Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dollars Work for Brits

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dollars Work for Brits

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHEA MASEY

THE New England region has the perfect holiday climate: warm summers and crisp, snowy winters, and, in between the two, the dazzling beauty of the New England autumn, when the forests blaze with colour. The area has something for everyone: smart, sophisticated Boston, with Cambridge and Harvard University on the opposite side of the Charles River; mountainous countryside dotted with pretty clapboard towns and villages; and summer arts festivals in the Berkshires, with music at Tanglewood and dance at Jacob's Pillow.

The pound now buys nearly two American dollars, a rate not seen since the ERM currency crisis in the autumn of 1992, and New England estate agents report a huge upsurge in British buyers looking for second homes in holiday areas where they can ski in winter and play golf and go hill walking and fishing in the summer, all within an easy drive of Boston Airport.

Top favourites are New England ski resorts such as Killington in Vermont, the Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire, centred around the towns of North Conway and Jackson, and the Sunday River ski resort, near the town of Bethel in Maine. Killington is the largest ski and snowboard area in the eastern United States and has more ski lifts than any other resort. A lively snowboarding crowd means it can get quite rowdy. Nicknamed the Beast of the East, the resort has 212 trails sprawled across seven mountains. Mountain walking, along the Appalachian and Long trails, is the main summer pursuit.

The pretty town of Jackson, in the Mount Washington Valley, with its smart hotels and restaurants, is the leading cross-country skiing centre on the east coast and has 100 miles of trails across 60 square miles. This is a year-round resort where holiday homes let well throughout the year.

The Sunday River ski resort has 18 ski lifts across eight mountains, and stunning views of the Mahoosuc Mountains. The resort has invested more than $100 million in new facilities in recent years and has the most technically advanced snowmaking system in the country, which guarantees snow between November and May. The nearby small town of Bethel has that quintessential New England feel and charming white clapboard houses. With a smart private school and well-respected school of management, it attracts a well-heeled, academic crowd.

Peter Pietz, of estate agent Badger Realty, which has branches in Jackson and North Conway in the Mount Washington Valley, says he has sold six holiday homes to UK buyers in the past 16 months. "They usually decide to buy a holiday home after spending a holiday here.

Property prices are affordable compared with the Marketing consultant Nick Sawbridge and his American musicteacher wife, Barbara, who live near Guildford, bought a four-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium arranged over three floors in North Conway through Badger Realty in August. …

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