This is beautiful Lake Champlain Valley, New York. Right now it's a place I don't know, I've never been to New York, in fact, I've never been to the East Coast! This beautiful little town is soon going to have 8 new residents and some fab farm animals because we are moving!! I've been looking for houses all over the country for the past year, since 2018 and the craziness that year brought to us, I've had this feeling of unsteadiness, after losing our house so rapidly in 2019 and finding our selves in the middle of a housing crisis I decided our next home would be purchased. So I have been rampaging the pages of Zillow, waiting for that one property I knew was out there. I looked at thousands of houses ok, I'm not kidding. Anyone else done this? It's completely normal I swear!
With everything going on recently with the Pandemic and the reality of having to close our restaurant, I started looking pretty persistently. Around October I narrowed down this little area near the Vermont border as where I'd like to be. Grant you, this included New Hampshire and all of Vermont! I usually saw new houses come on the market right away, I had my search parameters saved and notifications on. Somehow, I missed this house. I was hoping for a property with a barn for the animals so I think that's why. When it did catch my eye, the description was fitting to what Toni and I were looking for, " Handyman Special-bring your renovation tools and make this your vacation home or investment property in the popular resort town." Well well, I love a good challenge and true historic renovation has always been my dream.
The price was great, below budget, and on 12 acres. I sent the property to Toni and contacted a friend in a town nearby to see if she'd mind looking at the house for us. The photos and advice I got in return were horrifying. Plaster hanging from the ceilings and walls, "it's a lot more work than it's worth..." we could also see it's really small for 8 people. Toni and I both felt a huge wave of disappointment, we'd already put in an offer that was accepted. With the photos and the information from my friend and her advice to not take the house, we just felt discouraged. The next morning Toni told me he'd had a dream about the house and we were all very happy. We talked about it more and put aside all the fears and what people would say if they saw what we saw. What's the worst that could happen I asked, we live in a small house? Because all the work that the house needed was work we could do ourselves. Any surprises that would be sure to arise we could take care of and handle. So, we renegotiated with the sellers and here we are! We actually bought a house sight unseen, 2300 miles cross country, and I feel... relieved. Strange as it might seem, it's been pretty bad here. I've found my self feeling so much fear and desperation for safety these past two years that I'm ready for a massive change.
It's going to be hard to say goodbye to the restaurant, it feel like a part of us is dying. That lifelong dream of Toni's is dying, saying goodbye and knowing that it's time to put that dream to rest takes strength. I feel like it's clear, this is not where we were meant to be. Though our restaurants were successful, we have absolutely amazing food, our service is great, we love the restaurant business, one crisis after another has taken not one but two restaurants in two years. We lost our first Restaurant in Paradise, 7 weeks after we opened in the Camp Fire. Now, our new location is gone as well. We are closing on Dec. 6, for good. It's hard to say what memories we will have of this time 10 years from now, right now, it's a mix of omg we did it, to omg we failed. But we didn't fail, circumstances that were out of our control, unprecedented circumstances at that, created an environment that just wasn't viable for us.
I have to remind Toni of this, our restaurant in Paradise was the best restaurant on the Ridge, we had people thanking us daily for opening, lines up and down the highway of people waiting to get in, and we we're just getting busier by the day. All ripped away in flames. Then we finally got established in Chico, brushed off the stigma of "they're from the fire" to be shut down during the quarantine. Reopening in July we thought we could make it, working within the red for a few months, we were sure we could come out of it. Then the cases started rising this fall with the colder weather and at that point I knew it was inevitable. I had just hoped we could get through the holidays, the kids have literally been through 3 holiday seasons now of chaos. I'm done with it. I'm living in fear most of the year of fire taking away our home, living with evacuation warnings and power safety shutoffs. Power Outages for days in 120 weather surrounded by smoke and ash raining from the sky. Listening to the police and fire scanner all night to hear the evacuation orders first hand to give us a few precious minutes to escape. Those extra minutes to load what animals we could and release the others to run for their lives. This is how we've lived for two years. How our kids have lived in fear. The smell of a barbecue, hearing helicopters, flying overhead, how long will we all have that moment of panic, ask, "where's the fire" check the local public safety pages, to ensure we are safe? We aren't meant to be here and everything is showing us that. I see the signs, we are moving and I hope that this is the path that's meant to be. It feels like it. I feel peace and excitement when I look to the future, security and safety when I look at the house. The paths that are intertwined with this house all the way back to my childhood are incredible, the property owner behind us lives in the same little town in Washington state I lived as a teenager! We bought the house the same day it sold in 2012. A family name from my family tree is connected to the house from the early 1900's!
I'll be sure to share our adventure of moving cross country, from the sale of much treasured antiques, to rehoming the livestock that will not be making the trip with us. It really is bittersweet, saying goodbye to a place we've given our all, lived some of the hardest days of our lives, and moving to the unknown, letting go of all the fears, judgements, and just pressing play on life.
Thank you so much for following along, and sticking with me through this. I really didn't plan to get so sentimental about the restaurant or even mention it, but it happened. I've wanted to share more about our experiences but I always want to be positive and uplifting and that story is anything but that! So thank you again, and please follow along on this journey with our family!