Searching for Land
With the slow arrival of warmer weather, we are resuming our land search in Vermont. I think I've mentioned that we may perhaps expand that search to Maine as well (staying open to the right piece with the perfect price and location presenting itself), but this past weekend we kept our search in Vermont. My first love.
This process requires so much patience. I've found the best way to deal with the inevitable highs and lows of such an adventure, is to release all expectations. How it works out is how it works out... I don't have the head or heart space to have high hopes for every single property only to arrive and sense about six things that just aren't going to work for us.
The good news is, the longer it takes to find our property, the more money we can save and maybe find a bigger/better parcel! Land savings that probably wouldn't be there in the first place if we didn't let go of home ownership (and the huge expense of maintaining an old, drafty home) and reduce our monthly housing expenses by almost half. Sure, it's kind of odd to go from painting and remodeling as you wish, on your own terms, but it's no big thing at all when you compare being tapped out monthly (financially), to instead, actually saving money each month toward fulfilling a dream.
So, how about a little tour of where the weekend took us? (I'll try not to go into every single detail about each property.)
The photo above is the road to the first property we looked at. Labeled as a Class IV road, it is not plowed in the winter. What may seem like a deal breaker actually comes with a special perk... this type of land is cheap!
The downside to almost all Class IV roads is they are (often) the VAST - Trails in the snowy months, and ATV Trails in the summer months. Goodness, that's a lot of motors whizzing by. I was feeling okay about the snowmobiles because it is probably land (with a cabin we'd build) that wouldn't see much use in the winter due to limited road access it. But discovering these roads are really four season motorized recreational pathways is quickly pointing our search in a different direction. That's okay.
Growing up in this same remote area of Vermont, Adam recalls plenty of locals (himself included) riding their dirt bikes and such throughout the back roads, but it wasn't the more populated tourist industry that seems to be on the rise now. (It's tricky because various forms of tourism are vital to the economy of Vermont.)
We are nature people. At this point in our lives we are not noisy machines in nature people. I think this would get old for us very fast. The money to be saved (and beautiful remote location gained) on Class IV roads might not be worth it after all.
But, we sure did see some pretty land...
Walking down the road (in the first picture) we did not expect to come to this clearing. This was taken on the ten acre parcel we came to look at. On a grey and cloudy day we could see for miles. Those are actually the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Even more of this range would be revealed had the sky been clear.
I took this photo from a spot that was the perfect building site. A dreamy sunrise view for my morning chai.
And there was water! An important feature on this search of ours. This rushing brook was still mostly under ice, but having it on the property was a big plus.
I've consistently read the number one regret of people who live off grid and/or self-sufficiently is choosing a property without a decent water source.
And this! What can I say... 15 gorgeous lakefront acres... on a much more accessible road than the first property (a dirt road, but not a path for recreational vehicles)... it was snapped up and put under contract by another family just before our appointment. Gah!! They will be very happy here, it's beautiful.
This was a five acre parcel with 700 feet of frontage on the Moose River. It turns out the property is situated on a heavily traveled road and didn't feel like the right fit for us. (If you follow the link to the video you will see what a spectacular river it is!)
The above properties were within a close driving distance to Littleton, New Hampshire which is filled with just enough of the right kind of shops.
A most beautiful herb shoppe with an incredibly knowledgable staff.
The gear shop of my husbands dreams. It isn't overly full of all the latest and greatest items, just a streamlined selection of the most excellent gear. Adam commented on the exceptional selection to the owner and he said, "Well, we only stock what we would use ourselves!"
Every single item on Adam's "dream gear list" was in this shop. Amazing! He just may have been able to check an item off that list after his visit.
There are cute boutiques and bookstores up and down the street. At this pretty shop I left every single pair of Frye boots right there. That was hard! So pretty to look at though.
And the thrifting! Yup, they've got that covered in Littleton.
Heading out to another region of the state brought us past this adorable cabin for sale.
We took down the number to inquire. But I think we are much more in the place of buying the land now then saving for a modest cabin of sorts. Pay as we go is our preference, it will take longer but I think it'll be worth it.
In the meantime, how cute is this cabin!?
And then there was the sixteen acre property overlooking these mountains. Good gracious, pinch me! That's Jay Peak right there, the sunsets would be amazing.
The Class IV road this property was located on is much easier to access in the winter. Wide, relatively flat, and well groomed. And at only about half a mile in from a regularly maintained road it wouldn't be far to travel down in an all wheel drive vehicle.
But again, four season motorized recreational vehicles. This would all be would be so much easier if we were into that sort of thing.
The property had nearly everything on our list though. Water (multiple springs and brooks), an incredible view, open pasture and wooden forest...
... and the few other "camps" on the road were all nicely kept.
A pass through Craftsbury. A chat with the general store owner asking how the locals feel about the wind farms that seem to be popping up on so many mountain ridgelines. It's bittersweet for sure. I listened to another woman talk about her homeschooling days as she showed the man she was talking to a brown paper bag filled with her homegrown mushrooms. The general store had placed an order and would be selling them for her. These are my kind of people.
We then headed south through Hardwick. Home of Claire's (yum!), a food co-op, Galaxy Bookshop, and several other perfect little shops and cafes.
One final stop in Montpelier before we headed home. Being away for a few days I needed to stock up on some greens, plus we couldn't possible leave Vermont without a nice selection of locally crafted cheese. (Hunger Mountain Co-op is wonderful!)
Now we are home, getting back to work and carefully processing all that we've seen.
One thing is for sure, mud season is the perfect time to look for property in Vermont. What better time to determine just how wet a piece of land (or how muddy a road) will be? We'll be returning soon as our search continues... next time the leaves will be on the trees and perhaps the wild Lupine will be in bloom.