Katherine Tasheff and Alec McCabe began looking to move from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, when the youngest of their four children was halfway through college. They loved their neighborhood, but rent on their four-bedroom brownstone duplex had climbed to more than $5,000.
Last February, after a two-year search, the couple closed on an 1850s colonial in Stone Ridge, N.Y., paying $440,000. “If it hadn’t been a financial decision, we probably would have stayed,” said Ms. Tasheff, 53, an associate digital production director for NYU Langone Health. “But we weren’t earning any equity, and our mortgage is less than half our rent.”
Their three-bedroom house is on Main Street, which gives Ms. Tasheff and Mr. McCabe, 58, a sense of community and softens the blow of leaving New York City after 20 years. “We’re not isolated,” Ms. Tasheff said. “There are really interesting people around us that we meet and run into all the time. And we can still walk to get bagels on the weekend.”
Known for its Dutch Colonial houses built from local limestone, the six-square-mile Ulster County hamlet, in the town of Marbletown, is drawing new residents who appreciate its historic charm, central location and Main Street, where they can find necessities like bagels, sushi, hardware, a gym, several electric-vehicle charging stations, and even a grocery store and pharmacy.
“For a town the size of Stone Ridge, we’ve got a lot of amenities,” Ms. Tasheff said.
Laurel Sweeney, an associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty, has lived in Stone Ridge for 38 years and owns a local wine shop, Stone Ridge Wine & Spirits, with her husband, Tim Sweeney. (Mr. Sweeney is also an owner of Nutshell Realty.)
“Stone Ridge is equidistant to everything the Hudson Valley has to offer,” Ms. Sweeney, 63, said. “It doesn’t have that hustle-bustle like some of the other towns that are very popular, such as New Paltz and Woodstock. It has a more relaxed quality of life. I say to people, ‘If you want to wear black clothes and pay high prices for everything, go to Rhinebeck. If you want to wear blue jeans and a cap on your head and hang out at a farm, go to Stone Ridge.’”
But the hamlet, which has a population of 1,234 according to the 2020 census, has more to offer architecturally than old stone houses. “We’ve got these supercool contemporary homes that young professionals from the metro area are looking for,” Ms. Sweeney said. “Now more of our buyers are looking for move-in ready, efficient, open-floor-plan homes, which are not your stone homes.”
More high-end contemporary houses are on the way, with two projects expected to bring 12 new homes to the hamlet. Pelle Hamburger and Joshua Gelb, New York-based developers who partnered with INC Architecture & Design to create the home-design platform NevelHaus, have bought 44 acres near Main Street and plan to build eight three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom NevelHaus houses there, priced from $1.545 million to $2.215 million. The one priced at $1.545 million has already sold.
The second project, Hempcrete Houses at Stone Ridge, is being developed by a husband-and-wife team, Alpheus and Dania Clendening, who plan to build four three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes (including one for their own family) on 18.85 acres, using mold- and fire-resistant Hempcrete blocks. The houses, which will start at around $1.17 million, will be designed in the style of an “energy-efficient mountain cabin with really big windows that let the outdoors in,” said Ms. Clendening, 32, a marketing manager for Meta Platforms.
The couple, who currently live in Austin, Texas, first visited Stone Ridge seven years ago when they were living in Hoboken, N.J.
“We happened upon Stone Ridge during an artisans’ showcase,” said Mr. Clendening, 42, an e-commerce director for a cosmetics company, whose only previous real estate experience was renovating two apartments in Hoboken with his wife. “I grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, and it had a really strong nostalgic quality for me, and I was just smitten.”
What You’ll Find
Nestled between the Shawangunk Mountains to the east and the Catskills to the west, Stone Ridge offers sweeping mountain views, expanses of pasture, wooded roads with bear-crossing signs, long driveways and tall privacy fences.
It is one of the few places in the mid-Hudson Valley where you can still find an 18th-century stone house on 125 acres. Antique stone houses line the hamlet’s Main Street, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the best-known are the Hasbrouck House, built in 1757, now an inn with an upscale restaurant, Butterfield, and the Wynkoop House, a private residence built in 1767, where George Washington once stayed.
“You see all the history around you, which is incredible and mind-boggling,” Ms. Clendening said. “It’s secluded enough that I would have peace of mind if my kids are out playing in the backyard, but if you really need to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, you can get there in five to 10 minutes.”
The outdoors also beckons. Scenic trails wind through nearby Minnewaska State Park Preserve and the Mohonk Preserve. The 27-mile O&W Rail Trail, a favorite of bikers and walkers, runs through the hamlet. Kayakers and canoeists paddle on the Esopus Creek to the northwest and the Rondout Creek to the east. Stone Ridge Orchard offers apple picking, has a farm stand and holds events, and Davenport Farms operates a small market on the hamlet’s northern outskirts.
As for cultural offerings, SUNY Ulster community college and the Stone Ridge Public Library hold concerts, art exhibits and other events, and the nonprofit Stone Ridge Library Foundation organizes popular fund-raisers. Marbletown Multi-Arts, known as MaMA, offers a concert series; dance, music and tai chi classes; and a weekly community gathering.
What You’ll Pay
Home prices in Stone Ridge are among the highest in Ulster County, surpassing those of nearby areas like Hurley, Kingston and New Paltz.
Although the median sale price for a single-family home in Stone Ridge remained relatively stable from 2020 to 2021, increasing to $395,000 from $389,000, it shot up 35 percent — to $527,500 — in the first seven months of this year, compared with $390,000 in the same period in 2021, according to the Ulster County Board of Realtors. Fourteen houses sold during the first seven months of 2022, compared with 25 during the same period last year, a reflection of reduced inventory.
As of early August, Zillow showed 16 single-family homes for sale in Stone Ridge, from a two-bedroom house on one acre listed for $350,000 to a four-bedroom renovated antique farmhouse on 37 acres listed for $2.3 million.
The combined annual school and town tax bill for a median-priced single-family home in Stone Ridge is about $13,000, based on information provided by Marbletown’s tax collector, Heather Moody, and school tax collector, Kori Murphy.
The immaculately preserved old houses on large lots and winding roads with forest and mountain views give Stone Ridge an upper-crust vibe, but its residents don’t come across as cold or aloof.
“Everyone is very friendly, very chill,” Mr. Clendening said, adding, “You go up to Stone Ridge and you can breathe.”
Amy Neigeborn, 70, was struck by the friendliness of her new neighbors when she and her husband, Paul O’Halloran, 63, moved to Stone Ridge from Glen Ridge, N.J., last April, buying a 2,000-square-foot house on 4.6 acres for $880,000. “Everyone was so welcoming, especially when we said we’re not weekenders,” said Ms. Neigeborn, a consultant for the Amedisys hospice program. “It was crazy. People brought pies to us. People brought us chocolate.”
Stone Ridge is served by the Rondout Valley Central School District. Students attend Marbletown Elementary School, Rondout Valley Intermediate School, Rondout Valley Junior High School and Rondout Valley High School.
In 2021-2022, the district had 1,734 students, according to the New York State Department of Education; 83 percent identified as white, 8 percent as Latino, 3 percent as Black, 2 percent as multiracial and 2 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander.
On 2018-19 state tests, 80 percent of Rondout Valley High School students were proficient in English, compared with a statewide average of 84 percent; 87 percent were proficient in geometry, compared with 70 percent statewide. In 2021, Rondout Valley High School students’ average verbal SAT score was 589, compared with a statewide average of 526; their average score in math was 605, compared with a statewide average of 531. The high school had a 92 percent graduation rate, compared with 86 percent statewide.
The drive from Stone Ridge to the George Washington Bridge via the New York State Thruway takes about 90 minutes.
Some commuters swear by the Trailways bus from Rosendale, N.Y., which takes about two hours and costs $58 round-trip during peak hours. Parking at the large lot there is free, and the bus usually doesn’t get crowded until it hits New Paltz, so it’s relatively easy to find a seat.
The Metro-North train from Poughkeepsie — $51.50 round-trip — is another option, and the trip takes just over two hours. “It’s a beautiful drive, and I work on the train,” Ms. Tasheff said.
One of Ulster County’s oldest areas, Marbletown was settled in 1669 by a group of English soldiers who took control of the region from the Dutch, according to the Marbletown Historic Preservation Commission. They were followed by Dutch settlers who mined local limestone to build stone houses.
Stone Ridge had a few other names before it was named in 1832 for the ridge of limestone that lies beneath it, according to a short history of Stone Ridge written in 1958 by William W. Davenport, a lifelong resident.
The area’s major industry was once farming, but by the 1870s, the hamlet’s commercial district was lined with shops, hotels and stone, Federal and Greek Revival houses, including the stone building that the library now occupies. Main Street’s location along a major transportation route from the Delaware Water Gap area to Kingston, N.Y. — known as Kings Highway in the 18th century, Old Mine Road in the 19th century and Route 209 today — helped fuel the growth.
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