Joanie McNamara and Long Cove Founder Don McNamara with one jolly old elf at the Long Cove Holiday Bash.

Who doesn’t love a great Christmas party? And better yet, who doesn’t love a good Christmas party where you don’t have to do any of the work? If it sounds too good to be true, you must not be a resident of Long Cove, one of the best second home communities in Texas. Situated on Cedar Creek Lake, this stunning vacation home community is a popular destination for Dallasites, considering it’s a getaway that’s only an hour drive south of the Metroplex.

Of course, being so close to the city means that you have access to some great amenities and events, and to show their appreciation, Long Cove went all out at the annual Holiday Bash this year. See for yourself after the jump!

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Photo courtesy of Cinnamon Shore, taken in late September, 2017

The post-hurricane recovery of the vacation rental community Cinnamon Shore was a bright spot in 2017’s fall second home news. While the town of Port Aransas lost as much as 80% of its structures, the gorgeous Texas vernacular beach development weathered the storm well. Fast-acting management restored the property to mint condition within days following the storm. Beach-lovers looking to visit the Texas Coastal Bend community in 2018 will find a warm welcome from grateful local citizens who depend upon tourism for their livelihood. Here’s the story, originally published on SecondShelters.com October 6, 2017:  (more…)

Villa Esperero Tucson, AZ is currently listed for $9.9 million by Long Realty.

Tucked away in the exclusive Rattlesnake Canyon Estates rests Villa Esperero, a private and luxurious custom estate that lives like a five-star resort. We are told by co-listing agents of the property, Judy Smedes and Kate Herk at Long Realty Company, that Villa Esperero was built “to synthesize international influences with the natural beauty of Tucson’s surroundings.” In our humble opinion, mission accomplished.

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Malibu Real Estate Malibu, California: Located on a 21-mile stretch of shore 30 miles west of Los Angeles, it’s the coastal playground of movie stars, rock artists, writers, producers, and the elite of the entertainment and business worlds. Without question, Malibu real estate includes some of the most glamorous residential properties in the world.

Per current listings on Realtor.com, the average home on the Malibu real estate market is listed at around $4 million but can run to the high eight figures.  By way of example, we’re taking a look at two stunning contemporary Malibu properties, each with its own ambiance.  One is light and airy, with an almost nautical air, perched in the hills overlooking the shore. The other a powerbroker’s moody, sexy retreat, with a spectacular lake-like pool.  U.S. home building trends tend to start on the coasts so for a look at what the west has to offer in coastal splendor, keep reading.  (more…)

Bermuda: Endless Views of Pastel Houses and Endless Water

Bermuda: Endless views of pastel houses and endless water.

In case you missed it the first time back in January 2016, on June 16, 2017, this post was awarded “silver” in the “Best International Real Estate Story” category  by the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).

Bermuda is a cluster of 130 picturesque islands you think is located in the Caribbean, but it’s actually in the North Atlantic Ocean about 650 miles east of North Carolina and 950 miles north of the Bahamas. Bermuda is known as much for its beauty as it is as a tax haven for multinational businesses.

Driving around Hamilton, you’d think the world consisted of bars, restaurants, insurance companies, and banks surrounded by ocean. That’s because while 400,000 tourists visit the island annually, 60 percent of the island’s GDP is derived from financial services.

As much as I detest corporate tax avoidance, I understand that without it, this island would be a lot poorer than it is. Certainly Bermuda has fallen into a sleepiness since its heyday in the 1960s as a jet set destination. While meticulously maintained, large hotels tend to be of that era. Tourists tend to be visiting executives eager for sun, sand, and high finance as well as east coasters wanting something more tranquil than some of the other more touristy islands of the Caribbean.

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory so driving is on the left, but oddly the Bermudian Dollar is pegged to the US dollar (1-to-1) which makes currency conversion as easy as it gets. The local population of about 67,000 consists of those who trace their lineage to the UK and Africa (a legacy of the slave trade). Like many conquests, the original populace were wiped out by smallpox and STDs brought over by the original Europeans (how cheerful).

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Altos del Maria

Photos Courtesy of Lil Miller

Panama: it’s routinely touted as one of the best places on earth for American retirement, with its stable government, spectacular climate, welcoming attitude, and low cost of living. Lil and Robert Miller moved to Panama from New Jersey eight years ago when they took early retirement. They’ve loved every minute of their adventure in a luxurious, gated community of mainly American, Canadian, and European expats in a rain forest mountain setting. Family matters now call them back to the States, and having met many Texas expats in Panama, the Millers contacted SecondShelters.com to spread the word they’re selling their home by owner.

Make the jump to learn more about the appeal of Panama and get a look at their Panamanian paradise: (more…)

The Alice in Wonderland-themed bunkroom of the 2016 Hamptons Designer Showhouse in Sag Harbor, New York. Photos courtesy of Julie Dodson Interiors.

Dodson’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’-themed bunk room in the 2016 Hampton Designer Showhouse. Photos courtesy of Julie Dodson Interiors.

If you’re in the habit of summering in the Hamptons, it’s probably already on your calendar: the Hampton Designer Showhouse, open now through Sept. 5 in Sag Harbor, New York. Houston’s own Julie Dodson was selected to join the fleet of elite designers that make the event one of the premier showhouse events in the country each year. Now in its 14th year, the house at 1597 Noyac Path benefits the Southampton Hospital and is presented by Traditional Homes. 

The daughter of renowned interior designer Tricia Dodson, Julie grew up steeped in taste and style. Under her own banner, Julie Dodson Interiors,  the Ole Miss grad has won such accolades as “Star on the Rise” from the Houston Design District in 2012, and one of “20 Young Designers to Watch” by Traditional Home Magazine in 2010.  The “Alice in Wonderland” theme she chose for her contribution in the show house illustrates her trademark combination of Hollywood glam and refined traditional — old and new, elegant and rustic — with a playful wink of whimsy.  (more…)

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It’s no surprise that Hawaii captures the imagination of people dreaming of a getaway. Tropical breezes, the deep blue Pacific, technicolor sunsets, and lush greenery set the stage for a dream vacation or the ultimate home away from home.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International have announced the winners of the HGTV Ultimate House Hunt, a month-long online contest held on HGTV.com each year.

The contest highlights exceptional homes from across the globe in eight exciting categories: Waterfront Homes, Master Retreats, International Homes, Living Large in Small Spaces, Bringing The Outside In, Kids’ Spaces, Classic Living and Making an Entrance. All featured homes are represented by members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International. Consumers vote for their favorite, and a winner is chosen at the end.

This year, Hawaii cleaned up, winning honors in three categories as well as the overall winner. Massachusetts homes won in two categories, as did Florida homes and the International award winner is located in Lugano, Switzerland.

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