We had been talking about moving.
We talked about moving almost three years ago and even went upstate to check out a few houses. We were looking for a little bit of land where we could listen to birds. Columbia County on the east side of the Hudson had peaked our interest since it was right on the water and looked like Vermont.
The first property we looked at we fell in love with. It was a ten-thousand square-foot barn on five acres. It was a spectacular wreck - you could see the sky through the roof, and an animal, maybe a badger, had cleared a path from a little copse of trees to a snuggly home under the cement floor. But it also had fifty-year old beams and cross beams and a silo and it was sturdy and solid. The circuit breaker box had an afro of wires coming out of it and supposedly a well and septic were already in, and we actually considered buying it for about five minutes. When we put numbers down and estimated what it would take to get in and finish it over time, the basic costs were astronomical.
We kept looking online, but nothing compared to that barn. I found a beauty of a farmhouse with a small barn and it got snatched up fast. Joe got a big freelance gig, I got busy, we kept looking online, and though we found things that were nice, nothing said home.
I'm not sure why or how or what was in the air, but about three months ago Joe and I looked at each other and we knew we were ready to move. I've written about this and that and both, really, are just another bead on the how-New-York-is-changing necklace. Something has shifted here, something has finally given me the push I need to fully commit to leaving. I have been here a very long time and New York City is home. But I am now ready to make home elsewhere.
We've opened our search to the west and east side of the Hudson, within roughly two hours from Manhattan. Last month we looked at houses on the west side of the river and confirmed that there can be a flooding problem in some of the Hudson River towns. (One of my favorite houses had a stone wall in the living room, and when I touched it the stones were wet. Ginger thought it tasted good.) We also saw what the bad economy and lack of employment has done to some of these beautiful towns and to say they're depressed doesn't describe the emptiness that permeates street after street. We'll gladly do up and coming that's rough on the edges, so hopefully by widening our search we'll discover a great little town. There's a lot of movement north right now, so I'm sure eventually we'll find a place that feels like home.
Some of these small towns have Second Empire homes like the one above. (It's not for sale and I believe it's been cut up into six apartments.) Call me crazy, but there's something about a Munster-y house that's perfect. I don't like small rooms or low ceilings and some of these oldsters have been trashed. But sometimes they're exquisite. Look at it! Come for noodle salad!