Nearly everywhere, it seems, is perfect for a log home. All right, maybe that's a stretch. But when we began researching this story late last year, we figured it would be easy to narrow down our choices to 10 great places to build a primary residence and an equal number for getaway homes. Think again. As people move from urban areas in order to get a little elbowroom and peace of mind, hundreds of new outposts–perfect for rustic homes–pop up.
We based our criteria on reader favorites: lots of outdoor diversions, proximity to a town, affordable land and that "undiscovered" mystique. We think you'll like what we found.
10 BEST PLACES
To Build A Primary Home
1 Ellensburg, Washington
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: A college town with a population of 15,000, Ellensburg boasts the Cascade Mountain Range to the west and the Columbia River to the east. The Kittias Valley's historic downtown and surrounding area offer museums, galleries, shopping, festivals and local rodeo.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: $5,000 to $10,000 per acre
2 Henderson County, North Carolina
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Known for a mild climate, gorgeous vistas and friendly locals, the county sits in western North Carolina between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smokies. One of the town's most popular venues is the Flat Rock Playhouse, which brings big-ticket theater at small-town prices.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1-acre parcels range anywhere from $8,000 to $179,950
3 Idyllwild, California
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Equidistant from Los Angeles and San Diego, Idyllwild sits at 10,804 feet above sea level in the San Jacinto Mountains. It's a short drive from the Palm Springs airport and a cool escape for Southern Californians.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1/4-acre lots range from $40,000 to $50,000
4 Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: The fastest-growing area of Fayette County, Ohiopyle has the right ingredients for a mountain home: four seasons, year-round sports, a big city 50 miles to the north (Pittsburgh) and a laid-back lifestyle.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1 acre with roadway access, $13,000
5 Keweenaw County, Michigan
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Located on the northwestern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Keweenaw Peninsula is surrounded on three sides by Lake Superior, meaning you can watch the sun rise and set from the same location.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Prices start at $1,000 per acre
6 Littleton, New Hampshire
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Littleton sits in the White Mountain region, and outdoor activities include fishing at Moore Dam Lake and skiing or hiking the slopes of the rugged peaks.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: A 15-acre rural parcel sells for $59,000; a 3-acre lot in the White Mountains sells for $100,000.
7 Fauquier County, Virginia
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Nestled in the heart of Virginia horse-and-wine country, Fauquier has the best of both worlds: the serenity of an agricultural community and the proximity to one of the country's greatest cultural centers, Washington, D.C.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 10 acres range from $300,000 to $500,000
8 Woodstock, Vermont
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: This community has a strong cultural heritage and a pace that feels refreshing after the hustle and bustle of the city. Year-round outdoor recreation is a vital part of life for its residents.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 17 acres range from $225,000 to $295,000
9 Abingdon, Virginia
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Abingdon is home to one of the oldest professional playhouses in the nation, and history buffs will appreciate the Abingdon Historic District, a collection of 18th- and 19th-century homes.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Starts at $20,000 per acre
10 Show Low, Arizona
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Nestled in Arizona's White Mountains, the city bills itself as a "progressive mid-size community." Given the town's rich history and sense of neighborliness, and it's easy to see what draws folks to Show Low–a charming place named for a card-game move.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Averages around $100,000 per acre; 14 miles from town, lots go for less than half that.
10 BEST PLACES
To Build A Getaway Home
1 Black Hills, South Dakota
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Custer (in the Southern Hills) is 25 minutes from Mt. Rushmore, and Spearfish (in the Northern Hills) is a small university town.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Around $1,000 per acre, but can climb to $45,000
2 Sunriver, Oregon
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: This resort community is bordered by the Deschutes River to the west and surrounded by national forest.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1/4-acre lots are around $400,000
3 Siskiyou County, California
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: A nature lover's paradise, Siskiyou County boasts many environmental riches, from towering Mount Shasta to the Klamath Basin Natural Wildlife Refuges.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 2 1/2-acre parcels go for $15,000 in the north end of the county; in the south, $60,000 to $150,000. Mount Shasta area is priciest.
4 Tucker County, West Virginia
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Known as a playground for skiers, mountain bikers and whitewater kayakers, the area also has a gorgeous, 3,000-square-foot gallery that sells the works of local artisans.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1/2-acre lots range from $45,000 to $75,000
5 Incline Village/Crystal Bay, Nevada
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: These two communities attract a diverse group of residents, who get hooked on the active, outdoor lifestyle and the area's natural beauty.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1/4-acre to 1/2-acre lots, $500,000
6 Rabun County, Georgia
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Five lakes, three state parks (and the Appalachian Trail) are enough reasons to check out Rabun. And 10 degrees cooler than Atlanta in the summer is another big plus.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 3- to 4-acre lots in upscale subdivisions, $99,000 to $250,000
7 Scott County, Tennessee
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Many of the outdoor attractions in the county are centered around Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, with hundreds of miles of trails, rafting, golfing, hiking and biking.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: 1 acre ranges from $5,000 to $11,000
8 Windham Mountain, New York
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: For decades, families from lower New York, Connecticut and New Jersey have come to Windham to escape city life. The year-round population is only 1,700, and 80 percent of the homes are vacation properties.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Five miles from Windham, $50,000 per acre; atop the mountain, up to $500,000
9 Sandpoint, Idaho
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Sandpoint, on the northern tip of Idaho, straddles the 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille and sits below the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains. Just 60 miles south of the Canadian border, Sandpoint's mountains record an average of 300 inches of snow annually, and summers rarely top 90 degrees.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: $130,000 to $150,000 for 5 acres
10 Flathead Valley, Montana
WHY IT'S HOT RIGHT NOW: Located next to Glacier National Park and adjacent to several million acres of designated wilderness, the valley area has nine golf courses, and locals love the Flathead River for fly-fishing and whitewater rafting.
RECENT LAND-SALE PRICES: Prices vary. In Kalispell, a 1/2-acre lot runs as low as $45,000, while other lots can cost three times as much. In Bigfork, 1/2- to 1-acre lots range from $67,000 to $379,000.
Read the full story in the July 2006 issue of Log Home Living.