House Meets Home: Love at First Sight

I must confess... it's been too long since our last post. We've been updating our Facebook page as life happens but haven't been as quick to post in this domain. Hope to post more soon - and more often. But to kick things off, we thought it'd be a good idea to fill in the gap. 

Time has a way of running away - especially when you're having fun. In the beginning, this was to be an outdoor blog - filled with logs of our camping trips and outdoor excursions, through good days under the sun and bad buggy days hiding in our tent. Our intent  was to connect, share our experiences and inspire others to get outside and explore this big beautiful world. That remains unchanged. But what has changed is our scope beyond the outdoors.

Since our move, we've been busy getting settled into our new home and community in Meaford. Which is exciting in itself but not outdoor blog-worthy - not by definition anyway. Our new life and lifestyle has awakened our thirst beyond the outdoors. It has spurred another dimension. One of embracing life as it happens in a small quiet town.

We're still in the early phase but wow - we are loving it! We found a haven of heavenly proportions that, so far, soothes our soul - just as if we had driven 2 hours north of the city, paddled for 3 hours, and set up camp on a secluded shoreline site.

Today, we are a quick 3 min stroll to the beach - where we take Sawyer out for his daily walk, sometimes twice daily. Lucky dog. Lucky us! The stars shine ever so brightly - an amazing sight when looking at our house from the driveway! The traffic on our street is next to none as we're on the cusp of a dead-end. Our neighbours are hidden behind bush and tall timbers. The backyard itself looks and feels like a park! Truly a dream come true!

Like a first date to cherish and remember forever, this is our story.

Love at first sight. I'll never forget the day we met...

We had been toying with the idea of moving for quite some time. Location was yet to be determined. Anywhere from BC (where I grew up and where my family resides) to other parts unknown. How about a daily dose of sun, sand and surf? The wanna-be surfer girl in me was waving her hand frantically in the air, vying for my vote. But moving even further from our families and friends was not an option at this time, despite advancements in technology - that is, until a transporter can "beam me up" anywhere, anytime!

Until then (yes, I believe!), our thoughts went to Huntsville and surrounding areas. Why?  Close to Algonquin Park of course! We love this park and have been known to endure the long drive and bumper to bumper traffic for a simple little day trip - all in the name of wilderness. But something pulled us in this direction. Signs.

A random meeting of a new friend, a sugar shack, tapping trees for maple syrup, winter camping... signs and events all pointed here. Sort of. We wanted - needed - to be close to the water. It'd be nice to go jump in the lake at a moment's notice and not have to worry about E. coli and other unsavoury contaminants. So we explored the area, made a beeline to the lake and discovered a quaint little town along south Georgian Bay... Meaford.

Open season: May the house hunt begin!

Curious, we called a local real estate office, Rod MacAlpine and Julia Hinds with Royal LePage (great team BTW!),  to view a few homes we found on MLS. Talk about affordable! A two-story home, with a finished basement, is less than half compared to those in and around Port Credit. So the hunt was on! We viewed old homes, new homes. Some with a garage, some without. One with a car calling out to Chris "Mint!!!". To add to our juggling mind, we continued to keep an eye out and visited a few houses around our old 'hood. But housing prices there just reinforced our decision to keep looking, testing our patience at times. We declared this to be our self-proclaimed hunting season. A hunt for a new home - a prize of lifetime memories to come!

So rather than filling our summer with backcountry camping trips as per usual, we spent our time making our dreams come true. Our dream was to live the life we 'escape' to - everyday.

With that in mind, we waited patiently for that perfect home. We must have viewed over 20 houses throughout our hunt, with no end in sight. The summer would pass us by if we let it. No way. Rather than miss out on our typical summer camping escapades and excursions, we mixed a little business with a lot of pleasure.

With its own local campground in Meaford, we camped along the waterfront and enjoyed a morning and sunset paddle - before AND after viewing a few potential homes! Each night, we would watch the sun set and enjoy a glass of wine by a crackling fire... dreaming under the stars... this could be our little neighbourhood one day...

And on one particular summer day, we were finally prepared to make an offer. But never did we expect this...

We arranged to meet our agent, Julia, and asked to view a few more houses before signing the papers for a house we had seen on the last visit - just to be sure. The house we had our eye on met most items on our wish list, including an option to rent the basement should we want to explore that option. Stainless steel appliances, big backyard, nice neighbourhood, quiet street, garage, not too old - what's not to like!

As we finished viewing the lot, she said, "There's a couple of houses that I really think you should see. It's very you." Hmmmm. Wasn't sure how to respond especially after we had felt like the end was near. But when someone you trust says "It's very you", you pay attention.

So of course, we followed her to the first house. Beautiful no doubt - and we would have jumped on it were it not for its location. It was on a quiet street but envisioned that, in time, it could get busy as a main artery. Next and last house.

As she handed us the MLS sheet, we recognized the house (from endless hours of scouring and critiquing each MLS listing) and quickly dismissed it. We had already judged it as a 'pass' - based on its appearance. Oh how wrong we were!

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

We pulled up the driveway with a sense of kindness and courtesy to Julia versus eager anticipation of 'could-this-be-the-one'. But as I looked closer at the property, I felt a shift. There she stood in front of us, hidden behind a wall of trees, not a straight line but natural. The flowers grew wild, not manicured. How pretty, I noted. As we entered, Julia began sharing the story of this home, i.e. how it's not as old as it looks (built in 1995) but rather it was designed by its owner to make it look like a farmhouse. Ahhh... and looking back now, it was love at first sight... (cue "Where do I begin")...

She took our breath away... the more we learned about the house, the more enamoured we were: handmade cabinets, vintage doors from their old cottage, new windows masked by farmhouse windows, farmhouse chairs, hardwood flooring everywhere!

As the foodie and family chef, Chris was consumed by the kitchen - handcrafted cupboards, a gas range and wooden counter tops. His eyes were sparkling in disbelief! Clearly, we had a contender I chuckled to myself. Impressed but not sold - until we entered the living room. 

Filled with natural daylight, the living room welcomed a world of cozy comfort. Many stories told and shared around the fireplace I imagined. A choice of french doors - One led into a studio filled with books of old. The other into the 'piece de resistance' for me... a backyard of our own private paradise with a hint of wilderness... more trees, more wild flowers.. a heavenly haven, a soothing sanctuary, and visions of savasana dancing in my head.

As if it couldn't be any more perfect... Georgian Bay! This dream house is one block from the very same beach we camped at!

Sold on Doors, Dips and Dinner Parties    

How do you say... Sold! Within less than 2 hours of having first laid our eyes upon our house, we made an offer. How could we not. Talking pros and cons over lunch and a pint at George's On Main, we raved non-stop about everything, from vintage doors to summer dips to dinner parties. There really was no discussion. It even came with extras: mason jars, garden tools, lawnmower, ladders and more. Yes, our hearts were set. Deal done.

And so here we are... living in a small town by the southern shores of Georgian Bay, thanking our lucky stars shining bright up above.

With gratitude, our adventure continues as we explore this four season destination we call home.