Escaping NYC for a Few Months
August 31, 2011 1:49 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I are considering moving for a fairly short period (probably 3-6 months) from our expensive NYC apartment to an inexpensive, secluded house somewhere in the Northeast (upstate NY, Vermont, etc.) We would like advice on where/how to do this.

The short story: we've been running a company that is probably going south. We have essentially no savings, but should be able to scrape together around $15K by selling some things, etc.

We currently have a lease through the end of the year in NYC for $4300/month (which is, FWIW, below current market value). Although we would prefer not to break the lease, it may be necessary. We will try to find someone to assign the lease to if our landlords agree to let us.

Although we don't currently own a car, we would like to live for a period of time in a secluded, preferably beautiful spot to take a break, gather our wits, and figure out what to do next. We're looking at places in the Catskills/Finger Lakes/Green Mountains/Hudson Valley. We love winter conditions, so that's not a problem.

We will require some type of reliable high-speed internet connection.

We would consider buying a cheap car or may be able to borrow one if necessary.

Specific questions:
1) Where would you recommend looking for a place like this? (Probably sub-$1K/month.) Proximity to NYC would be nice (within a few hours, at least), as we'll likely be looking there for work in the not-too-distant future, but we're willing to entertain options.
2) What resources are there besides craigslist and HotPads for finding this sort of spot? We've had some luck finding potential places on those sites, but aren't sure where else to look.

Non-specific questions:

Do you have any advice in this situation? If you've been in a similar spot, anecdotes are more than welcome.
posted by Dr. Fetish to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I live on the Upper West Side in a nice 1BR, and my rent is less than 1/4 of yours. Must be an awesome apartment.

Anyway, Cooperstown and the surrounding area is amazing, if really isolated.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:53 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have a look at the Caretaker's Gazette for properties of SnowBirds.
posted by saucysault at 2:07 PM on August 31, 2011

You know what's nice? Delaware county. It's 3-4 hours from NYC and it's unbelievably beautiful, assuming you love mountains and hay fields.

When it comes to finding a place in that area I don't know that you're going to have a lot of success with the interwebs. You probably need to be there and talk to actual people.
posted by ged at 2:08 PM on August 31, 2011

You would probably like Andes, in Delaware County, a lot.
posted by jgirl at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2011

A brief word of warning. A lot of communities in Delaware county were hit very hard by hurricane Irene, so you might find some locations a bit battered and hard to access in the immediate future.
posted by jefftang at 2:47 PM on August 31, 2011

FWIW, Andes is one of the towns hit by floods this week.

I don't have a particular town in mind but as a strategy how about a town not too far from the end of either a MetroNorth or NJ Transit line? That would give you easy access for the ocassional visit to NYC.
posted by plastic_animals at 2:50 PM on August 31, 2011

Consider Western Massachusetts! Mostly 3-4 hours from NYC depending on where you are. Better internet than Vermont (mostly). Much less affected by Irene. I'm not sure what it would be like without a car but it wouldn't be any worse than the Green Mountains. There are buses (Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and Berkshire Regional Transit) but they're rather inconvenient.
posted by mskyle at 3:33 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

How I don't know how but I love this area and not far from NYC.
posted by beccaj at 3:55 PM on August 31, 2011

There are a bunch of housesitting websites, like Mind My House. Most come with pet care duties. I would just google around and check out some listings -- perhaps you'll find a place to stay for free?! On another note, New Haven is actually a really nice place to live, not far from NYC, and you can live there pretty cheaply, at least compared to NYC. You might even be able to find a furnished sublet.
posted by EtTuHealy at 4:05 PM on August 31, 2011

The Catskills have poor cell coverage, so be sure to have a land line.
posted by jgirl at 5:57 PM on August 31, 2011 will have sublets in college towns.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:12 PM on August 31, 2011

Nthing the Berkshires.
posted by brevator at 7:56 PM on August 31, 2011

Be sure to get updated information on any town you're considering in the Catskills or in Vermont - Irene's floods were hugely destructive in both areas.

Watershed Post is a news site covering the Catskills - they have extensive coverage of the very destructive flooding there. (full disclosure: run by a friend of mine) A lot of houses, businesses, and basic infrastructure were destroyed.

In calculating whether you want to get a car, be sure to include cost of buying, maintaining/repairs, gas, and insurance. It might be worth a somewhat higher rent to live in one of the areas that is more densely populated but which has workable public transit - eg the Ithaca/Trumansburg NY area (4 hr drive to NYC) or Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts (maybe a 3 hr drive to NYC). I can't speak to the Hudson Valley except that they probably have better rail connections to NYC.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:37 PM on August 31, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone - all very helpful answers!
posted by Dr. Fetish at 6:22 AM on September 1, 2011

I'm from the Albany area (Rensselaer county), and I would suggest checking out Columbia county around Chatham or Hudson. It's really beautiful down there (or up there, for you). You'd only be about 1.5 hours from NY and not too far from Poughkeepsie, where you could hop on Metro North. Also look at the Woodstock area!
posted by imalaowai at 1:20 AM on September 3, 2011

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