catskills a little over a year ago, people at work have stopped asking me what I’m doing for the weekend.  On Monday morning it’s never “What did you do this weekend,” in a general way, but rather very specifically, “What did you work on this weekend up at your house?”  They all know that we make the trip to the house EVERY weekend.  Like friends we used to hangout with in restaurants and bars in the city that we never see anymore because they’ve had kids, we’ve gone AWOL.  Worse, you could say we’ve gone over to the “other side.”  Buying a place upstate has been transformative for us – even though we’re only “weekenders.”

In March of 2011 we bought a house in the town of Lexington in Greene County.  Since then we’ve taken the three-hour (sometimes plus or minus 15 minute) trip to our place in the Catskills every weekend.  Well, OK, there were four weekends we missed:  two  to pack up and move out of one of our two apartments (we didn’t live together when we bought our house), and two others for important friend occasions in the city.  But other than that, when Friday evening comes around, we’re on our way upstate.

When we started looking for an upstate home back in 2010, we talked about writing a blog about our home search and our experience in creating a second home upstate.  In the end we never got it off the ground because work on the house got in the way.  So when I discovered Upstater, I definitely felt a kinship and identified with what they are trying to do. In the year since we’ve bought our place we’ve learned a lot about having a second home upstate.  We’ve also learned that we have a lot more to learn, but that we have a lot of ideas and experience to share.

So in these (hopefully) weekly posts,  I’m planning to write about multiple topics that current or potential weekenders face: searching for and finding the right upstate home; ideas about transportation, budgets, money and local taxes; maintaining a part-time place;  making friends and building a second social life in a new place, while maintaining your city social connections, and in general how we’re making a great weekend home.

We love our house and we love spending time there.  We just spent a week there and didn’t have any desire to go back to the city, but alas we had to (work, work, work). Conversely, I know some people who have a place not far from us that feel like they’ve found the perfect balance for them – after a weekend in the country, they felt rested and relaxed, and just as they start to get bored, it’s time to go back to the city.   The important thing is that you identify which type of weekender you are, or at least think about what type of weekender you think you are, and and try to find the place that fits.

I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions and look forward to contributing to Upstater.

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