There’s an old Talking Heads song, “Once In A Lifetime”, that comes to mind when I think about how a couple in their mid-50s, living in the suburbs of Chicago, with absolutely no farming experience, are now on 32 acres in Hartford, Vermont with a flock of sheep.
You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Shotgun Shack? No, but a beautiful Timberpeg post and beam home sitting near the top of Savage Hill with panoramic views to the Southwest (we think that’s Killington), West (we count somewhere between seven and nine ridges and the SUNSETS!), North (where the Appalachian Trail passes over Griggs Mountain) and on to the East (where the trees changing colors on the side of the hill across the valley are spectacular).
Another part of the world? We’re in the middle of the Jericho Rural Historic District, 774 acres described in a U.S. District Report from 2001:
The Jericho historic district stands out among other rural areas of southeastern Vermont due to its variety of intact agricultural buildings, depicting farming trends typical in Vermont from the early nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century, such as English barns, dairy barns, horse barns, high drive dairy barns, ground level stable barns and milk houses.
Jericho is what’s known as an “upland bowl”. From our property, we can see hay fields, barns, mixed wood forests. There are three ways to get to Jericho, and all the roads go UP. Seriously up. Bike rides from here are easy in the beginning, but HARD to get back home. Very little traffic goes by the intersection of Jericho Road and Jericho Street down the hill. (I’d like to meet the person that thought those two names made sense. More than a few people have called saying “I can’t find your house” because they are driving up and down the “street,” not the “road.”) Yes, we are remote and hard to find, but we are also minutes away from real civilization:
- Norwich Farmer’s Market (every Saturday May through October) – 4 miles
- King Arthur Flour (had its “Grand Opening” in late September, a real tourist trap) – less than 5 miles
- Norwich Inn (they brew their own beers) and Dan and Whit’s (“if we don’t have it, you don’t need it”) – 5.5 miles
- Hanover, New Hampshire (restaurants, movie theater, gelato!) and Dartmouth College (where our niece is a Sophomore) – 6 miles
- West Lebanon Shopping Mall Strip (chain restaurants, grocery stores, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Home Depot) – 7 miles
- Quechee, Vermont (Simon Pearce) – 9 miles
- Woodstock, Vermont (which is ALWAYS crowded with tourists) – 17 miles
- Dartmouth Skiway (where the niece is on ski patrol) – 20 miles
- Killington (haven’t been for years, hope the snow is better than last winter) – 39 miles
Large automobile? We first visited the property in mid-March, 2012. It was unseasonably warm and there was no snow on the ground. It was also “mud season”. If we were going to move to Vermont, we would need a four-wheel drive truck. I traded in the sedan for a 2007 Ford F-250 Super Duty (Diesel) and drove it cross country for the closing. When daughter Kate saw it, she dubbed it “Moby”, as in a big, white whale. (Her old silver Volvo is “Carlisle”.)
Beautiful house? Yep.
Beautiful wife? You betcha.
Well, how DID I get here?