Upstate New York village with restaurant, 9 homes asks $4.2M

You won’t be the mayor of this upstate New York town, but now, for the first time in generations, you can own it.

Indeed, an unusual offering, encompassing a small gated community with its own restaurant and nine residences spread over rolling, green land, has hit the market for $4.2 million, The Post has learned.

Located in the city of Oneonta, an hour and a half west of the state capital, the complex is spread over 270 acres.

In addition, the community consists of 46 bedrooms, 27.5 bathrooms, chicken coops, a fenced-in tennis court, a large swimming pool, a frog pond, and a manicured Japanese garden. Meanwhile, his restaurant has been serving customers for more than 40 years, the listing notes.

Known as Emmons Farm, the estate has been owned by Lee Peakes and two other members of the family who now reside in Germany and Venezuela. The same family has owned most of the land since before 1835, the listing says, and is now looking for a new generation to take care of everything.

It first belonged to Peakes’ great-grandmother, who took it upon herself to expand an already historic property.

The Farm restaurant.
Laszlo Andacs
Inside the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant.
Laszlo Andacs
The restaurant has booth seating and a bar.
The restaurant has booth seating and a bar.
Laszlo Andacs

“Until 1964, it was used strictly as residential property for her,” Peakes told The Post. The years that followed saw subsequent generations, six in all, spend time at the property, but with family members living abroad these days, it’s only used for the occasional weekend away together.

“Because this is such a beautiful and historic property, our family decided, after several years of deliberation, that it deserved a new life,” added Peakes.

The main house, called Woodchuck Knoll, has 11 bedrooms and is the only residence that has never been rented. Instead, it is used by families living abroad when they come to visit the United States, Peakes added.

The first building there dates from the mid to late 19th century. The grounds further include the Carriage House, a stately four-family unit complete with exposed beam ceilings; the Granero building; a duplex residence next door; a greenhouse, which has now been converted into a three-bedroom apartment; and a two-bath cabin, complete with vaulted ceilings and a stone patio.

The former manure house is now a three-story, two-bedroom cottage known as the Cellar House, featuring a loft bedroom and vaulted ceilings. Then there’s the Feedhouse, a one-bedroom, one-bath cabin with a deck overlooking the expanse of land. Each residence has its own garage.

An original six burner stove with oven and heater from the 1930s.

An original six burner stove with oven and heater from the 1930s.


A formal living room with built in bookshelves.

A formal living room with built in bookshelves.


The sun room.

The sun room.


The same family has owned the property since the 1830s.

The same family has owned the property since the 1830s.


The Cellar House.
The Cellar House.
Laszlo Andacs
Two separate residences are shown on the property.
Two separate residences are shown on the property.
Laszlo Andacs
Multifamily residences.
Multi-family residences feature manicured grounds.
Laszlo Andacs

“When you sell a house, you want it to go to a good person because you put yourself to it. You put your own life into this. You want it to go to someone who appreciates it,” Peakes said. “But once they buy it, it’s theirs. My hope is that someone will buy it and bring it back to life, particularly my grandmother’s house. That’s the one that’s empty. If they want to incorporate the apartments as a business. Whether they want to develop more because there’s a ton of property there, we just didn’t have the money to develop it or the skill set to do any development.”

As it is, the residences are rented out to locals on a year-to-year basis, including teachers who work in local schools.

“We’ve been busy for 25 years,” Peakes said. “We have never had a vacancy.”

The main house that overlooks the pool.
The main house that overlooks the pool.
Laszlo Andacs
All properties have a bucolic charm.
All properties have a bucolic charm.
Laszlo Andacs
An aerial shot of the property.
An aerial shot of the property with tennis courts.
Laszlo Andacs
One of nine residences on the property.
One of nine residences on the property.
Laszlo Andacs

“We used to take our children every summer to visit Grandma on the farm.” Jan Peakes, wife of Lee Peakes, added. “It was kind of a magical place. Pool, tennis courts. It was then that they also met their German and Venezuelan relatives.”

Woodchuck Knoll, the main house, features a formal entry, music room, sunken living room with a stone fireplace, and dining room with a wet bar. The kitchen still has an original working six-burner stove with an oven from the 1930s, plus an original “Icebox” refrigerator. Modern appliances have also been installed in the years since. This main residence is situated on 3.5 acres of land surrounded by pine trees for privacy.

“Over the past 40 years, the family has reinvested all rental income from the buildings and income generated from adjacent commercial property to maintain the quality and beauty of … Emmons Farm,” Peakes said. “We hope that the new owner will have the same degree of interest in preserving the beauty of this historic property.”

The Peakes, who now spend time between Martha’s Vineyard and Florida, described the house as once “Gatsby-ish” in the early days.

“I have seen photos of the Japanese garden with peacocks moving around. It was a different lifestyle,” Jan said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful property.”

Steve Gold and Rich Vizzini of Corcoran Country Living argue the list.

“In this business, we see quite spectacular houses in quite special places. About two or three times a year, we are lucky enough to represent properties that I see as unicorns, and Emmons Farm is one of my unicorns,” said Vizzini. “It is rich in history, immaculately maintained and ready to move on to its next owner, who I am sure will appreciate the history of the property and the care it has been given over many years.”

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