Contributed by Tim Merrick
The weather has turned this morning and the leaves have noticed. The most beautiful time of year is finally here. The leaves are just starting to turn so make plans to visit soon. The Farmer’s Almanac says it is going to be a cold and snowy winter and seeing the squirrels working overtime and the amount of acorns, I believe it. Come enjoy these beautiful mountains while the weather is perfect and see all the new places to enjoy and explore in the Rockfish Valley. As you are probably aware, the three big questions I get from most owners are how are sales and what is the Jim Justice Organization doing with the resort and is the resort for sale or not? Let me try and answer them.
Here is the year to date data on real estate sales:
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Like the weather there is sunshine and clouds. Lots sales in the valley are up considerably over last year and it may be due to Stoney Creek’s spreading recognition as a great place to both live and retire. Although homes sales are a bit behind last year’s YTD they should hold pace because people are visiting the area and looking seriously for homes because of our growing reputation in Charlottesville and the many facilities and activities of the Rockfish Valley in addition to our proximity to Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley. There are only 23 homes currently for sale in Stoney Creek ranging in price from $239,900 to $945,000. It is not a bad ratio considering there are 548 existing homes in Stoney Creek. Lot sales on the mountain are also up as we are starting to see more spec homes being built and also custom homes. New construction is a sign of a strengthening market. There are currently 105 homes for sale on the mountain and that is about where the inventory has been holding for the past several years which represents about 10% of the 1097 homes on the mountain. There are 103 condos and 14 town homes for sale representing again about 10% of the 1193 existing condos and town homes. These are not bad ratios but we are approaching the danger zone of 12% resale inventory. It is going to take quite a while to get the market to absorb this amount of inventory. Correct pricing is crucial in a competitive market. If you need advice or guidance regarding these figures, please call us or drop us a note.
Both house and condo sales on the mountain are behind last year’s levels and it is not surprising given the ever changing rumors and indecision of the Justice organization on what they plan to do with the Wintergreen Resort. Buyers are reluctant to buy into a community when they do not understand its future direction or the commitment of its owner. One week owners are told Wintergreen is for sale, the next week it is not. Persistent rumors circulate that various groups have a strong interest in buying the resort but no offers have been accepted. I am told the resort is still for sale but not actively listed for sale as in the past. The moment we learn anything verifiable from your resort management, you will be the first to know. Regardless of what happens in the near future, we are a mature and respected community and there is a tremendous opportunity at Wintergreen for the right owner. We are still one of the most carefully developed, beautiful, and unique communities in America. Some person or group will recognize this and buy the resort and take it to the next level.
On a local front, Nelson County has been booming this summer. There were about 40,000 people at LOCKNFESTIVAL www.locknfestival.com at the Oak Ridge Estate in nearby Arrington earlier this month to enjoy the music of some of the bands listed below:
Everyone I spoke to who was at this now annual festival said it was outstanding in every regard. Beautifully organized and executed and most of all, FUN. Many folks stayed at Wintergreen and buses ferried people on a regular basis to the festival from the resort. The 8 mile Spartan Race (akin to the Tough Mudder) a couple of weeks ago drew about 9000 people in one day to the mountain for an obstacle type endurance race. A new distillery has opened on Route 151 called SILVERBACK DISTILLERY and they currently produce Vodka, Gin, Whiskey and Bourbon http://sbdistillery.com It is really quite good. There is also a great new Seafood restaurant in the little shopping center in Nellysford called Oceanside Seafood and Restaurant http://oceanwide-seafood.com . Everything is super fresh and the best fried seafood I can remember. It opened a few weeks ago by owner Dan Chatman and James Fountain. They have a great seafood market in addition to the restaurant, as you might imagine. There is also a recently opened Mexican restaurant called Margaritas in the same mini shopping center in Nellysford that has become a hit.…fresh ingredients and well prepared and the best Margaritas anywhere. The time for the Devils Backbone annual FESTY will soon be here and if you like Bluegrass music, don’t miss this stringed music festival. www.thefesty.com. Within the next week or two John Washburn and Brian Shanks opened yesterday the new restaurant and Cidery at BOLD ROCK farm on Route 151 and it is well worth a visit. Their hard apple ciders are world class and very popular among the locals and it is now being distributed nationally. www.boldrock.com . Finally, don’t forget the following great microbreweries and restaurants which have sprung up in Crozet and along Route 151 in the past few years. In addition to the great vineyards and other restaurants you know in the area along Route 151, they are all great.
Blue Mountain Brewery www.bluemountainbrewery.com
Starr Hill www.starrhill.com
Wild Wolf www.wildwolfbeer.com
Devils Backbone www.dbbrewingcompany.com
Finally, a little personal news, Last week Judy and I moved to beautiful Stoney Creek. Here is the view off the back deck taken this morning of the 8th fairway of the Shamokin Course. The old 17th for you old timers.