5 Serene Homes For Your Next Extended Retreat

Sotheby’s International Realty

Whether a permanent move or a temporary relocation, taking a break from the city is one way to welcome spaciousness into your life. Cities are exhilarating, but there’s something to be said for extra room, clear skies for stargazing, and expansive horizons. These five properties encourage taking a moment for perspective so that once you’re ready to rejoin the urban bustle, you’ll greet it with fresh eyes.

A Classic Country Estate in New Vernon, New Jersey

Harding Township, New Jersey

While only 35 miles from Midtown Manhattan, this 30,000-square-foot residence from award-winning firm WESketch Architecture feels a world away from the city. Set on 15 private acres in Harding Township, the Shingle-style home spreads in a butterfly plan from the foyer, welcoming in natural light from every direction. Classic aesthetics are woven throughout, with a wine grotto set in Roman brick and Jerusalem limestone, an English-inspired pub, and thirteen fireplaces imported from Italy and Portugal. Privacy here is playful—secret gardens and hidden passageways are just a few of the delights to be discovered by leaving town.

A Wine Valley Compound in St. Helena, California

  St. Helena, California

Overlooking the Napa Valley, this Pritchard Hill compound is a contemporary-rustic retreat located to the north of Napa, Yountville, and Oakville and within two hours drive of San Francisco. The main house and two guest suites overlook the 160-acre property, and bear the stamp of famed architect Howard Backen: exposed wooden beams, warm tiling, and earthy leathers reflect the natural world, while the home’s many windows reveal unparalleled views over the rolling Napa Valley, inviting the outside in.

A Clifftop Villa in Chiba Prefecture, Japan  

Chiba Prefecture, Japan

It’s hard to picture the busyness of Tokyo from the deck of this serene villa, perched on a clifftop less than two hours from the capital. Enveloped by trees and seemingly connected to the Pacific Ocean via its infinity pool, this scenic escape promises otherworldly seclusion. What was once a vacant plot of national parkland has been transformed into a modern residence by architect Jun Aoki, whose award-winning designs include Louis Vuitton flagships in New York and Japan. Natural details are effortlessly incorporated throughout the home, with wooden finishes of teak, walnut, and cedar, sunlight streaming through battened ceilings, and unmatched 360-degree vistas from the turf–topped roof. A 170-square-foot tea house completes the tranquil property.

A Ranch Retreat in Coyote, New Mexico

Coyote, New Mexico

The 1,060 acres of Apache Mesa Ranch feel modest next to the Chama River Canyon Wilderness, making the ranch a well-appointed sanctuary for anyone dreaming of the great outdoors. Approximately 70 miles north of downtown Santa Fe, the property’s main house and guest houses are augmented by a state-of-the-art dressage arena for the equestrian, and hikers can take advantage of the nearby trails through the valley. The dramatic mesas are also perfectly enjoyable from the estate’s outdoor dining area or pool. The adobe buildings, created with local artisans, have plenty of thoughtful spaces for relaxing by kiva fireplaces and taking in the evening stars.

A Volcanic-View Villa in Soufrière, St. Lucia

Soufriere, St. Lucia

Caille Blanc Villa was made for drinking in St. Lucia’s natural vistas. Set on a clifftop over the Caribbean Sea, the villa’s five suites are laid out for optimal views of the cove below and the island’s UNESCO World Heritage site, the volcanic Pitons, in the distance. The villa features a blend of international antiques and St. Lucian details, with wooden wall paneling and hand-cut stone façades sourced locally. Throw open the imported palace doors in the Temple Suite, or sink into the Grotto Suite’s Japanese soaking tub, and you’ll find the stresses of city life melting away.

Idyllic paradise comes in many forms—oceanside villas, contemporary wineries, desert ranches. Yet each home offers the opportunity to put the demands of the city in your rearview mirror, even if just for a little while.