The East Coast doesn’t have the same glowing neon romance of the West Coast - those quivering sunsets through L.A. palms and streets dripping with celebrity, mid-century nostalgia, and the overspray of a hundred automatic lawn sprinklers shaking booty to the rythm of the volume-up convertables driving by.
Instead, the East Coast prides itself on it's more muted sensibilities. More about deep roots and an idealized Martha Stewart Living appeal. Gingham and boxwoods. Colonial Williamsburg. Summers on the Chesapeake Bay and Martha’s Vineyard. Central Park. Subways, soft shell crabs, and Arnold Palmers. Oh, and history. Lots of history.
Federal Style architecture is historic East Coast. That might be a little unfair to the slew of other styles and architectural periods, but if you're thinking stately and symmetrical, iron and brick (or wood, stone, or stucco), and fanlight windows over front doors, it's likely you're thinking Federal. And you guessed it, all of today's Historic Properties for Sale are in the Federal Style. So grab a lobster roll, sit back, and get buyin'!
First up is a wonderful end-unit rowhouse on Philadelphia's Elfreth's Alley, "the nation's oldest residential street." The house is actually completely asymmetrical from the front, which lends it a whimsical Fairy-tale Federal (just made that up but hoping it catches on) feel. The 1800 home features 3 bedrooms, two full baths, and a still-works-today period color scheme.
Next is the Peter Barnart House in Salem, New Jersey (just outside Wilmington, Delaware). This completely charming house is listed for only - wait for it - $149,000. Situated on the historic Market Street, this 1800 clapboard Federal has four bedrooms, one and a half baths, and a farmhouse kitchen.
The Oyer House in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania is only a 20-minute drive to State College. So for you Nittany Lions fans out there, this might just be the place for you. Immaculately restored, yet fitted out with modern appliances and amenities, this house exudes Federal Style and East Coast class.
Last up is the Coon Tavern in Haverhill Corner, New Hampshire. The name doesn't exactly scream "Federal" (if I had to guess I'd probably go with some sort of ramshackle log cabin), but this 1800 (okay I'm starting to see a theme here...) tavern-turned home is one of the more put-together, symmetry-or-die homes I've seen listed. But with its perfectly American backyard barn and effortless-looking landscaping, this home just about perfect.
Still on the lookout? Check out the many, many other listings at our Historic Properties for Sale page.
David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. After writing the intro, he wants to be within sight of a palm tree *immediately*, and wonders if he just might try to scrounge together a West Coast (insert hand symbol) only blog post one of these days.