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Land Hunting, Part Nine: Empty-Landed

by Tara

I'm having second thoughts about our spur-of-the-moment road trip this morning; it's clear that dropping everything to drive out here again was not a sensible decision. The thirty acre property which inspired our impromptu departure was a let-down (heavily sloped, situated near two McMansions, dark, foreboding pine trees, etc), and so far, we've been disappointed with the rest of our options as well. I've all but given up hope when we stop to visit a ten acre parcel near Middlebury, on Shacksboro Road.

Ten Acres for Sale

The lot features a dilapidated trailer home, situated in clear view of the road, but the rest of the site is quite secluded and lovely. It's a steep property that descends like a staircase, each level feeling distinctly different from the previous. On the first, there's that old trailer, placed front and center. Looking left, there's a striking view into the neighboring valley; off to the right, a neighbor a bit closer than we'd like.

Gorgeous Vermont View

Already, I'm having trouble tearing my eyes away to explore the rest of the site. I can see myself sitting by the driveway, on the large stone bench situated there, staring off into the distance for hours. Perhaps we could build a little writer's cottage here, so I could make full use of the view? Maybe we could tear out the trailer and put the garden in it's place, allowing us to admire the hills while tending to our food?

The second landing is a scraggly meadow, surrounded by a thick forest (not pictured), a place where I could see us building our home and planting fruit trees. The third is densely wooded, with a shed, a fire pit, and a tattered cabin. From there, the back half of the property slopes steeply downwards until it ends at the banks of the Lemon Fair river—little more than a muddy trickle right now.

Storage Shed in the Woods

With a view to die for (albeit oddly situated), a close proximity to Middlebury, and a price of fifty thousand dollars, we're both starting to feel enthusiastic. Budding with excitement, Tyler calls the realtor for more information. Our rising hopes are quickly dashed when we learn that the land is already under contract to be sold.

My unchecked emotions swing wildly to dejection. We're too late! Why oh why did it still have to be listed if it was already under contract? Feeling like we've completely wasted our time, I am convinced that we will never, ever find a place to call home. We'll undoubtedly be unsettled and nomadic for our entire lives!

Minutes after Tyler hangs up with the realtor, we receive a call from another. It's Bonnie, calling about Maple Hill Road—the sellers want to know how they can convince us to buy the property. Tyler is still in love with it, but now that I've seen the view here, I'm floundering with indecision about what I want. He asks Bonnie to give us some time to talk it over.

We came out here hoping to make some progress towards realizing our homesteading dreams, but I feel like we've accomplished nothing. And yet, as my parents remind us when the phone rings one more time, we are making progress. We're actually learning a lot, gaining the knowledge and tools required to know when the right place comes along.

We have to do what we're doing right now, in order to get to where we want to be. Soothed slightly by their wise words, we drive into the countryside once more, without a plan, as light begins to fade.