There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.
From coast to coast, and everything in-between, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and scroll right on through.
Open Houses for March 2-4
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Austin, Texas Price: $995,000 Property details: Let's face it, when it comes to Austin homes, it's hard to go wrong -- particularly in the prestigious community of Villa Montana, a jewel set high above the hills of Lake Travis. This home's no exception; the epitome of rugged Texas charm. We're talking raw, sexy stone exteriors, stone and wood flooring, "forever unobstructed" canyon views, and a huge veranda perfect for laying out and soaking up that divine Texas sunshine. The sprawling 4,212-square-foot digs also boast three bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms, and a full-size gourmet kitchen with Thermador appliances and a built-in Sub-Zero fridge. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Los Angeles Price: $4.495 million Property details: In a city littered with vanilla-colored contemporaries overlooking the Sunset Strip, this exquisite, move-in ready English country estate near Brentwood Park is a rare gem. Flanked by towering oak trees and endless green lawns, this 4,300-square-foot cottage-style home is a little slice of serenity in the heart of Hollyweird. Built in 1936, the classic home features five bedrooms, 3½ baths, and a separate guesthouse by the outdoor heated pool.
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Arlington, Va. Price: $1.325 million Property details: This stunning 4,199-square-foot Arlington home strikes the perfect balance of cozy and luxe. With glossy bamboo floors, custom renovations throughout (completed in 2009), stone fireplaces and an impressive gourmet kitchen with a raised teak bar, this circa 1904 home is a designer's dream. The three-story, six-bedroom home also features a fully-fenced backyard, a patio and a private deck (perfect for soaking up that warm Virginia sunshine, mint julep in hand).
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Eagle, Colo. Price: $485,000 Property details: No more excuses: Why keep visiting one of America's most-loved states when you can just live there? Namely, in this stunning, 4,614-square-foot home boasting incredible mountain views. On the outside, it's all-American charm, and on the inside, the perfect marriage of comfort and luxury. Five huge bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, sprawling living spaces that include a play room and family room, and a beautifully-finished basement make this Colorado home a winner. Plus, it's only an hour away from the famous Basalt Hot Springs and the majestic ski slopes of Vail. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Greenwich, Conn. Price: $10.75 million Property description: If you love the great outdoors but also long to stay close to the city, then this Greenwich beauty may be the perfect home for you. Located just an hour's drive from New York City, this stunning waterfront mansion on the charming Chimney Corner Lane offers the best of both worlds. Located right on the Greenwich coast, surrounded by rolling lawns and greenery, this three-bedroom, six-bathroom modern home will make you feel like you've escaped to your weekend hideaway ... every single day. The exquisite mansion also boasts over 6,000 square feet, soaring ceilings, glass walls and a colossal swimming pool with views of the yacht-studded Indian Harbor.
Open House: Sun., March 4 Location: Collingswood, N.J. Price: $309,900 Property description: This charming, 2,230-square-foot colonial is the perfect embodiment of traditional Americana. Boasting clean ivory exteriors, refinished oak floors, and a smattering of stone and brick fireplaces, it's the perfect respite from the rows of cookie-cutter McMansions cropping up along the Jersey Shore. We love the four-bedroom home's warm, country charm and classic wood details throughout. Plus, you get a sprawling lawn and backyard -- perfect for pets (or energetic kids).
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Pinecrest, Fla. Price: $2.75 million Property description: If Miami bachelor-style living isn't your thing, but you still want to be near America's most popular beaches, then this truly beautiful Pinecrest home may be the one for you. It's exceptionally family-friendly -- the home is close to some of the finest schools in Florida's Pinecrest-Palmetto district, and a quick drive to great shopping, sports and entertainment. It boasts seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, a large family room overlooking a magnificent pool and garden, and a huge "entertaining-sized" kitchen. In a nutshell -- the idyllic Florida family home.
Open house: Sun., March 4 Location: Charlotte, N.C. Price: $385,000 Property description: This updated midcentury ranch in the desirable Cotswold community is simply the dream American home. Rocking chair on the front porch, quaint redbrick exteriors, with classic plantation shutters and equipped with a cozy fireplace -- it's the modern-day "white picket fence" home! It also features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an exquisite master bathroom with a soaking tub, body sprays and a dual basin vanity with granite counter. A sweet mix of traditional charm with contemporary luxuries.
The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area’s greatest strength for those without an automobile is the prevalence of dense, easily manageable communities. This makes it exceptionally easy for residents to reach amenities such as groceries, restaurants, shopping and schools. The metropolitan area’s primary city, Boston, has the third-highest walk score in the country. The area’s public transit also has a relatively high service frequency rate, making its use that much more convenient for the city’s residents.
> Transit coverage: 96 percent (second highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.2 (second lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 25.6 percent (69th highest)
> Walk score: 65.9 (14th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.87 percent (14th highest)
Los Angeles is the second largest city by population in the United States, and its metropolitan area is fairly spread out. Due to its extensive public transit system the area has avoided a complete automobile-based culture. The metro area’s 19 transit systems have more than 500 bus routes. As a result, 96 percent of neighborhoods are within 0.75 miles to a transit stop -- the second highest rate in the country. Better still, commuters can catch a form of public transportation from their nearest stop every 6.2 minutes.
> Transit coverage: 89 percent (eighth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (11th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.9 percent (2nd highest)
> Walk score: 57.6 (29th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.78 percent (17th highest)
Utah’s population is expected to grow from 2010’s approximately 3 million to 4.4 million in 2030. Salt Lake County accounts for more than one-third of the state’s population. To accommodate this growth, the Utah Transit Authority has plans to add four more lines to its light rail system, TRAX, up from its current three lines. This investment is meant to improve transportation for the suburban and exurban population to the city. In the winter, the UTA runs ski transit lines in addition to its rail and bus services.
> Transit coverage: 83.7 percent (12th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.1 (10th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 47.5 percent (10th highest)
> Walk score: 60.4 (23rd highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.79 percent (16th highest)
Denver has bus service, light rail lines and an airport shuttle service. The city is currently undergoing a multibillion dollar expansion of its transit system, called the FasTracks Expansion. This plan is meant to increase light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid-transit lines. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, currently faces a $2 billion shortfall.
> Transit coverage: 95.6 percent (third highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.9 (fifth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.4 percent (third highest)
> Walk score: 54.5 (34th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.56 percent (seventh highest)
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area’s public transportation is overseen by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Like Los Angeles, the area relies heavily on buses, running about 100 routes. Public transit covers 95.6 percent of neighborhoods, the third greatest in the country. Public vehicles also run under seven minutes apart, the fifth smallest frequency. The metro area also has the seventh highest rate of commuters who travel to work by bicycle.
> Transit coverage: 85.3 percent (11th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.8 (15th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 33.4 percent (35th highest)
> Walk score: 73.6 (sixth highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.07 percent (ninth highest)
Seattle’s public transportation system not only includes bus and rail transit, but a monorail in the city center, as well as ferries. The city also has the sixth highest walk score in the country, due to its high number of easily accessible amenities. According to Bicycling magazine, Seattle is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country and “has a 10-year, $240-million bike master plan that seeks to triple the number of journeys made by bike and add 450 miles of bike paths.”
> Transit coverage: 97 percent (the highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 9 (18th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 59.8 percent (the highest)
> Walk score: 63 (19th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.95 percent (12th highest)
Honolulu currently does not have an urban rail system, but its bus system helps cover 97 percent of neighborhoods — the highest rate in the country. Additionally, almost 60 percent of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes to those who live in neighborhoods covered by transit. This is also the highest rate in the country. Nevertheless, the city is planning a $5.5 billion rail project called the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. This will include 20 miles of track, connecting East Kapolei with the Honolulu International Airport and downtown Honolulu and will end at Ala Moana Center.
> Transit coverage: 89.6 percent (seventh highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 4.5 (the highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 36.6 percent (25th highest)
> Walk score: 85.3 (the highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.52 percent (32nd highest)
New York City and its surroundings rank first in the nation for total number of passenger trips and government spending per capita on public transit, according to U.S. News. It also has the highest rate of service frequency. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010 operating budget was $13.4 billion. The average weekday ridership for the city is estimated to be over 8.4 million trips. The city also has the highest walk score on this list, thanks to the ability of city dwellers to reach just about any amenity on foot.
> Transit coverage: 83.5 percent (13th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 7.4 (eighth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 39.9 percent (16th highest)
> Walk score: 66.3 (13th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 2.23 percent (second highest)
Portland is such a good place for people to live without a car due to both its public transit system and the ease of walking and biking around the city. The metropolitan area is served by TriMet, which in addition to other services offers a Free Rail Zone — a region that includes most of downtown Portland and where light rail and streetcar rides are always free. The city has a number of benefits for bike riders, including designated bike-only areas at traffic signals and free bike lights. It has the second highest rate of commuters who ride bikes to work in the country.
> Transit coverage: 91.7 percent (fifth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (12th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 34.8 (30th highest)
> Walk score: 84.9 (second highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.65 percent (sixth highest)
San Francisco is held in high regard for its many successful transit systems, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. These systems cover nearly 92 percent of neighborhoods -- the fifth highest rate in the country. San Francisco also has the second highest walk score and is excellent for bicyclists. Commuter rails within the city allow bicyclists to mount with their bicycles, and there is a bike shuttle across the Bay Bridge to help cyclists during rush hour.