Oktoberfest

This past Saturday, Alpine Lake hosted its annual Oktoberfest celebration. What a production! The organizers, Birgit and Bernie Stock are heavily involved in so many committees and activities that make Alpine Lake an amazing and active place to live. Fun fact: Birgit is from Bavaria and now lives in the Bavarian section of Alpine Lake!

All of the food served at the festival is prepared by a mighty team of volunteers who begin cooking days ahead of time. I went to the boathouse on Friday to help peel potatoes and had a marvelous time with my neighbors. A group of around 15 of us peeled and diced for three and a half hours and it really put the spirit of volunteerism at Alpine Lake in perspective for me. The residents really are like family to one another, with easy familiarity and upbeat, humorous attitudes.

There were contests for best costume and a stein-holding competition, carriage rides, and fantastic, local Oompa band. My kids had a blast and are already looking forward to going again next year. And believe it or not, I’m very much looking forward to joining the Potato Chain Gang again in 2019.

18 Summers

As the last day of summer 2018 receded before me and turned to dusk, I took a few minutes to reflect on what was has been the most wonderful time in my life, thus far. Isn’t it an odd feeling to realize that you’re living your best days? It’s both wonderful sad to know that when the sun begins to set on my body and mind, these are the days I will think of and try to live in most. So I document. I write and take photos…so many photos, knowing that my boys will probably never even look at them all in their lifetimes. But I will. One day.

We only have 13 more summers with Alastair and 16 more with Atticus. I’m so glad we’ve found a place to make the most of the short time we have with our babes under the same roof.

Confluence

The air is cooling and autumn is signaling her return. Fall has historically been my favorite of the four seasons, but this year, it’s regrettable so see such a fantastic summer come to an end. The summer of 2018 has been the most enjoyable of my life.

The humidity has remained low and it’s been cool enough to take the stroller or bikes out nearly every day. In addition to the absence of oppressive heat here in the mountains, the streets at alpine are mercifully shaded by the densely wooded lots. We’ve spent countless hours swimming in the lake, jumping off the dock and building sandcastles and volcanos on the beach. It’s amazing how much we have been able to kayak and paddle boards since we are able to leave our watercraft at the boathouse and no longer need to haul them to a body of water. It’s been a summer spent outdoors and so very memorable.

We hosted one last set of friends this past weekend before the lake becomes too chilly for swimming. Paul and Claire were clients last year when I sold their home in Morgantown and helped find a new one. Clients often have a way of becoming friends along the way and they’re no exception.

Their daughter is particularly delightful and I always say that I plan on being her when I grow up. My boys adore both of their children and the kids played together marvelously the entire time. I love being able to take mini-vacations with friends in the same season of life and I think it’s important that we show our children what sharing and hospitality look like.

I enjoyed them all so much, that I didn’t take nearly enough photos. After they left, my eldest son told me he wanted them to “stay forever”. I can’t wait or them to return or sledding this winter, if not sooner.

Labor Day

My eldest son, Alastair, had the misfortune of being born on Labor Day weekend and while it’s not a Christmas birthday, it usually means that many of his friends aren’t able to attend his party due to previous engagements. This year we decided to have his party at the pavilion at the beach on Alpine Lake and we had a fantastic turnout. It was the perfect celebration to mark his birthday and the end of summer. The water was warm and the sun was shining despite predictions for rain. It’s so nice to have a variety of facilities that can accommodate a large gathering right here at our Alpine home.

We also hosted guests from Annapolis over the weekend. Erik and Melissa are friends we met in Morgantown and even though they’ve moved, we keep in touch. Our kids are the same age and Alastair and their daughter, Cora, have been best friends since they were just six months old. He misses seeing her often but it’s been wonderful teaching him ways to maintain a close friendship despite distance. They send one another notes, drawings, emoji texts and gifts when they are apart as well as some FaceTime conversations. Watching these kids grow is one of the greatest joys of my life. They share such sweet, tender moments, one would think they were siblings.

Erik and Melissa were also relieved to be missing the heatwave engulfing the D.C area and Southern Maryland. Though it was warm for Alpine (80 degrees) the humidity was low and the breezes coming over the lake were so refreshing. Sitting on the deck, sipping Margaritas, and talking about our love of antiques was such a treat.

While they were here we enjoyed the beach, and taking them to some of our wonderful, local restaurants like The Manor Steakhouse located in Oakland, MD in a beautiful, historic home. In addition delectable dinners, they serve a divine brunch on the weekends. My favorite order is the Crab Cakes Benedict and a Bloody Mary, though the Ricotta Pancakes and Mimosas aren’t half bad either.

Did I mention that the Andersons’ youngest son, Finn and my youngest, Atticus are only a few months apart in age? I love these littles so dearly.

It looks like we have a new tradition for Labor Day weekend!

Coming home

As many of you know, one of our biggest motivations when buying our house at Alpine was that we wanted a place that our boys would always think of as “home”; a physical place that embodied all the feelings and senses that one’s home can evoke. For me, my grandparents’ farm was always the place I most closely associated with the word and concept of home. It’s where family from out-of-state would convene, where reunions were held, and where lighting bugs were caught at dusk on damp summer nights and placed in mason jars to use as night lights for sleepovers with cousins. It was a place of happy gathering, where we regularly took leisure.

For our family now, Alpine is becoming a home with an atmosphere and tone hardly short of magical. It’s where we bring those we love most, family and friends, to unwind and connect with one another. It’s nature walks, “bear hunting”, lazy beach days and kayaking. It’s birthdays, bunk-bed sleepovers, board games, dinners crowded around the table, libations, and toasting s’mores in the fireplace at the first signs of fall. It’s a white Christmas, the smell of evergreens, putting up soooo many Christmas lights, and the anticipation I feel before a promised snow storm strikes so we can all go sledding.

Our Alpine home is a place where our boys will never outgrow bringing their friends, and one day, if they have them, our grandchildren. In the future, we’ll say goodbye to our residence in Morgantown and move into our “home” and this amazing community of people for good. In the meantime, I’ll be expanding my real estate sales market to Alpine Lake.

Does this resonate with you? Are you yearning to create a place for yourself or your family to connect? As a real estate professional, dreamer, and adventurer, I’d be honored to help you start your journey “home”.

Our Alpine Lake Story

One of my favorite things to hear from other Alpine Lake residents is the story of how they discovered this hidden gem. It’s one of the first things I ask when meeting someone new here at Alpine. I plan on showcasing some of them in the future. Let’s start with how our family found our happy place:

In July 2017, My husband and I were parents to a three-year-old and a new baby. We had just returned from an amazing beach vacation that really left us all feeling happier and more connected and we wanted more of that. Since welcoming our second son, we had struggled to enjoy activities that worked in concert with our recent familial changes. Hiking, biking, and being outdoors were all hobbies in which we had always found contentment but the summer months in Morgantown were oppressively hot. Venturing to the cooler mountain areas often involved long day trips on the weekends which were taxing on small children who rely on regular meals, snacks, and naps. It was also exhausting for Arthur and me since our youngest son, Atticus, wasn’t much of a sleeper.

When Arthur first suggested that we buy a vacation home, I was reluctant. How in the world could we afford it? Would we use it often? What were the advantages of such an expenditure? But Arthur made his case: we needed a place to unwind as a family; somewhere that offered the comfort and convenience of home close to the outdoor activities that we so enjoyed. We needed a place near enough that we could drive there for the weekend, but not so close that we felt like we hadn’t left our hectic weekday schedules.

We only had 18 summers with our kids to create and foster the connectivity that we had experienced on our vacation. I warmed to the idea quickly, especially when I considered the prospect of a home near a lake. Is there anything more relaxing than a cool, calm lake shimmering in the sunlight?

We cast a wide net as we set about researching vacation home markets. We looked from the Pocanos, to Seven Springs, to Deep Creek Lake and everywhere in between. Being in the real estate industry, we where able to research and rule out areas fairly quickly. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a REALTOR and my husband, Arthur, is the broker and owner of Bel-Cross Properties in Morgantown, WV.

It was soon apparent that one little community consistently checked all the boxes on our wish list:

-Lake
-Gated community with 24/7 security
-On campus amenities including hiking trials, golf course, beach, pool, and restaurant
-Affordable home prices and cost-of-living
-Private, wooded lots

It was time to have a look.

Alpine Lake Resort was only an hour from our home in Morgantown, but a world away in atmosphere and considerably cooler in the summer months. This mountain resort, peppered a pristine, 150 acre lake had been designed to retain the natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains. As we made our way around the lake, we were greeted by a lush golf course, a lakeside playground, a boathouse, fishing areas, a lovely sandy beach and swimming area, tennis courts, and a mini golf course. Overlooking it all sat an elegant and unique Alpine-style lodge which contained two restaurants, an indoor pool, and fitness center. There was also a motel on site should we ever need accommodations for more guests than we could comfortably entertain in our vacation home.

Within the heavily-wooded lots around the lake we found hiking and cross country ski trails suitable for all abilities, fitness levels and age groups. Also among the woods rested more than 500 beautiful, hidden homes. Unbeknownst to me at the time, they contained residents equally as beautiful in spirit and as precious as jewels. The words “community” and “village” can scarcely convey the warmth and welcome we would soon receive.

As we drove along West Alpine Drive with our then three-year-old excitedly counting colorful kayaks on the lake and our four-month-old snoring softly in the backseat, I found myself admiring a sailboat gliding over the water with the lodge standing sentry in the background. I was acutely aware that this was a place like none other. The peace and beauty of the mountains overwhelmed me. The first part of our search had ended. We were ready to find our vacation home at Alpne Lake Resort.

That evening ater returning home, we began looking at listings in Alpine and settled on a Chalet overlooking the lake and upon seeing it in person, immediately fell in love. The owners had built the home 30 years before when their sons were small. As Chistine, the owner, told us about the vacations and weekends spent at Alpine Lake with their children, she was describing what we wanted to create at Alpine for ourselves and our boys: A place to learn and enjoy life sports, to be together without distraction, to make childhood friends, spend our holidays, and create our best memories…a “home-place”.

We had already written the offer before viewing the home so that we wouldn’t lose our opportunity to another buyer. We stopped for dinner at Monroe’s Restaurant in Kingwood on the way back to Morgantown and sent it. The offfer was accepted the following day and one month later, our lives at Alpine Lake Resort began.