Amagansett, Vermont, Anguilla and the Eastern Shore of Maryland are just a few of the places where friends own second homes. Not having a vacation home myself, I often get wistful—but never jealous!—and start to dream about where my family might set up a second shop. We love Nantucket but the time–sucking parking lot of I–95 is akin to fog delays for fliers (after you've played the odds of Hyannis vs. Providence vs. New Bedford airports). Vermont is appealing, too, but often ice and rain dash hopes of a powder weekend.
But say you have settled on a location. Ahh...a blank canvas for everything from decorating to clothing. Then the first storm hits and you are miles away and the plumber is nowhere to be found! And then the obligation of guests begins to creep in and you become a veritable innkeeper at your own B&B! Let's not forget teenagers who would rather stay home to be with their friends. Now what?!?
What is it about owning a second home that is so appealing that you overlook the downside? Is it a chance to do things differently? Do you feel so much calmer at the beach that your worries fade away? Are you more invigorated in the mountains so that you can tackle almost any challenge? Is this weekend escape a sign of an overriding urge just to change our lives—or, more fundamentally, to change who we are?
To gain more insight into the second–home psyche, I spoke to a number of friends to understand better the motivation behind their purchases. Some point to a pure investment play. Others cited a milder climate where you can golf 10 months of the year, or revel in the lure of ocean waves and warm breezes. Underlying almost all of these motivations, however, was a near–universal theme of wanting a different lifestyle.
Let's face it: we all like to change it up, to get away from it all, to live life differently. (And, of course, this is too easy to parody, especially when it comes to fashion. Think of the Wall Street weekender who miraculously morphs from the uniform–like wardrobe of Lower Manhattan to the duck–hunting outdoorsman apparatus—to a fault—much to the snickers of the locals!) To my mind, however, a place to recharge or reflect or reinvent is a luxury that really doesn't come from a change on a map. It comes from a change of heart and mind, no matter the location.
Editor in Chief
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