Our Hudson Valley experience revolves around the power of relationships and great humans. My partner, Andy, and I are close friends with Patricio and Claudette, another professional couple. Together, we set out to purchase a Hudson Valley property as a shared space for our families. As lifelong city dwellers, societal shifts (prompted by the pandemic) re-energized our longstanding desire for a country home.
Our journey started in January 2021. As newbies to the region, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect.
Both Patricio and Claudette — education professionals and new parents to a 10-month-old — were looking for a shared weekend or summer retreat they could enjoy after long days of working with students.
As professionals in the financial/marketing space, the transition to remote work was a game-changer for Andy and me. We sought a primary country residence with ample office space to ultimately make working from home more comfortable — while also maintaining our two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
The search parameters were tricky — not only did we want a budget-friendly three-plus bedroom home with a big backyard and an office. We also needed an area that was friendly and welcoming to us and our growing families, along with exceptional WiFi coverage.
The house hunt was perfectly curated by Maya Sheehan and Diana Polack of Compass Realty. Diana — a specialist in the region — found us a home even better than we’d dreamed of: a 2.5-acre, 4-bedroom property in Germantown. The previous owner, Mary, was warm, friendly, and a pleasure to deal with — she even left a list of contacts for us!
After closing in April 2021, interior renovations began quickly. Luckily, a friend had recently purchased a Catskills property and connected us to his highly recommended contractor. Despite an area-wide backlog, David Bautista and his team completed our gut renovation in about 3.5 weeks. Home Depot’s Kingston location, along with an associate named Kamal — who explained the difference between hardwood, vinyl and luxury laminate — were also invaluable partners through the process.
Our neighbors in Germantown and the surrounding areas of Tivoli, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck have been amazingly welcoming. Andy and I are Black, and Patricio and Claudette are Ecuadorian and Filipino. While the majority of our community may not share the same ethnic backgrounds as us, we’ve found commonalities in other ways, such as: our love for the outdoors, supporting local businesses; a willingness to lend a helping hand; and, of course, a penchant for wine and fresh food! Our welcoming neighbors have shared tips like the best time to see deer in the backyard, the best park to watch the sunset, and even the best way to control pesky carpenter bees.
We love the Hudson Valley!
Asha Davis is a Canadian-born New Yorker, advertising industry professional, and ginger ale enthusiast (Canada Dry all the way!). She enjoys exploring the Hudson Valley with the love of her life and moonlights as a stand-up comedian at clubs across New York.