For anyone who wants to live in dilapidated ruins — ruins where famous novelist Edith Warton spent part of her childhood, to boot — the abandoned Wyndcliff Mansion in Rhinecliff is up for sale.
The property, which has its roof aesthetically caved in, is on sale through Northern Dutchess Realty for $180,000, according to a representative of the realtor.
Although I enjoy visiting abandoned places, I’m not certain if I would ever want to inhabit any of these places permanently. There would be benefits, of course, such as never having to clean, but also a lot of negatives, like being crushed to death in your sleep by crumbling masonry.
I decided to check out the ruins, which are located on a bluff over the Hudson among some homes that were very much occupied. I parked on South Mill Road, then walked to the entrance of River View Drive, a well-maintained driveway leading up to a house with a car out front.
The mid-May sunshine had caused the verdure to unfurl and spread across the forest floor until everything dripped with lushness. The proceeding day’s rain remained in silver pools reflecting cream-puff clouds. Lost in the reverie of nature, I almost forgot I was on someone’s driveway, but quickly veered off the blacktop when I saw the towers of the Wyndcliff lurking above the treetops.
There was a pretty weak-looking fence around the structure festooned with the requisite DANGER signs, but someone had thoughtfully clipped the fence open with wire cutters.
There was a heavy, brand-new door attempting to bar entrance to the Wyndcliff, which was hilarious, because you could just walk into the building through the numerous holes in the walls. The door was also unlocked.
Although the place was ruined, there was no graffiti in or on the building, a first for my explorations. While pondering how vandals were kept out, I heard a chainsaw outside the mansion’s front door. Peeking through a hole in the wall, I saw a man with a grey mustache working away at a tree.
I’ve only been caught in my excursions once before, but those people did not have chainsaws. I thought it was one of the adjacent property owners. I figured he may not have cared I was there, or goddamn shouldn’t of, but he sawed along on his merry way before I could find out.
The Wyndcliff Mansion was commissioned by Edith Warton’s aunt in the 1850s. Prior to being put up for sale by Northern Dutchess Realty, it was auctioned off to a private buyer in 2016 for $120,000, according to Town and Country Magazine.
So, if you’re thinking of buying the Wyndcliff, you don’t even need to call Northern Dutchess Realty. Just sneak down the neighbor’s driveway and experience it for yourself.