As a child, my family piled into the car for a summer beachfront vacation on the shores of Cape Cod. The drive from Chicago was as you might expect when two children and a dog are in the back seat.  The dog often stood between us looking out of the windshield while my brother and I took turns pushing the dog’s butt into the other’s face.  Ahh … youth before the iPad.

Our destination was a grouping of small weathered beachfront cottages in East Sandwich, Mass. Imagine my surprise when I saw that a few of those cottages were for sale.  At two bedrooms and one bath, these 400-square-foot retreats only lasted until teenagerdom made them uninhabitable for four adult-size people. At that point we moved on up to the deee-luxe 700-square-foot model.

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Splurge vs. Steal: Two Gorgeous Cape Cod Houses in Chatham, Massachusetts

All of Cape Cod is beautiful, but the seaside town of Chatham, Massachusetts, is particularly charmed. With storybook houses and the landmark 19th-century Chatham Lighthouse, it’s a destination for many vacationers looking for peaceful relaxation and gorgeous surroundings.

Located on the southeastern tip of Cape Cod, Chatham was first settled in 1664 by the English. Its population of 6,125 swells in the summer months with tourists, many of whom have bought a home in this picturesque, tony town. It’s rumored Harry Connick, Jr., has been one of them.

We’ve found two homes in Chatham, one a splurge and one a steal. See how you can get a taste of Cape Cod living with these beauties.

Splurge vs. Steal: Two Gorgeous Cape Cod Houses in Chatham, Massachusetts

Downtown Chatham

 

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All photos courtesy of Four Seasons Anguilla

All photos courtesy of Four Seasons Anguilla

Ahoy there! Carribbean sunshine, sand, and breeze ahead!

The Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Anguilla beckons with crystal turquoise waters, pristine white beaches, and sleek modern style in this elevated seaside retreat on the southwest shore of Anguilla. The British overseas territory is in the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles of the British West Indies and encompasses just 35 square miles, most of which is on the main island. No cruise ships or casinos are allowed here, so residents and visitors enjoy peaceful, unspoiled beaches, boating, fishing, snorkeling, horseback riding, and posh resorts in uncrowded splendor.

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Kimpton Seafire Resort on Seven Mile Beach on the Grand Cayman Island.

Kimpton Seafire Resort on Seven Mile Beach on the Grand Cayman Island.

 Yikes, that arctic blast made me long for a warm beach with a tropical breeze! Time to head for Seven Mile Beach, named by Travel and Leisure as “The Caribbean’s Best Beach.” The destination I am longing for? The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Grand Cayman, the first new hotel in the Cayman Islands in a decade. Developer Dart Real Estate opened the boutique hotel just this past November, and announced the launch of an affiliated residential option: The Residences of Seafire, 62 luxurious modern units in floor plans ranging from 600-square-foot studios to 4,000-square-foot, four-bedroom abodes that share the resort’s landscaped gardens and pools, panoramic views, and open access to gorgeous Seven Mile Beach.

Click here for a peek at pics of this posh paradise, enhanced with famed interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullards’ Carribean-inspired public spaces and the stunning natural beauty of the setting: (more…)

Alys Beach

All photos courtesy of Alys Beach

News from Alys Beach, the stunning Florida Panhandle luxury home and vacation rental community inspired by the traditional architecture of Bermuda: a new phase of custom three- and four-bedroom rowhouses is scheduled for construction with an estimated completion date of Spring 2019. The new project, called Clermont Courts, mimics the design of Caliza Courts, the first phase of rowhouses offered at Alys Beach, which sold out in two weeks when its marketing opened in 2014.

It’s no wonder, really. Located off Highway 30A in South Walton County, on a bluff overlooking the Gulf Coast, Alys Beach is unique in its gorgeous architecture, a modern rendition of the Spanish Colonial-Baroque styling found in Bermuda and Antigua. Structures in the community feature white stone walls, antique cypress wood, and private courtyards. Charming shaded walkways and bike paths connect residents to the Town Center and posh amenities spread throughout 158 landscaped acres. Residents and vacation guests enjoy 1500 feet of white sand beachfront, an uber-chic beach club, amphitheater, swimming pools and restaurants, extraordinary fitness facilities, and lush parks and nature trails.

Alys Beach

The Clermont Courts rowhouses will be the most compact of the Alys Beach residences, which also include free-standing villas and compounds valued at up to $6 million or more. Here’s a look at the plans for the custom townhouse designs, along with photos of a similar Caliza Courts home to give you a visual of what’s in the works, and the amenities in the community. (And, psst! Should you want a rowhouse that’s available now,  the home we’re using for illustration is a pre-owned property that’s now listed for sale.)    (more…)

Saugatuck Beach 1

Growing up in Chicago, Saugatuck was one of many beach communities where folks who went to beach communities went.  My childhood summers were spent in the cement pond rather than a sandy lakeside beach.  In my 20s, I discovered Saugatuck and its sister city, Douglas, located on the Lake Michigan side of …. well … Michigan.

At that time it was a sleepy, arty town with tons of vacation home rentals and B&Bs, that earned the nickname the Provincetown of the Midwest.  Today, it’s become quite a bit more upscale and professional-level touristy.  But the beaches are still great (and shark-free!).  In 2010, Budget Travel named it one of the 10 coolest towns in America.

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74 W 38th - Main 2

We’ve all heard of “the Jersey Shore,” however with 130 miles of Atlantic Ocean frontage, it’s not all reality show goombas and New York City riffraff.  The communities of Avalon and Stone Harbor share a barrier island on the far southern New Jersey coast called Seven Mile Island (no points for guessing the name’s origin).  The island is about 36 miles south of Atlantic City and 20 miles north of Cape May.

Originally the island contained just Avalon but was split in 1941 to add Stone Harbor. Seven Mile Island protrudes about a mile further east into the Atlantic Ocean than nearby islands and so gained the motto, “Cooler by a Mile.”

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With less water you'd swear you were in Las Vegas (in more ways than one)

With less water you’d swear you were in Las Vegas (in more ways than one)

Many who visit Italy are captivated by the history, architecture, geography, abundant seafood, and slower pace.  My trip to Venice left me wondering why anyone would want to live there. Don’t get me wrong — it was a great four days — but the constant hive of tourists that infest Venice would make living there annoying.

Venice is a World Heritage site, and rightly so. Without cars, it’s all walking, all the time, which I love.  It’s vastly beautiful with secret treasure views around every corner.  The further away from Saint Mark’s Square you get, the more non-English speaking real Italy you get.

However it’s a small island and tourists are everywhere, all armed with a bucket list of pictures to take. Even a seemingly uninhabited alleyway is soon interrupted.  Cruise ships disgorge their thousands, airports supply their daily throngs.  Gorgeous but far from peaceful.

How Touristy? I probably waited ten minutes to get a picture of a tourist-free bridge which lasted seconds.

How Touristy? I probably waited 10 minutes to get this picture of an empty bridge. An emptiness that lasted seconds.

It rained a bit during my stay, which brought out umbrellas at garrote-height, taking aim at my neck.  I’m also a quick walker and the tourist-shuffle speed was tiring.

Imagine living in Las Vegas or Six Flags … all the time.  That’s Venice (only completely beautiful).

However all is not lost.  There is the Lido.

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