What a great thread, thank you everyone for participating. I am soon to be in the same situation you were in 10 months ago! My wife and I found a piece of land (raw) in Saugerties, NY and will also be moving towards a permaculture way of life out of Brooklyn. We do however want this to be a multi-family off grid (mostly) homestead. Yesterday we signed a contract on 18 acres, so the journey will start soon. Our observation period I guess will begin in the winter season...ouch! Probably will have to build an igloo or something.
We should eventually have all sorts of structures to be example of different natural building techniques found throughout the globe. I just started looking into your wotafi/hobbit hole idea, and it's been festering in my head...we will for sure build one at some point too! I have done one cob building workshop, next will be strawbale. My wife and I spent some time in Thailand and learn to build with bamboo and that's awesome, but you are right they are invasive. I do have to study up on permaculture even though we've been around it a while we need to start practicing.
As for your legal questions for regulations in town all the info can be found here:http://ecode360.com/6184585 I think Stone Ridge is under Marbletown township, is that right? What we did to find things out mostly is call the building department telling them we were looking for land and asking if specific things could be done in the specific zoning of land we had found without giving out the address.
ok thanks again for everyone's answers and questions it's going to help us get started as well....
Andrew can we get an update to your work please soon.