Litchfield County Publications
Ira Goldspiel, owner of the Inn at Kent Falls and the guiding light behind the Kent Chamber of Commerce’s Shorter Days Brighter Lights Christmas Tree Lighting & Community Pot Luck Dinner, has another full time job as a realtor. Mr. Goldspiel has been working for David Bain Realty for the past five years and this week announced that he is joining the sales team at Sotheby’s International Realty.
Sotheby’s recently purchased Todd Cole Realty and took over its office in the Kent Town Center.
We caught up with Mr. Goldspiel on Wednesday, his first day at his new job. Mr. Goldspiel said he is “very excited to be part of Sotheby’s,” adding, “I wasn’t unhappy working for David. There are a lot of wonderful people working there. I will miss them, especially all the girls. It is hard to leave after five years. I expect to remain good friends with everyone there and hope that we will be doing deals together.”
Mr. Goldspiel said he made the move to Sotheby’s because, “This is a chance to grow my business. Real estate is my full-time job. Sotheby’s has three offices in the area and has an amazing marketing presence on the East Coast as well as an international reach. The business has the small-town feel with an international presence. I feel I can use that to better serve both the seller and the buyer.”
Sotheby’s is known for marketing to the luxury home and resort market but Mr. Goldspiel said, “I haven’t abandoned the middle-income properties, those in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.” A quick check of the Sotheby’s Web site confirmed this. There were several properties listed at the Kent office that fit in this category along with those in the $1 million to $4 million range. There was even a one-bedroom cottage in Kent that is for rent for under $900 a month.
Sotheby’s Kent office has 12 agents. In addition to Mr. Goldspiel, Mr. Cole and Dottie MacRitchie stayed on when Mr. Cole sold his business to the international realty giant. They have been joined by agents Elizabeth DeVos, Judy Perkins, Michael Deveau, Sean Aikman, Mary Ann Miller, Fred Perotti, Gabriel Pinter, Karen Quinn, and Mary Anne Tappan. For more information call 860-927-1141. Sotheby’s office is located at 27 North Main Street, Suite 3 in the Kent Town Center. — Karen A. Chase
The New York Times
The gateway from New York into the town of Kent, on the western edge of Litchfield County, is Bulls Bridge, a one-lane covered bridge that insists those who cross it slow down. It’s an appropriate welcome to a town incorporated in 1739 and known for its state parks, outdoor activities and blend of culture and country life.
All of which appealed to Toby and Lisa King, who live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, when they bought a weekend home. They paid less than $500,000 in January for a former deer-hunting cabin.
“Toby is a fly fisher, and I love to hike, swim and snowshoe,” said Ms. King, 33, a television producer at Grey Advertising. “We were looking for a place that had all this and that we could travel to comfortably most weekends.” And, said Mr. King, 34, an investment banker, “there are lots of interesting people around.”
Those people include a mix of artists, writers, and actors — plus Henry Kissinger — along with local families. First Selectwoman Dolores Schiesel estimated that nearly half of Kent’s residents are part-timers. “It’s hard to call them weekenders,” she said. “They might start off with weekends, but before you know it, they’re here three or four days a week.” Before the railroad tracks cut through in the early 19th century, the land that is now downtown Kent was a farm area called the Plains. Businesses flourished with the arrival of the railroad, giving Kent a Main Street commercial district several blocks long. Among the low-rise wooden buildings is the Kent Town Center, a cluster of shops and offices completed in the late 1980’s. There are numerous antiques dealers, as well as a supermarket, a hardware store, a liquor store and an ice cream parlor.
Kent’s bustling downtown sets it apart from many Litchfield County towns, which often lack any commercial development. The downtown impressed Simi Fazeli, 53, of Hartsdale, N.Y., who is a skin-care specialist in Manhattan. She recently bought a weekend home in Kent with her husband, Moe Alafchi, 43, an electrical engineer. “We walked around town, then stopped at Stroble Bakery for coffee and a bagel and watched the people who came in,” she said. “We really liked the feel of the place.”
For a town of just 2,800 people, Kent has a surprising concentration of galleries — ten in all, including one of the largest in the County: The Morrison Gallery
In addition to the Stroble Baking Company, the downtown includes Kent Coffee & Chocolate, an espresso bar known for hand-dipped truffles, and the House of Books. The town also has its share of restaurants, patronized by full-timers and weekenders alike. One of the oldest is the Fife ‘n Drum, which has French, Italian and American cuisine and where the owner, Dolph Traymon, plays piano nightly.
Celebrity weekenders, in addition to Mr. Kissinger, include Oscar de la Renta and Patti LuPone. Ira Goldspiel, owner of the Inn at Kent Falls and now an Associate at Sotheby’s International Realty, described the town as being more low-key than the Hamptons and more upscale than the Catskills. “It’s sophisticated,” he said, “without being pretentious.”
Kent is less than two hours by car from New York City.
For those who love the outdoors, Kent has plenty to offer. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs along the banks of the Housatonic River in town. At Kent Falls State Park, a 200-foot waterfall rushes over white marble ledges; 2,300-acre Macedonia Brook State Park has hiking, camping and fishing. Ms. Bevans said that the Spectacle Ponds are among the cleanest in Connecticut; North Spectacle is only accessible to lakeside property owners, but South Spectacle has public access for fishing, kayaking and canoeing (motorboats are prohibited). The town has swimming in Emery Park and at Lake Waramaug in nearby Warren. Fly-fishing enthusiasts can take their pick of the Housatonic (catch and release), Hatch Pond or Waramaug. And there are 23 ski trails on Mohawk Mountain, 15 minutes north in Cornwall.