Twelve years ago, my husband and I wanted a change from the heat and humidity of Florida, so we packed up and moved to Salem, Oregon. That's not to say we did it on a whim. We had taken a trip a few years before where we explored the western part of the state - down the coast and up I-5. We loved it. Then we found this great Website, findyourspot.com. Don't try to find it now, it's long gone. And sadly, as far as I know, nothing has replaced it. But it was a fantastic tool that could determine the ideal home location based on a series of questions, drawing on the research of city statistics pulled from across the USA. Three out of the top twenty options it provided were in Oregon.
We purchased a house, sight unseen, and moved out here with no jobs lined up. Yes, there was some risk involved. And we did survive a few lean years, I admit. But I instantly loved Oregon, the climate, the parks, the coast, and the people. So incredibly friendly, culturally so different from Florida. Oregonians are naturally vibrant, hearty, and fun-loving. In short, they love life, and that's contagious. And the Oregon wine... oh, don't get be started. So yes, I will miss that. All of that, for sure, but, well, after twelve years, it's time for another change.
We had been operating an AirBNB out of our home for nearly two years, and we both really developed a taste for hosting travelers. We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we wanted to expand, to have more than one room to provide to our guests. But while our 1926 Craftsman had all the charm it could possibly have, it just wasn't large enough to accommodate more guests. We needed a larger place. A historic place, in cooler climes, where we could run a proper Bed and Breakfast. As we began to research options, we had to geographically rule out the western part of the US due to the property prices being far too high. Then we looked in the Southeast where there were plenty of glorious old mansions we could buy, but oh, the heat. No, a hot climate simply wouldn't do - not after Florida. That left the northeast. The incredible, historic, beautiful Northeast.
We'd been searching for the perfect place using Zillow for half a year. Back in December, I planned an 8-day trip to the area with the goal of seeing seventeen of the homes that seemed to meet our criteria. We started the trip in Pittsburgh, PA, and would end it in Bangor, ME. We were quick to rule out most of what we saw on the first twelve, but then the houses started getting better, and better. The last home we walked through - we knew was THE house. Good thing we didn't stop at 16 homes!
When we mentioned our plans to our friends and family, we received mixed reactions. One friend even commented that she wasn't surprised we were leaving because "you never put down roots anywhere you go." It made me stop and think. I don't think that was entirely true. I have been honored in having established a deep friendship with a number of people in Oregon. These friendships, I believe will transcend geographical distance. I believe it is the adventures and the calculated risks that I take in my life that make it so fulfilling. Those adventures led me to my friends, those risks led me outside my comfort zone - both of which have been exceptionally rewarding.
So now, when someone asks the question, "you're doing what?" I smile and nod. Maybe I tell it different now, I don't know. But most folks now congratulate us on pursuing our dream. We're both excited about what the future holds, it's a new beginning for us. We close on the Guilford Bed and Breakfast in Maine on April 8.
Stay tuned as the journey continues...