how we got here...

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Over the past couple years of writing my blog I have been asked several times about how we came to live in New Hampshire- moving from Texas, not knowing a soul here.  After receiving another such inquiry from Amy yesterday, I thought now might be a good time to tell you the story!

The short answer: 
it was because of this magazine.

The long answer.....
it was because Dan had flown to Hartford, Connecticut and his hotel was in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The drive to the hotel took him through the historic district in Suffield, Connecticut.  He came home from that trip and told me of the beautiful antique homes that he had seen along that drive in Suffield. 
The next week he made the same trip.  This time he came home with the above magazine;  he handed it to me and said... "You're going to want to move."
I laughed, I scoffed, I shook my head, I mumbled something about how silly he was, I opened the magazine....
At the time I had an antiques business that kept me really busy, a wonderful 1950's ranch that we had totally re-done that sat on a lake/pond in Dallas.  While I didn't own the lake I did "borrow" it and incorporated the view into my backyard- and a lake in your backyard in Dallas proper was a rare and fabulous thing to haveI had friends and neighbors that I loved.  Why would I want to move?!  

Fifteen minutes later after looking through the magazine I told Dan.... "We're moving!"

I was partially kidding when I made that pronouncement, but I also had this very strange feeling that there was some truth there... a seed had been planted.  I mean, why not??  What was holding us in Dallas?  In reality there was nothing.  Dallas had been good to us on many levels, but without verbalizing it we had been longing for a quieter life for a while. The buzz of the city was starting to wear on us.  Several times each year (three to four) we would drive the 12 hours from Dallas to the mountains of Colorado.  Both of us longed to live in and around natural beauty.  And, while Dallas has many great things to do and offer, "natural beauty" is not generally listed among them.
(I should probably also note that this was coming off of back-to-back summers in Dallas where we had 29 and 24 consecutive days of over 100 degrees!  So, the thought of milder New England summers was very appealing!)
Within two weeks we were up in New England "area hunting" as we called it.  We started in Connecticut.  (One of the major caveats to the move was that we had to be within an hour and a half to a major airport for Dan's work.) I swear to you we drove through every single little town in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  We would judge areas purely by our gut reaction and feeling about a place, and would say either "I don't feel the love" or "I feel the love.  I could live here!"  We really liked the "quiet corner" of Connecticut- the NE corner.  We gave it a great deal of consideration, and kept going back time and time again, but somehow we knew it just wasn't the perfect place for us.  So, we continued looking.  Dan kept mentioning New Hampshire. We had never been to New Hampshire in our lives and from the gardening map (I was a big gardener) it seemed really far away- almost like a whole different country, so I kept rejecting it on that alone.  Then, one day we crossed the border into southern New Hampshire into the Monadnock region (mountains) and we felt like we had arrived home

This whole process took several years, as we were looking for the perfect place.  Every time the airplane landed in New England I had this feeling, this gut reaction that I was "supposed to live here."  I couldn't explain it, I just felt a very strong pull to live my life here. 
So, we kept coming back, kept looking for our dream house.

In the meantime,, as we were taking our sweet time, the opportunity for Dan to move to New England closed up tighter than a drum.  We had to accept the fact that we would never leave Dallas.  Which we did for several years.....until... a very random tiny bit of information opened up a one time opportunity that made a move possible.  It was literally a one time deal-  now or never.
We were shocked, excited and scared.  We gave ourselves three days to think (no discussion) about a move and if we really wanted to do it now that it was on our plate for real.  Sometimes it's fun to play with a wild idea, but when the time comes for action you quickly back down-  it's too hard, too scary, to real, too... too... . 

We wanted a big adventure and knew if we didn't do this now, at this point in our lives, we never would... it was just too big of a move and a lifestyle change to do when we were older.  It was a huge and scary decision, yet one that we knew we would regret for the rest of our lives if we didn't do it....
We listened to our heart, trusted our gut and decided to jump!

You have to churn somewhat when the roof covering your head is at stake, since to sell is to walk away from a cluster of memories and to buy is to choose where the future will take place.
-Under the Tuscan Sun-

We had narrowed our search to a favorite area in New Hampshire, actually two historic towns about 30 minutes apart.  The night before coming up to house-hunt on one trip Dan happened to widen the search between these two towns and this house, our house came up. 
It was the second house we saw that trip and we were smitten.  We both have a good sense of houses and knew we didn't need to look further... oh, and we hadn't even been inside- we were looking at it from the road!! The house was 'rented' at the time and we couldn't get in, so had to come back the next week to see inside.
That visit was a little trickier....  the house definitely had  "flow" issues (the rooms were really choppy and didn't "flow").  The first night after seeing the interior I couldn't sleep at all as I was trying to rework all the rooms and issues the house had...  it was overwhelming to say the least. 
For the next long six months while our Dallas house went in-and-out of several contracts (ahhh, the joys of selling a home!) I had the luxury of time to renovate the farmhouse in my mind!
After six months with our Dallas house for sale we were now in November and decided to pull it off of the market until the following Spring, as my yard was a huge selling factor.  Two months later our realtor called out of the blue saying she had a signed contract for us!  It was a very sweet deal, but we had to be out of the house in a month!
So, in the middle of the second snowiest winter in New Hampshire on record we arrived in our adopted state!

We decided to rent a house, realizing that now that we were actually living here we really should drive all over the state and make sure that this was the right place for us.  So, for the next eight months we drove..... everywhere!   In reality for eight months we were trying to talk ourselves out of buying this house.  We had come to realize the extent of this HUGE renovation and we didn't know if we had that in us.... but we couldn't talk ourselves out of it.... we kept coming back here, to this house, our house.
 And, the farmhouse waited for us
The realtor even called at one point to tell us that someone was going to make an offer on the farmhouse.  I said, that it was okay- it wouldn't go through because it was "our" house!!
And the rest.... well, that part started with the beginning of this blog!

The following link could be hazardous.

Click photo only if you dare!
okay... I dare you!!