March 23, 2010

You know how, at the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy says “There’s no place like home.” That’s how I’ve been feeling all day. There is just no place in the world I’d rather be than right here, in this little house on the hill.

Nevertheless, for the last eight years, Dennis and I have been searching for “the place we’ll retire.” The reason? Dennis, who is the money-brains behind this family, worried about rising costs, taxes, and the long term viability of living here. Reluctantly, but with a sensible understanding that it would be best to make this move in our 50s, as opposed to our 70’s, we set out to find the perfect place.

We travelled to North Carolina, Southern Massachusetts, Providence, RI, Portland, ME, Southern NH, Charlottesville, VA – where would we hang our hat? We met with realtors, we looked at houses, land, condos, duplexes. We walked through houses built in the 17th c. and homes still under construction. It’s been an eight year journey.

Last year, we found Chestertown, Maryland. A completely picture perfect charm of a town – brick Federal buildings on the water, a few dozen Victorian beauties lining Washington St., a small liberal arts college. And for those Gilmore Girls fans – there’s an annual Tea Party where residents dress up as Colonial rabble rousers that would rival any Starrs Hollow festival.

We looked at every property on the market. I don’t think I am exaggerating. Last week, we saw what can only be described as the perfect house. It had everything we were looking for, or the potential. It was exactly what we had been describing for years.

Can I tell you how confronting this was? We went to see the house again yesterday, and everything pointed to the fact that it was time to pull the trigger. This was The House.

Yet, we found, when all was said and done, there really is no place like home.

Dennis and I have agreed – no more discussion – we’re staying in DC for now. Staying in this house, with all the stairs – the house that will in no way allow us to age gracefully – but we’re staying. Maybe we’ll move closer in, nearer the city when we get older. Lots older.

For now, we love our house, and more than anything else, we love the setting. Across from Rock Creek Park, we share our life with foxes, owls, hawks, and deer, not to mention the glorious collection of birds at our feeders. It’s a great life, in the city, yet close to nature.

So, for all of you wonderful friends (Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion,) who have listened to the on again off again moving talk. Forget all that. We’re going to be DC residents for the foreseeable future. There really is no place like home.


6 Responses to “There’s No Place Like Home”

  1. Winnie

    Glad to hear you are staying put, at least for now. Your current surroundings sound wonderful, and moving is a real pain, anyway!

  2. Kathi D

    I know the feeling! I never, ever, EVER intended to leave the very house I am in the midst of packing up right now. But then we found the perfect retirement home, and I abandoned this poor house with barely a look back. Now my husband is also deserting it for a small apartment as a transition to the "retirement" home.

    Moving is not fun! This one is somewhat easier because we have been gradually moving the important things to the other house for a few years, so now the main thing is unloading all the rest here in a massive moving sale this Saturday. I have to admit, even though I could never really live that way, collector of things that I am, I have a tinge of jealousy over my husband's new 750 square foot one-bedroom apartment. "Imagine no possessions . . . "

    Meanwhile, I think you have made an excellent decision. When I see photos of your home, I long to be there, too! Especially in the snow–and I don't "do" snow. It just looks so cozy and perfect.

  3. J.B.

    So, in fact, you can come home again! Just don't leave for more than a day. Good choice … although I know Barb and David will be heartbroken that you're not neighbors.

  4. CAP

    What a beautiful tribute to HOME you've written. Selfishly, I'm glad you're staying where you are for now.

  5. Virginia Burton

    Yay! What good news! There will be ways to make your house easier to live in as you age, but where would you ever find a more beautiful setting?


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