JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: This is going to sound strange coming from someone who is going to be paying college tuition through 2022 (!) but lately I've been thinking about second homes. It might have been prompted by my next-door neighbors, who have relocated to a beautiful modern condo with fabulous view of the Rockies, but who still own their historic country house in Maine - a future summer home.
Maybe it was seeing pictures of Marcia Talley's new beachfront Bahamas cottage. Or it could have started last November, when I fled Maine's gloomy, chill weather during my book tour and landed in Scottsdale, having dinner poolside with Rhys and totally envying her for being able to relocate there every fall. I have a Maine friend who's just purchased a house on the Big Island of Hawaii and a Florida cousin considering a place in Vermont. If I could afford it, I would definitely jump on the bandwagon. My grandmother used to say land was the only thing worth investing in - they weren't making any more of it. (Of course, she was a farmer's daughter, and didn't live to see the crash of '08. She might advise differently now.) The big question would be: where? How to decide?
Living in a cold climate, someplace warm - Hawaii, Arizona, Florida - sounds very tempting. On the other hand, maybe a place with four seasons would be more fun. I've long thought a four-season lakefront cottage in Maine's Lake region, with swimming and skiing all within easy reach, would be ideal.
Someplace isolated, where I could be alone with my thoughts and writing, like a rustic Adirondack lodge? Or plunge into the social and intellectual life of New York City in a pied a terre? Near my family in northern Virginia in a Wisconsin Avenue, D.C. apartment? Or near my family in Alabama, in a waterfront home in artsy Fairhope? Or maybe Ross and I could have a traveling home - a restored Airstream trailer or a forty-foot sailboat. So many choices!
How about you, Reds? If money and travel time were no object, what would be your dream second home? If you already have one, like Rhys, is it as sweet as it appears? Do you have another place you'd consider going?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Paris.
JULIA: A woman who knows her own mind. Rhys?
RHYS BOWEN: I really enjoy escaping from the brutal California winters to Arizona, Julia. We love being out in the desert and the fabulous sunsets and the fun life in Scottsdale (having Barbara and Poisoned Pen close by is a huge plus). But a third place? It's complicated enough remembering which items we left where right now, although we have pretty much equipped both places to be self sustaining. What I love about the condo is it's light, modern, 16 foot ceiling,uncluttered, lovely landscaped grounds (that someone else takes care of), pools and spas. It's like an extended vacation for me.
But I do secretly hanker after a little cottage in an English village, so that I can put my basket over my arm and go to buy eggs from the farmer. Or maybe a house in the South of France, overlooking the Med. I do love beaches.... but not Hawaii or Mexico. Maybe a Greek Island? All to myself? Next to Onasis's one? I'd better write harder and faster.....
JULIA: I Mentioned to my daughter that you had a place in Arizona. She said, "Wait - doesn't Ms. Bowen live in California?" I pointed out it does get foggy and damp. Reared in Maine, she was extremely dubious.
LUCY BURDETTE: We are lucky dogs already to spend half the year in Key West and half in Connecticut. But that doesn't stop me from imagining a little place in New York City. Greenwich Village maybe, where I could step outside and grab a bite to eat any time of night or day. And attend a lot of shows and even an occasional opera. And wander around getting to know the nooks and crannies. But then I read the real estate section in the Sunday New York Times and realize I've lost my marbles:). I would however, definitely visit Hank in Paris. And Rhys in England or the south of France. Standing by for the invite...
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Do any of you lovely Reds need a caretaker for your already existing second homes in the off season? With a husband, a son, a mother-in-law, a new foster son and two cats, I volunteer!
JULIA: Susan, my philosophy is that if you don't own a vacation home, you need friends who do!
How about you, dear readers? Are you second home owners already? Or do you have the perfect spot already picked out?