First of all, hi! I’ve missed you all!
I’ve been trying to write but it’s been sporadic not having internet service yet and traveling and moving. So much has happened it’s a little hard to find a place to start but I guess I’ll just jump backwards.
So you all know that our house was for sale. We were selling our dream house…with 6 years of love and labor put into it. We had a fair amount of showings but the right buyer never materialized. We started to wonder if God was telling us to keep it. Then suddenly, three weeks ago, we got an offer on our house from a potential buyer who had looked at the property several times. He was in the middle of a divorce, and with small children around Boo’s age, it was the perfect house because it was turn key. Turn key meaning: we were offering the house furnished: furniture, silverware, artwork etc. Even our pet fish: Penelope and Smokey. (it’s the first time our realtor Lori said she had a family pet listed in house inventory….and by name too….value: priceless of course) Anyway, we agreed to the price as long as the buyer could close by June 2. That was a super short closing and fell within the contingency period which made everyone a little nervous.
Everything seemed to be going okay but then a few days before closing the buyer got hung up on some aspects of our solar lease. I remember Brett being on his cell phone mouthing to me “the deal’s dead” and I just felt like crying. Feeling helpless with everything out of control, all Brett and I could do was sit back and have faith that everything would work out. We prayed and prayed for guidance on what to do…..and packed up our trailer planning to move cross country June 1st. I had sold my car to a friend only days early and we had purchased a 16 foot box trailer to pull to the east coast. We decided that the only belongings we would take were what would fit into that trailer: mostly books, photos, bikes, clothing and art supplies.
After the trailer was packed up last Saturday, we decided not to stay the last night in our home, we would stay with my in-laws across town. It was a way to just make a clean break. It’s always hard to walk away from something knowing it will be the last time. As Brett pulled away with our belongings, I stayed behind to mop and clean and make sure everything was just right for the new owner. I always like to leave things better than I found them. It was dark and I made sure everything was perfect, I organized the keys and instructions on the counter, fed Penelope and Smokey, and walked out the front door for the last time.
We left Palm Desert the next morning, June 1st. We drove to the Hoover Dam and stayed in Williams, AZ for the night. The next day, June 2nd my birthday, somewhere in the middle of the Grand Canyon, we learned that the house would close for sure. Let me tell you….it is NOT easy to sign documents from the Grand Canyon. There is not a lot of cell reception at Horseshoe Bend. BUT we did manage to get everything finished and at exactly 5pm, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we got a call from our agent that:
We had OFFICIALLY CLOSED.
I’ve never felt so much gratitude and excitement all at the same time.
We traveled over over 2,800 miles over 7 days. We didn’t even really have the route planned out by day but everything just kept falling into place. Even surviving a tornado. (I still can’t believe that happened.) We made our way up to Lindsborg, Kansas and found the old farmhouse that my grandfather had grown up in. We found it with a small paper map he had drawn and a few old photos. I can’t believe we found it. No one was home but we wandered around a little:
We visited two presidential libraries, the Gateway Arch and stayed with my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Steve in Nashville for a night too. And then yesterday we woke up early and Boo announced “It’s North Carolina Day!” and we finally made our way to North Carolina. Almost 8 years to the day that we left North Carolina years ago to head to California.
We pulled in last night to the Hemlock Inn just in time for dinner. This was what we drove up to:
So I’m sure you want to know where we are living. We are staying in a small cottage on the property called the Woody Cottage. We are going from 3,500+ square feet to just about 900 square feet. It’s definitely an adjustment but as a family of three do we really need more than 900 square feet? Plus I can use the inn dining room for writing late at night if I need to (that’s where I am right now) so we won’t need an office addition to the cottage anytime soon.
We are excited to decorate the cottage. Boo got to see her room for the first time and she was ready to start right away:
We had our first breakfast at the inn this morning and met a nice couple from Georgia. We introduced ourselves to a new cook, George, and he said I could help him make biscuits one morning if I woke up early enough. As we talked in the dining room after breakfast, Boo had so much fun helping in the kitchen, especially learning to run the large dishwasher and she laughed hysterically each time Mort opened it and it would fog up his glasses.
After breakfast we ate lunch in town with innkeepers Mort, Lainey and their son Steven and his wife Sara who are getting ready to leave for Germany in a few months. Then we walked around Bryson City….it’s the cutest little town. I love the original buildings and signs that steep visits in history:
Early afternoon we went to a nearby town to buy paint and Brett stocked up on a few bales of pine needles because he was itching to do some landscaping. (just wait until you hear about what we are doing in the morning….definitely a first for us) Next on his list is clearing this awesome “bat cave” that runs from the cottage to the shuffleboard court / dining room area for Boo to sneak up to the inn…especially any poison ivy:
Then we stopped by the river to skip a few rocks. I just can’t believe that we get to live in this place:
There will definitely be an adjustment period. We aren’t used to the rainforest-like climate yet (it was 100% humidity yesterday and we just moved from a place that only gets rain about once a year.) We are living in a tiny cottage with 1/20th of what we owned before, and we still own way too much because we are trying to find places to put everything. It’s definitely an adjustment only owning one car right now but we are making it work (I am seriously mulling a moped purchase.) I wouldn’t trade this for the world. It’s amazing and scary all wrapped into a new life. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster but through it all I have never been more certain that God has strategically led us down this path. How else would everything fall into perfect place the way it did?
Oh and all the rumors that are flying too. Some that we are buying the inn. Others that I must be sick again and that’s why we are pursing something so out of the ordinary. I’d love to clear a few of those up. First, I got a perfect bill of health from my oncologist before leaving California. Second, we are moving to the Hemlock Inn so that I can spend more time writing and have the opportunity to experience inn life. It’s an opportunity to meet people from all over while living in a quaint, beautiful little mountain town. It’s a huge leap of faith and boy are we realizing that we’ve really lept. And of course we are nervous, but as long as we have family and friends and food and a roof over our heads what else do we really need? We are so blessed that Mort and Lainey of the Hemlock Inn have also taken a leap of faith and agreed to let us live on the property for a year. Today Boo disappeared and I found her hanging out in Mort and Lainey’s bedroom. The innkeepers are going to have to set “Boo hours” or they are going to be in for very little personal time….but what a great opportunity for Boo to live in a such a place that she can do that. I have to pinch myself even now.
Ok, now it’s late, and I’m the only one awake on the property I think. I might even have to shut down the inn tonight but I can’t wait to share this journey with you. I hope many of you will come visit us because that is what this is all about….meeting amazing people from all over and hearing the stories they have to tell. Come sit in a rocking chair and enjoy the view. Or maybe I’ll challenge you to a game of shuffleboard. It’s a special place. And as always, most of all, thank you, thank you for reading my story. For taking the precious time of your day to read these words. God bless!
P.S. If you are new to the blog and want to read the backstory this post sums up how everything came about. Or this post on how I found the inn last summer after years and years of wondering if it was still around and my childhood history at the inn.