The Most Expensive Home In The U.S.

Copper Beach

Copper Beach

Connecticut is proud to have the most expensive home currently on  market in the United States.  At over 13,000-square-feet, Copper Beech Farm is 50 waterfront acres with stunning views of the Long Island Sound. The twelve-bedroom French Renaissance home has a 75-foot outdoor pool, a grass tennis court, wine cellar and a private apple orchard. The waterfront property is currently used as a weekend retreat by its owners. We can’t even imagine what their usual house looks like.

The home was built in 1896 and has been owned by the Greenway family (which developed U.S. Steel with Andrew Carnegie) and more recently by timber tycoon John Rudey. David Ogilvy, the listing agent, told Forbes that, “the $190 million list price is based on numerous comparables for the area, having crunched the average sales prices per acre for close to a dozen nearby properties — none of which offer even close to the same amount of acreage.”

But perhaps the most appealing aspect of this listing is the fact that it includes two private offshore islands.

An 1,800-foot private driveway with cobblestone gutters leads up to the Copper Beech Farm, which also boasts a greenhouse, a stone carriage house and cottage on more than 50 acres of land.

Inside, the home has all the marks of old world luxury: a library with a fireplace, balconies, a staff wing, staff kitchen, dumb waiter, skylights and marble bathrooms.

It’s unclear whether the home will actually sell for its asking price. The Journal points out that in 2009 Candy Spelling made headlines when she listed her Los Angeles mansion at $150 million—the home sold for $85 million.

The property is by far the most expensive currently listed on the site of David Ogilvy & Associates, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. The next most expensive estate available is another Greenwich home selling for just $32 million.

Top 5 Museums and Aquariums In Connecticut

1. Mystic Aquarium

   Mystic Aquarium is located in the beautiful, historic Mystic
seaport. One of two aquariums in Connecticut this is definitely the better
choice of the two. With a much larger venue you can take in all the
amazing sights Mystic Aquarium has to offer. From exotic fish to ferocious
sharks Mystic has it all. Other fun things Mystic Aquarium has to offer are
a year-round sting ray touch tank, 4-D movie theater and even a Titanic
exhibit. So whether you take the kids for a day of family fun, or you and
you friends want to get together, Mystic Aquarium is a great choice!

Open

  • April – October (9am – 5pm)
  • November (9am – 4pm)
  • December – February (10am – 4pm)
  • March (9am – 4pm)

mysticaquarium.org

 

2. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

essex_steam_train

The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is not only a retired train museum but is also a working steam engine track! The Essex Steam Train is still in operation to this day doing 1920’s themed dinner trains that take you all along the Connecticut River for a beautifully scenic dinner. Not your style?  That’s alright!  You can even learn to drive the monster of a train!  Just check out their educational program.  And let’s not forget the  Circus train… For just a couple weekends in July head to the Essex Steam Train to take an authentic Circus train to the circus!! From birthday parties to weddings the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat have plenty to offer people of any age.

Open

  • Monday – Friday (9am – 5pm)
  • Saturday – Sunday (10am – 5pm)

 

3. Yale-Peabody Museum of Natural History

yale-peabody-museum

Yale-Peabody is a wonderful place to bring the kids for a day of learning made fun! Right as you walk in the door you are  introduced to the Museums’ model of a Giant Squid, on the first of its’ three  floors you will find items from Native American history, and fossils of the origin of human beings, among other things. On the second floor you can learn about meteorites, look at fossils found right in Continence and learn to appreciate the mighty power of tornadoes! Then it’s off to the third floor where you can gaze upon dioramas of Connecticut nature or take a stroll through Egypt. With all the things Yale-Peabody Museum of Natural History has to offer you’re sure to have a day filled with learning and laughter!

4. Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center

Get away from all the noise of the Casino and slip into the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Come and learn about the rich Native American history present in Connecticut. As you enter the building you can see a carved Native American canoe, go along the downward spiral ramp and you’ll end up in a whole other world. Along with its theaters running educational films you can find multiple exhibits that teach you what life was like in the time of the Natives. Deep within the museum you will find an actual life-size recreation of a Native American village.  See how daily life was lived, what chores each member of society was expected to fulfill, walk right through the huts and gardens. Besides the museum you will find a restaurant, serving authentic Native American meals, a viewing tower that overlooks the much of Connecticut and a gift shop that carries authentic Native American products still made today.  This is a beautiful museum inside and out, you’ll miss out if you don’t see it at least once!

5. Connecticut Children’s Science Center

CT Science Center

Forces in Motion: CT Science Center

Now this is a place for kids! Great for a rainy day, or even a sunny one!! The view from the top of this glass building is breathtaking.  It overlooks downtown Hartford and the river, but beware! If you’re afraid of heights don’t look down! With tons and tons of hands on exhibits this is a place for your kids to learn all about science! As you walk in and get your tickets you see they have a theater where you can see a 3-D Film, or be mesmerized by the elevators, you can see all the inner workings, cables, wheels and all! This isn’t just fun for the kids, parents can interact too! And for the older crowd, don’t forget the Liquid Lounge! Grab a drink, watch some science!

With over 250 museums and aquariums in Connecticut, you are sure to find a way to have fun while learning a thing or two!

Tips for Selling a Home in Connecticut

You may be selling a home in Connecticut for a variety of reasons, from starting a family to retirement. No matter why you’ve decided to sell your home, there are certain things that almost all home sales have in common. If you’re selling a home, following these simple tips will help the sale go smoothly:

Make minor repairs. It can be much easier to sell your home if you make a few minor repairs first. Things like squeaky stairs and leaky faucets can turn a potential buyer off, but are relatively easy to fix. You may also consider painting the walls a neutral color and having the carpet cleaned.
Read up on local laws. Educating yourself about the legalities behind home sales in Connecticut can make it easier to sell your home. While a real estate agent can explain much of the process, it can be helpful to learn about it for yourself.
Find a great real estate agent. A real estate agent can make selling a home in Connecticut much easier. From finding buyers to putting together paperwork, a real estate agent helps you with many different facets of selling a home. You’ll want to interview multiple real estate agents before you choose. It can be helpful to drive around and look at for sale signs in your neighborhood to see who the local real estate agents are.
Price your home. Settling on an asking price is one of the trickiest parts of selling a home. Pricing isn’t an exact science, so you’ll want to do some research and consider your particular area in Connecticut before you decide.
Consider holding an open house. An open house can help you sell your home quickly. It gives multiple potential buyers the chance to see the house at once, reducing the number of disruptive viewings.
Plan your move. When you’re selling a home, you’ll either have to pay for two places at once or you’ll have to rent for awhile before purchasing another home. It’s nearly impossible to coordinate your buying and selling schedules so you can move directly from one place to another, but with planning, you can minimize your transitional periods.

Although selling a home can be stressful at times, you can make it easier by keeping a few simple things in mind. Next time you sell a house, try following a few of these tips to make your selling process easier.

7 Reasons To Take A Vacation in Connecticut

As a New England vacation travel writer I’ve always considered Connecticut an overlooked state when people choose destinations and attractions for a New England vacation. As you’ll discover here a Connecticut vacation offers excitement… or peace and quiet, depending on your mood.

Let’s take a quick look at seven reasons why you should consider a Connecticut vacation for your next New England trip.

THE MUSEUMS OF CONNECTICUT

With more than 14 diverse theme museums in Connecticut, there’s bound to be something to suit your taste. Here’s a quick rundown…

Bridgeport is home to The Barnum Museum and Discovery Museum, and at Danbury you’ll find the Military Museum of Southern New England and the Danbury Railway Museum. Keeping with a train theme Thomaston hosts the Railroad Museum of New England and Naugatuck Railroad.

In Bristol you can find The New England Carousel Museum and period time pieces at the American Clock and Watch Museum. Just a little south in Waterbury is Time Expo, and a chance to celebrate the heritage of the Litchfield region at the Mattatuck Museum. At the Connecticut Antique Machinery Museum in Kent experience machinery that once drove commerce in the area.

Windsor Locks is not just home to Bradley International Airport but also to the New England Air Museum and south in East Haven experience another form of transportation at the Shore Line Trolley Museum.

And rounding out our must-see list is Mystic’s Museum of America and the Sea, and the fabulous Mashantucket Pequot Museum in nearby Mashantucket.

THE CONNECTICUT WINE TRAIL

Wineries in Connecticut? Yes, in fact there’s 16 of them scattered throughout the state, and they make a perfect basis for a Connecticut Vacation. The climate in Connecticut is mild compared to the rest of New England and wines produced include: Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, and Riesling. While Connecticut wines have only been produced since 1978, many farms where the grapes are grown are hundreds of years old. The wine tasting room will usually be open but call ahead for a tour time. You’ll find these wineries not geared for large bus loads, but on the plus much more intimate than wineries in Northern California.

The wine trail is split into two major regions and it’s suggested your tour is split up over three to four days. But because the trail takes you near so many other destinations and attractions in Connecticut let yourself be distracted and enjoy the jaunt through scenic and historic New England towns.

FOXWOODS AND MOHEGAN SUN

Combined Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun make the largest casino complex in the world. Foxwoods in owned and run by Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and Mohegan Sun by Mohegan Tribe on lands they own in Uncasville. These are sophisticated high-style experiences with shopping complexes, hotels, high profile entertainment acts, and top-rated restaurants. They are both close to each other and located in the eastern region of Connecticut, and close to museums, scenic drives, and the Connecticut vacation attractions in Mystic.

HISTORIC HOMES OF CONNECTICUT

Perhaps the most famous home to see on your Connecticut vacation is Mark Twain’s in Hartford, which is now a museum as well full of many artifacts he accumulated in the 17 years he lived there. Also in Hartford is the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe – of Uncle Tom’s Cabin fame. Another famous woman’s home is the academy run by Prudence Crandall in Canterbury – it’s the site of the first academy for black women in New England. Your trip to Connecticut should include the town of Litchfield where you can view museum quality preserved colonial homes, and the Litchfield History Museum and Tapping Reeve House and Law School.

Connecticut includes many historic homes that played an important role in the Underground Railroad and the African-American journey from slavery to freedom.

ESSEX STEAM TRAIN AND THE CONNECTICUT RIVER

The historic 1892 Essex station is your kick-off point for a unique vintage Steam Train and Riverboat Cruise along the Connecticut River. This combined tour takes 2 and 1/2 hours. In the summer it’s cooling, and in the fall stunning with the turning of the leaves. The Connecticut River Museum is also in Essex and vividly brings to life the river’s history as told through paintings, artifacts, and interactive exhibits.

THE TOWN OF MYSTIC

Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium are magnets for visitors to Connecticut. The seaport is billed as The Museum of America and the Sea and depicts an authentic 19th century seafaring village, tall ships to tour, and a Preservation Yard where master shipbuilding skills are still practiced. The Mystic Aquarium includes a delightful array of indoor and outdoor exhibits, including Beluga whales, and a stunning model of the Titanic.

THE ANTIQUE RUNS

Connecticut is famous for its concentration of antique shops, and draws thousands of treasure hunters each year who take a Connecticut vacation just to stock up on bargains and specimens to collect and decorate their homes. The village of Woodbury is known as the “Antiques Capital of Connecticut” and has over 45 dealers, but the fact is you’re never too far from that special purchase no matter where you are in the state. Just sometimes its nice to take the time to follow your nose along a scenic New England road and see where it takes you… you can bet if it’s in Connecticut, it’ll take you close to an antique shop.

 

Recent Trends in New Haven Real Estate

Thanksgiving week is just on the horizon as the fall season begins to wrap up and give way to winter.  Throughout the fall timeline, the New Haven real estate market has mostly experienced improvement in a number of different areas.  There have been telling numbers in some areas of the market, while others experience a bit of dissension.  For most of 2011, two of the area’s key markets, single family homes and condominiums have experienced different returns.

In the past few months, there’s been a different feel in the New Haven real estate market.  Within the fall months, overall sales in the new haven area saw an improvement over the returns from 2010.  Throughout July, August and September, pending sales decreased.  This could mean that more deals were getting done.  Total sales for the area were considerably steady when compared to the early months of 2011.  The first quarter of 2011 saw an 18 percent hit to overall sales in the New Haven area, thus the steady numbers have been particularly telling for the local market.

Prospective buyers in the area and around the country are also usually affected by the rental market and its characteristics.  In 2011, New Haven apartments have experienced rising rental rates for the most part.  This could be a good trend for sellers, especially for those potential buyers who are truly on the fence between buying their first home and continuing to rent.  Right now, the average rental in New Haven is about $1,200, which is about three percent higher than last year.

The inventory in the New Haven area has been falling for most of 2011, but the last few months have brought on some different trends in this sub sector of the market. With the inventory falling for most of the year, the amount of time that homes have stayed on the market has also been affected. Right now, the area has an average market time of 150 days, proving to be much more steady than 2010 and previous years.

With a little of November and the month of December left in 2011, the New Haven real estate market is likely to experience a continued mixture of good and bad statistics.  The sales of single family homes are likely to experience steadiness throughout the winter, instead of any kind of boom.  Primarily the winter months are rough for most real estate markets, but a pickup could be expected in the early months of 2012.

While the year end trends will affect some decisions in the early part of 2012, the choices of potential buyers will continue to be based mostly on a defining set of factors that are important to their own needs.  While good statistics and returns often determine what a buyer’s market is, each situation is truly individual and helps to determine whether or not a sale gets done.

 

By:  Melinda Carter

Real Estate Investment Success

Are you losing money in all kind of speculative instruments like share, bonds and Forex and am wondering what asset class to invest in? Why not consider real estate investment with its traditionally higher yields as compared to leaving your money in your bank account. This article will highlight four common strategies that real estate investors use to make money in property investment.

Money Making Method #1 – Purchase run down property and spruce it up

This method involves finding a run down property in a good area that you think has promise for resale and sprucing it up like some of the shows where people do an extreme makeover on the property. Bring along a good structural engineer or architect when you do look for such properties so as to ensure that the renovation works that you have to do will not be so extensive that it does not become worth your while to purchase the property. Since the property is may be rather run down, you need to redecorate and repair it and then you can resell this real estate for a much higher price. The key consideration when investing in this kind of real estate is to keep your renovation costs low but ensure that the basic utilities like the electricity , water and gas pipes are in good working condition. Thus this buy at undervalue and upgrade real investment strategy requires good investment property valuation skills and the ability to keep your costs low.

Money Making Method #2 – Find places with high rentals

Find areas with traditionally high rental returns that outperform the national average and then spend time looking for them and make money from the rentals. Here in this area of real estate investment, spending some time to find the real estate investment that is a bargain is a good idea so that you can get better return on investment.

Some people do not seem to get it that high rental yields are important to a real estate investor and think that most of their customers would pay anything to get a winter residence. I was at a property exhibition recently and spoke to a Spanish Real Estate Agent and when I asked her what the Return on Investment was on a piece of Bulgarian property that she was selling. Not only could she not even understand the concept of ROI but she even laughed off the question of rental yield when I asked her. I am sure she is not alone in his mistaken belief that people buy just because they like the real estate. Thus rental yields or return on investment is critical when you decide what type of real estate investment property to purchase.

Money Making Method #3- Purchase foreclosed property

Most people will know that foreclosed property usually fetches a lower price than the market value since banks are often eager to sell at a price that covers their mortgages or sometimes they just want to liquidate the property. Such properties tend to be auctioned off and you can then resell them for a higher value subsequently. However beware of hidden defects in auction properties and always arrange for a visit down to the property just to check it out.

Two people you should bring with you when deciding on a real estate investment is your professional engineer and your contractor. You want to check for hidden defects in your real estate investment to avoid buying a defective property that would cost loads of money just to repair. Thus purchasing foreclosed property may be profitable if you find a real bargain for your real estate investment portfolio.

Money Making Method #4- Cash Flow Investment

Robert T. Kiyosaki in his book explains this real estate investment strategy. He argues that the best investment you get is when you find a property at a bargain and then purchase it with as much debt as possible and then generate a cash flow from the difference between the monthly rent and the mortgage instalment. This method is highly interesting and requires you to really spend time looking for such a real estate investment that fits in that criteria.

Remember that real estate investment is dependent on rental and the higher the proposed rental the better your monthly cash flow is. You could also purchase the property at a lower price and this would mean that your monthly cash flow would improve. Note that once your property is partly paid up, you can refinance your loan and extract out some money and purchase a second property and so on. Soon you would have multiple streams of income from the purchase of one real estate investment property.

In conclusion, there are many ways to make money from real estate investment and what’s missing is massive action on your part. Take massive action and start hunting for your ideal real estate investment property today and start generating substantial real estate investment property profits.

 

Using This Years Taxes To Save On Next Years

You just got done paying taxes or filing an extension and are grumpy. If you are smart, you will use this miserable event to save some cash for next year.

Using This Years Taxes to Save On Next Years Taxes

For most people, preparing and filing taxes is the equivalent of sticking a pin in a body part. It simply is not fun. Heck, it is not even amusing. One of the reasons is you inevitably find some part of the process where you wonder how you could possible not have more deductions or credits. You fully realize you should tweak your finances to maximize certain expense areas and, by God, you are definitely going to do it for next year. This admirable goal, much like a New Years Resolution, fades into antiquity after about a month. You should not let this happen!

There is no better time than now to proactively plan for savings on next year’s taxes. Having just completed your taxes, you inherently know where you got hurt. Even if you do not, you inevitably felt like you paid more than your fair share. To avoid this, you need to do some tax planning.

Stop groaning. Tax planning may sound boring, but it actually very exciting if you think about it the right way. If I told you a trip to Vegas would definitely result in $2,000 in your pocket, would you be excited to go? Of course you would. Well, tax planning has the same the result. You need to focus on the amount of money you will save.

The best way to go about tax planning is with a proactive accountant. Yes, they cost money, but they will save you far more than you spend and you can write off their fees. A win-win if ever there was one.

When selecting a CPA, you want a proactive one. You want them to look at your tax return and tell you where money can be saved. Then you want to know exactly how much you would have saved last year if you had taken the recommended steps. Yes, it will be painful, but it will also motivate you to get on board with their plan and stick with it.

Paying taxes this year was undoubtedly a painful experience. Analyze the specific areas that caused you pain, and next year will be blissful.

 

Connecticut Bed And Breakfasts

The state of Connecticut is known for its rich culture and quaint villages and historic homes but the state also has much to offer in entertainment, adventure, and relaxation as well. With its beaches, its antique shops, outdoor scenery, and laid back lifestyle Connecticut makes the perfect vacation destination for everyone whether it be a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or even a fun trip to take with your closest friends. With so much diversity in the entertainment and the activities offered in Connecticut everyone is able to find something they enjoy no matter what time of year it is they decide to visit which is why people keep coming back to the state again and again.

The rich history in the state of Connecticut includes everything from Revolutionary War-era ghosts to Native American cultural history to the states French connection. Note worthy people formerly from the state include such names as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and Katharine Hepburn. And don’t forget all of the historic sites that visitors can enjoy while in the state. Such sites include the Mark Twain House, the Amistad Memorial, the Old State House, the Indian Burial Grounds, and the Connecticut Archeology Center. There is so much to learn in this state and the history is so rich that many people come back again and again just so that they can experience all that there is. Whether you and your family enjoy history museums, historic homes, or just a good old story you will be sure to find something in Connecticut to suit your preferences. A vacation where you can have fun and learn a good deal about the state’s and the nation’s history is the best kind to take and the whole family will love it.

The state of Connecticut is also a great place to visit for the nature lover as there is an endless supply of spectacular scenery, numerous campgrounds for the family to enjoy, and exciting adventurous activities for all. The state has over 65 individual campgrounds all offering something unique for those that visit. With a number of lakes and rivers you can always find a spectacular waterfront experience whether its fishing you enjoy or just sitting back and listening to the sound of the water splashing away. You can also find a number of places throughout the state where the really adventurous can enjoy such activities as sky diving, parachuting, ballooning, scuba diving, or whitewater rafting. For those that aren’t quite as adventurous but still like to spend the majority of their vacation outside there are numerous festivals throughout the year so you’re sure to find something fun to do regardless of which time of year you decide to take your trip. Here you will find festivals dedicated to an array of art and cultural activities including music, visual art, crafting, or just plane old fun. Whether you’re vacationing with the whole family, just a few friends, or the special someone, the Connecticut outdoors has something to offer everyone.

The Secret of Wealthy Real Estate Investors

Wealthy real estate investors use a process known as “flipping properties” to quickly make a real killing in the real estate market. The process is simple. Flipping properties simply means buying a piece of real estate under contract and then reselling it at a markup within days or months of the initial purchase. In most cases, investors resell these properties to investors rather than home buyers.

This type of investing offers many benefits to the smart investor:

  • It allows for big savings.  Since the property passes through hands quickly, the savvy investor will spend less money on managing the property.
  • It allows for big profits. Flipping properties is very lucrative because it allows the investor to instantly mark up a property price and enjoy thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in profits on a single deal. Investors in the know even maximize their profits by purchasing homes that are priced below market value and then reselling for full market value. As you can imagine, the profit potential here is virtually unlimited, since you can buy cut-price properties at tax sales and directly from cash-strapped homeowners and resell at a huge profit.
  • It leads to fast cash. Many would-be investors are wary of the real estate market, because they assume that selling, buying, and managing properties takes months and years. Flipping properties allows you to see cash up front – in just a few days on desirable real estate.
  • It helps others. Most investors are interested in the bottom line, but flipping properties is actually a very good way to help out others. Investors who are successful at this help other investors by uncovering the valuable properties that can make others money. That’s why the markup makes sense – by flipping properties, you are providing a great finding service for others. In some cases, investors are also able to help out homeowners in financial distress, by helping them to get cash for their homes.

Smart investors are already making incredible profits by making use of this simple investment secret. However, the uninitiated do need to be wary. Profits are not assured. To be a successful investor, you need to be able to spot deals and uncover the homes that will actually sell fast. Telling the real estate gems from the duds is not an easy process, and one that requires a good eye and some skill-building.

 

Finding Romance In Connecticut

It was snowing again. This is the soft white powder you would expect in Colorado, not in Connecticut. It makes everything quiet and clean and very cold. The large wrap around quintessential porch creaked below my snow boots. I glanced at the ice sculptures in the “green” which was now all white. As I walked into the lobby the roaring fire was a welcome relief to the snowy scene outside. I had just walked back in time to 1806 at the White Hart Inn.

On the first floor of this charming inn are the large banquet rooms each with its own huge original wood burning fire place. The wood floors and large windows make it a romantic and personal place for a wedding and reception. The cozy Tap Room on the main floor is a meeting place for all guests where one can grab a delicious meal or a hot drink at the bar. The hotel is only 26 rooms which ensure individual attention to all guests.

My favorite room at the White Hart Inn is the Edsel Ford room. The blue Waverly wall paper and royal blue carpet makes you feel like you are indeed visiting in the 1800s. The large 4 poster canopy bed is nestled between windows that offer views of the green and the town. Although the fire place is non working, it adds to the romantic ambiance of the room.

The annual ski jumping event had taken place the previous weekend to my visit and now this cozy bed and breakfast was quiet once again. Nestled in the Berkshire Hills, this area of Connecticut is called Litchfield County. While the area is best known for their many summer recreational and cultural activities, there is much to do in all four seasons. Spring is an excellent time for hiking, biking or canoeing. The Appalachian Trail has 13 miles of beautiful trails all through Salisbury. The winter offers downhill and cross-country skiing. The fall has the beautiful breathtaking autumn colors, of which there is nothing to compare. Visit a winery or do some antiquing all year round. Or just pull up a rocking chair and enjoy the feeling of days gone by at this perfect spot for your romantic honeymoon vacation!