Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro Are My Neighbors

This was the startling fact my daughter just told me this morning. Where have I been?

"Mom, don't you read the newspaper?"

Well, uh, no. Unless I can grab a few minutes at work and read the one that my co-worker leaves behind, but I've had myself wrapped up in books, thank you very much.

This little bit of trivia was told to me by my daughter this morning over talks of the housing market and crime rates. Such deep conversation for someone just crawling out of bed, but it was just so darn interesting.

The reason why we were talking about the housing market and crime rates was triggered by the fact that a friend of my daughter's couldn't sell her house, and has had to put it on the market as a rental. The price? Are you sitting down? $1,100.

As I'd love a new place to live, I knew this woman was getting ready to rent her house out, and I told my daughter to let me know when she comes to a price.

$1,100? Is she crazy?

"She has to pay the mortgage with it because she's moving to North Carolina to be with her husband who builds houses over there," my daughter said.

I've often wondered how people pay mortgages that high to begin with. Hopefully, they're either presidents of some software company or surgeons whose jobs are never threatened. Even so, isn't that a ridiculous price for a house here?

Well, that's not the house. The house is about a third of that, and I don't think it's even on the darn water.

"You know why houses are so darn high to begin with," my daughter adds. "Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro moved into that development in Cape Charles."

I had to laugh. I was born here and have lived here for years and years. I know the place inside out. The rest of Virginia doesn't even recognize us because we're separated by the Chesapeake Bay, and then you have to pay a toll to get over here. Plus, we're technically a low-income area. Or, used to be.

I actually don't even live in Cape Charles, but as it's a part of the Eastern Shore, I've traveled there many times.

Cape Charles used to be a booming town. That was when the ferry was running which closed in the early sixties. There is a beach (hence, waterfront), but nothing compared to the great beach over on Assateague Island, which is about 15 minutes from my back door.

But, after the ferry stopped operating, Cape Charles became somewhat of a ghost town, with just a few of the businesses still hanging on, and praying for that miracle.

But then, some hot shot developer bought a huge piece of land there, right on the water. And turned it into the best investment he could have probably ever bought. Or she. I'm not sure who bought it. Like I said, I don't read the newspaper.

I've not seen it. They say there are bars up to the gate, and you can't get in unless you live there. Although catching a peek at Tom Cruise or Robert De Niro out taking their dogs for a pee would have been a treat.

So, anyway, the point of my story is that, because of this big shot developer coming in and turning Cape Charles into THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH TO LIVE, the houses on the rest of the Eastern Shore has shot up to ridiculous prices.

And, if you're not Tom Cruise or Robert De Niro, or a brain surgeon or President of the United States, you can forget affording to live here.

And, it's crazy.

So, I sit in my rental I've lived in for the past ten years (don't tell my landlord that he could get 3 times the amount I'm paying now) and dream of the Smokies, where there at least houses are affordable.

It's funny what living next to Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro will do to you, not to mention the price of your property.


  1. One of the popular things for the rich here in my neck of the woods is to own an island. The San Juan chain has many that range from small to pretty large. Some of the Hollywood crowd, musicians, software moguls, etc. have bought there and in some cases the whole island. Although most of those are only a couple of acres in size. Some are for sale. Want to buy an island with a house for $25 million?

  2. Geez! And I though my mortgage payment was high....guess I'll not complain anymore. We have a 3+ bedroom house, 2 1/2 baths, living room, family room, 2 fireplaces, 2 stall attached garage that sits on just over an acre for only half that amount. I think I'll just count my blessings from now on!!

  3. Guess I've always lived in expensive areas - like California and now Florida is becoming like California - one reason northerners are moving half way back to NC. Our rent in SF 5 years ago was $2000 a month. So when you hear about the fabulous wages out there, remember that real estate is beyond belief. Here in Florida in our little town, there are many million dollar homes with the likes of Tiger Woods owning one. Real estate has gone crazy all over this country - maybe because too many celebrities/wealthy people buy several in different locations, driving up the prices. :)

  4. Sadly 1100 is cheap where I live! Ugh!


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