On a crisp autumn day, Craig Hogan landed at the Burlington International Airport in northwestern Vermont. The leaves set the surrounding countryside ablaze with red, orange, and gold. Across Lake Champlain, he caught a glimpse of the Adirondacks — a postcard-worthy picture of a sun-kissed New England fantasy. The Chicago-based vice president of luxury for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC was captivated by the rich scenery and people, who greeted his big-city tendencies with warm, free-flowing hellos.
Hogan was met by a cadre of local real estate experts from Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty: Leslee MacKenzie, president and owner; Brian Boardman, owner and sales associate; and Sybil Keefe, vice president of marketing. Later, they met up with their Vermont counterparts at Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate in the fabled ski town of Stowe: broker McKee McDonald, and his mother, Peggy Smith, owner and broker. Both teams treated Hogan to a whirlwind tour of eight inspiring properties throughout their state, beginning first in Burlington at the lakeshore, then to Colchester and weaving up north to the island town of South Hero until they finally reached the mountains of Stowe. What followed was an eye-opening journey through Vermont’s most vibrant towns awakening to an influx of investment and new development.
Set in Chittenden County, Burlington is the most populous city in Vermont with about 42,000 residents. It is home to the University of Vermont, as well as two other colleges, Champlain College and St. Micheal’s College. Given its roots as the birthplace of Phish, Ben and Jerry’s and Seventh Generation, there is still an earthy sort of progressivism that permeates the town — although, “lately that ethos has taken on a sophisticated sheen,” according to New York Times writer Jeremy Egner. The evidence of this evolution can be found in all sorts of places. Farm-to-table restaurants like Chef Eric Warnstedt’s Hen of the Wood and Misery Loves Co. continue to draw foodies, while the craft brew phenomenon has hit Burlington with force, judging by the sheer number of local breweries popping up in town. Church Street Marketplace, inspired by uncovered outdoor pedestrian shopping and dining malls like the Peal Street Mall in Boulder and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, has long been the centerpiece of downtown Burlington. And now it’s going to get a new infusion of energy with a $300 million environmentally friendly mixed use development called Burlington City Place, which just broke ground and will have a mix of retail, office space and downtown living opportunities.
“Historically, when people would move to Vermont, they wanted the old Victorian house with lots of green, open space,” explains Boardman. “If they were leaving the city, they wanted their own piece of the country. Now we’re starting to see a slight shift away from that. We’re beginning to see neighborhoods crop up with zero lot lines, with newer, energy-efficient homes all clustered together on smaller lots intended to conserve the land around them. People are thinking more about economics and social consciousness. They do not want wasted square footage. They want to be able to walk to work. They want bike paths and farmer’s markets on the weekends. They love that in-town village lifestyle.”
As an example, Boardman points to South Village, a popular pedestrian-friendly “agri-hood” community of 334 modestly sized newly built homes clustered together and connected by a 12-acre organic farm.
“I think there is always a demand for new construction,” says Boardman. “People are very conscious of energy efficiency. We have a lot of historic homes with character – and there is still a desire for that too. But a lot of young families with kids don’t have the time or energy to embark on a costly renovation. They want a functional house with energy efficiency. They want that ease of lifestyle. New construction often can provide that to them.”
Boardman also points out that most people making the move to Burlington intend to make it their primary residence, as opposed to a secondary home. If they are purchasing a home as a secondary residence, they want it to be turnkey. On waterfront, where the most sought-after real estate and wealth is concentrated, buyers tend to be more open to customizing their homes to suit their lifestyle.
Still, he says, the large mansions and estates tend to take longer to sell these days — especially properties over 7,500 square feet and the $2 million threshold. He defines the typical luxury market in the Burlington area between $1 to 2 million, although there are several current waterfront properties on the market for much higher prices.
“People in Burlington are generally moving here for the quality life — it’s not about how much square footage you have or the car you drive,” he says.
With that in mind, here are few examples of properties for sale in and around the Burlington area that offer both luxury and the quality of life Boardman to which speaks.
261 Jen Barry Lane
This custom built home overlooks one of the best sandy beaches in the area, with 177 feet of Lake Champlain shoreline for admiring Vermont’s amazing sunsets. Walls of glass stretching from room to room bring the beauty of the lake right into the interiors. Entertain family and friends graciously with a showcase kitchen, great room with stone fireplace and bright dining room. Four spacious bedrooms, plus a private master with walk-in tiled rain shower and soaking tub, offer both privacy and comfort. Customized architectural features pay tribute to the relaxed lakefront lifestyle, whether it’s a covered veranda with summer kitchen, serene in-ground pool with stamped concrete patio and stone walls or 125 feet of seamless docking.
320 South Street
South Hero, VT.
If you’re looking for an island waterfront paradise, look no further than this spectacular custom-built contemporary set right on the lake. A unique setting encompasses 13.8 private acres and features desirable western and southern exposure. Here, you will enjoy access to the lake, as well as quick access to Burlington. Designed with incredible attention to detail and numerous custom features, the 5,628 square-foot residence balances open spaces with separate, defined living areas. Views extend from every room, meanwhile, extensive architectural details such as curved walls and vaulted ceilings create a sense of volume and enhance the panoramas. There is a heavenly master suite with a balcony, hot tub and sweeping views, plus many built-ins, separate expansive work-out room, extensive closets and a captivating master bath. The children’s wing or guest wing offers bedrooms, baths, separate laundry and direct access to porches, patio and pool area. Extensive, mature landscaping surrounds the property, and creates natural beauty for all to treasure. A 3-car attached garage offers a separate two-story 42 x 31 barn, ideal for cars, boats and additional storage.
When you think of the most luxurious and renowned ski destinations in the nation, Aspen and Deer Valley probably come to mind. If Stowe is also on your list, your awareness of the country’s skiing hotspots is impressive. This northern Vermont town is de rigeur, and increasingly attracting ski aficionados seeking premier mountain conditions. But, for real estate buyers looking to purchase homes in the area, the slopes are only the beginning.
“Stowe is unmatched on the East Coast in terms of the mix of luxury resorts in a quaint New England Village, world-class skiing, and year-round activities,” says McKee Macdonald of Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate. “While many people come just for the skiing, once they experience the other seasons, they realize how wonderful Stowe is year-round and often spend more time here in the summer than the winter. Stowe offers close proximity to Boston, New York, and Montreal and has direct flights from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and other major metropolitan areas on the east coast. In addition, this ski capital of the east is located in the heart of the craft beer industry in Vermont; within an hour’s ride of Stowe, you can taste many of the top beers in the world as well as many of the top rated cheeses in the country.”
Key to Stowe’s recent burst in popularity is the $500 million investment now-former owner AIG Insurance made in the transformation of Stowe Mountain Ski Operations, and its subsequent purchase by Vail Resorts in Colorado. “The long-term projections of Vail’s investment in the ski resort will continue to enhance Stowe’s reputation as a world-class destination,” adds Macdonald.
Real estate in Stowe reflects the predicted luxury expectations of high-net-worth individuals, with upscale ski-in, ski-out condos, brand-new construction, and homes that feature a combination of old and new with historic elements and modern features among the popular trends. We mined the market to find some of the most unique and valuable properties for sale in Stowe.
3564 Weeks Hill Road
Stowe, VT, United States
A coveted neighborhood, gorgeous surroundings, impeccable privacy, and great entertainment potential bring four-season enjoyment to this spectacular Stowe property. This wooded estate that sprawls over 26 acres of pristine Vermont land features the ultimate in rustic luxury, inside and out. Gather in front of the brick fireplace and gaze out onto an amazing expanse of verdant green. The gourmet kitchen shares the serene vistas while offering a professional space for crafting gourmet meals. With 4,884 square feet including five large bedrooms, a bunk room, and a recreation room, this Stowe property can easily accommodate the whole family and any visiting guest coming in for a ski getaway.
235 Lower Sanborn Road
Classic farmhouse architecture meets mountain chic in this idyllic Stowe home, which features views of the Green Mountains and Stowe Mountain Resort ski runs. Elegant interiors and abundant entertainment spaces embrace large gatherings, while the country kitchen with its professional appliances including a double Viking range can accommodate even the most particular chef—and palate. With five bedrooms, six and one-half baths, and 10,147 square feet, this residence features a gracious space for everyone, including a sumptuous master suite that overlooks Mt. Mansfield and a charming wood-paneled bunk room.
71 Sterling Ridge Road
Overlooking a bounty of trees just reaching their peak of colorful splendor come November, this private view estate is the quintessential mountain property. Flanked by extensive wood and stone, with large windows to take in hillside vistas, the home also features well-designed interiors with six bedrooms in 5,442 square feet. A gourmet kitchen, spacious new living room with fireplace, and magazine-ready bathrooms provide contemporary touches that complement the home’s distinctive architecture. A private setting with a babbling brook, swimming pool, tennis court, and screened-in porch make it hard to leave, while the easily accessible location puts all the best of Stowe within reach.