This has been my morning routine for almost three years now, ever since we found ourselves unexpectedly transplanted to the Forgotten Coast of Florida.
Home Sweet Home
We arrived home Friday afternoon after a fabulous four-and-a-half month trip to the Great Lakes. We slipped easily back into our lives here…a gorgeous sunset off the dock, fresh local snapper for dinner, and the comfort and beauty of this place that has become home.
Magnolia is thrilled! She gallops wildly through the house, enticing us into her favorite game of “Chase the Kitty.” At the moment, she’s on “her” screened porch enjoying the wildlife that hops and flutters by. Eric left early to go birding on the island, his favorite morning pastime. We’re reconnecting with local friends.
We are all happy to be home.
But in about 10 days, we’re putting our house on the market. Just when we were feeling settled…
We’re Moving To North Carolina
If all goes as planned, come June we’ll be living in a tiny house in the mountains.
Just kidding! Not that tiny! But we really did buy a tiny house, in a sweet tiny house community in Flat Rock, North Carolina.
We did not make this decision lightly. The last few weeks have been mentally challenging and emotionally exhausting.
Why We’re Moving Now
For several anxiety-provoking days in late September, our home was in the crosshairs of Hurricane Ian. We were fortunate, and the storm veered away from us. But seeing photos of the devastation of places we love in Florida—including Sanibel Island, where we’ve stayed several times to enjoy the birding and biking—is surreal and distressing.
Honestly, we don’t know where to live that isn’t subject to drought, wildfires, and smoke. Or hurricanes. Or floods. Or earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, or blizzards. No place is perfect, we know that. But there are definitely places that are less risky than others.
I spent the first 29 years of my life in Florida, and hurricanes never particularly worried me. Mostly, they meant a lot of yard cleanup. But storms have gotten bigger, more destructive, and more frequent. With every storm, insurance is getting more expensive and more difficult to obtain. We’ve made the decision to leave now, not because of the risk of a hurricane, but because of the insanity of the Florida insurance market.
In the next few months, Florida is going to be scrambling to figure out a way to keep everything afloat. If the insurance industry collapses, the housing market goes with it. (If you’re interested, this podcast by the New York Times explains it well.) As much as we love this place, we’re not willing to risk significant financial loss.
How We Decided On North Carolina
We discovered the tiny house community in Flat Rock during our summer in North Carolina in 2021. We were intrigued enough that we visited twice, thinking that perhaps at some point in the future, we might relocate.
That “some point in the future” suddenly became “NOW” after Hurricane Ian. We rerouted our trip plans and spent a week in Flat Rock. The weather was gorgeous, the autumn leaves were in full glory, and we did not take advantage at all of the myriad hiking trails, interesting little towns, great restaurants, or cultural events that surrounded us. This was not a week of travel adventures. This was a week of focused information-gathering.
We are painfully aware of all that we’re giving up in leaving Florida—our beautiful home that my parents built, the incredible views, the wildlife that surrounds us. Most of all, we’re sad to be moving away from the good friends we’ve made. We’re tired of moving away from friends. If we’re moving away, we both agree that it has to be somewhere that really feels “right.”
Why A Tiny House?
We looked at other real estate in North Carolina. But we didn’t find anything that appealed to us. Sure, there are some gorgeous big homes being built. And there are lots of funky fixer-uppers to be had. But we want to simplify our lives. We don’t want a big house to take care of. We are not at all interested in renovating yet another house. We don’t want a big yard to take care of. We want a garden, but a small garden. We want to do more traveling, and we want to be able to lock the door and walk away without worrying. A tiny house in a tiny house community seems just right for right now.
In our favor is that we have a lot of practice living in small spaces. We lived in our 27-foot travel trailer for eight years, which is approximately 214 square feet. And we were comfortable. Our home in Oregon was only 1375 square feet, with one bathroom. (We never fought about the bathroom.)
In our home now, which is somewhere around 1600 square feet of living space, we feel like we’re rattling around. We tend to use one bathroom, the master bedroom is way too big, and we have one bedroom out of three that we haven’t even furnished. We sit together on the same sofa in a living room full of furniture. We use a fraction of the space in the enormous closets. We don’t use the garage.
It’s not that we’re minimalists—we both have many interests, and we enjoy surrounding ourselves with objects that are meaningful to us. But it doesn’t take a lot of space to have the lifestyle we want.
Imagining Tiny House Living
We spent every day in Flat Rock walking the streets of the neighborhood, meeting residents, talking with carpenters, and inspecting the homes under construction. We asked a million questions. We spent hours in the various models, measuring and imagining how we would feel living in 500 square feet (plus a 10×10 screened front porch and a 10×10 back deck).
As we wandered the streets, our future neighbors greeted us warmly. Several invited us into their homes, sharing their experience of what it’s like to live in a tiny house. Every home was beautifully and creatively decorated, and we got a good idea of how livable the tiny homes are. Everyone we met was welcoming and interesting, and it became immediately clear that we were among like-minded, liberal leaning folks.
It feels like a real, old-fashioned neighborhood—with lots of cool activities. There are yoga classes, a workout studio, a beautiful pool and clubhouse, walking trails, a community vegetable garden, and a community fire pit. If you want to be social, you can be social. If you tend to prefer a more private lifestyle, that’s fine, too. We’re somewhere in between, and we came away feeling like we’re going to fit in just fine.
It’s Going To Be A Busy Few Months
So! That’s our big news. Now all we have to do is get our house on the market, sell it, put whatever we’re keeping in storage, find someplace to spend the winter in our trailer (we’re not in the mood to travel), and get back to North Carolina in the spring to oversee our house build. All while trying our best to stay present and to fully enjoy this moment. Wish us luck!
Oh, and during the next few months, I’m going to catch up on writing about our summer of Great Lakes adventures. We hope you all are doing well. ❤️
I am very happy for you. I have loved the idea of a tiny house for several years now. I watch a lot of you tube videos. I recently watched one of a community (I believe it’s in New York or Mass) It looks fabulous. I am excited to see your new home. Best wishes on a smooth transition.
Thank you so much, Christine. I’ve been intrigued with tiny houses for a long time, too. I’m going to start watching some videos to get ideas for decorating!
Oh my goodness, Laurel. I had to keep running back and forth between the office computer where I was reading your news and the living room where Mo was sitting. Trying to give her updates, then running back and reading some more. Wow. What a momentous decision. And what a beautiful choice. I love the feeling of North Carolina, and hopefully, it isn’t quite in the line of fire the way Appalachicola is. The lifestyle sounds perfect for you two, although I am sad that you won’t be further west. I know smoke is a huge thing, but our family is here and we have decided to live with it as best we can for all the other things we love about living in the west. But. If I didn’t have family here or lived alone, I would be following you to that tiny community in a heartbeat!!! This is truly exciting news for the three of you. You know the Kitty will love that small space where she can terrorize you without much effort. And the friendly people sound like a delightful plus. A liberal neighborhood in N Carolina Maybe you can change the trajectory there. Oh my. I can only imagine the sadness as you leave that beautiful beach behind. How far from the beach will your new home be? Guess I can go search it out. Oh my oh my. I am feeling so happy for you and excited for you and hurt in my heart for beautiful Appalachicola who will lose two of the best people it could possibly have. Much love to you in the next few months, and positive vibes for a fast good sale!!
Oh, Sue…thank you for your loving and supportive comment! I laughed at you saying that Magnolia will enjoy the small space where she can terrorize us without much effort. That is SO true, haha!! We’re happy that she’s so adaptable, she didn’t know what she was getting into when she adopted us. :-)
You understand how difficult it is for us to leave here. It is definitely a “soul” home for me, and Eric has grown to deeply love it, too. And the Pacific Northwest will always be “home” for us, as well…but the wildfires and drought are keeping us from returning. North Carolina feels like a good choice for us at this time. We’re just trying to stay open and trust that we’re on the right path.
Well that is really big news. And it all makes sense. I’m wishing you well as you negotiate the challenges involved with the relocation. The community sounds wonderful and I hope they know how fortunate they are to be adding you guys as neighbors. I’m looking forward to upcoming posts this Winter.
Thank you so much, Nancy. Moving again (including selling a home!) feels a bit overwhelming, but we really feel like we’re making a good decision. The tiny home community is wonderful, and we were delighted to meet so many people that we felt immediately comfortable with. We will always miss Ashland and our friends there. It’s hard to leave people we love! I hope you two are doing well.
Hi folks, we did something similar this Summer. We sold our house and moved to the country to an energy sustainable home. Also, to have land and will create gardens. You are on the right track, enjoy the process, if it turns out to be not your thing you can always rearrange and try something else, that’s our thinking. We are not going South this winter, painful to imagine. Jamie had some health issues and we expect to do a few week long trips to get us through. Our best, Jamie and Sharyn
Hi Sharyn, we’re so sorry to hear that Jamie has had some health issues, and hope that he’s doing well now. We enjoyed the time we spent with you last year, and are sad that we won’t get to see you this winter. Your move to an energy sustainable home is so interesting…I’d love to know more about it! Eric and I have reassured each other with exactly what you said, that if this “adventure” doesn’t work out for us, we’ll try something else. So far, we have a very good feeling about it. :-)
Congratulations! It’s always exciting (and overwhelming) to start a new chapter. We’ve settled into our stationary life and getting more involved in community activities and loving it. I’ll admit, I was very apprehensive when we first purchased the house, but it was the right decision at the right time as I’m sure this is right for you as well. No doubt, it’ll be emotional selling the home your folks built but a relief to not have to worry about hurricane season. Best wishes for a smooth transition.
Thanks, Ingrid! You know all about making big decisions about where and how to live. I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying your stationary life. Getting involved in the community makes all the difference! It’s hard to leave here, not only because we’re leaving the home my folks built and this beautiful property, but we’re leaving the community activities and the friends we’ve made. But as you said, it will be an immense relief to not worry about hurricanes (and the insane insurance industry).
You could have knocked me over with a feather! I had to jump (actually the word is amble in my current state) up to find our atlas and locate Flat Rock, NC. You will almost be in Virginia! I totally understand about not knowing “where to live.” If it’s not smoke, it’s hurricanes or some other disaster! I am sure it will be hard for you both to give up your lovely home on the bay with so many memories. And did Magnolia get a vote in leaving that big racetrack house behind??
I’m with you on the “tiny” part. Both our houses are way too big for two people. For many winters we lived in our 40′ motorhome and never missed all the space we had in Montana.
It’s hard to make friends when you are our age and I think it’s very savvy to move into a community with like minded people.
I wish you all the best as you start this exciting new journey.
Janna, we really didn’t anticipate moving right now, and we’re needing to reassure ourselves every day that we’re making the right decision. We always come back to the same conclusion, that it’s a wise move to make now. It’s so interesting that all of us who lived in RV’s understand how easy it is to live well with less!
Magnolia didn’t get a vote, but we’re screening the porch just for her! And there’s a long hallway that runs through the house so that we can play chase, LOL! Thanks for your good wishes. It’s exciting…and kinda scary…
Glad you’re getting off the gulf, and taking care of yourselves. Sounds like a great place to live, and base your travel out of.
Thanks, Kyle. We hope you and Cyn are doing well…and maybe you’ll come visit us in NC! Your beautiful tiny house in Oregon is inspiring us. Miss you!
So we will practically be next door neighbors—great news!
Congratulations on making the leap. All the best for a smooth and seamless transition.
Hi Greg, we also realized that we’ll be so much closer to you and Lori. We’re looking forward to seeing you two more often! Thanks so much for your good wishes! :-)
You and I think alike!! I too love Florida but jeeze, the home insurance premiums are outrageous plus the anxiety of hurricanes 1/2 the year, makes more sense just to visit Florida. And my “tiny home” build project just north of you in Virginia’s Appalachian Mt area starts in January 2023!! Looking forward to your next posts :)
Teri, how fun is that, we’re both building tiny houses! You understand exactly why we’re leaving Florida. Our insurance premiums are already $5000 a year, and will be going up. As you said, we want to visit, but not live here. I hope you’ll be posting about your home build. And it sounds like we’ll be neighbors!
I’ve followed you for years before you settled in Florida. Always interesting and well-written. My wife and I have just recently made the same decision. We are leaving friends and loved ones in Colorado. It is painful emotionally, but necessary. Wildfires are a common occurrence. Drought is getting worse every year. When we were first married (forty+ years ago) we dreamed about living in Vermont. Now we are going to. No wildfires, no drought, very little & infrequent hurricane impact, no tornadoes, no earthquakes. North Carolina was our second choice, but the heat and humidity are a big deal to us.
Good luck and best wishes. I hope you keep posting.
Hi Bruce, it sounds like you and your wife are in a situation very similar to ours. As you said, it’s an emotionally painful decision to leave behind friends and loved ones. We sold our home in Southern Oregon for exactly the same reasons you’re leaving Colorado (drought and wildfires). And now we’re leaving Florida because of the hurricanes and the crazy insurance industry. We did our research in choosing where we’re going to be living in North Carolina…no hurricanes, and we are NOT in a flood zone!
Your move to Vermont sounds exciting! We’re looking forward to having four distinct seasons in North Carolina, but all are pretty moderate. Coming from Florida I don’t think we’ll be too bothered by the summer heat in NC, LOL. I’d love to hear more about your move to Vermont. Good luck with everything!
Well you know how I love your home on the bay and how, in your shoes, I would grieve for its loss but your decision is sensible just as your difficult decision to leave the Oregon home you so loved. The community sounds wonderful. And Flat Rock is at least “a little” closer to me when I’m in Virginia during summer and spring. You are leaving a wonderful winter place to now move to a wonderful summer place. And SO FAST. June is only 8 months away.
You are amazing. I envy you the community in your new place. The farm is wonderfully isolated and beautiful but that’s not always wonderful, Charlottesville has restaurants and culture but has gotten too big and now has traffic and crime. I know, no where is perfect. What to do….what to do. You are much much better at making hard decisions than I. With all hopes that everything goes smoothly. Love to you both
Sherry, these kinds of life decisions really are hard, as you know. It wasn’t easy letting go of our home in Oregon, and it’s not going to be easy letting go of this house. I’m looking out at the bay right now, and I know we’ll never again have a view like this. It makes me sad!
Still, we know we need to make this move for our long-term well being. And there are lots of great things about North Carolina that we find very appealing. But now we’re going to be trying to get Florida camping reservations in winter, ugh! We can meet up with you!
This morning, Dave said “wait til you read Laurel’s blog!” Sounds exciting in an exhausting sort of way (spoken by someone who recently sold, moved out and moved in). Don’t get me wrong, the move is just the right one for the time. Hurricanes and insurance worries aren’t needed at this stage of our lives. I’ve always said I could live in a tiny home, I guess those of us who have spent time in our motorhomes or trailers don’t see what all the fuss is about! We’re in 1400 and we rattle around in here – Lewis has his job cut out trying to keep us both in view. A nice liberal leaning community would be a nice change too…..
We both look forward to watching this plan grow and the house going up. Please keep us all in the loop, we’re excited!
Perhaps Arizona for the winter? You could catch up with lots of us that way, just sayin…..
Sue, you know just how exhausting this kind of big uprooting is…we’re trying to take it day-by-day, making lists, crossing things off of lists…and trying to remember to breathe and enjoy the beauty of where we are in the moment.
It’s interesting how most of us who traveled full-time now find most ‘regular-sized’ homes too big! So cute that Lewis has to work hard to keep track of you both, haha! We’re excited about our new life ahead, sad to be leaving here, excited, sad, excited, sad…sigh.
Oh, and we would love to see you and other friends this winter…I’m just not sure we are up for a really long trip at the moment. It would be a perfect time to head to Arizona, though. We miss you guys.
Congratulations guys. No doubt this was a big decision, but, if not now, when? The cost to own and insure real estate in Florida is only going to get worse. I love the concept of the tiny-home community as it creates an instant base of new friends. And, you can’t beat the location. They say there are two kinds of people in this world – beach people and mountain people. You guys seem to be made for both. If we were inclined to relocate, NC would be high on my list, along with North GA. I find more to love each time we visit. Wishing you the best transition possible.
Thanks, Suzanne. This is an enormous and difficult decision for us. We thought perhaps sometime down the road, maybe in 5-10 years we would make a move. But in many ways, it’s probably best that we move sooner rather than later. As you said, the cost of owning a home in Florida is only going to get worse. And a big storm here would be devastating.
One of the benefits of the tiny home community is exactly what you said—there’s an instant base of new friends. I’m glad we spent a week there last month—we feel certain that we’re landing in a community of kindred spirits.
Pretty exciting E and L,
I look forward to your blog on paring down. As we all travel through different stations in life the saved ‘stuff’ accumulated loses its appeal or need. Storage businesses have thrived. Materialism in this country has thrived. Homes have gotten larger. Then we get older, have fewer needs and wants and try to figure out how to deal with an old high school letterman’s jacket or file boxes of decades old letters, articles, clothes and all that stuff our kids wouldn’t want. It’s tough to make those sentimental decisions and I look forward to you shining some light on the situation.
So, you two adventurers, I honor what you’re doing. It’s no small task but seems like the best time for you both to make this move. Please know all the above things I’ve mentioned are totally in my guilty box! When Kath and I make the decision to move it will take months to prepare. Good luck on your paring and hope you have a speedy sale.
Everything you say makes sense to me, Ted. Most of us accumulate way too much stuff, and it happens so incrementally, we’re not even aware of how much we have until it comes time to pare down. I’m still traumatized by dealing with my parents epic collection. And we still have that danged storage unit in Ashland, as you well know.
I am SO ready to pare down, and Eric says that he is, too. We shall see what happens to that letterman jacket, haha. My vote is to take photos of stuff and travel lightly…but not all of us can so easily let go. Good luck to you guys as you navigate the waters of possible changes! OX
Wow, Laurel! Just…WOW! You two are clearly making the best decision. Climate change has made the Big Bend and Panhandle areas bigger targets every year, and insurance has become an almost out-of-reach nightmare for residents. The time is now.
North Carolina is beautiful, and being away from the coast, finding a tiny community with like-minded people, well, it sounds perfect for all of you.
We’re sorry to have missed you in Michigan this autumn, but our life/world travels had other plans, as well. Perhaps we’ll find you in Florida early in the new year, one last time, if you’re not already traveling.
Big, unexpected changes all around for some of us in this stage of our lives. This world is a big, beautiful place, full of beautiful people, if only we keep our eyes open to the possibilities. Ours are open and awaiting big next steps.
Hi Karen, it’s a big WOW for sure, isn’t it? Honestly, we’re kind of stunned by how quickly everything is happening, even though we’re driving this change. I appreciate your comment about keeping our eyes open to the possibilities that surround us. There are so many wonderful possibilities in life, and we’re trying to pay attention to what intuitively feels right.
We’re sorry we missed you in Michigan. You live in a beautiful state! If you guys are coming to Cedar Key this winter, we’ll likely see you there! :-)
This will, undoubtedly, be a bittersweet process, but it’s one that makes a lot of sense. Your Florida home is gorgeous, but there’s a lot to be said for minimizing risk at the same time as minimizing possessions. Speaking of which, we’ve always been amazed at just how little space we need and how quickly we can adapt to any living situation. Even “smaller” American houses seem huge, and it’s nearly impossible to feel like you’re really using all the space you have. A tiny home that is well thought out will give you exactly what you need. I’m excited for you guys!
We’re definitely feeling the bittersweetness of leaving here, Laura. Not only do I have a lifetime of memories of Apalachicola, but Eric and I have made so many good memories in our three years of living here. Including having you and Kevin and Thor visit us last winter!
We spent a lot of time just hanging out in the tiny house models in Flat Rock, and they are really well thought out and very comfortable. Of course, it may be a different story when we’re actually living in one, but I think we’re pretty well-prepared for tiny house living after all of our years in our trailer!
Big news indeed! And it sounds like a perfect plan. Tiny living is great. We’ve been in our place, 600 sq ft, for almost 6 years now, and it works for us! Enjoy this next adventure. I admire your ability to change as life changes. So glad we met all those years ago in Ashland! ❤️
I’m so happy to hear from you, Kim! Although we visited you in your beautiful coastal home several years ago, I never thought of it as tiny. I didn’t realize it’s only 600 square feet! We’re also glad we met up with you two all those years ago in Ashland. And then in Taos, and then on the coast…you guys are good at being flexible in life, too…I hope you’re both doing well. 💕💕
Dang…we just missed our one opportunity to see your Florida place! Circumstances caused us to pull a series of one-nighters on the way south (more on our blog later), so we buzzed by you about the same time you got home! So cool about the new place! We’ll catch up again once the dust settles. Have fun!
Jim, we would have loved to have you and Diana come by to stay with us! We’re really going to miss having a place for friends to stay on our property. But there are lots of places close to our new home in North Carolina, and we hope you’ll come visit us there. Enjoy your winter in Florida!
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
–”In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver
This is so beautiful, and so perfect, Janie. I hope you and Russ are doing well, and I hope we’ll get to catch up with you two somewhere soon.
Ha, I was just writing something along the lines of without the benefit of travel adventures, living in a 300sf RV completely loses its charm. I could totally live in a tiny house — by myself. Given the amount of time you’ve lived in nearly half your new square footage, it will still feel cavernous to you, I’m sure. If not, you can each retreat to your own porches! I hope the Florida sale goes smoothly, you find a suitable wintering site(s), and your new build is all you’re dreaming of <3
LOL!! Well, I can’t wait to read your post, Joodie! We’ve spent so much time in our trailer, even when we weren’t traveling…most recently, when we had to stay in our trailer during our home renovation during COVID. Yeah, that wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
I think we’re going to do fine in our new tiny house. As you said, we have TWO PORCHES. And that’s why we’re absolutely adding a bedroom that we’ll be using as an office/art studio. When we toured the tiny house community, we met several couples who are happy living in a one bedroom tiny house, but we know our limits, haha.
Ooh, I love the idea of a tiny/small house! I’m sure you’ll miss your gorgeous views of the bay, but you’ll be moving to another beautiful spot with its own gorgeous views. I don’t think we’ve been to Flat Rock, but it’s not too far from Valle Crucis and Boone, which we love! I think you’re making a very wise decision, given that hurricanes are such a threat to the area. I have a good friend who lives on Sanibel (half of the year) and the lower level of their home was completely ruined in this recent storm. Their living area is on the next level, which is ok, so they got lucky. I sure wouldn’t want that constant worry each season. I can only imagine the cost of insurance in that area. My mom’s insurance jumped up considerably, given that we live in an area that may be hit with forest fires.
Your tiny house & community sound like what I would like if we ever have to move. Very little yard, low maintenance, easy to clean quickly, and easy to be away for a few months at a time. Your future neighbors sound very welcoming and I’m sure you’ll make loads of friends very quickly. What is the weather like in the winter? Lots of snow? I think that’s the only thing that would deter me. After 25 years in Nebraska, I’m over winters! Best of luck with the sale of your house!
Les, we have good friends in Boone (which is about 100 miles from Flat Rock), and really like it there. But the winters are bit too much for us! Flat Rock only gets about 5 inches of snow per year, which seems just about perfect for the amount of winter we want. We’re looking forward to a four-season climate, and Flat Rock is very similar to our former hometown in southern Oregon.
We’re excited about living in a tiny house in a tiny house community. All of the reasons that you mentioned make it very appealing, and the welcoming and interesting community are what sold us. It’s a huge life transition, but we think a good one. I’m so sorry to hear about your friends in Sanibel…the worry of a big storm is obviously one of the reasons we want to leave here sooner than later. Our insurance is ridiculous at $5000 a year and will increase this year.
Laurel what an exciting time for you and Eric. Another dream come true.
I loved the photo of the Snowy Egrets and the Blue Heron on your dock which
reminded me of my home in Los Osos where I could see the Egrets in the trees
beyond the bay and the Herons there as well. I miss seeing them.
Now that you have made the decision, the rest will be easier moving forward and
rewarding. You will have sweet memories and also of your growing up years in your
home with your Mom, Dad and Sister. The Sea Breeze is really a great choice and
what a welcoming community you and Eric get to move to…. WOW, so many
adventures ahead and you have so many friends who will visit I am sure.
It may seem overwhelming but, I hope you stay in the present and enjoy this
time of work, laughter and change. You guys are pros at getting things done. Hugs, Peggy
I wish you could have come to visit us here, Peggy. I know you would love all of the birds…there’s something magical about the egrets and herons coming to rest on the dock, the pelicans flying by…so much beauty! You understand how difficult it is for us to leave here, but you’re right, making the decision to leave was perhaps the hardest part. There’s a lot of work ahead, but we have a worthwhile goal. Thanks so much for your encouragement. I hope you’ll come to visit us in North Carolina! OX
At first we were surprised. After reflecting on your move a little, it makes total sense. Florida is in the hurricane cross-hairs every year now and it will be that way for the remainder of our lifetimes.
We’re sure you will enjoy the “turn-off-the-lights-lock-the-doors and leave” aspect of your new living arrangement. It’s working very well for us.
I thought I’d mention that we have two small waist height gardens (2×4′ ea.) that put out prodigious quantities of lettuce, spinach, and other veg. They are on automatic watering so we can be gone in the summer. It’s so much fun!
You two are possibly the best equipped of anybody that we know to make this move and settle again into a new life.
All our best,
We surprised ourselves, too, Riley! We’re sad to be leaving this special place, but feel like it’s the right thing to do at this time. We’re very much looking forward to the “turn-off-the-lights-lock-the-doors and leave” aspect of our new community. So glad to hear that’s working out well for you and Karen. Oh, and I really like your idea of the small raised beds. Greens and herbs! And cherry tomatoes in season!
WOW! Big news indeed. But you couldn’t be moving to a more perfect place. I’ve always thought, if someone forced me to leave the PNW, that the Blue Ridge is where I’d aim myself. I completely understand the push/pull that’s getting you there, and of course the pain involved in saying goodbye to a loved place. Excited to read about the next steps, though! Mazel Tov!
Gretchen, I like knowing that the Blue Ridge is where you would move if you were to leave your beloved Lopez Island. Because you know how much we love Lopez! As you said, it’s really difficult to say goodbye to a special place, but we’re feeling like this is a good move, in so many ways. Thanks so much for your good wishes!
You and Eric were born to live in a state like North Carolina. Hiking, birding, and excellent camping are only a few benefits, and you’ll add much more to the list (Asheville has excellent craft beer, LOL). We drive close to Flat Rock several times a year on our way to Charleston and would love to catch up; plus, we must meet up in Cherokee for a fun weekend. Helen and I are very excited for you both. We tried to get a campsite at St. George for the winter but had no luck, so we’ll just put our time together on hold for next summer.
Best wishes for a quick sale. Joe
Hi Joe, we loved our summer in North Carolina in 2021—as you said, it has so many of the things we enjoy. Although we’re going to miss the bay and the beach here, we’re really looking forward to the hiking in NC. And there are so many cool little towns, great restaurants, and more breweries than we’ll ever be able to work our way through, haha. It would be great to meet up with you and Helen for a camping weekend! Thanks so much for your good wishes…we’re hoping for a quick sale, too. And a good price. :-)
Wow, good for you! I love the concept of simpler living… with less stuff. I also understand why certain areas of the country are more worrisome than others. We don’t have hurricanes and – so far – wildfires haven’t been too much of a problem, but the drought is getting worse and there doesn’t seem to be any workable solutions. Oh, and earthquakes.
I will watch your transition with great interest. I think most of our homes are quite a bit larger than we really need, and our “stuff” just gets in the way of what we’d rather be doing.
I understand why some people love Florida, but it wouldn’t be someplace I’d want to live. Now North Carolina… maybe. My husband’s brother and S-i-L live in Chapel Hill and love it!
Keep us in the loop!
Janis, you’re so lucky that wildfires haven’t been a problem for you. If the smoke hadn’t become such a problem in Ashland, we wouldn’t have sold our home there. And now here we are with Florida and hurricanes and crazy insurance. We’re very happy that where we’re moving in NC doesn’t seem to have any major environmental disasters waiting in the wings!
It’s interesting how many people are attracted to the idea of simpler living and less stuff. We’ll see how we do paring down our lives…I suspect it’s going to be more of a problem for one of us in this household, and it’s not me, haha!!
Big changes ahead, indeed! We recently drove through that area of North Carolina, and I have to say that you chose an absolutely gorgeous place to live. I’m impressed by your and Eric’s careful thought process and the way you thoroughly analyzed a very personal decision from so many perspectives. You acknowledged the difficult loss of your family home and local friends, but didn’t let it stop you from making the decision that would ensure your financial security and personal happiness. The two of you could teach a course in decision-making!
The next eight to ten months will be a whirlwind of activity for the two of you. Thank goodness Magnolia is there to supervise! Wishing you smooth sailing every step of the way!
Mary, how did you know that Magnolia is such a good supervisor? :-) Hopefully she’s going to help keep us sane (and laughing) during this next eight or so months, which as you said, is going to be a whirlwind of activity. I’m trying to keep the big picture in mind but at the same time just take it one task at a time, while still enjoying life. This is such a big change!
I appreciate your kind words and your encouragement. And I hope we’ll manage to cross paths in the not too distant future!
While we will be sad to lose you guys as neighbors, we are thrilled that you are choosing to move to a situation that is so obviously right for you. As you well know from watching your parents age, having a big house and a big yard only becomes more challenging as the years go by, and it’s also hard to manage if you still want to travel. A smaller, more turnkey place is the perfect solution, and being in a community of like-minded people will make it even more enjoyable. All the work you put in to renovate the house should make it easy to sell, and all the work cleaning out the closets will make it a snap to move. Now is the perfect time to make this change. We promise to come visit!
Shannon, as you know, one of the biggest drawbacks for us in leaving here is losing you and Ken as neighbors. This has been a wild ride the past three years, and you guys have been great friends and excellent company throughout all of it. Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without you…it certainly wouldn’t have been as much fun! You already know that even if we’re moving away you aren’t getting rid of us, LOL.
Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. Maybe we’ll be able to talk you into North Carolina at some point. :-))
How exciting! Life is lived in phases, and each phase has it pros and cons. May this next phase be full of pros that lift you both up and make you very happy!
Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate your kind words, and I’m happy to hear from you. I hope you and Hans and Rosie are doing well and enjoying San Diego!
Excellent choice I might add. We too are in the process of exploring what is in our next chapter of life. We also have realized no where is perfect. We are still a ways from deciding but NC is on our list and a tiny house might even fit the bill. Best of luck to you two in sorting through all of this.
Thanks so much, John! I know you and Sharon have been thinking about what your next step might be. You’re so right that no place is perfect…all of us who have spent time full-time RVing seem to come to the same conclusion. North Carolina seems to tick most of the boxes for us, as does the tiny house community. A new chapter awaits!
So excited for you and so glad we got to visit Apalach and your lovely bayside home. You know we love to visit, bird and beach in Florida: not so much to live there. We think you are just a wee bit closer to us. You two have the mountain home, and just head SSE to Hilton Head to us and the beach.
We still hope you can break away for Christmas down here (still “up” here.) Come when you can…the door is open.
Keep us in the loop as things progress,
Ed and Diana
Aww, we’re so glad you two came to visit us in Apalach! That was SO much fun! We’re very happy we’re going to be closer to you two. And we’re really looking forward to visiting you at your beautiful home, hopefully around Christmas if we can get everything taken care of here. Love you both, and of course, give Latte a kiss from Magnolia!
That’s quite the news! And quite the change. But you’re right. Being experienced in small-space living already, the tiny home should fit you to a “T”. I’ve had tiny house communities in the back of my mind should we ever decide to not “rattle around” our current home in Colorado.
Good luck with the sale … and may everything go smoothly with this change in your lives.
Erin, we’re still adjusting to the reality that we’re really doing this! Working through our ‘to-do’ list is making it real, though. So interesting that you’ve considered a tiny house community, too. I think it’s perfect for those of us accustomed to smaller-scale living and is also ideal for those of us who want to travel and have a home base that’s easy to leave. Thanks so much for your good wishes!
So excited for you guys. Can’t wait to come see it. And you! I know that house has so many memories. Here’s to making new ones!
Beth, we can’t wait for you and Perry to come visit! Is our tiny house going to be smaller than your motorhome? I think it might be…and you have two bathrooms…LOL! Love you two and miss you!
OH My! what a surprise. But knowing you, lots of soul searching and researching was definitely involve in the process of yet another change. You are keeping us up on our toes with these exciting moves from Oregon to Florida and now to North Carolina. It seems you are moving faraway from us :)
Anyhow, Im sure you are ready with any challenges as you moved,(you know the details of stuff) and you are selling a showplace with lots of amenities and views.
It’s funny but NC was on our list but due to humidity we delisted it right away, but you made a great choice moving to NC. You will be the second couple to visit there someday.
Good luck and hope the sale goes smooth sailing.
Thanks so much for your good wishes, ML. This was a difficult decision for us. We love it here in so many ways, and after all of the work we’ve done to make this “home” we certainly weren’t planning to uproot our lives and start again in a new place. But as you said, we did a lot of soul-searching and research and it feels like the right move to make.
You’re the second person to mention the humidity in NC, but the mountains, where we’re moving, has a temperate climate. Of course it’s more humid than Arizona, but overall, it’s a very comfortable four-season climate. We’re happy to be somewhere that has plenty of water and greenery but without the intense summer heat and humidity of Florida!
Wow O Wow. What a lot of hard decisions. It all sound wise and well thought out but my oh my how I ache for how difficult this all is. I loved watching what you did with the place and felt that it so reflected your taste and love of light, nature and beauty and to do all that with the bones of what your folks had built just seemed like icing. So I can imagine how much you enjoy watching the sun and water from what you have created. Also the community that you made sounded pretty great..
I have not a single doubt that you can make all of that happen again in a safer place. I admire your bravery and think anytime we can simplify things it’s a wise choice.
All the best to you both.
Oh Sue, I’m so happy to hear from you! Thank you for your beautiful thoughts…you seem to understand just how special this place is for us and how hard it is to leave it behind. As you know, we never expected to find ourselves living here. And we certainly never expected that we would love it as much as we do!
It’s not going to be easy to let go of this house that my parents built with so much love, and that has now become our home (after three years of SO much work). And it’s really painful to once again be leaving friends. But we know it’s a wise move for us to make. And the friends we’ve made are “forever friends,” just as you and Doug and our other close friends in Ashland are. Love to you both!
As a Tennessean who loves to explore in NC, Flat Rock sounds like a great move, congratulations! Isn’t Flat Rock home to a wonderful theater?
Hi Beverly, we liked the Flat Rock/Hendersonville area a lot when we spent our summer in NC in 2021. Actually, we liked all of Western NC! We’re excited about the hiking and other outdoor activities in the area. And we’ve heard that Flat Rock has a fabulous theatre, so we’re looking forward to that, too. Thanks so much for your comment and your encouragement!
Oh Laurel, I read this post days ago and I just didn’t have the words to write a response at the time. Gosh, my heart is so sad for you knowing you will leave that important and beautiful and unique home behind. I am always simply astounded at the beauty of your yard and the dock and the BIRDS and the surroundings. It’s so rare to have such a gorgeous place, isn’t it? And yet ultimately not only do I understand why you want to move (politics alone would keep me from ever wanting to live in Florida, but add hurricanes and it’s a done deal), I also think it is so wise and wonderful that you and Eric can both still look at your life and consider making changes. That’s brave and bold and brilliant! I’m really proud of you. I look forward to joining you on the journey too as I’m such a fan of your blog. Sending you a big hug as you start this next journey!!
Oh, Janet…I wish so much you could have visited us here in Florida. You would love the birds! I never thought we would live in Florida, but looking back, I’m grateful that we were stranded here in 2020. As you said, this is a unique and beautiful place, and I have deep emotional ties here. There are many things we will miss, and things that we won’t miss, including hurricanes and insane Florida politics.
I appreciate your encouragement and support for this next big life adventure. There’s a lot that’s hard about this move, not only the exhausting amount of work involved in getting ready to put the house on the market, but feeling the sadness of leaving this place and the community of wonderful friends we’ve found. I hope you’ll come visit us in North Carolina! Big hugs to you, too, my friend.
I missed the original post and tonight something said checkin on your blog— big big news indeed and the peace of mind will be welcomed. And to think how many doorways that tiny house will open in the future. Very excited for you!
I’m so happy to hear from you, Leah. Yes, these are big changes for us…we’re feeling a mixture of sadness at letting go of this beautiful property, and excitement for our new chapter. I think you’re right that moving to a tiny house opens up so many possibilities, including long-term stays in Airbnb’s like you’ve done. I’m looking forward to your next adventure!
I’m so behind in reading blogs! As soon as I saw the title of this post I figured North Carolina was going to be your new home. The tiny house is a little surprising but after reading about it and the community it sounds like the perfect place for you two! So happy you found a place that is really your choice rather than circumstances dictating it. With our time in NC cut short this year we’ll definitely find our way to your area in the future!!
Crazy news, huh? Thanks for your good wishes, Jodee. We’re very grateful we’ve had the opportunity to be here in Florida in this special place. And we’re excited about living in North Carolina! See you there! :-)