Ono Island is the most exclusive island in the Gulf Coast. Situated between Old River and the Intracoastal Waterway, Ono is a narrow sliver of paradise, just 5.5 miles long. Only 800 home sites comprise Ono’s residential-only island.  Of those, less than 30 percent sit on premium waterfront lots. This private, gated island is second home to titans of industry, celebrities, musicians, and retired professional athletes.  However, there is an unspoken rule of Ono Island for residents: We don’t drop names or discuss the locals.  It’s one of the big reasons Ono Island is so prized.  It’s private — very private.

If you love Hilton Head, but hate the traffic, Ono Island might just be your perfect Second Shelter.


Wish-booking summer? Here ya’ go – a trim, dreamy bungalow in the world famous “Hamptons.” The three-bedroom, two-bath house priced at under $1.5 million sits just a half mile from the village of Amagansett — home to the likes of Gwenyth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Naomi Watts. The area has charming boutiques and lively, health-conscious restaurants. The beach is just a bit over a mile south; it’s a five-minute drive west to East Hampton Village and 15 minutes to the seaside town of Montauk to the east. This gorgeous cottage has been thoroughly modernized and is dripping with charm.  (more…)

Wailea Point I II IIl Unit 801| Candysdirt.com

Wahoo, Hawaii! No, “wahoo” is not a place on the Islands or a Hawaiian word (that I know of) – it’s a whoop of approval, because Southwest Airlines has announced they intend to open air service to The Aloha State soon. No word yet as to which airport they will favor, but Kahului Airport in Maui is sure to be a contender, so it’s a good time to check in on vacation housing there. There’s no better place to start than Wailea, a 1500-acre resort on Maui’s southwestern coastline that’s one of the world’s leading luxury destinations. Fancy a view like this?



Cinnamon Shore

Photo credit: Aaron Costilla

More of a good thing’s on the way: Cinnamon Shore, one of Texas’ most charming beach communities, has just announced a $1.3 billion, 300-acre expansion. We’ve been following the master-planned beach development in Port Aransas on a 19-mile barrier island off the Texas Coast since inception.

Homeowners and rental guests there enjoy beachfront access, parks, interior lakes, restaurant dining, recreational activities, and events all within a picturesque walkable community. Construction on the horizon will dramatically increase the size of the existing development and add a boutique hotel, a 10-acre lake, a spa, retail shops, and more.  (more…)

SPI is a sliver of beauty surrounded by sand

SPI is a sliver of beauty surrounded by sand

South Padre Island (SPI) is as close as Texas gets to tropical Gulf breezes on sun-kissed shores where the water doesn’t look a mini-marshmallow away from Swiss Miss (Galveston).  SPI also isn’t an island. SPI is a city located on the southern tip of Padre Island which is the longest barrier island in the world. The whole caboodle is 200 square miles.

SPI has always served a colorful clientele operating as Texas’ laid-back Key West or a haunt for Spring Break Betty Ford wannabes.  But it’s also home to a mess of sea turtles, the SPI Music Festival, Splash SPI and … who knew … the Texas State Surfing Championships.  But all that’s so much icing on the cake.


All photos: Leah Shafer

Cedar shake shingles for siding is a classic look for cottages all over Cape Cod. They are left unpainted and turn from light tan to a weathered gray over time. Clapboard siding is also commonly seen on Cape Cod cottages. All photos: Leah Shafer

Cape Cod has historic roots in American history, one of the earliest places the Pilgrims settled, later becoming a thriving fishing, whaling, and trading area.

But the romantic mythos of the Cape took off during John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, much of which was based out of the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. JFK gave his acceptance speech there after winning the 1960 election, and returned frequently during his presidency. The Kennedy’s Camelot and Cape Cod are inextricably linked in the American imagination.

Today, the year-round population of 220,000 swells during summer months, when many thousands flock to Cape Cod for relaxation and resorts. It stretches from Provincetown in the northeast to Woods Hole in the southwest, and each of the 15 towns has its own individual character and hallmarks.

The sunset at low tide from our vacation house near Oster in Cape Cod.

The sunset at low tide from our vacation house near Orleans in Cape Cod. Stunning.

Cape Cod still maintains a charming, maritime feel, with almost 560 miles of wide, sandy coastline (including the gorgeous Cape Cod National Seashore), and house after house with weathered cedar shake shingle siding and colorful flowers that thrive in the temperate summer climate.

I just returned from a week’s vacation in Cape Cod, where we stayed in a classic shingle-style Cape beach house near Orleans on the inner bay. My fiancé’s family has vacationed there since the 1970s, and I joined them last year for the first time. As someone who spent her childhood summers in Galveston, Cape Cod was an enchanting experience, from windy afternoons walking by the seagrass along the shoreline to driving along winding roads with lush vegetation. The whole week we were there, the temperature never rose above 71 degrees.

Candy just wrote about the Cape for Grand Vie Magazine (read it here), and we both are delighted with the region and intrigued by the real estate market there. As Realtor Paul Grover of Robert Paul Properties in Osterville told her, 68 percent of his buyers were from Boston and its suburbs in 2013, and lots are empty-nesters.

But contrary to popular belief, Cape Cod is not just a haven for the rich and famous. As I discovered, there’s a range of housing available, with many beauties available for under $400,000 (I photographed 14 houses I’d consider classic Cape Cod cottage style that you can see throughout this post).


Ward Gateway 1

Figure 1: Recently Approved Phase 2 of Hughes’ Kaka’ako Plans

The market for Honolulu condos makes Dallas look like Sleepy Hollow.  Even the ultra-tony Bleu Ciel with its recent price hikes is only pricing its smallest unit at a meager $640 a square foot.  Compare that with still-being-built Honolulu high-rises Anaha and Waiea where a 435-square-foot studio on a no-view floor will run ya nearly double that.

And while sales in Dallas for these costly homes chugs along, Bleu Ciel, Museum Tower and its kin must dream of Hawai’ian voraciousness with 2016’s Anaha already 80 percent-plus sold.  After a recession hiatus, Honolulu is again seeing buyers (likely their staff) camping out on sidewalks when new blocks of units are released for sale.


89 Watercolor BoulevardThis week is spring break for a lot of peeps, and we know that a hefty slice of Dallasites and North Texans have invaded the Beaches of Walton County, Florida, those picture-perfect white sands along Highway 30-A in the panhandle of northwest Florida.

And after October, we might just re-populate the place.