Hudson River-Front Fixer-Upper in Tivoli, N.Y., $515,000

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First, a word about Tivoli: shh. I’m not allowed to say anything about Tivoli. The people who live there don’t want anyone else to find out that it’s one of the coolest little towns north of New York City. Of course, the New York Times already dubbed it Brooklyn on the Hudson, but that didn’t make it overrun with second homeowners, and that description doesn’t do it justice. Hipsters, professors, Bard students, artists, townies, suburbanites and residents of grand estates all peacefully co-exist in this town of 1,000. I have family here, and I love it.

The problem is that it’s hard to find a house for sale in Tivoli, N.Y.–they’re coveted, and usually the only ones for sale are the pre-fab Cape Cods in the suburban subdivision section, which most New Yorkers don’t covet as a getaway. This grand old lady, set right along the Hudson River, poses an interesting opportunity. It needs a facelift, for sure, but the views! The location! Heck, I even like some of that old wallpaper and flowered linoleum.

Here’s the skinny, though: there’s a waterfront redevelopment plan [warning: pdf!] in the works, meaning ongoing construction, and we don’t quite know how the reinvented shoreline will affect those views or whatever privacy one might have here. It’s right along the railroad tracks, so the Amtrak comes rattling through several times a day, but some people like that. You’ll have some kooky neighbors and a steep walk up the hill into town, but town is heavenly: a few restaurants, a yarn shop, a bookstore, a laundromat, post office, great bakery and a pizza place, among a few other amenities.

One possibility for this property: a B&B. I think the town can take it, even though one just opened across the street in another formerly dilapidated mansion. I personally think 11 Friendship Street is overpriced, considering the shape it’s in (they’re pretty keen on that mental institution shade of green) and its uncertain future, but it’s worth dreaming about, if not taking a look.

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