20161017_142836Walking the Same Path

It seems like all along my little family’s paths, both separate and together, we’ve been moving towards this moment of discovery, and realization. David and I both grew up surrounded by wild forest and encouraged by our parents to explore. With trails behind our houses, we grew up learning from nature and all its lessons. The Blue Ridge Mountains lured me from Maine, and I ended up going to school across from David’s neighborhood in Southwest Virginia. Years later we met through a local hiking club, and uncovered our mutual dreams of finding a large piece of land in the woods together. We explored Southwest Virginia, and lived for a stint in Colorado. After becoming pregnant with our daughter, Calla, we knew at some point we would want to head back East to be closer to family again. We also knew we wanted our daughter to grow up with access to the forest just like we did.

Back to the Blue Ridge

And so we chose the Asheville area; back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Marshall called to us and we quickly found a community that welcomed us with open arms and big hearts. We lived here for a year before we couldn’t wait any longer and the timing seemed right to begin our search for land. We sold our house, pared down our belongings, and started our search. With David being a realtor, our search moved quickly. We hiked about 10-12 pieces of land but none of them seemed to fit both our criteria together. The Paw Paw property was on our short list for a while before we made time to go see it.

Dirt Roads

Gratefully one of our close, dear friends watched Calla while we went to check it out. We’d driven by it before. There’s a dirt way in and a paved way in. But there’s just something about a dirt road. It reminds me of summer trips to our family’s “camp” on Sebec Lake. The long drive down into the summer camps where some of my fondest childhood memories were formed deep in the wilderness of Maine. Dirt roads take me back to all the approach roads we’ve traveled to seek the wild on our hikes and backcountry backpacking excursions. Our dirt road in is windy and guard rail-less, and maybe just a little reckless. We parked and walked down to the lower field, acres of bottomland stretched out from a half sturdy, half leaning old tobacco barn, all the way down to Paw Paw Creek. I felt shivery and could see the layout of my garden in those couple of acres. I felt home. We felt even more magic across the road to the upper 19 acre section where the road frontage juts almost straight up from the road and swells and slopes gently along the ridge line up to 1.5 acres of flat, openness. The western afternoon light slanting in through the trees.”But it’s north facing” a lot of our friends said. But not up on that ridge. And so it was ours. We put in an offer after no takers for almost 2 years of being on the market. After we settled on a reasonable price, we set out to do our due diligence.

 A Long Road Ahead of Us

 Literally and figuratively. This driveway is going to be crazy. Expensive and long.There were many times that we almost walked away. But after about 10 driveway quotes, a successful perc test, and many explorations later, we’ve decided to just jump in and take it one step at a time. We are super grateful to family helping us out with a loan for the driveway cost as we wouldn’t be able to pursue our dreams on this property without it. We also thank everyone else in our amazing community for all their support and encouragement. We feel so lucky to have landed here in Marshall, and see how this journey plays out!