If I weren't living in Branscomb…

So my last post was about soccer, and now I’m taking you to the Home and Garden page of the New York Times (errr, it came up in my news feed?).  Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol fact that politics (and the news in general, really) has left a lot to be desired this summer.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s been an oil spill.  On.the.front.page.of.the.newspaper.every.day.

And this week, hysterics over “racism” from more than twenty years ago.  Nearly a year since Obama’s notorious beer summit, it seems we may need a sequel, or at least a realization that our society couldn’t be further from “post-racial.”  The specter of racism engenders paralysis among those who might possibly have maybe once been insensitive towards someone of another color, and disingenuous accusations are hurled from both sides of the aisle.

As much as oil-coated pelicans and whispers of racism thrill me, I thought houses might be a better topic.  This year you can find me in Branscomb, but after that, when I’m ready to restore my digs to a Commons-esque level of opulence, here’s a place the roomie and I will be mulling over:

Rokeby – an 1815 treasure in New York’s Hudson River Historic District.  With 43 rooms, there should be plenty of space for Thursday night festivities (and a futon, to boot).

I won’t steal the New York Times writer’s thunder, but the historic estate, though its financial foundation may be shaky, boasts character that a corner office at Goldman can’t buy – as much a characteristic of the assorted residents as of the 43 rooms.  As Richard Aldrich, the home’s owner, puts it, “Maybe we are the museum.”

What I love about Rokeby – it’s a home, in the true sense.  It’s been lived in, worn down, loved, restored.  As an investment or even a place to live, it may be completely illogical – outdated, in need of expensive maintenance, too big for any real person to inhabit.  More than 43 rooms or 420 acres, though, it boasts an uncanny appeal to the emotions.  If you’re at all susceptible to nostalgia, it’s a captivating property.  I can appreciate that, and I’ve never seen it in person (but then maybe I’m just trying really hard not to write about the oil spill).

Rokeby is no McMansion.  It’s not a cookie cutter house, and as a place to live, honestly, it probably doesn’t make much sense.  And that’s the best part.  As this $75 million eyesore in Florida demonstrates, money doesn’t buy class.  And it certainly cannot guarantee the brand of character that defines Rokeby.

But for the commute, I’d be scheduling a showing.  Now that the Vandy Vans are getting GPS, I figure it’s not long before we’ll be able to put down payments on the card.

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