by Melanie McLane
Chair, 2012 NAR Resort and Second Home Real Estate Forum
It’s spring in North Central Pennsylvania. Fishing season opening day has been here already, and we’re busy getting our cabin ready for the summer. Across my region, this is when we return to camps and cabins for another season. A big portion of the real estate my husband and I sell are second homes used for fishing, hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, ATV riding, and just generally kicking back and enjoying life. This year, I’m reminded again of how special a second home is to so many families. Our first grandchild, Cayson, turns one in June. We had him at the cabin last year as an infant, but now he is walking and into everything. “Pap-Pap” (aka Jim) and I couldn’t resist getting three chairs for the creek bank–and one is Cayson-sized. Our old Adirondack chairs had finally given up the ghost. This is the spot we take our coffee in the morning and watch the mist rist from Kettle Creek and the fish taunt Jim (“You can’t catch us!”). Thisyear we had to have a place for Cayson–so whether he is there with us, his parents, or all of us, he has his own chair.
But the bigest part of why we love this place is what it means to our family. Cayson is the fourth generation of McLanes to come to “Forty Acres,” our place in the mountains of Pennsylvania, in Potter County. The original cabin was built by Jim’s dad and a team of his friends during the 1930s. Our son Clark, with some assistance, built a new cabin there in 2010. But the traditions and memories continue: smores on the campfire, card games at the old oak table, coffee in the morning along the creek, stream hiking on hot days and the absolute peace and stillness at dusk, as we watch the wildlife go to the creek.
Many buyers want second homes just for this reason–a place to enjoy with their families–a place to unwind and make memories. In our hectic lives, we can count on restoring ourselves with a trip to this special place. When I talk to those who have second homes–whether a cabin in the woods or a beach house, a ski chalet, or a condo in a tropical place–everyone cherishes the time and memoris they have there. One of the best parts of my job is helping people find a place to carve out time and make their own memories.