All posts by Lara Becker

A New Lease on Luxury

At a luxury farm resort, you can rest your head only a few feet from nestling lambs, apple orchards, or dairy cows.


A new kind of vacation trend is sweeping the nation. Seekers of serenity and seclusion are finding it in the pasture, experiencing the tranquility of being tucked away with only the birds to sing them awake. But they’re not roughing it.

Farm resorts are located in rolling hills throughout the country — The High End spoke to three owners in Virginia, Montana, and California. All three are family-owned businesses with powerful histories and a love for the outdoors. “Guests are always wondering ‘What is farming really like?’” says Erin Cowden, owner at Fort Lewis Lodge in Millboro, Virginia. “We are a true working, family farm and consider ourselves stewards of this land.”

The Cowdens have run this operation for decades: Erin says that the farm was first carved out of the wilderness in 1754, and was purchased by their family in 1959. In 1989, they extended the farm into the farm stay that it is now. Three generations of their family have farmed this land, and it continues to be a labor of love.

Fort Lewis Lodge now offers 23 different accommodations, including lodges, silos, and hand-hewn log cabins. There are plenty of ways for guests to join in the collaboration on the farm, but also to rest and relax if desired. Additionally, they are conscious of their carbon footprint, and aim to teach guests about the ways in which they can be more green.

“Our vision: a regenerative farming mindset. We want to return carbon and other missing elements to the soil, support biological diversity, restore a natural, self- supporting system, and produce sustainable, nutritious, and tasty food,” Cowden says. “It’s our hope that guests walk away with a better understanding of where their food comes from.”

They have farm-to-table dining with fresh ingredients, and their own natural mountain spring that provides all of the water for the Lodge. Other unique opportunities are their wood-fired sauna, and the fruits of their fragrant peach trees in late August.

Whatever the garden is growing, they are serving, Cowden notes.

With the same love for their garden, ABC Acres, owned by Tim Southwell and family, operates in Hamilton, Montana. Tim and wife Sarah took the reins of the 80-acre property in 2011, and are seeing business booming as people aim to get outside more.

“The pandemic awakened a misplaced love and appreciation for the natural world,” Southwell recalls, as he talks about the luxury lodging trend. “A farm stay is a slower-paced break from the everyday, where one can take in the sunrise, enjoy a meditative walk in deep thought, and witness the magic and unpredictability only nature can provide.”

On its website, the property titles itself an immersive permaculture preserve, which can be seen through the blooming bananas, pineapples, guavas and more. ABC Acres also runs its own “Honey Operation” and other earthwork tasks.

Here there are also opportunities to join in on farm tasks, or to sit back and relax. Located in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Montana, the four rental homes for visitors are located near transcendent walking trails and a fully stocked farm shop. Guests can help herd goats and collect chicken eggs, take a day trip on the water to Lake Como, or explore the property’s own Botanical Tropical Greenhouse.

“A farm stay is the vacation,” he notes. “No trips to town or lines for dinner or the local show, just an opportunity to arrive, settle in, and take in the surroundings.”

Another place known for its gorgeous location is temperate Mendocino County, California. Located along the Navarro River and entrenched in robust orchards, Philo Apple Farm is owned by Karen and Tim Bates, who have raised 4 children as skilled farm hands.

The property has three quaint cottages and one “room with a view” (a room above the main dining area) for guests to stay in. Here, the primary production is jams and jellies, but Karen explains that instead of joining in on tasks on the farm, the goal of most guests here is to sit back and simply “do nothing.”

“I think it’s a really good way to experience a place, on a different level than a hotel or even a bed and breakfast,” she says of farm stays. The best time to travel to the Philo Apple Farm is usually the summertime, when the river is glistening in the sun, and is ready for swimmers.

In the cottages, guests can enjoy their own private plunge pools and outdoor showers, morning coffee on their porches, and stroll around the picturesque orchards.


Bates tells The High End that the property also serves as their family compound, where they’re currently working on building a home for one of their daughters and husband. The matriarch of the farm, Sally Schmidt, even has her own cookbook, which has been endorsed by numerous chefs, including the head chef at The French Laundry.

The ultimate goal of any farm stay, and each of these owners, is for guests to reconnect with the natural wonders around them.

“Nature is never dull,” Southwell says. “Whether it’s the first spring rain, baby animals, evening owls, amazing summer storms, or the quietness of winter … there is always something alive and happening … you just need to slow down and look.”

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Breathtaking in Fort Lauderdale

By Camilla McLaughlin

Designed to make best use of a generous waterfront site in coveted Bay Colony while also ensuring privacy, 10 Compass Road offers optimum views and thoughtful connections with the landscape. The elevation is imposing while also perfectly in sync with the setting. Step inside and it is equally breathtaking.

“Upon walking into this home you are immediately speechless by the grandeur of the 35-foot ceilings and open floor plan, accompanied by the massive glass wall overlooking the pool and water,” says Gilles Rais with Coldwell Banker Realty in Fort Lauderdale.

Extensive amenities include a clubroom with a bar area. Particularly striking is the bar top comprised of a rare onyx that is dramatically backlit.

The ultramodern architecture is stunning, but a well-conceived layout and thoughtful finishes ensure it doesn’t overwhelm. The open design carves out private areas, while a liberal use of natural materials and greenery lend a sense of warmth throughout. Extensive amenities make it exceptional for entertaining, but family was an equally important consideration in the vision.

Extensive amenities include a clubroom with a bar area. Particularly striking is the bar top comprised of a rare onyx that is dramatically backlit. Other amenities include an office, theater, a gym, a glass elevator, outdoor kitchen, pool and outdoor dining. Set on a deepwater basin that connects to the Intracoastal, the property offers an 89-foot-long dock.

Beginning with a location in a much-desired enclave of only 110 homes, privacy is another important characteristic of this property. Bay Colony, according to Rais, is one of the few waterfront communities that is guard gated 24/7. Each home is sited on a basin or canal, and the entire community is surrounded by water.

“In fact,” Rais says “there is really only one road into the development, and finding a waterfront community with this amount of security is a rarity.” Privacy also informed the design of the home, with six bedrooms and baths distributed on multiple levels, including several guest rooms. One, located on the top level of the home, includes a sitting room.

Each bedroom is paired with an en suite and also accesses a terrace or outdoor space.

Each bedroom is paired with an en suite and also accesses a terrace or outdoor space. Some, such as the children’s room, include lofts, just some of the whimsical elements tucked into the home. All of the baths are beautifully appointed and indulgent.

The primary suite occupies a large part of the lower level and includes an indulgent bath with skylights and separate dressing areas. Particularly interesting are the closets, which are showcased as luxury boutiques. A glass-enclosed shower is surrounded by lush greenery on one side. An extensive smart home system automates everything, including lighting, shades, security and audio. Everything can be activated or turned with a single control from any location.

Location is still most important, and this home is minutes from one of the best schools in Florida.

The executive airport is also an easy drive, which means it’s only about a 15-minute journey from the tarmac to your home. The home was recently refurbished, so everything is less than two years old. Rais points out, it is like buying a newly constructed home without waiting years to complete construction.

And it can be purchased furnished, making it turnkey … an even more extraordinary find.


10 Compass Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL

6 bedrooms, 7 full baths



Represented by: Gilles Rais

Coldwell Banker Realty

T. 954.304.1579

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Tidal Waves of Elegance

Featured image: © / Chinnapong

It’s time to discover these 10 extraordinarily refined places, each with distinctly different waterfront experiences.

Birmingham, Michigan

What’s tucked inside a Great Lakes luxury property? The better question is, what’s not? Aside from fantastic lakefront views, plenty of room for entertaining, and a spot for any water toys you may fancy, the area itself is famously well-known. Janine Grillo, a Keller Williams Domain Associate Broker, tells Unique Homes that the Great Lakes region is the
No. 1 freshwater boating destination in the U.S.

“The sheer size of this territory affords boaters a whole world of fun and a number of diverse places to explore on the water,” she says, noting that every day here feels like a vacation. “This summer, we are finding buyers are looking to enjoy life more, relax (and work) from home. The updated, roomy waterfront properties sell fast,” Grillo says.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada & California

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine. Bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? It is the same the angels breathe,” said Mark Twain in describing Lake Tahoe. Chase International President and CEO Shari Chase characterizes it in the same way, recounting this quote from where she calls home, on the Nevada side of the iconic area.

“Lake Tahoe is a real treasure,” Chase says in painting a picture of the 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide body of water, which is majestically surrounded by mountains. “Everything has a very spiritual essence to it here. The water is beautifully pure, with blues and crystalized greens,” she continues. The land boasts an outdoor lifestyle, where residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating, beaches, art and more. Within one hour of the space are gems such as Virginia City, Genoa, and Jackson, California, which all are filled with wonderful recreation.

Prices here range from $3.75 million to $48 million, with most buyers prioritizing a spacious pier when considering their search.

Chase International Broker Trinkie Watson says that diversity of year-round outdoor activities, alongside good restaurants, art galleries and unique shopping are a huge draw to the area, as well as convenience to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating and beaches. “Whether it’s at the lake or on a beautiful trail in the mountains, it’s all gorgeous,” Watson says.

Londonderry, New Hampshire

The New England waterfront is known for its variety of seasonal landscapes throughout the year. Residents are able to experience the full extent of floral springs, fluttering snowflakes, peaceful waters, and crisp autumn leaves. And right now, in the summertime, the sights could not be better, says Morgan Smith, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty.

“We have hundreds of clean lakes with 360 degrees of spectacular scenery. Owners love to watch the loons, fish off the dock, kayak and waterski, and lazily soak in the clear, fresh water warmed by the sun,” she says. Coastal properties in New England feature properties with rocky ledges, crashing waves, and beaches that can be strolled for miles and miles.

With regard to how the market is faring, lower-than-average inventories are leaving very few properties for sale at a time. Prices of waterfront properties range from $1 million to $25 million, with buyers privy to direct access to the water, spacious frontage, and plenty of room for a watercraft, Smith says. She enjoys her daily life in the area, and wishes to share the elegance with new buyers. “I love spending time in Cape Elizabeth,” she says. “If I can be on a boat (or a hammock), and smell fresh air next to a body of water, I’m happy.”

Coronado, San Diego, California

The California oceanfront is star-studded with luxury at every turn. Coronado, San Diego is absolutely no exception. Broker Associate Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty has lived in 17 different houses throughout the town and loved every second of it. To get away from it all, Aurich enjoys his early mornings more than anything else; he spends it surfing in tranquil waters, golfing through immaculate links, or entranced by friendly creatures at the stables. He stressed that Coronado camaraderie cannot be replicated anywhere else he’s seen.

Whether it’s the unique amenities the town has to offer, the community center with a gym, or the iconic $34 million Crown Manor estate he is representing, Coronado is truly special. But his favorite piece of home, he says, is the people. “The best thing is the people; it’s hard to describe,” Aurich mentioned. He finds that the kindness of his neighbors is where he feels the most pride. It’s not just Aurich that has noticed the grandeur; the temperature of real estate in Coronado is booming, to say the least. The demand is so high that at press time, only 54 houses were for sale. “The market is white hot,” Aurich said, explaining that the value of homes has gone up exponentially in the last 20 years.

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin, is a gorgeous peninsula with 250 miles of coastline — it’s surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan on the eastern side, and Green Bay on the western side. For weekenders or vacationers, the area boasts incredible opportunities for sailing, water sports, fishing, boutiques, restaurants and quaint villages that dot the shoreline, explains Jamie Sanger, a managing broker with Coldwell Banker Realty.

The county of Door has fantastic experiences in the arts, theater, and golf courses, but most of all, it is best known for its natural scenic beauty, she tells Unique Homes. With even multimillion-dollar homes and estates selling like hotcakes, any inventory that is available is selling for well over asking price. Sanger feels that her area and the lifestyles awaiting there are in particularly high demand: “I feel the pandemic has fueled our market, in that folks want to be able to ‘get away’ from the urban areas to enjoy a more peaceful, private, and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. This is what she sees in her own hometown as well, Ellison Bay, which she says has stayed tranquil and untouched by development in recent years.

Sarasota, Florida

Over in Sarasota, Candy Swick, president and broker at Candy Swick & Company, is dazzled by the diversity of people she meets every single day. “One minute you are having a conversation with an astronaut, a rocket scientist, an author, or an international ballet virtuoso from Russia,” she says.

Swick describes the water in Sarasota as “Carribean blue,” alongside a breeze that drifts in soft and cooling. Residents can enjoy multitudes of water sports, a world-class ice skating rink where Olympic figure skaters have trained, and ballet and opera performances.

As for the price tag, luxury homes are running from $2 million to
$20 million. Houses are frequently selling the day they enter the market, at list price or often in a situation with multiple offers. A typical bayfront home in Sarasota starts at $2.5 million, where buyers can view the magic, nightlife, and restaurants outlining the entire city. “We know that if an individual desired to enjoy a new restaurant for lunch and another for dinner, it would take more than a year to explore them all,” Swick said.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“Think of a place that has beautiful beaches, with crystal-clear water and clean, silky-smooth sand; a place that is known as the yacht capital of the world, with spectacular vessels cruising in daily through the port,” says Shai Mashiach, a Coldwell Banker Realty agent, in painting a picture of his beloved home.

He notes that in the bustling housing market, several waterfront neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale are in high demand; particularly Las Olas and Harbor Beach, where prices start in the millions. Mashiach noted the convenience of the area as well; it’s only a one-hour boat ride to the Bahamas, a 30-minute drive south to Miami or north to Palm Beach, and one hour to the Florida Keys. “It’s a place that has the best restaurants, great nightlife, and magnificent people from around the globe,” he continued.

As far as his personal favorite to-dos, Mashiach and his family enjoy quality time on the water, fishing, or docking at a favorite restaurant on the Intracoastal for a spectacular meal. “From yoga on the beach to amazing deep-water fishing, Fort Lauderdale has a wonderful ambiance and everything you need to enjoy life,” he says.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico is known as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. A hundred-plus feet of visibility in the pristine, cobalt water is perfect for a deep dive, whether you’re a novice or expert. “The clarity of the water is just extraordinary,” says Cindy Case, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman. The island takes pride in differentiating itself from the mainland; as opposed to cities like Cancun, Cozumel boasts a private, more intimate community.

“It’s a unique, small island with a very relaxed vibe,” Case says. Yet, this does not eliminate the availability of ample restaurants, shopping, and hospital care. There are many properties available for sale along the water, and well-priced at that. Case notes the affordability of property on such a prime Caribbean island. When recalling her favorites, Case enjoys beach hopping along the backside of the island; she treasures the chain of beautiful, wide, white-sand beaches with restaurants and bars.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Picture year-round warm weather and sunshine, vast cultural diversity and delicacies, and a fabulous cosmopolitan lifestyle when thinking of residential life in Honolulu, Hawaii, says Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Realty.

“Breathtaking hikes along the Ko’olau mountain ranges and scenic coastal trails offer incredible vistas second to none. Visitors and residents love the vast cultural foods found in Hawaii, and come to the island to enjoy many different dining experiences,” Allen describes.

For purchases on the water, prices start at around $6 million, and can range from $8 million to $20 million as well. Allen says that waterfront homes in the area have generally been built within the last 10 years, and include modern touches such as lighter wood tones, smart technology, gyms, home offices, and large, professional kitchens.

Surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, jet skiing, and canoe paddling are just a few activities keeping residents entertained. Allen wants buyers to know: if you’re looking for a diverse experience, Hawaii is for you. And when asked her perfect way to spend a day, her answer is simple; “The beach! You can never go wrong with our turquoise crystal-clear waters!”

Kaua’i, Hawaii

In another part of the islands, luxury on Kaua’i translates to “soulful” according to Hawaii Life broker Neal Norman. It is that very soul and heart that keeps residents smiling in the sunshine, just as Norman found himself when he moved in 25 years ago.

“We’re seeing purposeful buyers who want to live the lifestyle: that luxury, soulful living that Kaua’i provides,” Norman says. In the North Shore region where he is located, buyers and sellers are connected on the ocean view at a variety of prices, ranging from $3 million to $50 million. Dream homes are purchased on the daily in this blue-sky paradise, where residents can spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Offering numerous outdoor endeavors, hiking, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, beach combing and biking are just a few of the fantastic opportunities in Kaua’i. “Buyers are finding solitude and serenity on this little island in the Pacific Sea,” Norman says. “Kaua’i is a rare and special place.”


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Elite Agent: Frank D. Isoldi

Frank D. Isoldi, REALTOR

Coldwell Banker Realty | Serving NJ, Rockland County, NY, and beyond 

D: 908.301.2038 / O: 908.233.5555 |

Frank D. Isoldi is not only the No. 1 Sales Associate in his Westfield, NJ office, but also ranks No. 1 among more than 3,700 agents throughout Coldwell Banker’s NJ and Rockland County, NY offices. He represents the company’s top 1 percent of sales associates worldwide. Frank is recognized in The Wall Street Journal/Real Trends top 1,000 list of sales professionals by transaction volume. “Frank is known for his dedicated service to his clients … and we applaud his achievements,” said Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker Realty in NJ and Rockland County, NY. 


Featured Property: Westfield, NJ

950 Minisink Way | Stunning home in Indian Forest featuring a 1st-floor sunroom and bedroom/office with bath. Resort-style backyard with a 2-tier patio, built-in gas grill, heated built-in pool and pergola. $1,849,999



Frank D. Isoldi originally appeared as an Elite agent in Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See the ad here.

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Elite Agent: Eugenia C. Foxworth

Eugenia C. Foxworth, REALTOR

Foxworth Realty | Serving New York, NY & Beyond

212.368.4902 | |

Foxworth Realty is like an artist’s palette when you need a primary, secondary or a weekend residence in New York City and the outer boroughs. It can be located in a modern, state-of-the-art, 1-bedroom apartment in Chelsea or an apartment with panoramic views located at The Cityspire, a luxury full-service high-rise building with a doorman, concierge, pool, conference room, gym and garage. Within 15 minutes from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, you are in Riverdale located on the Hudson River. Experience sunsets in a luxury full service building with private tennis courts (designed by renowned architect Henry Kibel) situated in a cul-de-sac in a 3 bedroom/convertible 4 with a 24’ long balcony, with year round magnificent Hudson River views, Manhattan skyline and a lush view of the Palisade (NJ), whether it is sunny or overcast, imposing red brick wall with a mantle with inset spaces and a working wood burning fireplace; or a luxury full-service building with a 30,000-square-foot Green Roof, 5-level heated garage, 24-hour doorman, concierge, pool, deck, club, gym, valet etal, or a Jr4 convertible 2-bedroom with N, S, E, W exposure with seasonal park and city views in a 1960s building with 66 apartments located on a tree-lined residential street. Live in a renovated, centrally air conditioned and heated 9-room Ranch-Style home on 63 acres surrounded by majestic trees and flora in Westchester in a cul-de-sac adjacent to the Knollwood Country Club.



Eugenia C. Foxworth originally appeared as an Elite agent in Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See the ad here.

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