It all started on Christmas… I hope you enjoy this little tale of how the Hedmans found their dream mountain house in Vermont!
The Monday before Christmas, Gary forwarded me a Zillow link to a ski house on the road up to our favorite mountain in Vermont, Magic Mountain. We hadn’t been actively looking for a second home, but the location – and the price – were too much to resist. We thought we’d take one liiiittle peek. We were going to be in the area that coming weekend anyway, right?
To provide some background, Gary grew up about 30 minutes away in Dorset, and his parents still live there. We typically pack the car full of ski gear and dogs every Friday night this time of year to head up there, and there’s nothing quite like the vibe and community surrounding Magic – tagline: “where skiing still has its soul.” We snagged ’18/19 seasons passes last spring.
Magic Circle is the only residential road on the approach up to Magic Mountain, so… y’know, basically ideal if you’re searching for a ski house. Which, again, we weren’t.
We met our realtor (huge shout to Claudia Harris!) that Saturday morning on our way to the slopes. To be honest, the online photos weren’t amazing, and it was clear this house was going to need a good bit of work, but when we pulled in I fell in love with it immediately! Externally, it had a lot of character – cool roof lines and a massive carport with storage for skis. I loved the way the house angled away from the road on a half acre of land.
The door opened to even more character and charm inside! I hadn’t noticed from the photos that the flooring was slate throughout (first floor). The tall cathedral ceiling and windows allowed for ample natural light. A working fireplace and open concept. All of these elements were ones we’ve long dreamed of having in our main home, and now it was all right here in one, on the side of a ski mountain!
The price definitely reflected the work that needs to be done, but this house was a no-brainer, and we wouldn’t have time to delay. On Christmas morning at 9:15 AM, we got the text that our purchase and sale agreement had been signed. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Prepping home + budget
So, by now you get it – we weren’t planning on buying a second home. In fact, we’re currently mid-way through an entire gut job and renovation on our kitchen on Cape Cod. Owning a second home is going to force us to actually budget our monthly spend. Not the kind of pretend budgeting we’ve been doing for years, but a real, honest-to-goodness watching of the ins and outs of our money.
For funzies, we started an Amazon wish list for all things cleaning product, toilet paper, aluminum foil, shampoo, shower curtains and more. The occasion also gave me reason to dust off the ol’ Pinterest account (see our “Vermont House” board here)!
But we also started looking around the house for items we already own that fit perfectly in Vermont. It’s actually pretty fun, because we’ve always been drawn to mountain decor that doesn’t necessarily fit on Cape Cod. All in all, we set aside some incredible wooden bowls and ski-themed platters, a handful of winter- and Vermont-themed books on our shelves, multiple foam rollers that will be handy after a day of skiing, pots and pans, a billion pint glasses, and a half-dozen barely-used red bath towels that will match the Magic Mountain branding perfectly…
The house is also a bit of a “project” and will need near-future investment to make it what it needs to be. We plan to immediately tackle interior painting and light fixtures, but here are a few bigger items for 2019:
- Replace the roof
- Costly repairs to the chimney
- Replace all five sliding-glass doors
- Scrape and paint (and then slowly replace) the exterior siding
It’s definitely in my hopes and plans to offer our Vermont mountain house as a rental by next fall. We really want to maintain the flexibility of using the home a ton ourselves, inviting friends and family constantly, but it will be nice to have the added potential of making back the cost of utilities by renting out one weekend a month or so. It’s basically been a life-long dream of mine to create a b+b experience. Would you dig it?
Investments at Magic
I actually feel like we made a little money back already! The very weekend we signed the purchase + sale agreement, Magic loaded its new Green Line chairs onto the cables. For a couple of years now, there’s been just the one double chair called the Red Line and the less-dependable, always-avoided Black Line – which is up for replacement next, thanks to Stratton’s former Snow Bowl chair that was helicoptered across the valley in the 2018 off-season. Cha ching!
Also LOVE this – check out this SKI Magazine article for more on how Magic is casting a spell on the region!
The ski shop has majorly stepped up with a new location and continuous influx of awesome new clothing and gear. We could have probably put a new roof on this house if we hadn’t already spent all our money at the shop. The Black Line Tavern is fantastic, with a beautiful view of the slopes, great local beers, surprisingly delectable food, and they’re putting a stellar effort into live music as well. The true social secret of the Magic scene is “Sunshine Corner,” but in Gary’s words, “the first rule of Sunshine Corner is that no one talks about Sunshine Corner,” so I’ll leave it at that ;-)
Lastly, they’re putting a ton of money and muscle behind snowmaking improvements as well – the guns, the pump house, the pond, etc.
Delay in closing
And if you’re still reading (bless you), here’s where the dramatic conflict scene comes in…
On the exact same day as our 10th wedding anniversary back in 2015, the house seller and his then-wife got divorced. He since moved on and remarried, but that didn’t stop things from rising to the surface after all these years, and our January 24th closing was cut just two days before. The Amazon cart was full, our living room was stacked with boxes, repair folks had been scheduled to meet us in a few days. But nada.
We were on hold for days, weeks, and then indefinitely. There was nothing we could do but wait, and we didn’t know if it would be a matter of weeks or months… or how many months. What we also didn’t foresee is that the seller would abruptly terminate our contract this past Monday as he prepared for a lengthy battle back in family court. The house was no longer ours. Major heartbreak. For some odd reason, I didn’t tell a soul that evening (very unlike me). I quietly sat with the news and journaled some thoughts out. The very next morning, we learned the ex-wife suddenly agreed to resolve the outstanding issue. With her one swift signature, I was utterly dumbfounded. Whaaaat? Our team was now rushing to let us close on the sale THIS same week?? The house was ours again – and soon!
And that, my friends, is what brings us to today. We just officially closed on the purchase and walked through our new (old) red door on Magic Circle in Londonderry, VT. We can’t wait to welcome you in! See more, and follow along on Instagram at @mountainhousevt!