Monday, January 25, 2010

My New Dishwasher!!!

AHHHH I knew these kids would come in handy if I just waited long enough!! It is so cute Austin can not wait to finish dinner so he can clear and wash the dishes!! We just leave him in there and he goes to town! I was in the living room last night and I heard him say, "Mom this is your last chance to finish your dinner because I'm throwing it away!" Amazing how they pick up all the things I say to them!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Massachusetts Story

I have decided that this story in its entirerty needed to be posted! It is certainly not everyday that you ask someone what has been going on and they respond well, We might be moving to Massachusetts. Since this summer this has been the response many of our friends and family have gotten from us! Yes that is right I a wholehearted midwestern girl and my southern husband very well might find themselves in Western Massachusetts along with my parents! The story is pretty long so I will begin......

The actual journey began this past June, but in reality it started a long time ago. At the church I grew up attending we had a wonderful music director, Gary and his wife Julie. Well Gary was also a florist and there were many times my dad and brother helped Gary deliver flowers and my parents were also in the choir so they knew Gary and Julie pretty well. Gary and Julie moved away from St. Louis in the early 90's and as things go we all kind of lost track of each others lives. Gary and Julie ended up in Auburn, Alabama where he is still a music director but more importantly they also own and manage a beautiful bed and breakfast and event venue down there. If you have a chance you should check out their website, Anyway they do beautiful weddings and large events. So a year or two ago my parents on their way to Atlanta stopped by fountainview to see and catch up with Gary and Julie. As Gary was showing them around my dad expressed interest in that type of business and how it had always been somewhat of a dream of his to do that himself one day.

So forward a year or two and Gary was going through a closet at the mansion and ran across a poster of all the Vanderbilt mansions around the country. Well somehow he came to find out that one of them which is in the Berkshires of Massachusetts was for sale. He was very interested and he and his family went up to take a look at it and fell in love with it. As he tells the story he was thinking of someone who would be interested in running something like this and my parents popped into his head.

So one day this past June my dad received and email from Gary telling him about this property and his vision for it and asking him if he thought this might be something he was interested in going in on together. Of course later that weekend my parents showed me the email and pictures of the property and I thought sure lets move to Massachusetts, not really ever believing we would actually do something like that. Of course the 3 of us started dreaming and brainstorming. Then we kind of snapped out of it and remembered Jason, (the voice of reason) would probably never go for something like this (I mean it is crazy!!) It just so happened that we were all going out to dinner that night for my moms birthday. So as we were all sitting at the table, (Jason had met us there from work) I just asked Jason, So what do you think about moving to a really cool place and running an Inn and Wedding venue? And to my HUGE suprise he did not laugh in my face. He actually thought about it and that is where it all began.....

Gary and my dad started to talk and started to talk with the real estate guy. A few weeks later we all planned to take a trip up there and see exactly what it was we were getting into. As it turned out we could not get a babysitter at such last minute notice so Jason stayed home and the 3 of us went.

So basicly we loved the cottage and all the other buildings, there was definitly some need for improvements, but we decided that we would continue with the process. Our whole thinking throughout this process was that we would continue to proceed for as long as we felt God was leading us that way and that he was opening these doors for us. Well negotiations continued through July and August. Dad and Gary were working on the business plan and securing investor money for the project. Jason and I were scheduled to go back up at the end of Ausgust to really look into the area and see if it was where we wanted to raise the kids. Then about 3 days before we were ready to leave the whole deal just stopped. The owners of the home backed out and took the property off the market.

We saw this as a definite sign from God that this was not in the plan or that the timing was just not right. So as quickly as this all started it all came to an end. We went about our normal lives and we left our Massachusettes dream alone.... for a while!

In the middle of December the owners of the property contacted my dad and Gary and said that they were interested in selling again. Again it was obviously important to get Jason up there so that we could make a decision about actually moving there, so my parents and Jason and I headed up there last Wednesday along with Gary. We met with the owners on Thusday and toured the house and really got to know them and see their vision for the house. On Friday Jason and I visited some schools in the area and just drove around trying to get a feel for the area! It is a wonderful part of the country and we are really excited about the adventure of moving to a new place and experiencing things that we never have.

About the Actual Property.....Elm Court

The "Cottage" as it is called was build in 1886 by Emily Vanderbilt and her husband William Douglas Sloan. Emily is the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt (the main guy, the railroad guy). So they built it as a summer home, they lived in New York and would summer in the Birkshires. The house was used as a summer home for many years and then Emily's granddaughter and husband ran it as an Inn for many years. They stopped the Inn in the 50's and then it sat vacant for about 45 years and fell into disrepair and there was extensive looting and vandalism. Then in 1999 Bob and his wife Sonya purchased the propery from his mother. Bob would be the great-great grandson of Emily and William. When they purchased the house they spent years renovating it and bringing it back. As of today there are still large portions that are unrenovated but the most important parts are all restored and they are beautiful! And that is where we come it......

We have many many ideas for this property but for the most part it will be an Inn and a special events (mainly weddings) venue!

So as of now we are drawing up the contracts and hope to have those completed in the next few weeks. After they are signed we have 90 days to close. In that time the inspections need to go well and we have to finalize and secure our investor money.

Practical Matters!!.....

My parents will live in the cottage and then on the other side of the property (about 1/4 to 1/2 mile walk) there are 3 other homes and Jason and I will renovate one of those homes and that is where we will live. So there it is! This is what has been going on the past few months, i'm sure it will bring up many questions, so ask away and believe me there are many many more details!! We are all so excited to see how God will walk us through this new adventure and we strongly believe that he has given us this unbelievable opportunity for a reason and we are excited to be a part of it!! I also hope everyone who wants to will come and visit us!! Please!!
You can check out the website, the owners put it together when they had done weddings there. It has some good pictures of the house and the surrounding area.

This is the main house

This will be our house. Some nights I still can't wrap my mind around moving into a house that was build in the 1800's. The fact that they are all still standing and standing strong means they really use to build them right!

Anyway there you go, the whole story! I'm sure I will be back with updates, but updates seemed to be pointless if I did not post the whole story!

I Will now take questions......:)