Not a fan of fans? Is the beach just a sandy frying pan? Well, if a hot summer of 65 degrees is paradise to you, head to Houston! Located about 60 miles from Anchorage, Houston, AK., offers the perfect summer experience of long cool days and short nights. How short? Try twilight at midnight in July.
On your way from Anchorage to your second home in Houston, you’ll pass through Wasilla, home of a Walmart Supercenter where you better stock up, and where if you look closely you’ll see the Russians from one backyard! The whole area is part of the Matanuska Valley that includes the Little Susitna River or Mat-Su to the locals. Houston has a population of about 2,100 while the Mat-Su contains an estimated 89,000.
From Dallas, you can be in Alaska in a shade under seven hours non-stop; about an hour faster than Honolulu. And a sampling of airfares nets a ticket in the mid $700s. Landing in Anchorage is quite beautiful. My flight landed around midnight, which is how I found out firsthand about twilight.
Houston is a place campfires and s’mores are never unwelcome. Days can be spent fishing in the area’s many lakes or the Little Susitna River. Hiking and horseback riding abound with trails throughout the region. There’s even a golf course over in Palmer which is also the home of the Alaska State Fair. Houston also has become a nouveau farming town as this first property shows.
This rural home is 4,112 square feet with three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. It also sits on 34.64 acres of woodland bordering the Little Susitna River. In addition to this home, the property also contains a large 40’ x 40’ workshop/garage with a lift. It’s listed with Marty Van Diest with Valley market Real Estate for $750,000.
There’s a bit of a greenhouse here and with good reason. This City of Houston allows marijuana growing and testing. So while you may be popping $750,000 for this property, you’ll be making some snow-dough from your Tundra Wundra (or whatever the Alaskan Maui Wowie is called).
My acid test, the kitchen, looks basic but with everything you’d need along with stainless appliances and granite counters. The listing agent also says the windowsills in the home are also granite. In what can be a quite cold climate, the granite is a blessing in winter when no matter how energy efficient the windows, they’ll likely frost over and defrost. Granite stands up better to the thawed water than typical wood sills. Of course, unless you’re a cold, dark winter lover, you’ll be back home in Dallas during the winter.
Another surprisingly large home at 3,046 square feet with three bedrooms and two full and one half bathroom. This property is listed for $379,000 with Barbara Huntley with Keller Williams Alaska. At 1.71 acres, it’s significantly less agriculture-friendly and more of a privacy-sized lot.
Obviously home staging hasn’t caught on in Alaska, but ignoring the clutter, you can see an enormous atrium that connects the home. It’s Alaska, so it’s enclosed so that during long, cold winters, what light there is gets pulled into the home. If you look at the previous picture you can see the wall of glass that is the exterior wall of the atrium. Also being Alaska, it houses a hot tub.
Another large kitchen with plenty of storage and workspace. Sure, you’ll want to ditch the electric blue countertops, but it’s very open concept and full of light.
I can easily imagine spending summers whipping up dinner, popping a bottle of wine and enjoying just being outdoors in such a naturally beautiful setting.
Sitting on 1.39 acres, this 1,170-square-foot home offers two bedrooms and one full and one half bathrooms. Built in 2005, it’s just 11 years old and sits in the center of five small lakes. It’s listed for $169,900 with Kristan Cole of Keller Williams Alaska.
The living room is nicely sized with plenty of windows, wood floors and radiant heat for always-warm feet. In addition to the two bedrooms, there’s a second floor office/family room loft area that could be converted into a third bedroom. The property is fenced and has two covered patios and parking for an RV.
The kitchen is adequately-sized with second-home quantities of storage and counter space. For an 1,170-square-foot home, it has a nice eat-in area and could easily accommodate an island (where the photographer is standing) for added prep space.
All in all, a nice set of vacation getaway homes in a VERY getaway location. Sure there are more urban options in Anchorage, but is that what you go to Alaska for? You could also go more rural with many campgrounds in the area open in summer along with a variety of RV parks. I suppose any “tiny house” people could strap their home to the hitch and drive up to a vacant lot. There were several listed for under $10,000.
Houston offers the wilderness experience of perpetual spring throughout a grueling Texas summer all at a most reasonable price. In August, that’s a heck of a lot more than our Houston offers!
Remember: Do you have a secondshelters.com location you’d like to see featured? I travel quite a bit and enjoy poking around real estate. Realtors, have clients who’d like to document their second home journey? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! firstname.lastname@example.org