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Monday, February 2, 2015

Y2K dilemma: 4 nights in NYC or a farm in Idaho

New Year’s dilemma: 4 days in NYC or a farm in Idaho

There are two types of people in this world — at least among those with $100,000 in disposable income — and we’ll all get to find out who’s who Dec. 31, 1999.
One type will be armed to the teeth in a deep mountain bunker awaiting Armageddon. The other will take $100,000 and plunk it down on a four-day package at an ultra ritzy Manhattan hotel.
That’s four days. Four Earth days. Ninety-six hours. Even for that much money, you may wind up with little more to show for it than the world’s most expensive hangover — that and a swell terry cloth robe. 
And come Jan. 1, one of the other is going to be felling mighty silly. WhetherY2K brings about the end of the world as we know it or just turns out to be a fine excuse for a really great splurge this much is certain: The event is bringing out gaudy excess in the world capital of those craven commodities.
While much of the hype has been tempered, New York City is still center ring for jaw-dropping packages that are as stunning in their questionable value as they are in their opulence.
The magnificent New York Palace, truly one of the finest hotels in the world’s most exciting city, is offering what it immodestly calls “The Splurge of the Century.” At $25,000 per night (minimum four nights), the Midtown hotel offers you and three guests ultra-luxurious accommodations in one of its Triplex Suites, normally $6,000 per night. Each is graced with a top-tier terrace, a circular staircase, a solarium, and a private rooftop garden. Eighting foot windows offer panoramic views of the Big Apple.
The package includes limousine service to and from the airport and throughout the visit. Also included are pricey jeweled gifts from Asprey & Garrard, the finest champagne, theater tickets, massages, amenities and meals at Le Cirque 2000, the world-renown restaurant. And last, but not least, take-home robes lavishly embroidered with the hotel’s elegant logo.
And, at no charge, you get New York City. That means Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s — historic landmarks that are tattooed on our national psyche and are as familiar as the faces of our loved ones. The crowds, the electricity, it’ll all be there when the clocks roll over to ring in the year 2000.
Of course, those are precisely the reasons many survivalists will be as far from Manhattan as possible. That might mean someplace like Salmon, Idaho, a town of just 3,500 people. It’s so remote the locals will tell you the nearest big city is Missoula, Montana, 160 miles east across the continental divide. To most snide New Yorkers, that means the nearest big city is, maybe, Las Vegas, about 15 hours due south across the Nevada desert.
So if you’re the sort who’s afraid the Y2K computer glitch will cause planes to tumble from the sky, utilities cease to function and mobs riot, — generally make the civilized world go haywire — you might want to consider Salmon. It sits in the shadow of the forebodingly named Bitterroot Mountains, a range of the Rockies so inaccessible it almost caused Lewis and Clark to give up their historic quest for westward passage. In his journal, expedition co-leader Capt. William Clark described the territory as one that “thro’ thickets in which we were obliged to Cut a road, over rockey hill Sides where our horses were in constant danger of Slipping to Ther certain distruction up & Down steep hills with the greatest dificuelty and risk.”
Clearly, the fearful eminence of the landscape made made one of the toughest and most resourceful Americans the nation ever produced into a momentary sissy who couldn’t remember how to spell even simple words like “rocky”and “difficulty.” Best of all, Salmon is cheap. Here 100 grand will go a long, long way.
“We have a three-bedroom place on 5.28 acres that can be yours for $98,000,” says Kathy McDonald of Salmon Real Estate. “There are ample cherry and apple trees near the house, and Williams Creek runs right through the center of the property with great fishing and an endless supply of fresh mountain water. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Sounds perfect. But that still leaves us with $2,000. Is it possible to buy a nice home in Salmon, prepare for the coming Apocalypse, and still sneak in one last millennial splurge?
“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “I don’t think it would even be possible to spend $2,000 on a splurge in Salmon. You could enjoy a really fine meal at the 100 Acre Wood. It’s John and Nancy’s B&B just outside of town. For that much money, they’d take really good care of you. The food’s fantastic. Great portions, too.”
And there will still be enough money left over for bullets and beans?
So it’s up to you. You can take Manhattan and a four-day splurge you’ll remember forever — assuming, that is, you don’t get so pie-eyed on Dom Perignon that you forget everything but the skull-pounding hangover. 
Or you can opt for a mountain paradise where you can live in peace and quiet, far from the madding crowd. There will be good food and, if you’re of such a bent, enough security to to keep you safe and sound until the post-Y2K feudal tribes settle their differences and a medieval sort of order is restored.
Just be prepared. You may have to fend off the marauding hordes in your underwear.
The real estate lady never said a word about the freebie terry cloth robe.

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