Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Village Exultation

I ran in through the back door of the office last week as a friend was coming through the front just to say hello. We ended up sitting in the conference room for over an hour, catching up on our lives from the winter months and just talking.

I had sold her and her husband a small village home last year so this was their first summer in residence. I ran into him on one of my early walks with Koko and he was ecstatic, if sweaty from his early morning run, to be in the village. Kathy was as well and proceeded to outline their lives here.

This is their second home. I reminded her of when she had called in to ask about my then-listing at 51 West Elizabeth Street. I had told her she was the perfect candidate for the job of revitalizing it, turning it into a sweet cottage to be used for weekends and grandchildren. I didn't hear from her for a bit - it was really a cold call on her part - and then she came in with her daughter who had recommended me. I love the history of getting to know people, bringing them into my life.

Kathy and Dave bought the house to come closer in to civilzation. They live way out - way out! - in the country and wanted to be near people, just not all the time. Their grandchildren live outside Syracuse, so Skaneateles was perfect for their purpose.

I don't think they expected to fall in love so very much with the village. Kathy tells me they walk everywhere - to the hardware store, P&C, to Doug's for ice cream and then they walk off the calories. They sit on the porch of the Sherwood and the wait staff bring them their drinks without their needing to order them. Then they walk home - no cars or designated drivers needed!

Kathy stayed recently to care for the younger of her grandchildren. They had a ball, she told me. There was so much to do and so much laughter. Meanwhile, back at the country home, Dave slaved away trying to keep the jungle back from the house. The lawn in the village was easily mowed despite its good size.

Kathy said her good-byes and went off to Riddlers to pick up the paper with the summer insert and grabbed some karmel corn which she returned to share. I thought how pleased I was to have been instrumental in bringing them here. Even the cat does the two hour trip now with barely a meow.

In the couple days that followed our visit I had similar experiences with three other people. Bob was told the same thing that Kathy told me when he went to do a job in the village - how absolutely thrilled the people were to have bought in Skaneateles, how eager they were to share it with their relatives this summer. Another woman is moving in again after being in the country. She'll miss the openness of the fields behind her house, the cross-country-skiing and the summer walks, but she's looking forward to opening the door and walking out with her dog.

Another young couple are trying to buy into the village, a difficult thing when the least expensive home is over $200,000. But the father wants to take his sons to the playing fields, walk to school with them, and then to his own job. He wants to go fishing on the bridge over the outlet, be available for evening sports. The homes we've looked at have good-sized back yards, large enough for pools and playfields. It's a village, not a cramped city.

And even if you live outside the village, as we do, you can still enjoy it with a simple drive in and easy parking. We left Seattle, Alex and I, when it became impossible to find a place to park at the piers. He couldn't ride his bike in the city parks because they were too crowded. Skaneateles is highly accessible.

A few years ago I met a couple who spent their weekends in the village. They lived in Syracuse and came out at least one day a week. There was so much to do - kayaking on the lake, the festival in August, Doug's Fish Fry on Friday nights, the antique boat show and sidewalk sale in July. And no need to travel far - half an hour brought them to this ever-changing vacation-site.

We are privileged to have the village, whether we live in it or simply enjoy it.