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Jeffries Farm: focusing on faith, family, farm and flowers

The Garrett County Republican

SWANTON — Jeffries Farm is a family business that started in 2020 on a small budget and a dream.

“Our focus through it all is faith, family, farm and flowers,” said Nicole Jeffries, who tends the farm with her husband, Dalton. “We are still so new at all of this, but we are so excited to dive in, work hard, grow and look back in 30 years and say, ‘Remember when our little girl was 1 and we started this business with pretty much nothing?’”

The couple grows fresh-cut flowers and fillers to put into spring and summer bouquets.

“It’s all started here on the farm, from seed, and when I say there is blood, sweat and tears involved, I’m not kidding,” Jeffries said.

She grew up on the farm where they currently live, and the couple actually met when they were children showing animals at the Garrett County Fair.

“That’s a true Garrett County love story,” Jeffries said.

She noted that she came out of high school ready to head to college and into a pre-vet program. Soon after she started, she realized it wasn’t for her, but she knew she wanted to be involved in agriculture.

When Jeffries became a stay-at-home mom, she said she knew that while she wanted to raise her kids, she also needed something for herself.

She started researching “jobs in agriculture” online, and “flower farmer” popped up.

“I thought, ‘That sounds cool,’ so I started researching … and convincing my husband … and that’s really how it all came to be,” Jeffries said.

She noted that she originally learned about growing plants in horticulture classes in college, which she thought were “super boring” at the time.

Jeffries did more research and started following flower farmers from other areas on social media.

“I joined a page on Facebook filled with other flower farmers from around the world that has been an amazing source of knowledge,” she said. “I really have little to no experience or knowledge of running a business, but my dad has been running his own business for years now and my mom also owned a small business here in Garrett County called June Bugs Party Rentals, so to some extent it comes naturally. And they have also been there with advice and guidance along the way.”

Currently, Jeffries’ family volunteers time to help out, but she hopes to continue to grow and bring on employees in the near future.

“We want more than anything to bring joy to people,” Jeffries said. “We want the flowers to speak life and love into people.”

She noted that her time in the field is usually her only time alone and usually her prayer time.

“Most of the time, each flower is prayed over, not only that it will do well in the vase for the customer for my good, but that it will make a difference in someone’s day,” Jeffries said.

She also said she wants people to feel relaxation and fun when they come to the farm.

“We are really excited to host more people and hopefully turn this farm into a place that people love to visit,” Jeffries said.

To read the full article click here.

Garrett County’s sesquicentennial celebration kicks off

From WV News

OAKLAND, Md. — A kickoff to Garrett County’s sesquicentennial celebration took place last week at the Garrett County Courthouse.

The 150th anniversary commemorates the incorporation of Garrett County on Dec. 4, 1872. It was formed from neighboring Allegany County and was the last county to be created in the state of Maryland.

The event was held as part of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners public meeting Dec. 6.

The program included a proclamation by the commissioners and special guest speakers Robert Boal of the Garrett County Historical Society and Albert Feldstein, a local historian.

“This is going to take obviously a year to celebrate, so everyone that has had a hand in everything that is going on thus far and moving forward, we appreciate it,” Commissioner Paul Edwards said before reading the proclamation to kick off the year of celebration.

“I am honored to speak on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the county I love and have stayed in for 61 years,” Boal said.

He noted that as far as the creation of Garrett County goes, very little was done before the Civil War.

“There were rumblings of discontent up here in the mountains that we didn’t have enough representation. We were sort of the weak sister, but no movement ever occurred,” Boal said. “With the end of the Civil War, that changed.”

He stated that the region began to boom with the arrival of the B&O Railroad in the 1850s, with agriculture, timber and coal.

“Garrett County felt our wealth and our resources were being taken out of here and we should have more control over all of this,” Boal said.

He mentioned several key players and developers who started the movement.

“It caught on slowly because this was a very remote area,” Boal said. “The awakening in GC started about 1870, and some very powerful locals picked up on it. These men lit the spark that brought the fire.”

He noted that the group started having community barbecues where they met, shared a meal and talked about what this area should be. It turned into a movement that was very strong.

In April 1872, the General Assembly passed a bill to allow for an election, which took place on Nov. 4, 1872. Dec. 4, 1872, was the date set for the county to become the newest in the state.

Feldstein stated that the reasons listed on the petition for creation of a new county included the substantial distance from far Western Maryland to the existing county seat in Cumberland, greater representation in the state’s General Assembly, greater opportunities for local tax revenue and more appropriate expenditures of public funds.

Two possible names were proposed for the county: Garrett and Glade.

He noted that the new county was established by the Maryland State Legislature on April 1, 1872, but it was a requirement that it be left up to the voters.

The vote on Nov. 4 resulted in 1,297 in favor of a new county and 405 opposed.

“Congratulations to Garrett County, and we should all look this good after 150 years,” Feldstein said.

To read the full article click here.

Western Maryland Scenic 1309 receives FRA approval

From Trains.com

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — The Federal Railroad Administration Thursday approved Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 for service, officials of the Cumberland, Md.-based tourist railroad tell Trains News Wire. The last Baldwin built for domestic service in 1949 immediately becomes the world’s largest operating Mallet on a 17-mile mountain railroad that was once the Western Maryland main line, including iconic Helmstetter’s Curve.

The locomotive will immediately begin its testing and break in period, leading up to its operation on Polar Express trains next month and regular service and special events next winter and spring. The former Chesapeake & Ohio engine only operated in regular service for six years before retirement and was displayed at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for years before Western Maryland Scenic bought and moved it in 2014. The engine and three cars were running this morning.

The $3.5 million restoration of the large articulated was a monumental task for a tourist railroad of modest means and working in a former Western Maryland car shop. Workers last December pushed to get the engine to the point where it could move on its own for the first time in 64 years and debuted it on Dec. 31. Since then, the shop crew has been chasing down thousands of final details, rebuilding the stoker, and acquiring parts that were difficult to come by during the Covid-19 pandemic. The railroad, which had not run since the 2019 season, also worked to reopen during 2021, which made No. 1309’s restoration a close but still second priority.

The Mallet, which uses its steam twice, was the fabled Baldwin Locomotive Works’ last domestic product in 1949 and is thus a major landmark in U.S. steam locomotive manufacturing.

Crews from railway preservation came from across the U.S. to assist in the final weeks of reassembly, a painstaking and difficult process for a locomotive that received little maintenance in its working life, spent years on display in a humid environment, and was disassembled by a different restoration crew. Its restoration was slowed earlier by an employee’s theft of parts, significant funding challenges, and the immensity and complexity of such a large locomotive.

steam locomotive outside depot
Western Maryland Scenic 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 begins test runs today following FRA approval of the locomotive after an extensive 7-year, $3.5 million restoration. Here it is outside Cumberland Depot. (Walter Scriptunas II photos)
When it begins regular operations, No. 1309 will be the only articulated rod engine in action in the eastern U.S., and the largest steam power in the East. Union Pacific’s Big Boy operates on UP tracks and is a simple articulated, meaning it feeds high-pressure steam to all four cylinders.

No. 1309 will be operated on 17 miles of the former Western Maryland Railway main line from Cumberland, Md., via famous Helmstetter’s Curve, to Frostburg, Md.

Stalled for funding at the end of 2019, the project was at a standstill. In February 2020, Trains Magazine launched the “Steam the Last Baldwin” campaign to raise money to restart the project. Readers responded with more than $275,000 in donations, and the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust made a special mid-year grant of $50,000 to keep work moving forward. The engine was set on its drivers in June 2020, and final reassembly began.

You can read about the final restoration efforts in our special edition, “Steaming the Last Baldwin,” and a companion DVD. Both are available online at the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

Board of Public Works Approves Community Parks and Playgrounds Funding

Maryland Department Of Natural Resources

The Board of Public Works today approved the last of 31 Community Parks and Playground projects for this fiscal year, totaling $5 million in grants for new and upgraded outdoor facilities in communities across Maryland.

Governor Larry Hogan’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget included funding for these projects, through which the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides flexible grants to municipalities to rehabilitate, expand, or improve existing parks, create new parks, or purchase and install playground equipment.

“The Community Parks and Playgrounds Program funds important investments across Maryland,” said Maryland DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “These projects create greater access to outdoor recreation including nature trails, accessible playgrounds, skate parks, splash pads, and gathering spaces that connect us with our community and our natural surroundings.”

The following Community Parks and Playgrounds Projects were included in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and have now been approved by BPW:

Allegany County

Barton
Meadow Park Pavilion
$80,000

Cumberland
Allegany College Outdoor Volleyball Courts
$98,000

Frostburg
East End Park
$26,250

Midland
Church Street Playground Improvements
$185,000

Lonaconing
Town Parks Improvements
$80,310

Calvert County

North Beach
Wetlands Overlook Park Nature Center
$110,000

Caroline County

Denton
Fourth Street Park
$197,262

Carroll County

Hampstead
War Memorial Park Revitalization
$245,050

Manchester
Christmas Tree Park
$52,000

Mount Airy
Watkins Park Playground Phase II
$172,949

New Windsor
Town Park Renovations
$50,825

Dorchester County

Cambridge
Cornish Park Revitalization
$343,784

Hurlock
North Main Street Park
$253,300

Vienna
Vienna Playground Upgrade
$137,040

Frederick County

New Market
New Market Community Park Basketball Court Renovation
$31,450

Thurmont
Woodland Park Playground Replacement Phase 2
$160,000

Garrett County

Mountain Lake Park
Leo Martin Memorial Park
$252,469

Oakland
Broadford Park Multi-Use Trails/Stage Amphitheater
$275,000

Harford County

Aberdeen
Rock Glen Park
$400,000

Bel Air
Office Street Pocket Park
60,464

Kent County

Chestertown
Wilmer Park
$209,394

Galena
Galena Elementary School Walking Path
$90,000

Montgomery County

Rockville
Potomac Woods Park Playground Replacement
$185,000

Prince George’s County

Cottage City
Cottage City Tot Lot
$50,000

Riverdale Park
Field of Dreams Park
$177,750

Upper Marlboro
Upper Marlboro Community Playground Phase 2
$199,000

St. Mary’s County

Leonardtown
Leonardtown Alley Network
$225,000

Washington County

Hancock
Widmyer Park Splash Park
$200,000

Williamsport
Byron Memorial Park Interactive Playground
$202,000

Wicomico County

Salisbury
Salisbury Skate Park – Final Phase
$162,801

Worcester County

Berlin
Stephen Decatur Park Restrooms
$99,000

Since its inception, the Community Parks and Playgrounds program has provided more than $79 million in grant funding for about 800 projects.

Garrett had only growth in Maryland tourism during pandemic

The Garrett County Republican

McHENRY — While Garrett County has experienced a boom in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rest of Maryland is struggling to recover.

While the state’s tourism industry as a whole experienced a 64% decline during the pandemic, Garrett County actually posted a 36% increase from pre-pandemic levels, according to Liz Fitzsimmons, managing director of the Office of Tourism for the Department of Commerce.

“Garrett County was the anomaly,” Fitzsimmons said. “The only region, the only county that was able to do this.”

In 27 years with the Office of Tourism, Fitzsimmons said the Office of Tourism never had to go before any group and say that there were decreases. That changed in 2020, when the industry was dealt a severe blow.

Sales figures for overnight stays in hotels, motels and rental units are key indicators of the state of tourism, she said, as those visitors spend money in other areas, such as food, entertainment, recreational activities and retail items.

For the category of hotels, motels, apartments and cottages, sales figures for the 2021 fiscal year totaled $56.05 million — a 56% drop from pre-pandemic 2019’s $128.6 million. For hotels and motels selling food, the results were even worse: from $35.4 million in 2019 to $10.7 million in 2021. That constitutes a 69.7% drop.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual tourism update Tuesday morning at its Business Before Hours meeting, hearing from state officials just how hard the pandemic hit Maryland recreation.

“I last attended this meeting two years ago,” said Tom Riford, assistant secretary of the Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film & the Arts. “What a different world it was two years ago to today. Just totally, totally different.”

Riford said tourism is the fourth-largest industry in the state, employing people, providing tax revenue and helping the quality of life.

“Maryland’s tourism industry was especially hard-hit in March of 2020. And the last 20 months has seen the tourism industry working together to move forward to get to the other side,” he said. “I’m very proud of what was accomplished in this county in 2020, and in 2021. You led the state.”

The Wisp Resort’s ski school in 2021 had its best year since it opened in 1955, he said.

In continuing with the Autumn Glory Festival through the pandemic, Garrett County “has shown many other jurisdictions that it can move forward, and move toward a positive tomorrow,” Riford said.

Garrett County’s accommodation sales would have been even higher, but Gov. Larry Hogan had ordered the closing of hotels and motels at the start of the outbreak. When they were allowed to reopen, rooms and houses throughout the Deep Creek Lake area were rented almost immediately. Many were people who were seeking to leave areas of Maryland and Virginia that were experiencing early rises in COVID-19 cases.

That has spilled over into the Garrett County real estate market, where home sales have been strong for months, with houses now averaging $431,461.

However, those same eager visitors now have other options, Fitzsimmons said, with borders reopening and international travel now possible.

Six of the 10 richest counties in the United States are located in Northern Virginia, she said, and those are the customers that Garrett County needs to continue to attract — even as options such as Europe are now available again.

“They are the people who helped drive these increases,” Fitzsimmons said, encouraging business owners to reach out and continue to develop the relationships they’ve developed with visitors during the pandemic.

Deep Creek Lake Water Levels for the Winter 2021/2022

Garrett County Government

Brookfield Hydroelectric facility has agreed to lower the Deep Creek Lake water levels near the lower end of the “Rule Band” for several month during this winter. The lower rule band lake level for December and January is set at 2,455 feet.The lower lake levels during the winter months will have the following benefits:

  • allow Garrett County Department of Public Works – Public Utilities Division to install pipes for the McHenry to Thayerville water connection project,
  • provide opportunities for lake property owners to conduct maintenance on shoreline stabilization projects,
  • potentially reduce nuisance or invasive submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in shallow habitats by exposing the plants to freezing temperature.

Deep Creek Lake Rule Band for monthly water levelsInformation on the Deep Creek Lake water level “Rule Band” can be found at the following Department of the Environment website: https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/water_supply/pages/deepcreeklake.aspxand on the Department of Natural Resources website: https://dnr.maryland.gov/pprp/Pages/DeepCreek/results.aspx

Outdoors Maryland Set to Return for its 33rd Season on Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Southern Maryland News Net

Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) award-winning original series Outdoors Maryland returns for its 33rd season on Tuesday, November 9 with four new half-hour episodes airing throughout the month. Produced in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Outdoors Maryland presents thought-provoking stories that capture the state’s beauty as well as its diverse collection of ecosystems, people, and places.

Outdoors Maryland airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. on MPT-HD and via MPT’s livestream at mpt.org/livestream. Episodes are also available to stream on-demand at video.mpt.tv and on mobile devices via the PBS Video App.

Segments premiering during the November 9 episode are:

  • A Family Affair (Dorchester County): Eastern Shore trapper Justin Aaron demonstrates the long legacy of muskrat trapping in his family as they prepare for the 2020 National Outdoors Show, a celebration of survival skills and crafts. DNR biologist Donald Webster outlines the trapping program in Maryland and educates viewers on the lifecycle and habits of muskrats.
  • Feel the Burn (Allegany County): For the first time in decades, fire is being used for forest management at the Sideling Hill Creek Nature Preserve in Little Orleans. With eyes towards the future, DNR and Nature Conservancy experts observe and share the ecological benefits of the introduction of flames to the landscape just months after a carefully controlled burn.

New segments airing on November 16 are:

  • A Much Anticipated Emergence (statewide): Millions of cicadas took to the skies of Maryland and the East Coast during the spring of 2021. University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp and Baltimore artist Michael Brown, creator of Cicada Parade-a, offer their unique takes on the Brood X spawning through science and art.
  • To Catch a Catfish (St. Mary’s County): The invasive blue catfish is threatening the delicate balance of life in the Chesapeake. While DNR researchers work alongside the U.S. Geological Survey in tracking these fish to manage their population, officials are encouraging greater fishing of the invasive species to help curb its rise.
  • An Epoch Unearthing (St. Mary’s County, Calvert County): Dr. Stephen Godfrey from the Calvert Marine Museum has discovered several fossils of ancient marine life in the area of Calvert Cliffs, hinting at a different Chesapeake than people know today. Meanwhile, in Laurel’s Dinosaur Park, paleontologist JP Hodnett has uncovered the fossil-rich area’s latest find: Astrodon, Maryland’s State Dinosaur.

Segments premiering during the November 23 episode are:

  • Off the Beaten Path (Garrett County): Designed with both recreation and stewardship in mind, the newly formed Wolf Den Run State Park has breathed new life into a swath of land affected by mining and logging. Off-road vehicles are encouraged on the trails while other areas are cordoned off so certain species – such as the endangered Allegheny Woodrat – can return.
  • A Fledgling Enterprise (statewide): As the arrival of an exotic bird – the Painted Bunting – excites birders and scientists with its colorful plumage, it sparks conversation about the future. As rising sea levels and temperatures cause birds to change their nesting and migration habits, the Maryland Bird Atlas – a years-long effort that enlists bird watchers as citizen scientists – aims to catalogue the state’s avian population.
  • Iron Mountain (Frederick County): Adjacent to picturesque Cunningham Falls State Park lies the ruins of a booming iron foundry called Catoctin Furnace. The furnace heavily employed the use of slave labor and has now become a landmark for preserving Black history. Through research, historians understand more of the culture brought by enslaved Africans and have even reconstructed the visage of some of those who were buried on the property.

The fourth new episode of the 33rd season, airing Nov. 30, will feature fan-favorite classic content including profiles of landscape painter Kevin Fitzgerald and photographer David Harp as well as students raising horseshoe crabs in their classrooms.

In January 2022, Outdoors Maryland will deliver two more new episodes highlighting topics from the mysterious Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay to the continent-spanning migration of birds and more.

Since debuting in 1988, MPT has produced more than 700 Outdoors Maryland stories on topics ranging from science-oriented environmental issues to segments about unusual people, animals, and places around the state. The series has earned more than 50 awards over more than 30 years of production, including several Emmy® Awards from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Taylor, Lewis compete at state golf tournament

The Garrett County Republican

COLLEGE PARK — Northern senior Chase Taylor and Southern freshman Hank Lewis both battled valiantly through substandard weather conditions on Tuesday, but the two fell just short of making it to the Day 2 of the Maryland state golf championships.

The state golf tournament began on Tuesday and was held at the University of Maryland in College Park. Though both Taylor and Lewis were both eliminated, they each had strong starts as they were both above the cutoff line at one point during the back nine.

Taylor finished 15-over (86) to tie for 31st. For him, it was the stretch from holes No. 12-18 that were his undoing.

“The conditions were pretty tough out there, and I’m just not used to hitting off Bermuda grass,” said Taylor. “I finished off so bad. I think I finished double, double, bogie, triple, double on the last five holes. It was a mess. I just blew up.

“It was just the small stuff that I was messing up. I just couldn’t hit an iron, really that’s just all there is to it. If I hit a fairway, I wouldn’t hit a green. I was chunking everything. The ground’s wet and it’s Bermuda grass, so I was just deep swinging and catching everything fat.”

The senior had made it to states when he posted a 79 at the west regionals a month ago.

“I’m really glad I got to come here in the first place; it’s awesome,” Taylor said. “The course is really nice.It’s in good shape too besides it being wet today. I’m really glad I got to come here and play, it was fun.”

Lewis finished just behind Taylor by going 16-over (87) and also had a rough time down the stretch as he double bogeyed two of his last five holes.

“I played OK. I could’ve done a lot better,” Lewis said. “Wind, just specifically the swirling of the wind, I didn’t know what club to hit at times. I couldn’t really make a decision.

“It’s a learning experience. I want to improve everything about my game. … It’s an honor to be with seniors (Taylor and Darian Bauer). Darian’s the best in the region, so it’s an honor to be here with them as a freshman.”

Bauer, the senior from Allegany, won the 1A/2A regional title and advanced to Day 2 on Wednesday.

The top 40% of individual male and female competitors advanced to the Day 2 Finals, as well as those who tied with the cutoff score.

The Best Places to Buy a Vacation Rental Home

Better Homes & Gardens

In case you missed the growing number of articles dedicated to the topic, the vacation home rental industry is booming. A recent report from Guesty, a property management platform, found that reservation volume is skyrocketing, with rentals from July through September up 270% over the same period a year earlier. Additionally, average nightly rates for the same time frame were up about 30%.

It’s hard to read news like that and not want to get in on the action. As it turns out, it just might be an opportune time to do so. A 2021 study by Vacasa, a vacation rental management company, found that second-home buyer demand is starting to decline, which could result in more affordable purchases for those still shopping around. The cooling market might be due to the fact that many of the people who were on the hunt for a vacation home purchase already sealed the deal during the past 18 months.

Figuring out whether your budget can accommodate the purchase of a vacation rental home is merely half the battle. You’ll also need to answer the million-dollar question: Where does it make the most sense to buy such a property? Luckily, it’s a question plenty of data analysts and previous buyers have spent a significant amount of time contemplating. Both Vacasa and Magnify Money (part of the LendingTree family) have recently issued reports detailing the best markets to invest in real estate intended to be used as a vacation rental home.

Here are some of the top locations identified, as well as a few locations recommended by current (and very successful) vacation rental hosts.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
A mountain town in eastern Tennessee that puts you near the entrance to the popular Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is the number one place to own a rental vacation home, according to Vacasa’s 2021 data. The median home sale price here is about $320,111, says the report, and an annual gross rental revenue of $47,328.

Vacasa isn’t the only company that says Gatlinburg is the place to be a rental vacation homeowner. Jeff Shipwash, CEO of Shipwash Properties, a small real estate investment company based in Tennessee, also suggests this location.

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s most visited national parks, attracting more than 12 million visitors per year. Many of these visitors are traveling from out of town and need lodging,” says Shipwash, whose company owns several Airbnb rentals in the area.

Shipwash also says Gatlinburg is a great option because the supply of hotel and motel accommodations is very limited, making vacation rentals even more critical.

“Gatlinburg is also an affordable place to purchase investment properties compared to other popular cities,” says Shipwash. “With its affordability and attractions close by, Gatlinburg is an excellent investment market.”

St. Augustine, Florida
Sunny Florida is another safe bet for a vacation rental home, and the top location in the Sunshine State is historic St. Augustine, according to Vacasa. Known for being the oldest city in the country, and for its charming Spanish colonial architecture, the median home price is $365,576, while the annual gross rental revenue is about $46,557.

Some of the reasons travelers love this destination? Pristine beaches, a historic downtown, and an overall European feel.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Another sun-drenched option popular with vacationers and spring breakers, Gulf Shores is a top-ranked vacation rental home destination, says Vacasa. However, the median home price here is not cheap at $402,905. Annual gross revenue for rentals in Gulf Shores is about $46,107.

There’s a lot to attract visitors to Gulf Shores though, including nearly every water sport you can think of as well as a long list of legendary bars and restaurants. As an added bonus, each spring the destination hosts The Hangout Music Festival, a wildly popular event that attracts a crush of travelers and famous musicians (all of whom need lodging, of course.)

Blue Ridge, Georgia
Blue Ridge has a lot going for it, not the least of which is the affordable home purchase prices. The median sales price is about $290,934, while annual gross revenue for rentals is about $38,266.

The draw for travelers and visitors includes many popular hiking trails, 16 waterfalls, horseback riding, fishing, and a long list of orchard festivals in the fall.

Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs has been a hot spot (literally and figuratively) for decades. It has long been the playground of celebrities and golf enthusiasts. And as it turns out, this desert community is also a solid choice for a vacation rental property, albeit one of the pricier places to get into the market.

The median home price here is a steep $539,370, which should come as no surprise given that the destination is home to many people fleeing Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is a popular place for vacation homes among the glitterati and well-heeled.

Still, if you can afford to get into the market here, it will surely pay off. The annual gross rental revenue is $52,784. The attractions for travelers and visitors are plentiful. There’s desert hiking, shopping on par with Beverly Hills, and a plethora of trendy restaurants and bars.

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
Among the top 10 locations on the Vacasa report, Deep Creek is home to the state’s largest inland lake. That means water activities are a big draw and include boating, tubing, and waterskiing. Deep Creek is also a popular choice for skiing and snowboarding at nearby Wisp Resort, says Vacasa. The area also offers abundant hiking thanks to Swallow Falls State Park. It’s no wonder that Deep Creek ranks so high as a vacation rental destination.

The average home purchase price here is $439,367, while the annual gross rental revenue is $51,031.

Seaside, Oregon
Oregon has a lot going for it as a vacation destination thanks to its stunning natural beauty. So it should come as no surprise that more than a few Oregon locations can be found among the top choices for vacation rental properties. The highest-ranked community on Vacasa’s list is Seaside, a small coastal town where biking, walking, and strolling along the 100-year-old promenade are all popular ways to spend time. The Seaside Aquarium is another notable attraction. But really, what more reason do you need than the beautiful beach?

At $466,086, the median home price is not exactly inexpensive, but the annual gross rental revenue is $45,249.

Ludlow, Vermont
Rounding out the top 10 on the Vacasa list, Ludlow is all about quality time outdoors. The community is convenient to the Okemo Mountain Resort, which offers plenty of fun for skiers and snowboarders. Another notable attraction is Buttermilk Falls, a picturesque series of three waterfalls and swimming holes.

Home prices in Ludlow are also attractive with the median sale at about $346,950, while annual gross rental revenue is $42,638.

Big Bear, California
California residents need little explanation regarding the popularity of this destination as a vacation rental property location. But for those not familiar, Big Bear is a year-round activity-filled destination convenient to both Los Angeles and San Diego. Thanks to its proximity to these two urban centers, the destination attracts hordes of travelers. Skiing is one of the top reasons to visit, thanks to Snow Summit ski resort. But there’s also snow tubing and, in warmer seasons, hiking among the San Bernardino National Forest. The lake is also an attraction entirely of its own.

“Big Bear Lake is a public lake with two public boat launch ramps. Six marinas offer boat rentals and other concessions including pontoon boats, speedboats, and personal watercraft,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, who owns three vacation rentals, one of which is in Big Bear. “There’s a variety of activities, such as parasailing, water skiing, fishing excursions, and boat tours. People can picnic lakeside and enjoy the iconic rock formations at Boulder Bay Park. Swim Beach at Meadow Park has an on-duty lifeguard, floating dock, and water toys.”

The median home price here is $372,667, according to Vacasa.

McCall, Idaho
The resort town of McCall is Magnify Money’s top choice for a vacation rental investment property. Experts recommend McCall because home prices in the area have been on a hot streak in recent years. But that’s just one of the reasons the destination is a safe bet, says Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst for LendingTree.

“Not only are a majority of homes in McCall vacation homes (64.6%), but home prices in the area also rose by 64% from 2015 to 2019 and have continued to rise since the start of the pandemic—up more than 50% from September 2021, according to Realtor.com,” says Channel. “This means those who invest in a second home in this area will likely see a solid return on their investment, both in terms of income generated from renting the home out as well as in terms of home price appreciation.”

The median home value in McCall was $206,800. As of 2019, that price shot up to $339,900. Attractions in McCall include miles of whitewater rapids for rafting, hiking and backpacking trails, craft breweries, wineries, and hot springs.

Cape Canaveral, Florida
Cape Canaveral is another Florida destination that receives high marks as an investment option because of its robust home price, says Channel. Between 2015 and 2019 median home values here rose from $167,300 to $244,900, which is a 46% change.

Of course, Cape Canaveral is well known for being a convenient place to visit The Kennedy Space Center. There’s also a Manatee Sanctuary Park here and a waterfront boardwalk.

Vail, Colorado
When it comes to Vail, think skiing, skiing, and well…more skiing. And all those travelers need somewhere to stay when visiting, making Vail a solid place to purchase a vacation rental property (it landed at number four on Magnify Money’s list of choices).

However, the median home price in Vail shot up from $534,400 in 2015 to a staggering $773,700 in 2019.

Sunriver, Oregon
Slightly more affordable than Vail, but still among Magnify Money’s top picks, the median price for a home in Sunriver is about $564,800, which is a 43% increase from 2015 when median prices were about $393,700.

Sunriver is a 3,300-acre planned residential and resort community ideal for spending time outdoors whether skiing, exploring the national forest nearby, or enjoying the miles of paved biking and walking trails. Additional activities include golf, tennis, and visiting the Sunriver Nature Center.

Cape May, New Jersey
Although not on either the Vacasa or Magnify Money ranking, Airbnb Super Host Anna Papalia says the beach community of Cape May should definitely be on your shortlist.

“Cape May is one of the best places to vacation, and invest in a vacation home for several reasons,” says Papalia, who owns a rental property in the community. “Not only are the beaches stunning and pristine, but it’s America’s first seaside resort—the first settlers came to Cape May in the 1600s.

“There is never a shortage of renters in Cape May,” continues Papalia. “I easily paid my annual mortgage plus expenses ($60,000) in five months of renting out to summer beachgoers.”

The beach isn’t the only attraction here. Cape May is the location of more than 100 historic Victorian properties, a buzzing restaurant scene, and is also popular with birders because of its migratory patterns and many nature preserves, says Papalia. What’s more, a Harriet Tubman museum recently opened in the area.

While Cape May is unlikely to be the most affordable place to purchase an investment home (the median sale price is about $523,000), you can rest assured it’s a destination that is very well-trafficked, says Papalia.

The Catskills and Hudson Valley, New York
As the owner of the rental company Red Cottage Inc., Jennifer Grimes knows a thing or two about vacation property purchases. She also owns a real estate brokerage, Country House Realty, a boutique agency focused on the second-home market that serves The Catskills and Hudson Valley.

With all of this experience, Grimes recommends a purchase in upstate New York, specifically in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. “Given the proximity to metro New York, and the stunning natural surroundings, the area is on fire for short-term vacation rentals,” says Grimes.

One of her top choices in the area is the town of Livingston Manor, which features numerous breweries and shops, fly fishing, and a small-town feel. Nearby towns that are worth checking out include Callicoon and Narrowsburg, both of which are located along the Delaware River.

“Guests renting in those towns, they have a lot of outdoor experiences on their doorstep like hiking Jensen Ledges, kayaking or tubing down the Delaware in season, swimming in the river at Skinner’s Falls, or just going on scenic drives through farm country and finishing up at Callicoon Wine Merchant for a tipple and tapas,” says Grimes.

The average home price in Livingston Manor over the past year was about $317,893, while in Callicoon it was $294,536 and in Narrowsburg, you’ll find prices around $249,712, says Grimes.

Tips for Picking a Vacation Home Location
Here are a few parting tips from the experts about selecting a location for a vacation home rental investment.

Generally speaking, areas where home prices are quickly rising, and where vacation homes make up a large portion of the area’s total housing supply, are good places to invest in a second home, says Channel. “This is especially true if you’re planning on renting your second home out or otherwise using it to generate income,” says Channel.
Sunny coastal spots make up most of the places in high-demand across the U.S. right now because they’re year-round holiday destinations, says Marcus Rader, CEO of Hostaway.
Places that have a lot of attractions for families or are renowned beauty spots are also safe bets, adds Rader. Destinations such as Lake Tahoe are also a safe investment because they continue to be popular year-after-year, adds Rader.
Local regulations surrounding vacation rentals and property taxes have big variations. It’s easy to get tripped up by these, so do your research on this front before purchasing.
Ultimately, like any other real estate investment, the key is location, location, location.

“The location is the most important thing because this determines your revenue—not just what nightly rate you can set, but also if you can actually rent it out all year round,” says Rader.

The 10 Best Places To Buy a Vacation Home in 2021

Gabrielle Olya From GOBankingRates

If you’ve thought about buying a second home as a vacation property, now may be a good time to do so. According to a recent report by Redfin, second-home buyer demand is slowing down, which will open up more affordable inventory for those still in the market. And while buyer demand for second homes is decreasing, guest demand is still high, which is great news for those looking to make rental income off their vacation home, Vacasa reported.

According to a recent Vacasa survey, most prospective buyers interested in purchasing a second home are looking to spend under $399,999, and 46% hope to generate rental income ASAP. Fortunately, many of the top places to buy a vacation home in 2021 — as determined by Vacasa based on home sales and vacation rental performance data from the last 12 months — meet these qualifications.

Take a look at the top 10 vacation rental markets.

  1. Ludlow, Vermont
    Median home price: $346,950
    Annual gross rental revenue: $42,638
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 5.2%
    Ludlow appeals to vacationers with a love of the great outdoors, with Okemo Mountain Resort and Buttermilk Falls located nearby. With a relatively high vacation rental market cap rate, this New England locale earned the No. 10 spot on Vacasa’s ranking.

  1. Seaside, Oregon
    Median home price: $466,086
    Annual gross rental revenue: $45,249
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 5.2%
    This coastal town is easily navigated by walking or biking, and is home to a 100-year-old promenade. Water enthusiasts can do plenty of surfing or kayaking here as well.

  1. Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
    Median home price: $439,367
    Annual gross rental revenue: $51,031
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 5.7%
    Deep Creek Lake is home to the state’s largest inland lake for boating, tubing and waterskiing. During the winter months, it’s a great place for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and even going for sleigh rides.
  1. Palm Springs, California
    Median home price: $539,370
    Annual gross rental revenue: $52,784
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 5.9%
    Palm Springs is an ever-popular vacation destination on the West Coast thanks to its mid-century modern homes and thriving downtown restaurant scene.

  1. Blue Ridge, Georgia
    Median home price: $290,934
    Annual gross rental revenue: $38,266
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 6.1%
    Located on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, Blue Ridge offers a number of outdoor activities for vacationers, from hiking to see one of its 16 waterfalls, going for horseback rides or attending one of its numerous fall orchard festivals.

  1. Norris Lake, Tennessee
    Median home price: $343,907
    Annual gross rental revenue: $42,450
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 6.2%
    Norris Lake boasts 52 square miles of fresh water, ideal for activities like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and wakeboarding. Plus, it’s a short drive from Knoxville and all the attractions and amenities there.
  1. Dauphin Island, Alabama
    Median home price: $382,699
    Annual gross rental revenue: $43,371
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 6.8%
    Dauphin Island is a family-friendly beach destination. It’s home to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, as well as uncrowded white sandy beaches.

  1. Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Median home price: $402,905
    Annual gross rental revenue: $46,107
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 7.1%
    Plenty of opportunities for water sports and a plethora of bars and restaurants make Gulf Shores an ideal vacation destination.

  1. St. Augustine, Florida
    Median home price: $365,576
    Annual gross rental revenue: $46,557
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 7.4%
    Beautiful beaches and a downtown historic district attract many visitors to St. Augustine. It’s also home to the No. 1 whiskey tour in America at the St. Augustine Distillery.
  1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
    Median home price: $320,111
    Annual gross rental revenue: $47,328
    Vacation rental market cap rate: 8.6%
    With a median sale price of around $320,000 and a cap rate of 8.6%, Gatlinburg easily took the top spot on Vacasa’s ranking. The Southern destination is home to Skylift Park — North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge — and Anakeesta adventure park.