Spiritual New Zealand: Walking with the Maori

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From the pages of Summer 2017’s issue of RESIDE®Kathy Ullyott explores New Zealand and discovers a land rich in spirituality and culture.

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It was still light when Bill Matthews, looking more like a sheep rancher than a Maori sage and storyteller in his black oilskin duster and work boots, picked me up at the Copthorne Hokianga Hotel on New Zealand’s northwest coast.

By the time he stopped the SUV at a dizzying height above Hokianga Harbour, the sun was beginning to slide into the sea. Matthews killed the engine, we got out and he swept his arm to encompass the platinum mirror of the bay below.

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There’s probably nothing more authentic than a Maori-inspired tattoo, which historians believe European sailors to the South Pacific brought back to the western world in the 16th century.

“A thousand years ago, the great chief of the mythical land of Hawaiki set out in pursuit of a giant wheke, or octopus…” he began. The chief, Kupe, eventually vanquished the octopus and discovered a new land called Aotearoa, “land of long white cloud.” He departed from the very bay below but vowed to return, which he did. His descendants, the Maori, have populated Aotearoa ever since.

In the liquid subtropical twilight, it wasn’t hard to imagine the carved red waka (canoes) drifting to the beaches below, their wide-eyed passengers overwhelmed by the wild lushness of their new home. But this lookout wasn’t our destination, and the story of the coming of the Maori to New Zealand was just a prologue.

At the verge of the fabled Waipoua Forest, a primeval rainforest and sanctuary for the vast native Kauri trees, the last light filtered through the silver ferns, symbol of New Zealand and as big as rooftops. After cleaning our shoes to prevent introducing any plant diseases, we ducked into the underbrush. Matthews, walking several feet ahead of me, began a low chanting prayer to greet the ancient gods.

It’s not surprising, really, that the misty ranges, bubbling hot springs and vast forests that were such inherently sacred sites for the Maori have, in more recent years, inspired and attracted pilgrims of all spiritual stripes.

Lonely Planet’s guide to “experiences of a lifetime”—Lonely Planet Code Green—includes Footprints Waipoua, for which Matthews acts as guide, as one of its 82 most life-changing experiences in the world.

Before we met Te Matua Ngahere, Father of the Forest, Matthews asked me to stop while he chanted a blessing. As if summoned, a light rain began, silencing the cries of the kiwi and tui birds that had been keeping us company.

“ You are a seed. Even though you are small, you have value.”

Then there was the tree itself: 3,000 years old, 52 feet/16 metres around and as wise and silent as a vast monk. The Maori believe that the giant trunks of the Kauri trees hold up the sky and, indeed, Te Matua Ngahere gleamed like a temple. We watched and waited in silence as the rain filtered through the ferns.

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.27.45 AM Bianca Ranson started her company, Potiki Adventures, in 2004, partly because “I was having trouble finding work that allowed me to live my values as a Maori person,” she told me as she introduced me to Waiheke Island just off of Auckland. After a five-year high school unit of total-immersion Maori and a further year in an intensive Maori outdoor-skills course, Ranson decided she wanted to work with young Maori to re-acquaint them with aspects of traditional culture.

A benefactor suggested she also give visitors a taste of New Zealand from a Maori perspective. Many awards later, she is still imparting Maori traditions to Maori youth and giving Pakeha hands-on experience of Maori activities, perspectives and spirituality. Guests stay in the Marae, a traditional ancestral meeting-house, visit historical pa (power) sites and participate in activities such as ax- weaving, poi-making and mau rakau (martial arts).

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“The name for afterbirth in Maori is whenua,” Ranson said in a TEDx Waiheke presentation. “The name for land is [also] whenua. It shows the direct connection between us and the land.”

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In fact, according to traditional Maori belief, the land was Papatuanuku, the earth mother; Ranginui was the sky father. In the beginning, “Papa and Rangi” weren’t separated but clung tightly together, shutting out all light and making it impossible for their six sons to see. The sons squabbled among themselves about how they might separate their parents. Finally, Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, New Zealand’s largest known living Kauri tree, braced his head against the earth and pushed mightily against the sky with his feet until the two parents were pushed far apart, light flooded in and the humans they had parented were revealed.

$22,000,000 NZD | New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

Tane Mahuta still dwells in Waipoua Forest, and I was on my way to meet him.

After Matthews and I offered a final prayer to Te Matua Ngahere, we followed the forest path in silence until he asked me to stop once again while he chanted a greeting. Ahead, Tane Mahuta stood in a clearing. Standing at nearly 170 feet/52 metres and with his head lost in the night sky, he wasn’t hard to imagine as an ancient creative force. Although the rain had stopped, the forest was quiet. Matthews drew a piece of hardened resin from his pocket and lit it with a lighter while he said another prayer. The forest seemed to let out a sigh as Matthews extinguished the smoldering resin and handed it to me. But he had one more gift. He leaned over, felt the ground for a kauri seed and presented it to me with a traditional ancient Maori message: “You are a seed. Even though you are small, you have value.”

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Market Spotlight: Dominican Republic

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From 2017’s first edition of Perspectives, join us as we visit the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is home to one the brand’s newest affiliated companies – Sergio Llach Sotheby’s International Realty. There, they join Holden Sotheby’s International Realty,with whom they work closely together with in order to provide an unforgettable experience for their clients both on and off the island; here, they paint a picture of the luxury real estate market in the Dominican Republic.

$3,200,000 USD | La Romana, Dominican Republic | Sergio Llach Sotheby’s International Realty
“The north coast of the Dominican Republic has seen an increase of activity,” says William Holden, owner, Holden Sotheby’s International Realty. “For the past few years, buyers are looking for properties in the $250,000 to $450,000 price range. At this time, buyers are making inquiries in the $500,000 to $1 Million price range. Moreover, developers are making inquiries into vacant land conducive for multi-family or resort projects.

Almost all buyers on the north coast are international buyers from North America and Europe. There is also a trend of lower costs of land which offers a more economical opportunity to build a retirement home. In some of the more isolated areas, celebrities are buying large tracts of waterfront land for private estates, corporate retreats, or family compounds.

imagereader.aspx-2Price Upon Request | La Romana, Dominican Republic | Sergio Llach Sotheby’s International Realty

Luxury beachfront condominiums and private oceanfront villas [on the north coast] range in price from $500,000 to $3 million; in some more exclusive gated communities, prices for oceanfront villas are in the $2 million to $10 million price range. There is also a trend for smaller private villas considered ‘condo-alternatives’ that range in price from $250,000 to $750,000.”

“The Dominican Republic’s south and east coasts are extremely active due to the luxurious amenities available as well as the ease of access via three international airports,” says Sergio Llach, owner, Sergio Llach Sotheby’s International Realty. “This area’s soft, white sand beaches coupled with the extremely friendly people and the great sense of security are also a big attraction for home buyers. The area offers plenty of mega-yacht marinas and more than 20 world-famous golf courses designed by architects like Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo.

$11,500,000 USD | La Altagracia, Dominican Republic | Holden Sotheby’s International Realty
Home buyers are demanding a higher quality of turn-key homes and they are willing to pay for it; along with large family homes, contemporary design, modern amenities and great views are highly sought after.”

Differing itself from other parts of the island, “over 50% of all home owners [on the south and east coasts] originate in the capital city of Santo Domingo,” says Llach. “High-net worth families regardless of their industry seek properties here; most share the love of sports, particularly golf. The average home price is between $2.5 – $4 million, with a minimum of $1 million and a maximum of $40 million.”

imagereader.aspxPrice Upon Request | La Altagracia, Dominican Republic | Holden Sotheby’s International Realty

“Mark Anthony and Vin Diesel are among the celebrities that call the Dominican Republic home, and presidential families like the Bush’s and Clinton’s spend vacations here,” says Llach regarding the south and east coasts. Holden adds that, “the notable residents on the north coast come for privacy; so, don’t plan on finding a roadmap to the stars.”

Discover more in 2017’s first edition of Perspectives

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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In many parts of the world, March 17 marks the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day; a holiday with roots in Ireland, let’s visit some homes and explore the culture and history of the Irish holiday with David Ashmore, owner, Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty.

28.000.000 € EUR | Roundwood, Ireland | Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty

For a comparatively small country, Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to world literature, music and comedy. It’s also true to say that on March 17, everyone’s a little Irish. Even though St. Patrick’s Day is only a public holiday in a handful of places, “Irishness” is celebrated around the world.

Dublin14.500.000 € EUR | Dublin, Ireland | Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty

Every St. Patrick’s Day around the world, people dress up in green, attend parades and celebrations and raise a pint of Guinness to the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Celebrating the feast of Ireland’s patron saint goes back a long time, to the 5th century. Nowadays, it’s more of a party for St. Patrick, as this religious and cultural festival is celebrated around the country with festivals, parades, fireworks, pints and plenty of green.

Dublin21.800.000 € EUR | Dublin, Ireland | Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty

Historically, the day commemorated St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. In medieval times, the Irish would celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick with a pilgrimage to a sacred place (usually a holy well or chapel) and a mass or prayers held on the holy location. This was followed with festivals involving food, music, dancing and games. Today, St. Patrick’s Day highlights Irish heritage and culture; across Ireland, different regions and towns have their own unique ways to celebrate one of Ireland’s biggest holidays.

Puckane2.350.000 € EUR | Puckane, Ireland | Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty

Ireland’s capital city [Dublin] is home to the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, decked out in wild and fantastical costumes, to celebrate with an extravagant four-day festival. Dublin hosts an elaborate parade, themed events, a treasure hunt through the city, street performers, guided pub crawls and an awe-inspiring firework show over the River Liffey.

Channel your inner “Irish Spirit” with these 10 Facts about St. Patrick’s Day

  1. St. Patrick was not Irish. He was from Wales. pub-2058083_1280
  2. The humble shamrock was originally a teaching tool. St. Patrick is said to have used the three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish.
  3. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s.
  4. For many years, blue was the colour most often associated with St. Patrick. Green was considered unlucky. St. Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for many centuries and the Irish Presidential Standard is still blue.
  5. For many years, Dripsey in County Cork had the world’s shortest parade, just 77 feet, the distance between two pubs – The Weigh Inn and The Lee Valley. Currently, the town of Hot Springs, Arizona claims to have the shortest parade – a 98 foot route on Bridge Street.
  6. In 2010, the Sydney Opera House went green to mark the 200th anniversary of St. Patrick’s Day there. In Sydney, St Patrick’s Day was first marked in 1810, when Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor of New South Wales, provided entertainment for Irish convict workers.
  7. Irish flee the country. In Ireland on March 17 you’ll find many public figures, musicians, and dancers have travelled abroad to work on lucrative gigs elsewhere.
  8. In Chicago every year, the Plumbers Local 110 union dyes the river “Kelly” green. The dye lasts for about five hours.
  9. Traditionally, every year, the Irish leader hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.
  10. Guinness sales soar on St. Patrick’s Day. Recent figures show that 5.5 million pints of the famous stout are downed around the world every day. On St. Patrick’s Day that figure is doubled.

Ireland_SocialMediaThis guest blog was provided by David Ashmore, owner, Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty

Market Spotlight | Steamboat Springs, Colorado

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In the Northwest corner of Colorado, Steamboat Springs is far removed from the I-70 corridor that is the gateway to resorts like Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Aspen. Unlike Colorado’s roster of glitzy mountain towns, Steamboat’s ranching heritage and long history as a ski town (it has, in fact, produced Olympians for every Winter Olympics except in 1936) lends a family-oriented authenticity and western character that makes it unique. More a “real” town than resort, those folks sporting cowboy apparel are actually real cowboys who work on real ranches; you’re more likely to see down jackets than fur coats and strangers still genuinely smile and greet each other as they pass on the street. But with the plentiful and dry snow that blankets the town in the winter, Steamboat literally coined (and trademarked) the term “champagne powder”.

Famous for its tree skiing in the uncut Aspen groves that make skiing in the resort feel like a wilderness experience, it has been consistently ranked one of the top family-friendly ski resorts in North America. And, once people arrive for winter, they are often bitten by the “Yampa Valley Curse” and find themselves calling Steamboat Springs home. When the chill of the winter thaws into spring and summer, Steamboat locals and visitors alike flock to the wonderful amenity of the Yampa River, flowing through downtown, or to Emerald Mountain for world-class mountain biking. Named “Ski Town USA” and also “Bike Town USA”, there is never a shortage of adventure, no matter the season.

While Steamboat is quickly establishing itself as a luxury destination with the friendly western feel, unlike many of our neighboring resort towns in Colorado, there are still plenty of options for real estate intenders without a seven-figure budget. You can still find ski-in, ski-out condominiums located directly on the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area for under $200,000 USD.

Steamboat1$875,000 USD | Steamboat Springs, Colorado | Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

Those with more luxurious taste will appreciate properties such as this exquisitely remodeled La Casa Condominium. This modern masterpiece includes hardwood flooring, custom railings, innovative lighting, custom wall murals and wraparound decks.

Still, as Steamboat has become a popular destination for retirees and young professional telecommuters seeking a lifestyle change, there is unprecedented demand for properties $1 million and up, putting Steamboat on the map of Colorado’s luxury resort areas.

Steamboat2$3,950,000 USD | Steamboat Springs, Colorado | Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

Located at the gateway to the Steamboat Ski Area, this one-of-a-kind 10,000 square foot home in The Porches neighborhood offers the opportunity to live luxuriously, with the amenities of a full-service resort, including concierge, shuttle, pool and hot tubs, fitness center, kids’ room and more. The home is spacious and grand, with four stone surround gas fireplaces, professional kitchen, media room, climbing wall and five-car garage.

See other Market Spotlights from around the world!

Steamboat3$9,000,000 USD | Steamboat Springs, Colorado | Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

In late January, the $9 million sale of Wildflower Meadows, an approximately 10,000-square-foot mountain estate on over 154 acres just minutes from downtown Steamboat, marked the highest residential sale in Steamboat’s history. Both the buyer and seller were represented by Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty in the transaction.

As one might expect, with the ranching heritage that is at the core of what makes Steamboat so unique, the real estate market has quite a robust Farm & Ranch niche. When we say “Farm & Ranch” we mean true Farm & Ranch properties and everything that goes along with them – from fixing fences to burning ditches, cattle grazing operations to agricultural leases, conservation easements to water rights.

Steamboat4$12,950,000 USD | Steamboat Springs, Colorado | Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

Just five minutes outside of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat River Ranch is the jewel of the Elk River Valley, with irrigated meadows, abundant wildlife including elk, deer, eagles and sand hill cranes, and a balanced compound of residences and improvements for ranching operations. An angler’s paradise, the over 490 acres includes Elk River frontage with world class fishing.

StBt_FacebookThis guest blog was provided by Traci Smith, director of marketing, at Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty.

Market Spotlight | Berlin, Germany

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A city as diverse as its living spaces, Berlin is well known for its cultural highlights and vibrant arts and music scene. Many people are drawn in by the multiculturalism and different atmospheres within the city. New residents are adding to the creative and entrepreneurial spirits, with Berlin being an attractive business ground for many start-ups. Whether you choose to escape the busy hub to a more relaxing setting, or find your home above the rooftops of the city, let us take you on a journey through Berlin.

Berlin112.550.000 € EUR |Berlin, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty

This 1924 built, monument protected villa in a 17th century French style is located in Dahlem, the most exclusive and prestigious area of Berlin. Dahlem is known for its historic villas, grand parks and old forests, offering a high living quality. The proximity to the popular Kurfürstendamm shopping mile and Grunewald’s excellent sport and entertainment facilities make this an excellent location to reside at. The villa is built on a large property and showcases a green, park-like garden that can be viewed from the many terraces and balconies. The historic gas lanterns lead towards the grand entrance of the Villa, which offers 8,072 square-feet of living space on three floors.  Next to a library with a winter garden, the music and fireplace room offer plenty of space to host guests. The interior is of the house is highlighted through wood paneling on the walls, silk wallpaper and beautiful ceiling ornaments.

Berlin22.542.000 € EUR | Berlin, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty

Pariser Straße is one of the most sought after addresses in Berlin due to its central location within Berlin and the exclusive lifestyle this area has to offer. The proximity to the world famous Kurfürstendamm shopping-mile and the popular Ludwigkirchplatz offer many opportunities for entertainment and gourmet delights. The building was built in 1905 and renovated in 2016, during which the modern penthouse with its exquisite rooftop terrace was added. On 2,335 square-feet you will find three bedrooms and 3-and-one-half bathrooms, each with 138 feet high ceilings, floor heating and air conditioning. A wonderful fire place is found in the spacious living room and only the newest and best appliances are found in the kitchen.

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Berlin33.750.000 € EUR | Berlin, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty

With an elevator opening directly into this 3,444-square-foot loft there is an immediate moment of astonishment. The light filled, open spaces offer comfort within a luxurious surrounding. From the fitted designer kitchen over the spacious dressing room, a freestanding bathtub and sauna, everything has been designed to fit the highest demand. With two terraces and a private rooftop terrace, this apartment allows for plenty of outside space and an amazing view over the city. The location within the heart of Berlin-Charlottenburg is very popular within the upper class, as the Kurfürstendamm offers many inviting boutiques and gourmet restaurants, and the area is filled with old-style buildings and alluring avenues

Berlin4469.000 € EUR | Berlin, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty

This elegant houseboat allows you to live a penthouse lifestyle on the water, whilst having the freedom to explore the inland waters and European shores. Watch the seasons change from the 1,076-square-foot rooftop terrace. Stay off the grid with solar panels, sewage treatment and filtered drinking water.  Advanced German engineering and exquisite design is tailored to your needs in order to fulfill all your wishes to a personal houseboat. From a sauna, jacuzzi and floor heating to a walk-in-in closet and a fireplace, anything can be realized on this exclusive project.

Berlin-LogoThis guest blog was provided by Fabienne Cezanne of Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty

Market Spotlight | Nashville, Tennessee

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Known affectionately as the “Country Music Capital of the World,” Nashville, Tennessee is a city garnering a lot of attention. Let’s check in with Lawrence Lipman, owner; and Jasper Tollett, managing broker, of the Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty for their insight into Nashville’s market.

“While its deep-rooted Southern charms remain as pronounced as ever, it’s no secret that Nashville is undergoing the kind of sudden contemporary makeover that only a few cities around the United States have experienced,” says Tollett. “Buzz surrounding the city has been off the charts in recent years, as steady job growth and its reputation as an entrepreneurial haven have yielded a massive influx of development; more than $2 billion worth of new projects have led none other than the New York Times to deem Nashville an ‘It’ city. Naturally, increased interest in the area is also reshaping the residential landscape.”

Nashville1$3,485,000 USD | Nashville, Tennessee | The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty

With all the publicity pertaining to Nashville, we are now one of the top cities for relocation,” says Lipman. “We have a progressive market; our inventory is low and interest rates are still extremely reasonable. Thus, our market is quite active.”

Nashville2$1,690,000 USD | Nashville, Tennessee | The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty

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“Trending neighborhoods throughout Nashville speak to the myriad of lifestyle options available in the city,” Tollett continues. “Belle Meade, for example, has become home to captains of industry, entertainment legends and even a former U.S. vice president – which is why Forbes described it as one of the ’25 Best Places to Retire Rich.’

Nashville3$2,595,000 USD | Nashville, Tennessee | The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty

“While Nashville is famous for being the home of Andrew Jackson, as well as the home of former vice president Al Gore,” Tollett says, “other celebrities that call Nashville home are, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Carrie Underwood just to name a few.”

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Market Spotlight | Tour of Canada

Canada is well known for it’s vast natural landscapes and cosmopolitan cities, these offer a quality of life that consistently make it rank amongst the world’s best places to visit and live. From west to east, some of Canada’s most significant destinations and cities are featured here:

West Vancouver, British Columbia

westvancouver$19,900,000 | West Vancouver, British Columbia | Sotheby’s International Realy Canada

Set against the striking scenery of the North Shore Mountains, West Vancouver offers easy access to nature, along with luxurious urban amenities and real estate. The community comprises neighborhoods renowned for their prestigious homes and estates, and sweeping views of Howe Sound.

This architectural concrete, glass and steel masterpiece emits both style and grace. Not merely built on the waterfront but rather carved into the rock-face so as to be perfectly set into the property. Additionally, this brilliance in design provides interesting rock-face features in the interior. Steps to the 190 feet of waterfront include multi-platforms for outdoor activities, and at the same time, total and complete privacy from the world.

Whistler, British Columbia

whistler$4,388,000 | Whistler, British Columbia | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Located in British Columbia’s spectacular Coast Mountains, Whistler is one of North America’s premier four season resorts, internationally renowned as the site of the alpine and Nordic venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Its epic skiing and snowboarding, vibrant alpine village and majestic mountains haven’t just captured the attention of visitors— Whistler real estate has also attracted buyers and real estate investors from across British Columbia and around the world.

Sitting above Creekside, Ursa Minor, or Little Bear, is located in sought after and exclusive Bear Creek Estates. This very tasteful and well thought out custom built West Coast contemporary Whistler chalet has everything one could want in a mountain retreat. Overlooking Alpha Lake, this five-bedroom, 4500 square foot property boasts endless views, covered patios with hot tubs, outdoor fire places and most importantly, a cozy living room to retreat to when the snow starts to fall.

Calgary, Alberta

calgary$30,000,000 | Calgary, Alberta | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at the intersection of the Bow and Elbow rivers, Calgary, Alberta exudes innovation, energy and a uniquely Western Canadian hospitality. As the largest metropolitan area between Vancouver and Toronto, Calgary is home to over 1.1 million people. It’s a global energy leader and a welcoming frontier for business and investment, which has helped the robust Calgary real estate market expand rapidly.

Kestrel Ridge Farm is framed by awe-provoking terrain, this world-class equestrian facility offers a magnificent natural backdrop for horse fanatics, aspiring riders and enthusiastic mountaineers drawn to the captivating beauty of Calgary. Warmth and charm can be felt throughout this spacious, grand estate with extensive modern amenities custom designed for family function with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, six-vehicle garage, carriage house, greenhouse, outdoor sport court, indoor salt-water swimming pool, enclosed summer kitchen and separate 3,700-square-foot guest house that doubles as staff quarters.

Discover luxury real estate in Canada

Toronto, Ontario

toronto$5,475,000 | Toronto, Ontario | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

With its rich history, breathtaking architecture and cultural diversity, Toronto, Ontario is Canada’s financial and business capital, a cosmopolitan city that has turned heads on the global stage both for its economic influence and its reputation as one of the safest, cleanest and greenest cities.

This Theatre Park penthouse features four Bedrooms, a library, two sweeping wrap around terraces with panoramic views of Lake Ontario and Downtown Toronto.

Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

muskoka$3,195,000 | Dwight, Ontario | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Located just two hours north of Toronto, Muskoka is a popular cottage country destination for vacationers from across Ontario. With more than 2,000 sparkling lakes covering 14,000 kilometers of shoreline, Muskoka is an ideal destination for boaters, fishers, swimmers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Carved into the granite of the Canadian Shield, this one of a kind lakefront home has an open concept living, dining and kitchen area encased in floor to ceiling glass walls that reveal breathtaking lake views and stunning western exposure sunsets.

Westmount, Quebec

westmount$18,500,000 | Westmount, Quebec | Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec

Westmount, a prestigious enclave of Montreal, is situated on the southern face of Mount Royal’s southernmost peak, and extends from its summit to the plateau at the foot of the mountain. Within this area of just four square kilometres are some of the most prestigious homes and real estate in Canada. Its majestic Victorian architecture is so notable that in 2012, Westmount was added to Canada’s list of historically significant sites.

The landmark and storied Timmins Estate near the peak of Mount Royal offers not only panoramic views of the entirety of Montreal and beyond, but is also seen as this city’s premiere property.

Comprised of the main house (10 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, three powder rooms) and an attached coach house and sitting on 43,000 square-feet of land, this majestic Jacobean stone mansion was designed by famed architects Ross and Macfarlane and built in 1910 for Lieutenant-Colonel Charles A. Smart.

From the study of art and artists to market spotlights around the world, explore previous guest entries on the Extraordinary Living Blog

sir_canada_facebookThis guest blog was provided by Adam Nagy of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

RESIDE® Magazine | Autumn in Vermont

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From the pages of 2016’s northeast Fall edition of RESIDE® Magazine, explore the natural beauty of Vermont in Autumn.

How is it possible that autumn in Vermont is both dazzling and sublime? The blaze of fall foliage, the misty Green Mountains, the warm harvest colors and the charming country towns here have a way of simultaneously exciting the senses while calming the mind. No wonder people throughout the Northeast turn to Vermont as their second home destination.

“At a certain price point, luxury buyers can purchase property just about anywhere,” says Laird Cameron Bradley, Principal Owner-Broker at Williamson Group Sotheby’s International Realty in Woodstock. “So they do make an active decision to choose Vermont because it resonates with them.”

With boating, fishing and paddling on its many lakes including Lake Champlain, hiking and mountain biking on the state’s network of trails and some of the region’s east’s best skiing, Vermont is a four-season attraction. Autumn synthesizes the best of each.

vermont2$11,250,000 USD | Reading, Vermont | Williamson Group Sotheby’s International Realty

“People come here for the unspoiled beauty and outdoor lifestyle, but they’re also looking to be part of something unique,” says Alan DiStasio, EVP and Managing Director at Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty. That might mean plugging into Vermont’s independent communities of small farmers, artists, brewers and makers of cheese, wine, syrup or honey. “You can go to almost any small town in the fall and find a harvest festival or a fair,” he says. “That artisan ethos is absolutely a part of the local character, and fall is a great time to celebrate that creative energy.”

Discover more luxury homes in Vermont

Luxury property—particularly mountain or lakefront homes with acreage and views—exist throughout the state, but they’re rarely very far from a ski resort or quintessentially rural Vermont hamlets like Woodstock, Manchester or Dorsett. Even places like Shelburne, near the more urban Burlington, retain an unhurried New England sensibility.

“Some of Vermont’s growth policies have essentially slowed development, so there are still a lot of places that remain true to the virtues of how they were originally conceived,” says Bradley. The emphasis on preservation and historical integrity helps ensure a sense of authenticity and reflection, and an ability to make personal connections with others.

vermont1$9,000,000 USD | Woodstock, Vermont | Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty

Decisions on where and what to buy, however, are typically made viscerally.

“It could be simply a patchwork of fields,” Bradley says, “or how the sun hits the hillside that will make someone feel at home and give them comfort and a sense of peace.”

And that can happen virtually anywhere in Vermont, particularly when the leaves are turning and the scent of fall is in the air.

vermont4-a$3,275,000 USD | Woodstock, Vermont | Williamson Group Sotheby’s International Realty

“If it’s a good year and the colors are popping, there’s really nothing like it,” says DiStasio. “There’s something especially beautiful about Vermont that’s always stood the test of time.”

Article provided exclusively to Sotheby’s International Realty® by Derek Duncan

Highlighting destinations and luxury lifestyles around the world, explore our past features from RESIDE® Magazine

Market Spotlight | Jurmala, Latvia

The distinctive charm of Jurmala makes it one of the most desired places of residence in Latvia. Rich in natural assets like the pine stands and the clean, fresh air and white silica sand on the beach, mixed with old traditions, the unhurried, recreation-oriented lifestyle of a resort city, as well as the cultural and historical heritage present there, makes Jurmala a wholly unique environment. Wooden buildings in the Classicism, Neoclassicism and Historicism styles blended with modern architecture, along with the aforementioned traits, are all aspects that those who have chosen the city as their place of residence or as the location for their holiday home, would mention as their motivation.

jurmala4908.857 € EUR | Jurmala, Latvia | Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty

Jurmala is surrounded by water on two sides; the southern part of the city borders on river Lielupe for over 30 kilometers and is cut in the middle by the railway, while the northern edge of the city rests on the Gulf of Riga for 24 kilometers.

jurmala3Price Upon Request | Jurmala, Latvia | Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty

Property on the first two lines of streets nearest to the sea has always been more expensive and more in demand as this part of the city is also referred to as “the golden mile” of Jurmala; it includes the central parts of the resort city in Bulduri (one of the most densely populated areas of Jurmala) or in Dzintari – one of districts of Jurmala with well-preserved historical layout and wooden housing.

jurmala2Price Upon Request | Jurmala, Latvia | Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty

Several years in a row real estate market trends in Jurmala were dictated by foreigners, mainly from Eastern Europe, with the lion’s share (around 90%) from Russia. Jurmala was a desired target during the times of the Soviet rule as well; although a part of the USSR, it was at the same time a beautiful resort at the Baltic Sea with a Western touch, where one could communicate in Russian. Nostalgic memories have incited many of these investors to choose a real estate property in Jurmala, which had the added value of advantages offered by the Schengen area and the European Union.

jurmala1Price Upon Request | Jurmala, Latvia | Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty

A famous resort since 18th century, Jurmala is the only resort city in Latvia and the first city in Latvia to be admitted to the European Spas Association. Recognized over the last 10 years by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “Healthy City,” Jurmala is undoubtedly a waterfront jewel in the Baltic Rim.

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1801368_934642893234977_1117587241733147182_oThis guest blog was provided by Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty in Latvia.

Market Spotlight | Chinatowns in the United States

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As a country marked by waves of immigration from citizens around the world, the United States has long been home to enclaves that offer new residents a sense of “home” among those who share in their culture as they transition into American life. Since the establishment of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the mid-1800s, these neighborhoods have become staples for American cities around the country. Visually defined by a fusion of Western architectural styles with traditional Asian elements such as gilded ornaments and tiled-roofs, Chinatowns in the U.S. have emerged as popular neighborhoods where residents and visitors enjoy vibrant cultural offerings in the form of cuisine, art and events.

San Francisco

In 1848, the first Chinatown in the United States was born, and has since grown into a symbol for the city. Representing the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, it is a staple of tourism for the Bay Area. Locals and tourists enjoy visiting Ross Alley, which houses the popular Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and provides a haven for artists as murals throughout the area offer a glimpse into the daily lives of Chinese Americans.

sanfranSan Francisco, California | $2,500,000 USD | Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage

Open the door to a true oasis within the coveted Golden Gateway Commons, with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors and a contemporary aesthetic. Flooded with natural light, there is a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living. Four south-facing outdoor terraces lend themselves to a Zen consciousness with views capturing the downtown skyline, Coit Tower, the Embarcadero and beyond. A convenient location offers ease of access to the Ferry Building and Financial District, as well as a short five minute drive to Chinatown.

Seattle

In Seattle, the establishment of Chinatown grew into what is now The International District, a neighborhood that incorporates Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, African American and Vietnamese influences. A popular destination is Kobe Terrace Park, with blossoming Cherry trees by spring that are complemented by a stunning stone lantern sculpture gifted by Kobe, Japan, Seattle’s Japanese sister city. In recent years, The International District has seen large-scale development projects that have drawn more businesses and residents to its bounds.

seattleSeattle, Washington | $610,000 USD | Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

The Urban Loft is a signature residence nestled in the heart of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. An open entertainer’s floor plan meets high-end industrial aesthetic, from the 24” old growth beams and 11 foot ceilings down to the concrete countertops and stainless steel appliances. Take in cityscapes from the rooftop deck or indulge in a quick 10 minute walk to all that The International District offers.

Chicago

Occupying much of Armour Square, Chicago’s Chinatown has traditionally catered more to commercial interest, though recent years have seen more residential projects that have drawn those looking for an urban and culturally rich lifestyle. Attractions include Chinatown Square, a mall with a design inspired by the Chinese Imperial Court complete with statues for each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac symbols. A cornerstone of the community is the Pui Tak Center, which represents the first structure in the neighborhood to be erected in traditional Chinese architectural style.

chicagoChicago, Illinois | $665,000 | Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

An exquisite condo that exudes sophistication and comfort with a priceless view. High-end upgrades and custom-made features include picture framing walls, hand-painted Scalamandre Wallpaper, French shutters, PARIS ceramics, surround sound, a fireplace, Marble & Wenge hardwood floors, a Carrera Marble island, and much more. Breathtaking vistas of Millennium and Grand Park, Buckingham Fountain, boats on the lake, and the city skyline. A fifteen minute train ride hearkens in the South Loop and all that the cultural center within Chinatown affords.

New York

Second only to Asia, New York City is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population and the state houses at least 12 Chinatowns. The Manhattan Chinatown is known for its open markets, restaurants and night life. It draws residents both for the authentic Chinese culture and the excellent transportation system, with a convergence of subway lines to easily pivot across the city. Among the top destinations is Prosperity Dumpling, a Chinese restaurant offering premier cuisine whether it’s for its namesake dish or a sesame pancake.

newyorkManhattan, New York | $999,888 USD | Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage

No detail was spared in the renovation of this bright and open apartment as brand new 5” Butternut wood floors meet thoughtful updates including state-of-the-art kitchen appliances and Carrara Quartz countertops. Skyline views from every room complement sunny southwestern exposure and unobstructed views of Freedom Tower from the living room. An enviable location with the vibrant culture of Chinatown Manhattan at your doorstep.

Inspired by the sense of community and convenience afforded to those who both reside in and visit Chinatown, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty established the Asia Services Group, a team of independent brokers fluent in foreign languages, customs and the logistics necessary for working with foreign homebuyers.

Since the formation of the Asia Services Group, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty has further cemented itself as an opinion leader on foreign investment in the Pacific Northwest through unique initiatives that include a feature documentary entitled East Meets West and the all-Mandarin Seattle Luxury Living Magazine, which targets affluent Chinese consumers both within the United States and overseas.

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We would like to thank Amanda Westby, copywriter and creative assistant, at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty for supplying this feature.