This holiday season there’s something to look forward to seeing in the sky aside from a red-nosed reindeer pulling a sleigh. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will form a rare alignment creating what looks like a double planet. The celestial event on the winter solstice will form a so-called Christmas Star.
What makes this year’s spectacle so rare? According to NASA, it’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, as it will for 2020, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this “great conjunction.”
In the spirit of this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, here’s a selection of homes in locations that are perfect for soaking in some of the best celestial views on Earth. These communities offer iconic nearby national parks, natural areas and the opportunity to take in the wonder of the starry night sky.
Alani Residence 3, on the market for $3.85 million, is nestled on the Big Island of Hawaii at a location along the Kona Coast once home to ancient Hawaiian royalty. The residence was designed for indoor-outdoor living with the Hawaiian breeze by day and the full starry sky by night.
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The spacious three-bedroom home designed by Glazier Le Architects is nestled within the expansive private residential community of Kohanaiki. The exterior features a distinctive copper roof and stucco walls accented with sliding mahogany doors. Fun facts: Hawaii is the only state in the country where you can see both the North Star and the Southern Cross. From the remote destination of Hawaii, residents can see over 80% of all the stars viewable from Earth.
Step inside to an open-concept great room and well-equipped kitchen connected to spacious bedrooms and guest suites. Slide open the great room’s pocket doors to enjoy beautiful views of a palm tree-studded landscape and feel the refreshing breeze on your lanai. Cool off in the pool or enjoy a relaxing dip in the spa after a day in the sun.
Situated between the seventh and eighth holes of the members-only Rees Jones golf course, the home offers stunning golf course views. Future owners have access to Kohanaiki’s community amenities, including an expansive lap pool, onsite micro-brewery, beachside restaurant, sushi chophouse, wine tasting room, bowling alley, spa, tennis, water sport adventures and private beach.
With so much neon magic in the air, it’s easy to forget that there are actual stars in the sky above Las Vegas and its surroundings. The city offers easy access to abundant wilderness, including national and state parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, conservation areas and recreation areas.
Overlooking Lake Las Vegas and backdropped by the glowing McCullough Mountains is a private community in Henderson, Nevada, which was recently ranked as one of the safest cities in America. Taking advantage of the temperate weather and consistent sunshine, residents enjoy hiking, biking, golf and outdoor dining just moments from their home. All the while, the Las Vegas strip is only an easy 30-minute drive away.
Vantage by Blue Heron, a design-led development firm, is a luxury gated community of 37 unique homes with boundary-pushing elevations and modern detailing starting in the high $800,000s. Three floor plans range from 2,800 to 4,700 square feet.
The listing spotlight is on a three-bedroom home spanning 4,707 square feet that is on the market for $3.85 million. The home, which is on a bluff overlooking Lake Las Vegas, features a dramatic entry and living spaces that sprawl in multiple directions to allow for panoramic desert landscape views. The home harmoniously invites the outdoors in with expansive sliding glass doors that make the characteristic desert landscaping part of the ambience.
Idaho’s night skies are the gold standard for stargazing. The state is home to the nation’s first and only International Dark Sky Reserve. It received a Gold Tier status, the highest designation given by the International Dark-Sky Association that is reserved only for the darkest of night skies. Whitetail Club is a 1,300-acre private real estate club attracting the country’s affluent buyers, including executives from California and Washington.
Ideal for a second, third or primary home, Whitetail Club offers custom homesites, townhouses and cottages listed for up to $5 million. Top amenities include a 7,200-yard 18-hole golf course designed by Andy North. It was named one of Golfweek’s best courses in the nation. In addition, there are private biking and cross-country ski trails, a saltwater pool and fishing trout pond, an ice-skating rink, indoor tennis and fitness center, full-service 36-slip marina, lake clubhouse with complete private beach/lake access, a private restaurant and bar plus spaces dedicated to teens and young children. Club programming includes outdoor excursions, private shuttles to two nearby ski mountains, dining and musical events for the entire family.
A four-bedroom contemporary mountain home is on the market here for $4.75 million. The custom home spanning 5,325 square feet features wide-plank cedar flooring, a metal roof and siding and radiant heat in all floors, including garages. Other finishings include custom slab counters, Pella wood windows and LED lighting, a premium sound system and electronic blinds. The home also includes a state-of-the-art recreation room with an outdoor terrace and full-size office.
Coachella Valley, California
Since the 1920s, Coachella Valley has been a favorite escape for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but it’s also a stellar setting for stargazing of another kind. Two International Dark Sky Parks, Joshua Tree National Park and Borrego Springs, are within an hour’s drive and offer dazzling views of the star display.
Set among stunning vistas of the Santa Rosa and Coral Mountains, Andalusia Country Club is the premier resort community in La Quinta, a resort city in Riverside County, California boasting superb desert homes with spacious design and modern interiors, with exteriors influenced by the romantic Spanish style reminiscent of its namesake. Outside the gates, Andalusia lies at the threshold of one of California’s most remarkable hiking and biking trail systems in the Santa Rosa Mountains.
With 15-foot ceilings, contemporary finishes and ample natural light, the Residence 426 listing features enviable resort vibes. The exterior of the Andalusia home is influenced by the romantic Spanish style of the club’s namesake, boasting spacious design and modern interiors.
Enter through a gated portico leading to an expansive interior courtyard. Inside, you’ll find four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a home office, scenic dining and an attached casita, which includes a guest suite and office. A 5,000 square-foot enclave, Residence 426 features disappearing floor-to-ceiling pocket doors that open onto stunning views of the Coral and Santa Rosa Mountains and an outdoor entertainment space fit for the whole family. The home is priced at $2.25 million.
Located 20 minutes from the Griffith Observatory and only 12 minutes from the Angeles National Forest, Pasadena has long been a special place for astronomy for more than 100 years. Many significant discoveries in astronomy, including magnetic fields in sunspots, the expansion of the universe and the first evidence of the dark matter have been made by Pasadena astronomers. With its rich history in astronomy, the city has become a nurturing ground for innovations and producing a series of cutting-edge discoveries.
The Terraces at the Ambassador Gardens by etco Homes boasts a collection of 60 contemporary flats and townhomes in the historic Ambassador Gardens. Featuring interiors by Los Angeles-based designers Casa Stilo and Meredith Baer and priced from the mid-$2 million range, residences spread from 3,040 to 4,430 square feet and offer three- and four-bedroom floor plans and up to three baths and two powder rooms.
A three-bedroom home is on the market here for $3.68 million. Among the amenities are a concierge and security features. Each tri-level townhome includes private elevators, butler’s pantries, personal four-car garages and rooftop terraces. The Terraces is within walking distance to the fashionable and landmark Old Town Pasadena area, offering residents a unique variety of historical, cultural, shopping and food destinations.