Since before we were married, my husband and I knew that one day we eventually wanted to settle down in a quiet place and run a small bed and breakfast. We figured it would be when all the kids were grown and we retired, but still, it has always been a very tangible plan for us – a goal to work towards.
We regularly talked about finding some land to build a beautiful place, but had no idea where. We discussed exclusively beaches and other countries for a while, since my husband loves the beach and I speak Spanish. But, I have always loved trees – trees and rocks. I told my husband we could settle on a cliff house somewhere in the northeast.
We thought it was just a conversation for the distant future….
But it is becoming a reality!
In the summer of 2017 we saw an advertisement for 450 acres of land in Vermont for 100k. We fell instantly in love with the description… Countless trees, mossy boulders, rock walls, wildlife, changing topography, rivers, and glorious seasons.
I knew I loved it, but what really surprised me was how much HE did (my husband)!
This is when our hypothetical speculations started getting semi-serious.
Maybe we didn’t need 450 acres of land but we got it in our heads that Vermont had lots of really inexpensive land for the taking!
So, we started searching…
We had no idea if anything would come of it. We weren’t sure what exactly we wanted. Definitely, hadn’t the foggiest clue what we needed or what we might be getting ourselves into, but we were looking.
All I knew I wanted to be nestled in the trees. (Little House in the Big Woods style) So, we started looking at forested pieces of land.
Newbies in the land search
Did you know listing agents (realtors) are excellent salesmen? Every single piece of land we looked at had an irresistible description – sugar maple trees, wildlife, old homesteads, apple orchards, springs, streams, rock walls, and tons of space, along with the promise of quietude and splendor.
All of them promised a beautiful location for an off grid home.
We toyed with the idea of buying a property sight unseen, but knew that that probably wasn’t the best idea we ever had – especially since our list of promising options was growing a bit out of control (over 50 properties in every different region of the state).
In October of 2017, we got super excited about a piece of land and immediately booked plane tickets to go out and see it (yes, only one piece of land).
The realtor met with us and gave us a tour of the piece. She was extremely kind and accommodating and the land was BEAUTIFUL!!! There were ponds and streams and trees and hills and we immediately began planning spots where we would put the house and all the outbuildings.
But, the more we talked and the more we prayed about this crazy plan, we knew that something wasn’t right.
First off, it was in the middle of someone else’s hunting grounds and, more than likely, in the middle of their family feud. Secondly, the terrain was so rugged that we would have had to use dynamite to make a flat enough place to build a house, not to mention, trying to raise animals or gardens there would have been next to impossible. Forget Solar Power!
BUT, we were HOOKED!!!!
No matter how impractical it was, we left totally in love with Vermont.
So, we kept looking
In June of 2018, 8 1/2 months pregnant with baby #5, we decided to make a second trip out – this time with a full week and our giant list of 50 properties to see.
Clearly we were getting a bit more serious.
Getting to know Vermont
We divided our 50 property list into regions and decided to spend one night in each region after checking out all the properties. In addition to seeing the properties, we wanted to stop in at local libraries, restaurants, and churches to get a feel for the locals and the lifestyle.
We started in the south, made our way Central, North, and, finally, into the Lake Champlain valley.
The south was a bustling hubbub of activity that practically still felt like suburbs of Boston. Neither of us felt very comfortable there and the properties we saw were highly anticlimactic.
The same happened with Central Vermont.
It seemed that every single property came with a major, unlisted catch, and we were beginning to get discouraged.
On day 4, we ventured into what the locals call the “Northern Kingdom”. The southerners had told us, a bit disparagingly, that it was the land of “farmers and granola”… and that there really wasn’t anything up there. I thought it was funny that they disparaged something we found so attractive.
Our GPS decided not to work that day. We thought it was user error but both of us tried everything to make it work and nothing did… Until Adam decided to try to set our intended destination as “home”.
It felt like a sign!
Then we arrived at the property we were looking at and LOVED it. All the possibilities with that piece came to life instantly. We were ready to make an offer!
But, God had other plans
Our realtor looked into the property we wanted and told us that the land technically qualified as wetlands and would not allow for standard construction / septic.
What about “the sign”, we wondered?
A different sign?
We were beginning to wonder if all the “no’s” we were experiencing were the sign then… maybe we weren’t supposed to do this at all?
We returned home from that trip overjoyed to see our children (7 full days was WAY too long to be away). We threw ourselves back into parenting and home life with renewed energy, love, and vigor. It was beautiful.
Maybe that was why we had needed to take the trip?
But, the nag came back
We just had to keep looking for properties. We had greater knowledge now of what region of the state we wanted and what our search criteria needed to be.
And we found another property…
Actually, we found several – all of which were in or around the original place where our GPS said “home”.
Are we really this serious??
People started asking questions…
Isn’t Vermont expensive? Isn’t it far away? Isn’t it too liberal?
You can’t seriously be serious!
Even our families, who originally just nodded and smiled, stared to get worried.
But, something inexplicable was driving us. We at least needed to figure out what that was.
So, we booked tickets again!
This time with a newborn in tow, we went back to the Northern Kingdom.
Again, disappointment, one piece of land was in the middle of a divorce feud, another had power poles running through the middle of the field. One was even a small field in the middle of someone else’s field. WTH!? Who does that?!?!
We were feeling beat by all the hidden negatives.
Maybe we were crazy…
On our last day,
our realtor sent us one more property as a back up.
We were hesitant because it was out of our price range, but we figured it couldn’t hurt to look since we had no other options left.
It was incredible. It was everything we had been wanting. It was close to town (medical help if necessary, school, church, library, etc) and close to the interstate. It was on town maintained roads but COMPLETELY surrounded by woods. Once you entered, you felt like the only people on the planet. Everything you could see was “ours”, except for the town church steeple peeping above the treetops in the distance.
We decided to offer what we had for a budget. The worst they could do was say no, right?
But they accepted…
God works in mysterious ways, Friends
If all goes well, we will be closing on our property in just a couple weeks.
I wonder where the journey will take us next!!!
Keep following for more on our story!