Organic Professionals

NY Times: Going Up the Country, But Keeping All Your Toys.
This story rings true from my rural Ivy League observation post. Our area has a lot of people working in, say, financial services, that built or renovated comfortable country houses and earn city incomes telecommuting.
“I think a lot of people are assessing their lives,” Mr. Devine said. “What was missing was a spiritual component. It’s part of a national re-evaluation.”
One might call them organic professionals, or oppies. Ms. Stone and Mr. Devine are in the vanguard of this urbane dropout movement of former yuppies, who have embraced an “organic lifestyle,” with organic at times simply interchangeable with “eco-friendly” or “green.” Less a government label on groceries, “organic” to them is a state of mind. These one-time urban professionals, some not so young any more, are choosing to downshift their lives, but to do so ideally in, say, a spiffy new Ford Escape hybrid (nearly $3,500 more than a similarly equipped conventional model), or with a picturesque country house from the reign of George III that has been “future-proofed,” that is, wired for eco-sensitive climate-control technologies not yet invented.
Unlike a previous generation of back-to-the-land types, they’ve taken all their nice things with them.
What oppies are practicing, some critics say, is a kind of conspicuous anti-consumption. “People who are buying weekend houses, say, in Columbia or Dutchess Counties are putting as much of their land into conservation easement as possible,” said Louise Harpman, an architect with a New York office who also teaches at the University of Texas. “They’re saying, `no matter what sort of extravaganza I’ve built, I’m preserving as much land as possible,’ which is good for the earth. But it also protects the view.”
She wonders if there is not a degree of yuppie guilt in all the talk of green living. “People we see, they realize it is the right thing to do to be as kind to the earth as possible. But on the other hand, they’re not going to not have their Jimmy Choo shoes. Is this the penance we pay for Prada?
Already, the land rush in the Hudson Valley has started to take on the frenzied overtones of the real estate market in New York City. Mr. Peele, the money-managing farmer, said prices for land like his have skyrocketed 50 percent in the short time he has lived in Ancramdale.
“You can’t even park in the train station, there are so many commuters,” said Mr. Lindsay, the Rural Gourmet owner, referring to the Amtrak station in Hudson, from which the trip to Manhattan is two hours. “You can’t even get into Rhinebeck anymore, there’s so much traffic.”
He lingered a moment over coffee at a sun-drenched picnic table outside the Rural Gourmet. “The quality of life is distinctly different here, but I wonder if we haven’t lost what makes us distinct.”