Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spruce Peak At Stowe: High End Luxury Vacation Property - Stowe Vermont

Forbes Magazine, in an article dated June 2007, swooned over corporate giant AIG's ongoing $400 million dollar project to turn Stowe into the "Vail of the East" as some are calling it. With it's outstanding 18 hole "wilderness golf course" designed by Bob Cupp, "Beast of the East" skiing on it's legendary Front Four, luxury slope side Mountain Cabins, luxury condo-hotel in the soon to be unveiled Stowe Mountain Lodge, a pedestrian friendly shopping mall, performing arts center and skating rink, all located at the base of Spruce Peak!

Before breaking ground, $40 million was packed into the mountain's snow making infrastructure. Now, with a state of the art automated system on Spruce Peak and guns that can make snow slightly above freezing Stowe is coming back in a BIG WAY.

All this and you're an hour's flight from New York City and Boston to Burlington and a 45 minute car ride to your new vacation home. No altitude sickness to deal with as in 10,000 feet western resorts etc. etc.

Not for the faint of heart all this comes at a price, of course. But you know who you are. Vailers, Aspeners, Stowe...get my picture.

If you'd like more information on Spruce Peak at Stowe, please call me at 802.238.5256 or email me at or go to Stowe VT Real Estate.

I'd be delighted to help you and take a few runs too.

Calling All Canadians - It’s time to buy Real Estate in the ‘States

I just checked the foreign currency rates and discovered the US and Canadian dollar is even. It's been no secret that the US dollar has been falling like a stone from the sky recently but it has been a very long while since the two currencies have been at par with one another. Now, they are!

Canada's economy has been quite strong while the US economy has been lagging. The real estate markets have retained their strength in Canada. Now is the time for Canadians to buy vacation or investment property here in the United States. Great opportunities can be found. I'd like to help you.

If you are interested in buying a ski vacation second home or condo in Stowe or Waitsfield Vermont or a summer home along Lake Champlain near Ferrisburg, Charlotte, Shelburne, Burlington, Colchester, South Hero, Grand Isle, North Hero Vermont or further up in the Champlain Islands, please call me at 802.238.5256 or email me at I would be delighted to help you.

Ski season is upon us and the mountains near Stowe, Sugarbush and Smuggler's Notch are deep in over 2 feet of snow already!

I'm excited. Are you? Call me and we'll take a few runs!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Urbanism in Vermont? A Few Connections

In the winter of 2006, a conference was convened by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. The intense brainstorming session was an effort, eager to seize the opportunity left in Katrina's terrible wake, a fleeting chance to correct past development wrongs.

The design conference was organized by the Congress for New Urbanism, which champions returning towns and cities to denser, more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, a counterweight to car-dominated sprawl and empty downtowns filled with trophy buildings.

Over the past 20 years, the movement has steadily proven itself with a growing list of buildings and community projects around the country. In Mississippi, the new urbanists had their first shot at reworking an entire region according to their principals.

Big roads, big retailers, big parking lots - the Mississippi coast had become Anywhere, U.S.A., and the design conference set to the task of mapping a better course.

It was there that architect Robert Orr (UVM ‘70), Duany, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (Duany's wife) hatched a new approach to architecture from old ideas. The threesome studied the elements that make places livable (such as street trees, front porches, sidewalks) and developed guidelines for these details. They reached outside architecture's ivory tower, joining forces with other professions from urban planners to retail consultants. "New urbanism is not about heroics. It's not about architecture. It's about creating a good environment," Orr says.

For one week, some 300 architects, developers, lawyers, traffic engineers, sociologists, and urban planners focused their creative energies on 11 hurricane-damaged cities along 80 miles of coastline, from Pascagoula to Waveland.

Orr, who heads up Robert Orr & Associates in New Haven, has been at the forefront of new urbanism since its inception. He worked on Seaside, a community on the Florida panhandle that is perhaps the movement's best-known new project.

An Indiana native, Orr earned his bachelor's in history and art at UVM, then studied at Yale's graduate school of architecture, where he became friends with a like-minded fellow student named Andreas Duany. The term "new urbanism" never crossed either man's lips back then, but "we both had a lot of doubts about the path of contemporary architecture at the time," Orr says.

A few examples of "New Urbanism" in Vermont can be found in develoments at The Palisades in Stowe Vermont and the just started 334 unit South Village project in South Burlington Vermont.
This is a growing trend across Vermont and the United States. With the cost of fossil fuels in real dollars and resulting degradation to our environment, their is a growing interest and trend now towards these friendly development concepts.

For more information on these Vermont developments contact me, or to express your ideas post a comment here at Hurd's The Word.

Christmas and Real Estate in Burlington Vermont

The Christmas lights are all lit up and down Church Street now. The Christmas tree at the north end in front of the Unitarian Church is up too. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Dinner at Leunig's or Trattoria Delia (my faves!) with snow falling. An after dinner stroll to the top of Church Street stopping at store windows along the way up and on the return too. A necessary, absolutely mandatory stop at Ben & Jerry's for hot chocolate and fresh whipped cream, just to warm up . It's all really so wonderful. We are so blessed to live here and call this area of Vermont home.

It's the time to splurge...An upcoming holiday show at the Flynn. First Night's Celebration on December 31st. Fireworks to ring in 2008. And much, much more...
Make the time to take your sweetie, a friend, your kids or go you, yourself and you and Enjoy this special time of year.

If all this gets you in the mood past the "tipping point" to make that purchase of the cozy home you've been holding off on, give me a call at (802.238.5256) or email me at I'd be thrilled to help you.
Maybe I'll even see you on Church Street...

Burlington VT Real Estate

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving To All

As I contemplate the next few days as Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded how much I love this holiday. As I was hiking this afternoon, I was thinking of my health which thankfully is good as I was enjoying the crispness in the air and the clear, distant views of the High Peaks in the Adirondacks. God, I am greatful I can take that in and appreciate it.

I thought of my kids and how grateful I am to them for all the joys and laughter they fill life with. I am so glad I feel so connected to them so as to enjoy one another’s company. It is such a pleasure of mine to watch you both grow up. I look forward to every day with you and your friends too.

I am so grateful to our new dog, Marley, who keeps me company all the time and forces me to get out of the house and onto the trails. Dogs are relentless with their love. I have been so blessed with the dogs in my life.

My cat. My Maine Coon cat. Is there another breed of cat more affectionate and personality filled than a Maine Coon? The answer is No. I love my cat. He comes when I make “that clicking noise.” Sounds ridiculous but it works. Now, he’s taken to greeting us in the driveway when we arrive replacing the way our old dog Columbus used to.

To my sisters who I wish I saw more. I love you and think of you often. You have all given me your love at times when I needed it this past year after Mum died. Thank you for this thoughtfulness.

And to that end, I miss you Mom. So grateful for all you gave me in our relationship. Weird not being able to spend the holidays with you anymore. Miss you…Love you…

To all my friends, I feel grateful for what we give each other. A few of you and me came out of the woodwork this past year and found one another again and for that I am grateful. More laughter and fun times lie ahead.

For all the sunsets, full moons, clear starry nights, jumping in Lake Champlain from the boat, the fall colors, Winter Storm Warnings, outdoor music, more Red Sox memories, some nice meals we made and shared, life on our front porch, fireworks from our “secret spot” on the waterfront, all the sidesplitting laughter, life’s tears, shovelling the unbelievable Valentine’s Day Blizzard out of our driveway by friggin’ hand, my home in Charlotte VT and so much more that slips my forgetting mind…

To my business and my clients for all your support and loyalty. I am grateful to each of you and I wish you all beautiful times together during the holidays ahead with those you love and cherish in your cozy homes.

I wish you all great happiness this Thanksgiving - one and all.

Why Vermont is Healthiest State

This is a follow up to the article I recently posted on my home page with Vermont earning the healthiest state in the USA in which to live honors. (see

An editorial in today’s Burlington Free Press written by Sharon Moffatt, Vermont’s Commissioner of Health, praises the great strides Vermont and Vermonters have made. However, the article suggests we can do more. Moffatt says, “We must continue to apply the all hands-on-deck public health approach to problems such as obesity, binge drinking and health disparities that exist for too many Vermonters. Obesity, on its way to displacing tobacco as the Number 1 killer, still accounts for more than $141 million in annual health care costs in our state. More than half of adults are overweight or obese, 27 percent of students in grades 8 through 12 are overweight or at risk of becoming so.”

America’s Health Rankings 2007 proves that Vermont is making smart health investments and Vermonters are making wise choices. Yet, too many of us continue to suffer from conditions that are largely preventable. Government, communities, and individuals need to make even greater health improvements - and inspire the rest of the nation to keep up.

Ten Low-Tech Ways To Winterize Your Home

Hey Burlington, Shelburne, Charlotte, South Burlington, Williston and all the rest. Here’s a shout out on helpful low-tech ways to save on energy bills for the coming winter.

1. Check your insulation. Filling in gaps and cracks, especially in the attic, will keep your house warmer this winter.

2. Don’t forget the basement. Check where pipes and utilities go to the outside that they are properly sealed/caulked.

3. Avoid fiberglass insulation. Wrap pipes with a foam insulation. For the attic, add dense packed cellulose to a depth of about 12 inches to fill in any nooks and crannies.

4. Cover attic fan and ceiling stair hatch. Be sure to cover your whole house fan with a proper cover. Also, get a an insulated cover to put above the drop down stair or opening to insulate any openings.

5. Seal duct joints and pipes. If you have a forced hot air heating system be sure your duct work is sealed properly at all joints. Use caulk or a non combustible high temperature sealant in the appropriate places.

6. Plug your fireplace and close the flue. ‘Nuff said.

7. Remove or cover air conditioners.

8. Seal windows and doors. Install weather stripping to prevent drafts. In addition, locking windows seals them and keeps cold air out. For doors, a rubber door sweep can be installed at the bottom to prevent drafts. For $10 to $20, a draft dodger will also keep the cold air out.

9. Keep furnaces clean. Have your home fuel provider service your furnace. Dirt is a major culprit which can increase energy consumption by 25% or more.

10. Get an energy audit. Contact the Energy Star program at to provide assistance.

Emerging Green Practices in Real Estate - My Pledge

At last, we’re getting it…

I attended several seminars back in September. The two topics were Green Home Contruction and Smart Developments. I found several things interesting. First, the enormous convention room at the Sheraton in South Burlington VT was packed with interested Realtors from all over NH and VT and the dialogue was truly fascinating. What made me sit up straight with ears straining to hear every word was the incredible opportunities to upgrade our existing homes to be more energy efficient, possibilities of building green homes that can be practically self sufficient with passive solar, geo-thermal and materials and building practices that are safer for our planet and you and me too. In the coming weeks, I pledge to make this website a more helpful resource to those of you interested in learning more about these topics. If you have ideas or suggestions as to what you’d like to see contained herein, I’d welcome your comments here at Hurd’s The Word.

October 2007 Sold Stats for the 20 towns of Chittenden County Are In

Remember that great line “Just the facts Ma’am,” by Jack Friday?

Here is further evidence that our local real estate market is holding bucking trends in other parts of the US:

Based upon information provided by the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors (NVBR) for the month of October 2007, there were 138 residential units sold with a total listed volume of $36,648,509. Divide this number by the units sold (138) and you get an average listed price of $265,569. Juxtapose this figure to the actual total sold volume of $35,524,211 then divide this number by the units sold (138) and you come up with an average sold price of $257,422. Are ya having an ADD moment yet?

So, “what up Chris?” you’re asking. Here you are. These numbers produced a list-to-sell variance of $8,147 or (drum roll please) a 96.9% list to sell percentage. Average days on the market for these 138 properties was 84.

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

Read the recent article under Market Trends featured in my Community Info tab at the top of my website if you’d like more info about what’s happening in Vermont and Chittenden County’s real estate market.
Call or email me or post your comments here at Hurd’s The Word.

Exciting South Village in S. Burlington Breaks Ground!

A 334-unit residential project on 220 acres SE of the Allen Road and Spear Street intersection in now underway. Touted as ”innovative” plans call for parks, bike paths, walking trails, and a skating pond surrounded by natural areas and a 35 acre working farm. 75% of the site will remain open for agricultural, recreational and conservation programs. Preliminary pricing from the developer will range from the high $200K to mid $700K. There will be a mix of condos, townhouses and single family options. The developer, Retrovest, has a unique vision for this property which is generating great interest. Please call (802.238.5256) or email me at

Burlington Building Lot Available

I have just listed a really nice building lot located between UVM and Winooski (for more info go to my home page and look in the left hand side bar for “Featured Listing”). If you head down the hill towards ‘Nooki hang a right on Chase Street. It’s on the right about half way down. Been approved as a single family with an attached accessory apt to boot! Get your plans ready to build for next Spring…

Mount Washington Getaway

One of the beauties of living in Vermont AND loving the outdoors is we are so close to so much. This past weekend I took a much needed getaway to the new AMC’s Highland Center in Crawford’s Notch. The setting was incomparable and the hiking was out of this world. We were discouraged from attempting Mt Washington because of the threat of a serious storm which never materialized and the fact that this was the first serious hike I had undertaken in several years. We opted for the Mt Avalon and Mt Field loop which was terrific. Highly recommended for a getaway. Only 2 hours and 45 mins from Burlington.

Autumn Splendor on Mount Philo

This is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in Vermont. Fall colors are reaching their peak in certain areas of the state. I went for a walk up Mount Philo State Park in Charlotte to the summit with my dog today. The views of the Champlain Valley, Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west are out of this world. The hike up takes no more than a half hour. For limited energy output, you receive maximum views! I would urge you to treat yourself. It will make you feel great. Let me know if you go and what you think.

Welcome to Chris Hurd’s Blog!

Welcome to Chris Hurd’s Blog! This blog will provide you with valuable information, tips, and general insight into the Burlington VT real estate market.