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The home that helped inspire a getaway “on the Hudson River Line” has been put on the market for $2.5 million, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Iconic singer-songwriter Billy Joel was en route to the property in Highland Falls, New York, in the 1970s when inspiration struck for the ode to the Empire State, which became “New York State of Mind,” a spokesperson for Joel told The WSJ. When Joel arrived to the property, which he rented with then-wife Elizabeth Weber, he completed the song.
“New York State of Mind” is on the 1976 album “Turnstiles,” which also includes the song “Summer, Highland Falls.”
The estate is about 50 miles north of Manhattan and encompasses about three acres of land. It was constructed in the 1950s and spans about 4,300 square feet with five bedrooms. A three-bedroom carriage house and a one-bedroom cottage are also located on the property, as well as a pool and a vineyard. The property also features unobstructed views of the Hudson River.
Jody Atkinson of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty is representing the listing.
Sellers Sean Donnery and his sisters Kim and Emily-Kate Donnery didn’t know of the home’s connection to Joel until about 10 years ago, they told The WSJ.
“One day around 10 years ago, I was sitting on the property and this guy on a motorcycle pulled up to the edge of the yard,” Sean Donnery said. “It ended up being a Billy Joel historian, so we gave him a tour.”
Mr. Donnery and his parents, James Peter Donnery and Roxanne Donnery purchased the house in the ’80s for about $100,000. His parents lived there until their deaths earlier this year.
The property’s storied history goes back earlier than Joel’s stay in the ’70s, however – in the late 1800s, the estate was part of J.P. Morgan’s 700-acre summer estate, which was later divided, according to Atkinson. The home on the estate which had belonged to Morgan burned down in the 1940s and the current home was built on top of the original foundation. Materials that were original to the Morgan home were also incorporated into the new house, including bricks.
The Donnerys converted the property into a bed-and-breakfast in the ’90s after their children had moved out. The bed-and-breakfast frequently hosts families of cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which is located nearby.
One of the property’s bedrooms pays tribute to Joel’s stay there with wallpaper intended to mimic sheet music. The room reportedly is where the piano was during Joel’s visit, and where he completed “New York State of Mind” while looking out windows with sweeping views of the Hudson River.
The bed-and-breakfast is still open and operational and is managed by Kim Donnery.
Homes in Highland Falls boast a median listing price of $399,2000, according to Realtor.com, but according to Atkinson, waterfront properties in the region have sold for more than $1 million over the past few years.