Part of the purpose of this travel year is to find our homestead. It's a big undertaking to try and find the place where you want to finish raising your kids, and put down roots. Usually you just stay where you are, or move for a job...the idea of having the whole country (or whole world) to find the place that feels like home...well, like I said, it's a big undertaking.
We started with a couple of nationwide searches, and over time we found a large swath in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky that seemed to suit our needs. The prices were good, the acreage was large, the farmhouses are adorable and there are usually barns and other outbuildings. Sometimes there are creeks, waterfalls, caves and other hidden treasures. (This is what makes searching for property so much fun!)
One of the many covered fireplaces we've seen.
It's very different from looking for property in the city. Don't expect granite counter tops or seamless glass showers. This is not HGTV folks. Most of the properties we are looking at are from people who have passed away and the properties are being sold by their children and grandchildren. These are OLD homes with crooked floors, low ceilings, dead mice, holes in the roof...the good stuff. (Luke even found a collection of syringes on the floor...oh yeah!) These are old farmhouses that people put strange additions on, covered fire places with plywood, and carpeted over hardwood floors. Most of them don't have HVAC, some don't even have bathrooms! (Mmmmm...can't you just imagine the smell of a 100 year old outhouse?)
I wasn't kidding about the low ceilings!
It's like a treasure hunt! The kids found a creek with dozens of frogs that jumped in all at once, old tractors, antiques in the barn and so much more. Seriously, looking for property might be more fun than actually buying one. (Especially cause then we own it, and have to fix the wonky floors and janky ceilings!!)
We found one beautiful property where the painstakingly-built beautiful wood staircase got progressively shorter on the way up. It's as if you're Alice and on the way up the stairs you just start growing. In a new house you wouldn't stand for that, but in this 100 year old property, it's just plain charming.
We have about 25 more properties to see over the next few weeks. So far we've worked with four real estate agents, all very different, and all great. It's been nice getting to talk to them, find out about them, the local area, and whatever else they'll talk about. One of our agents who was well into her 60s is an active hunter, and hopped fences with us without blinking an eye. Another told us about a wild beehive he relocated to his own farm, and wild ginseng he collects in the mountains.
Who knows when or where we'll find the right property, until then we are enjoying the process of learning and getting to know new areas.
And in the meantime we'll just keep enjoying the ride.