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The Offer Howard Schoor Couldn’t Refuse

As the Founder and former CEO of a national engineering design firm and experienced residential home builder and land developer, you can imagine that Howard Schoor is a man who has initiated, received and negotiated countless offers.  From 1997 – 2004, Howard was Chairman of Community Bank of New Jersey (CBNJ-NASDAQ) until its sale to Sun National Bank (SNBC-NASDAQ).  In 1998, Mr. Schoor formed another of his many successful companies, HMS Consulting, LLC, a land development and real estate consulting company. 

Additionally, in September 2000, he established the Woodstone group of companies to develop 5,000± acres in Bethel, NY, now known as the Chapin Estate.  With this as his background, it was only recently that he received the offer of a lifetime – one that even Howard Schoor couldn’t refuse.  A keen buyer had an eye on Howard’s custom built home in the Chapin Estate, although it wasn’t for sale.

As one of the principals of The Chapin Estate in Sullivan County, Schoor built himself a most unique home overlooking the Toronto Reservoir.  The entirely south facing estate was a stunning masterpiece that according to David Knudsen’s Sullivan County Real Estate blog, was “…one of the few houses here in Sullivan County that truly qualified as a trophy property.”

Although Schoor’s estate was not listed on the market for sale, he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.   According to David Knudsen, “The reported sale has been buzzing around real estate circles here for weeks…”  The much talked about sale speaks great volumes not only to Howard’s skill as a land developer and home builder with a vision, but also to the magnificent value these Chapin Estate homes possess.  For Schoor, as a developer of this project, nothing could be a greater testament and compliment to honor his work at Chapin.

Knudsen commented in his blog covering the Howard Schoor offer, “Property falls into two categories-those that are on the market and those that aren’t…Some owners of special properties have no interest whatsoever in selling…But many respond with ‘We haven’t considered selling but make me an offer I can’t refuse’.”

Such an offer was made…..and Howard could not refuse.  This sale highlights, what a special place the Chapin Estate is.  Speculation now has it that he is planning a new home at Chapin which will overlook Toronto Reservoir.

Pasch Consulting Selected by Howard Schoor For Online Marketing

Howard Schoor has selected the Pasch Consulting Group from Rumson New Jersey for Internet Marketing services to support the launch his latest award winning invention. The new automotive accessory will be unveiled after the Labor Day weekend and has already won rave reveiws from industry insiders.   Howard Schoor is banking on InfoWorx DRTV campaigns and research along with Pasch Consulting Group’s expertise in online search marketing to make his latest invention a winner.

The Pasch Consulting Group, was selected for their expertise in search engine optimization, social networking and online sales generation.  The company has hundreds of clients from around the United States and Canada who have utilized their Search Engine Optimization  (SEO) sales strategies.  The company was founded in 2005 by Brian Pasch CEO, a season veteran of the direct marketing industry.  For additional information visit www.paschconsulting.com .

The Pasch Consulting Group will be focusing on developing strong Internet visibility for Howard Schoor’s new invention.  PCG will be working in conjunction with another New Jersey website design firm; Jennings IT Services.  Joe Jennings, CEO of the company will be responsible for the ecommerce design and integration of the product website with the third party logistics companies.

Innovation from NJ Entrepreneur

Howard’s invention is classified as an automotive driving accessory and will be released in September 2009.  The details on the product are being kept under wraps, but here is a few things we know:

  • The product will be released after Labor Day Weekend
  • The price is set to be sold for under $15
  • Industry experts predict that the product will be a top seller this holiday season due to its universal appeal and affordable price tag
  • The product will be sold via national TV and Internet direct sales

Brian Pasch, CEO of the Pasch Consulting Group commented on the opportunity saying ” We are very excited about Howard Schoor‘s new invention. We see the product as a “must have ” accessory for every car in the USA and eventually around the globe.  This is a product that would could see in national department store chains and a product that would appeal to women, men and teen drivers. 

Consumers interested in being on the VIP product alert list can add their name to the email notification list by clicking here: Howard Schoor Email List

RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

The Editors
The Asbury Park Press
3601 Highway 66, Box 1550
Neptune, NJ 07754-1551

March 9, 2009

RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

Dear Editors:

ASBURY PARK PRESS FOUND GUILTY by New York State Psychologist and friend to victim, Howard M. Schoor. Yes, Mr. Schoor is a victim.

My dear editors, for a moment separate yourselves from wanting to sell newspapers or defending your lapse in judgment when you printed the “Schoor sentence badly engineered” editorial on February 11, 2009.

When you stated, “Howard Schoor, a prominent engineer who admitted bribing a public official…” you lied. The facts are as follows:

The Court records (from both the Plea and Sentencing) indicate: Schoor DePalma “the firm” provided engineering and consulting services to the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA) in a professional and proper manner. The Court heard, and the U. S. Attorney agreed, that: Kessler and Weldon solicited Mr. Schoor, not the reverse. Mr. Schoor did not benefit from the offense. Since February of 1992, some eight years prior to the solicitation, Mr. Schoor had no involvement in the day-day operations of Schoor DePalma; he didn’t even have an office there. Messrs. Kessler and Weldon never approached anyone at TOSA to influence a vote for or against Schoor DePalma. Schoor did not know that Kessler or Weldon had some scheme among themselves. The words of Judge Cavanaugh at sentencing and the government’s response:
“There’s no benefit to anybody. This whole thing to me is just – I don’t – quite frankly, I hardly get it.” And here are the words of Mr. Nobile (Government), “Your Honor, the record indicates that Mr. Schoor received nothing personally from the turnover of this $15,000 gratuity…” And here again, the judge is clear regarding what went into his sentencing. “And the instance alone (referring to the gratuity) has me a bit confused anyway. And there was no bribe; No one seemed to have received much of a benefit, I guess, except these two guys that got the $15,000. Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it, other than the headaches that we’re dealing with now.” “There was no gain or benefit, no victims really.”

Clearly, the record discloses, there was no bribe. Contrary to perhaps your good intentions and worthy desire to be champion of the people in exposing public corruption (which I admire as a purpose). you are, here, disingenuous, at best, in regard to Mr. Schoor. The facts do not support your editorial position.

You might want to hold onto your view that because money changed hands, it is for the reason you think, but in doing so you have judged against all evidence to the contrary, and that, unfortunately, puts you in the category of biased against Mr. Schoor and renders him victim of that prejudice. You must certainly admit that The Honorable Dennis Cavanaugh was the single individual, having read Briefs and having listened to arguments from both parties, in the best position to reach an unbiased judgment.

I don’t know your politics, nor do I know the politics of your county or state. I do know, however, that in all walks of life, forces beyond the surface influence attitudes and behaviors as they just might have on your opinion page. I would hate to think your inaccuracies were more than simply a rush to judgment based on lack of facts rather than on some other more unconscionable and devious agenda. I will give you the benefit of that doubt and not carelessly accuse you of a destructive nature that may not exist in the essence of your being. I wish you would give Mr. Schoor that same benefit. Who knows, it may even sell more papers.

It’s a hard, tough, often-unconscious world we live in. Perhaps, instead of expressing your disappointment in the sentence of Mr. Schoor for a one-time error in judgment where neither he nor his former company received any benefit, you could focus on all the good this extraordinary human being has done for society with his personal efforts and financial support of organizations such as Collier Youth Services, Centra State Healthcare, Temple Beth Shalom, The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the American Heart Association, etc. In this instance, perhaps the public’s money would have been better spent on the pursuit of deeper truths.

I always cringe when people are lumped together and sacrificed to the zeitgeist of the times without due press process in the pursuit of facts. As you say, in your February 11th Editorial, “How about justice?”

Sincerely,

Jaqueline H. Becker, Ph.D.
JHB:bb

Engineer gets no jail for paying ‘gratuity’

BY DANIEL HOWLEY
Staff Writer

Howard Schoor, 70, a founding member of the Schoor DePalma engineering firm, was sentenced in federal court on Feb. 10 to two years’ probation for paying a $15,000 “gratuity” to Stephen Kessler, the former chairman of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA).

Schoor must perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $7,500 fine for his admission to the crime. The crime carried a maximum sentence of.five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney.

Schoor DePalma engineering is now known as CMX and Schoor has no connection to the firm.

“I think it was a fair and appropriate sentence under the circumstances,” Walder said. “Mr. Schoor has had no prior involvement in the criminal justice system. He is 70 years old. He has been an ideal citizen with his philanthropy and charity, and besides giving money to worthwhile causes, he was active in working with them.”

In his plea deal, Schoor said he made the payments to Kessler without the knowledge of anyone at Schoor DePalma.

Additionally, it was the government’s finding that Schoor DePalma would have been awarded a contract to perform sewage projects in Ocean Township regardless of Kessler’s vote, because the majority of TOSA members also voted in favor of the firm.

gmnews.com

Editorial Overreacted to Error in Judgement

Your Feb. 11 editorial “Schoor sentence badly engineered” about Howard Schoor was a vitriolic diatribe filled with misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Passion is important, but overzealousness is damaging and dangerous.

Schoor is a friend of mine – a fact I am proud of. He did not admit to bribing a public official, as stated in the opening sentence, but to giving a gratuity. There is a significant difference. The prosecution found that Schoor had long sold his interest in the engineering firm and was, in fact, only serving as honorary chairman.

The claim that the payments were made to enable the firm to receive more than $850,000 in work was false and slanderous, to both the individual and the firm. The government established that the firm received no benefit as a result of the act, which is why the firm was never indicted. In fact, Schoor Engineering previously had held the contract for about 20 years and was awarded the contract by an almost unanimous vote each year.

Schoor’s gift to a long-term relationship was wrong — he will be the first to admit It. In fact, he did and he is paying an appropriate penalty. Shame and discrimination for a man of his stature is a steep price to pay.

One of his greatest laments throughout the process was the need to resign from the boards of the various charitable organizations that he has supported for decades. The pall of indictment prevented him for raising monies for these organizations. One of his first comments to me after the sentencing was that he could finally resume those charitable activities publicly. Even good people commit errors in judgment.

Eli Kramer
MANALAPAN

Asbury Park Press

This whole thing to me is … quite frankly I don’t get it

Schoor DePalma co-founder is spared prison on conspiracy

by Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Monday February 09, 2009, 5:17 PM

The 70-year-old founder of a prominent engineering firm, one of New Jersey’s biggest government contractors, was spared a prison term today for paying what federal authorities called a $15,000 “gratuity” to two corrupt Ocean Township officials.

“There’s just no way this man should be in jail and I’m not going to put him there. He’s 70 years old and has never committed a prior offense,” said Judge Cavanaugh, prompting Schoor’s friends and family to openly applaud.

They took turns hugging Schoor as he left court, ending a case that, when he was initially indicted in 2006, ignited speculation among New Jersey political insiders that a larger public corruption case would follow because of Schoor’s extensive dealings with public officials for 40 years. The firm has worked statewide on projects ranging from the Asbury Park waterfront redevelopment to the Jersey Gardens Mall and the Turnpike’s Interchange 13A in Elizabeth.

But federal authorities absolved the firm of any wrongdoing, Schoor said he acted alone and the $15,000 payment was never linked to any project involving Schoor DePalma or any attempt to influence a public agency.

“Quite frankly, I don’t get it,” Judge Cavanaugh said of the case. “There’s no bribe. … Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it.”

Federal prosecutors claimed the payment, made between 2000 and 2001, rewarded two members of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority for helping the firm get work in the past. The case stemmed from a larger public corruption probe in Monmouth County that netted a dozen officials, including former Ocean Township Mayor Terrance Weldon.

But Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney, said his client gave the money only to Kessler and not as a bribe.

“My client and Kessler had become friends, and Kessler ran into a number of problems, including a divorce, and had financial troubles. He asked for money, and my client helped him out. … It was never a bribe,” Walder said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Nobile, arguing that the payment was illegal and merits prison time, said the plea-deal given to Schoor already took into consideration his minor role in the corruption scheme.

Cavanaugh pointed to more than 30 years of charity work by Schoor, saying society is better served having him free on probation. He also ordered Schoor to perform 250 hours of community service.

The Chapin Estate

photos

Less than 2 hours from Manhattan, in the heart of Sullivan County, lies some of the most spectacular and untouched real estate in the region – the Chapin Estate. The Chapin Estate is pretty incredible, a 2,500 acre estate with lakefront on two of the largest lakes in the area, Toronto and Swinging Bridge. It has the feel of the pristine Adirondack lakes, but is 4 hours closer to the city.

Development has been quite limited. The first phases (The Peninsula, Top Ridge, Misty Acres and Swinging Bridge) had 195 parcels, with a minimum 5 acre lot size. A new phase, the Preserve at Chapin is being developed with 188 non-lakefront parcels on 1,518 acres. There are extensive covenants to maintain the natural environment as well as protected eagle nesting areas and preserves for wildlife.The developers have exercised tremendous restraint, and could have probably made a lot more money with higher density or more extensive development. But from the beginning, they have taken their responsibility as stewards of the land very seriously, and the result is an unparalleled natural setting. One of the most telling things about Chapin is that both of the principals in the development, Howard Schoor and Steve Dubrovsky, have built houses here for themselves..

Chapin is in the exclusive league of world class developments, like 3 Creek Ranch in Wyoming, the Ford Plantation in Georgia, Hammock Dunes in Florida or Corde Valley in California. Yes, Chapin is pricey, but in that class of real estate, it is surprisingly affordable. 5+ acre lakefront lots run from about $400,000 to $1.2 million. On some of the Adirondack lakes, a tear down on a nice lakefront parcel can easily run upwards of $1 million. Chapin also has 5+ acre non-lakefront parcels, with access to all of Chapin’s amenities, starting around $150,000. There are no townhomes or condominiums, only single family homes.

The Chapin Estate is large and quite varied. There are lakefront lots on both Toronto Reservoir and Swinging Bridge Reservoir, along with a variety of non-lakefront options, from open meadow property to creekfront parcels to very private wooded sites. All of the lakefront lots available from the developer on Toronto (with the exception of 2 larger 8 to 9 acre parcels priced at $1M+) have sold, but a handfull of resales from current owners are available. Both developer and resale lakefront lots are available on Swinging Bridge. In general, Toronto is more expensive than Swinging Bridge, but a resale lot on a cove on Toronto might well be priced less than a ‘straight on’ lakefront lot on Swinging Bridge.

Chapin does not have any spec homes for sale, as all construction is custom. They do have their own builder but unlike in some developments, you aren’t required to use the on-site builder; you can bring in your own. However, there is an architectural review process to ensure that homes blend into the natural environment. For example, only natural exterior materials are permitted — no brick, stucco or vinyl siding is allowed. If your dream is a very modern, Hamptons-style glass and steel house at the lake, it just wouldn’t pass muster. Using Chapin’s builder, you can expect construction costs starting at about $250 per square foot. An elaborately detailed home, with wood carvings, hand painted tile work, and dramatic custom features can run to more than $400 a square foot. One of the great features about Chapin is that you can build two structures on your property, a main house and a guest house. So if your budget is somewhat limited now, you might choose to start out with a smaller house now which will become your guest house when you build your main house later.

There is no golf course planned for the property, but there are a number of excellent courses within a 15 or 20 minute drive. Chapin has a private Lake Club on Swinging Bridge. The first phase is open with an outdoor pool, lakeside pavillion that serves brunch on weekends, boat docking facilities for non-lakefront homeowners, a swimming beach and a large deck on the lake where yoga and Pilates. Tennis courts are planned. And while the use of snowmobiles and ATV’s is discouraged on the Chapin property, there is access to neighboring state land.

Like all great things, there are a couple of downsides. Property taxes at Chapin can be very high. The house pictured at left, a 4 bedroom, 3,600 sq. ft. lakefront home on Swinging Bridge, has an annual tax bill of about $28,000 Even a modest 2,500 sq. ft. non-lakefront home at Chapin can get hit with property taxes around $20,000. How you view this depends greatly on where you’re coming from. New Jersey and Long Island homeowners aren’t particularly surprised, because they come from areas with notoriously high propert taxes. But Floridians who have homestead exemptions on their primary homes, and homeowners in New York City (where residential property taxes are surprisingly low relative to value) are often shocked.

Another factor, which isn’t really a downside as much as a consideration, is that there is a requirement when purchasing a lot from the developer that you start construction within 5 years. There is an option to get a couple of years’ extension for a fee, but given this build time requirement, buying and holding for investment really isn’t a great option here. From the beginning, Chapin has been focussed on building a community and discouraging speculation in property here.

Resale Property. The Chapin Estate is now 7 years old, and we’re starting to see some resale properties come on the market. Over the past year there have been 3 lakefront houses on the market, ranging in price from $1.99M to $3.15M. As of January, 2009, there were two lakefront houses on the market in the upper $2M range, with a third possibly coming to market soon in the low $2M range. There are also 3 or 4 non-lakefront houses, ranging in price from $699K to $2.3M. Lakefront resale lots range in price from about $400,000 to $1M.

The Next Steps

If you think Chapin is something you’d be interested in, I’d be happy to get you more information as well as arrange an appointment to show it to you – and most importantly, help you decide if its right for you. Please give me a call at 845-468-5710 or drop me an email at davidk@beechwoods.net. Note that there is no price difference whether you work with Chapin directly or with an independent broker. There are also some resale lots and houses listed with brokers outside of Chapin that I can arrange to show you, as well.

Please note that if you’ve had any contact with Chapin directy — via email, phone or have previously visited the property with their sales staff — they consider you their customer and will not permit an outside broker to work with you. If you haven’t yet had direct contact with Chapin, and would like to consider having me represent you in the purchase of property from the developer or property listed thorugh their resale arm, Chapin Realty, please get in touch with me before contacting Chapin. If, however, yoiu have had contact with Chapin, but would also like to consider other options as well as Chapin resale properties listed through outside brokers, please do get in touch with me and I’d be happy to discuss options listed through outside brokers.

If you’d like to read more about lakefront in Sullivan County, or other higher end property options here, you may want to read my pages on lakefront and higher-end property.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please give me a call at 845-468-5710 or drop an email to davidk@beechwoods.net.

Every Autumn, Nature Puts on a Brilliant Show in the Catskills

BETHEL, NY, OCTOBER 5, 2007 – Every autumn, nature puts on a brilliant show in the Catskills. During October and November, the once green leaves of spring and summer alter their appearance and display brilliant yellow, glowing orange, fiery red and rich brown. As nature transforms the hillsides into a tapestry of color and farm markets offer pumpkins, gourds and other fall favorites, we invite you to take in this spectacular time of year at the Chapin Estate.

Located just two hours north of New York City, and less from Northern New Jersey, the Chapin Estate is a thoughtfully planed gated community. Originally an 18,000 acre private wildlife preserve, today’s Chapin Estate encompasses more than 2,500 acres of unspoiled wilderness, including two boating and fishing reservoirs, a private trout fishing stream and miles of hiking trails which are also suitable for mountain biking and horseback riding. The Toronto and Swinging Bridge Reservoirs combine for approximately 2,000 acres of pristine water among a heavily wooded landscape. Fishing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and swimming are just a sampling of some of the favorite pastimes. The Chapin Estate adjoins more than 13,000 acres of forever wild forestlands owned by the State of New York.

The newest phase of The Chapin Estate, Top Ridge III is now open, with roads and infrastructure in place. This section includes a limited number of properties featuring lakefront, lake view and private trout fishing stream-front lots. Many of these lots have unobstructed water views across Toronto Reservoir and are perfect to enjoy the brilliant sunsets and spectacular beauty of the Catskills in autumn. “At-the-lake” wooded lots start at $155,000 and “on the lake” properties are priced from $595,000 – $1,300,000.

“The Chapin Estate is more than just a place to have a summer home,” says Scott Samuelson, Director of Sales “It is a year round community where the winter is just as beautiful as the summer, and fall as enjoyable as spring. If you enjoy and appreciate the outdoors, love wildlife, hiking and fresh mountain air, then the Chapin Estate is for you.”

Leaf peeping season in beautiful Sullivan County is underway – peak color will last through early November, so make an appointment now to see the Chapin Estate in its autumnal splendor – You may never want to leave.

http://www.chapinestate.com

Back to the Garden

Decades after Woodstock, Bethel is a popular second-home town and good place to hunt frogs.

photo

By ELSA BRENNER
Published: September 21, 2007

IN August 1969, Bethel, N.Y., was a once-in-a-lifetime weekend getaway for some 400,000 people who swarmed Max Yasgur’s 600-acre farm for the Woodstock Music & Art Fair to hear rock acts like the Who, Jimi Hendrix and Country Joe McDonald.

These days, Bethel is among the fastest-growing towns in Sullivan County, town officials say, and has a thriving second-home community; its full-time population of just over 4,500 expands to about 10,000 in late spring, summer and early fall. Second-home owners are drawn because it’s only about a hundred miles from Manhattan and because of its many lakes and ponds and the availability of land for development.

The rural town includes the hamlets of White Lake, Kauneonga Lake, Smallwood, Bethel, Mongaup Valley, Briscoe and parts of Swan Lake. And while Woodstock patted itself on the back as three days of peace and music, most of those heading to Bethel today care much more about the peace (and quiet) and not quite as much about buzz saw electric guitars.

Suzanne and Stuart Novy, for instance, spend most of the week trying to block out the din of Jersey City. But on Fridays, they pack up to head north to their second home on Black Lake.

At their custom-built, three-bedroom house on six wooded acres, which they have owned since 1999, nothing much louder than the swish of a canoe paddle is heard. “All week we listen to traffic screaming down the highways and people talking at each other,” said Ms. Novy, who lives with her husband in a busy condominium complex in the Port Liberté development in Jersey City. “What we need more than anything else on Saturday and Sunday is silence.”

Mr. Novy, who owns a moving business, whiles away much of the weekend in a rowboat, smoking a cigar and fishing for bass. Ms. Novy, an instructor in an X-ray technician school, says she is content “talking to the rocks” and otherwise communing with nature.

Come evening, she said, they “say good night to the world” by breaking open a bottle of red wine on their dock and watching the beavers build dams.

The Yasgur dairy farm today forms the backdrop for the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which opened in 2006. A sprawling complex, the center has parking for 10,000 cars and this summer featured performers like Bob Dylan, the country singer Brad Paisley and Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Prompted by an “onslaught of new development proposals” in the last year, partly spurred by the performing arts center, said Harold Russell, the town supervisor, Bethel has placed a temporary moratorium on subdivisions over five lots. “We’re a small town that needs to catch our breath,” he said.

The Scene

Part-time residents like Eileen Grossman, a retired United Airlines flight attendant who owns a second home there with her husband, Stephen Rubin, a lawyer, said that when going out for dinner or an evening’s entertainment, she rarely puts on more than blue jeans, a T-shirt and lipstick.

Residents of Scarsdale, N.Y., Ms. Grossman and Mr. Rubin are now empty nesters. Several years ago, anticipating visits from children and grandchildren, Ms. Grossman said, they built a rustic one-story, four-bedroom, six-bathroom house with four fireplaces on five acres in Chapin Estate. Chapin is Bethel’s most upscale community, and its 2,500 acres sit on the Toronto and Swinging Bridge Reservoirs, where swimming and boating are allowed.

Blending farmland with new residential and commercial development, Bethel is also home to the Sullivan County airport on a 600-acre hilltop five miles from Monticello, and the Sullivan County Industrial Park, a 750-acre site owned by the county and its industrial development agency. Monticello Gaming & Raceway, which has year-round harness racing and video gaming machines, is in the neighboring town of Thompson.

In addition to playing host to children and friends, Ms. Grossman and Mr. Rubin spend long weekends exploring on foot, monitoring the progress of bald eagles that have similarly nested in Bethel and are awaiting the arrival of future generations. At night, they share dinners with other second-home owners or visit the Bradstan Country Hotel, for cabaret entertainment.

Pros

Many houses are clustered around lakes and have spectacular views. Sullivan County’s many waterways — Lake Superior, Toronto Reservoir, White Lake, Silver Lake, Sicans Pond, Chestnut Ridge Pond, Woods Pond and Filippini Pond — offer a broad range of fishing and boating. In addition, Bethel is just 20 miles from the Delaware River.

Cons

Carolyn Ledwith, who owns a second home in Bethel with her husband, Henry Sladek, said she has had to stock up at a supermarket in Monticello on her way to their weekend house near Lake Superior. As the summer population has grown, though, new shops and restaurants, like Benji & Jakes, which specializes in brick-oven pizzas, have sprung up near old standbys like the Front Porch Cafe. And don’t expect to get anywhere fast; those back roads wind endlessly through the countryside.

The Real Estate Market

The region offers a wide range of prices for second-home buyers.

Ms. Ledwith, who runs a cleaning service in Manhattan, and Mr. Sladek, an emergency preparedness officer for the Justice Department, were cramped in their New York studio apartment. Unable to afford a larger home in Manhattan, they bought a three-bedroom, one-bathroom Cape on an acre near Lake Superior State Park in Bethel three years ago for about $150,000 that’s now worth $200,000, according to Darren Wiseman, an agent at McKean Real Estate in White Lake.

The houses where Ms. Grossman and Mr. Rubin live represent the market’s high end. At the gated Chapin Estate, houses start at 2,000 square feet and reach as high as 15,000. The average 4,000-square-foot house would cost about $1 million, not including the land, said Scott Samuelson, director of sales for Chapin Estate. Along the water, a five-acre lot might sell for $600,000 and an eight-acre lot for $1.3 million. In July, a five-acre lot sold for $800,000. “Our market includes buyers who might have been attracted to the Adirondacks,” Mr. Samuelson said, “but don’t want to travel that far to their second home.”

At Black Lake Estates, a three-bedroom house with three bathrooms on five lakefront acres recently sold for $925,000, said Linda McKean, an owner of McKean Real Estate. It was on the market for five months. In other lake communities, many cabins are being torn down and replaced with larger, year-round houses. “But anything going for under $150,000,” she said, “would be a seasonal home or a handyman special.”

LAY OF THE LAND

POPULATION 4,522, according to a 2006 estimate by the Census Bureau.

SIZE 90 square miles, according to the Census.

LOCATION The Bethel area is just under 100 miles northwest of New York City.

WHO’S BUYING “Lots of empty nesters from Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester,” said Linda McKean, a broker at McKean Realty in White Lake, one of Bethel’s hamlets.

GETTING THERE The trip from Manhattan takes about two hours. Connect to Interstate 87 north and take Exit 16 (Harriman), then follow Route 17 west. Just past the center of Monticello, take Route 17B and continue west into the Bethel area.

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING Bradstan Country Hotel (1561 Route 17B, White Lake; 845-583-4114; www.bradstancountryhotel.com) has rooms, suites and cottages for $175 to $200 a night from June through October and $140 to $165 the rest of the year.

Correction: September 28, 2007

The Havens column last Friday about Bethel, N.Y., wrongly included two hiking trails. The trails, Mount Will and Androscoggin River, are near Bethel, Me., not Bethel, N.Y. The writer added the information using an online source but without sufficient research.

http://travel.nytimes.com

Come Experience the “Birthplace of American Fly Fishing” in the Catskills Region

BETHEL, NY, MAY 8, 2007 – The teeming rivers and streams of the Catskills region in New York have long been considered the “Birthplace of American Fly Fishing,” with fly fishing roots dating back to the late 19th century. It was in the gentle waters of the Catskills where such pioneers as George LaBranche and “Uncle Thad” Norris developed the distinctive American-style of fly fishing, testing out their rod making, river keeping and fly tying ideas in such pristine waters as those of the Willowemoc Creek, Wulff Run, and Junction Pool. Today, as the popularity of fly fishing continues to grow—with some 28 million freshwater anglers in the U.S. alone—the Catskills region remains a touchstone for expert and beginning fishermen alike.

For those who love the sport and are looking for a custom estate with private fly fishing streams and fishing lakes, an exceptional opportunity exists at The Chapin Estate, a unique gated collection of new custom designed north western and Adirondack inspired homes in Bethel in Sullivan County. The developer, The Woodstone Group, is offering a select number of premier properties on the lake as well as multi-acre wooded properties.

According to Scott Samuelson, director of sales for The Chapin Estate and also an area resident, “While at the end of a serene morning on the lake nothing need be sacrificed in terms of personal comfort and style in the many custom designed lodges and luxury cabins adjoining 13,000+ acres of “forever wild” forest and the sparkling waters here at The Chapin Estate. The best part – this piece of paradise is only two hours from Manhattan and even less from northern New Jersey. And what better time of year to see the glory of this location than now and into the summer, when fly fishing season is in full swing?”

The Chapin Estate offers miles and miles of untouched beauty, streams and lakes perfect for angling. Samuelson notes, “Our wooded views, picturesque untouched waters and miles of preserved trails rival the north west. In particular, our residents enjoy fishing our streams, fishing and boating on our lakes, with many more great fishing spots within easy reach. Our on-site Nature Trail Guide also guides visitors as they discover our region’s natural treasures.”

For both dedicated and curious anglers, Sullivan County hosts the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, located in Livingston Manor. “The Center offers many programs and workshops for anglers,” notes Samuelson. “These range from lessons on stream ecology to demonstrations on how to make an old-fashioned cane rod. What’s more, the Center offers some excellent catch-and-release fishing of its own, right on the banks of its runs and streams, all set on a beautiful 50-plus acre parcel.”

Writer and fisherman Austin Frances, in his most recent Catskills fishing book, Land of Little Rivers, describes the Catskills as a Mecca for American fly fishers. “Like the humble mountains whence it flows, the typical Catskill trout stream has been created on a personal scale that intensifies the feelings of privacy and intimacy with nature so prized among anglers,” he writes. Frances’ claims are backed by the many fly fishers who arrive in the Catskills every spring and summer to enjoy the lakes and rivers where prize-winning bass, trout, shad, walleye and many other freshwater fish abound.

Named a “Sportsman’s Paradise” by Field and Stream Magazine, Sullivan County’s fishing season has begun with state game managers describing the current bass population as “outrageous.”

Samuelson concludes, “I invite prospective luxury second home purchasers to come up and enjoy a personal tour of our community, our acclaimed home designs and our natural wonders from century’s old forests to more than 2,000 acres of glistening lakes.”

The splendor of The Chapin Estate’s idyllic setting is perfectly embodied in the available properties upon which purchasers create their “dream estate home,” “country lodge,” or “cabin in the woods.” Steve Dubrovsky, principal of The Woodstone Group and the acclaimed custom home designer for The Chapin Estate, explains, “The Chapin Estate is unique in that we offer purchasers the opportunity to purchase a property and then build a custom home to suit that particular property.”

Once a property is chosen, purchasers work with Steve and award winning professionals renowned for handcrafted homes that have been showcased in national magazines including Home Magazine, to create a truly custom designed and finely crafted home. Staffed by their own in-house artisans, Woodstone delivers homes specifically designed and built to reflect each purchaser’s unique lifestyle and personal desires, while always accentuating the collection’s natural beauty and balance with its natural setting. Dubrovsky points out that the community’s architectural and construction guidelines and covenants protect the environment of The Chapin Estate, and all of the homes incorporate indigenous materials in their designs.
Those who wish to enjoy summers of fly fishing and outdoor fun in a spectacular untouched, wooded setting, all just a short drive from Manhattan and northern New Jersey, should take a tour and learn about owning a custom home at The Chapin Estate. To set up an appointment, please contact The Chapin Estate at (866) 583-4900. For more information, please visit www.chapinestate.com.

To take a tour and learn more about purchasing a lot and building your dream home in one of the most beautiful areas of Sullivan County, call our sales office at 845-583-4900, or visit our Website, www.chapinestate.com. As Mr. Samuelson sums it up: “There’s something special in every season here at the Chapin Estate.”

http://www.chapinestate.com

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