We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I look at those type of property for architectural interest only .... which is the albatross in an otherwise period piece. Trying to make a house that old (1775?) any sort of modern inside without triggering some sort of nanny state historic property law is out of the price ranges for mere mortals. And never-ever think about actually doing something outside that just might increase the longevity of the underlying structure. Can you say lawsuit? Lawsuit. But of course, if someone did make an exterior change then there would be less architectural interest on my part. So damned if you do, damned if you don't, and the dead albatross hangs heavy unless some other old rich history buff wants a real piece of early Americana.
I'm sure the older home featured is lovely, has "character", historical feel, and the area certainly affects the price. The center chimney and multiple fireplaces are a nice feature along with the stone walls and the barn. But for $600K you get an unfinished partial basement, window-unit AC, inefficent windows, small(ish) rooms, and a gravel drive?
In many towns you would be right about members of the local historic society getting into a snit about your renovations. But I'm pretty sure Lyme doesn't have a historic society. However they do have peer pressure and that can be almost as effective. There is just the usual requirement that building permits be obtained for major renovations and if you are working on a home that is non conforming in some way (either the structure or the lot it sits on) then you would need a variance or perhaps a special exception to proceed.
However if you are within a certain distance from the Ct. River you now need to obtain special permissions from either a state or federal agency for plan approvals. That is a relatively new wrinkle in the bureaucratic hurdles that have to be overcome in the area because Lyme was designated as one of the "last great places on earth" by the Nature Conservancy.
As you can see no one believes in hiding our light under a bushel basket around these parts!