JAY — Nestled in a forest and sitting on highlands above the Ausable River lies a tranquil community where residents enjoy the solitude of a wilderness setting and the comforts of close-knit people who share a fondness for the region.
Those words may sound like they come directly from an advertising flyer for a real-estate agent, but they truly do describe the little piece of heaven that residents of AuSable Acres call their homes and vacation sites.
HUNDREDS OF HOMES
The “Acres,” as it is affectionately known by the locals, is a collection of about 400 homes spread out along winding roads in a thickly wooded area between AuSable Forks and Jay.
The homes are built on the hills above Route 86, far removed from any regular traffic routes.
AuSable Drive is the main corridor and stretches from the Forks to Jay. A collection of winding roads — some paved and some dirt — meander through the forestland from one home to another, with street names like Cross, Summit, Lake, Beach and several honoring the trees themselves: Beech, Alder and Cedar.
Many of the homes are designed as Swiss chalets, perched on hilly landscapes and promoting the region’s attraction to nearby Whiteface Mountain and its famous ski slopes.
Some have romantic names: Dream Catcher Chalet and Snow Flake Chalet, for instance.
Other homes are log cabins or rustic ranch houses. Some are as old as the community itself; some are new and add a flare of modern architecture to the warm surroundings.
They all share a rustic quality that suits them well, sitting on their one-acre lots, half hidden to any passersby.
Residents are especially fond of their homes, their setting and their neighbors as they mark the 50th anniversary of AuSable Acres.
Construction began in the 1960s as a dream of developer John Eaton to build a massive subdivision unlike any other. Rather than having a collection of homes placed in close proximity on small lots, Eaton cut up the forest into one-acre lots with plenty of wooded space between one home and the next.