|Log on: A hiker near Mount Risa.
Tucked up in the northwest
corner of the state, Salisbury may not have
beaches (unless you count the shores of
Lakeville Lake) or a Bridgehampton-caliber
social scene (though Meryl Streep and Joel
Siegel are residents), but it is one of
the most charming villages in the area,
with a postcard-perfect Main Street peppered
with little shops and bakeries, white clapboard
neoclassical estates, and the country's
oldest public library. The surrounding countryside
seems about as removed from the metropolis
as you can get, with its rolling hills,
string of placid ponds, uncrowded roads,
and abundant wildlife. "We were determined
to find a place down the road in Washington;
it seemed so chic," says a New Yorker who
bought a weekend place here three years
ago. "But once the Realtor took us to Salisbury,
we couldn't go back. It has all the charm
and -- thank God -- none of the pretensions."
Familiar Faces: The aforementioned
Streep and Siegel, along with Jill Clayburgh
and Ed Herman, all live within town lines,
while Jasper Johns, a brace of Buckleys,
and Kevin Bacon et famille live in neighboring
Things To Do: "There's kayaking,
walking, hiking, biking -- plus music, dance,
and theater right over the border in the
Berkshires. The only problem is that there
are too many choices," says Noreen Driscoll
Breslauer, who owns a local flower shop,
Sweethaven Farm. The Harlem Valley Rail
Trail, a 12-mile paved car-free track that
runs from Amenia to Millerton, is popular
with cyclists and joggers. The famous Lime
Rock Park raceway is only ten minutes away;
you can make it in even less time after
you take the Skip Barber race-car-driving
|Flower power: The Sweethaven Farm flower shop..
Social Scene: "Our family has been
here for over 50 years, and you can understand
why," says one New Yorker who gave up a
place in East Hampton for Salisbury. "It's
the pleasure of living in a small town;
you know everyone by their first name; people
have a real dedication to the area." The
Fourth of July celebration at Town Grove
is the kind of old-timey cookout that will
take you back to your childhood -- or to
the childhood you wish you'd had.
Property Values: Local stock ranges
from the eighteenth-century clapboard houses
that line Main Street to cabins on the side
of Mount Riga and along Riga Lake -- which
are only accessible via a steeply pitched
dirt road and, in many cases, have no electricity
or running water. "Rentals have been much
slower this year," says broker Elyse Harney.
"There are an extraordinary number of places
still available -- usually everything's
gone by February. For the month of August,
we range from a charming three-bedroom for
$4,000 to a stunning estate with a main
house, guest cottage, and swimming pool
for $20,000." House sales, however, have
been brisk. Prices range from $128,000 for
a cottage to $4.9 million for a full spread.
Recently a four-bedroom, three-bath Colonial,
priced in the low $500,000s, sold in a day.
Another swift sale was in the $2.6 million
range; "It was not on a lot of land -- only
seven or eight acres," says Harney. "But
it was done."
Recommended Realtors: Elyse Harney
(860-435-2200), Robinson Leech (860-435-9891).
Weekend Trips: The White Hart Inn
has been in business for over a century,
and it has clean, well-appointed rooms (860-435-0030
or whitehartinn.com; doubles start at $149).
The best local restaurant is West Main (860-435-1450),
which has brightly flavored Asian-inflected
fare. On Thursdays and Fridays, it hosts
local bands, and the bar is packed every
night of the week.