Another Crossroads

I promised a while ago that I would reveal our future plans. Since then, our plans have changed several times over. So the short answer to where we will be moving once the house sells is: we don’t know for sure.

We put our house on the market partly because David’s job situation is tenuous, partly because we realize this is just too much house for us at this stage in our lives, and partly because we want to move to a place where real estate is less expensive to possibly buy a house without a mortgage. And the place we had in mind is Holmes County, Ohio. It is odd, but at this point in my life, I feel compelled to moving closer to my roots. David has family in Ohio too, so it would a mutual move in that direction. He has a sister, a slew of cousins, and the only surviving uncle out of a ten uncles and aunts on his mother’s side and five on his father’s side.

It makes no sense that I moved so far away from home and lived in New England for the 26 years since the final time I left my family and community and now I have a need to circle back to my roots. I have often said that I feel like I’ve lived two lifetimes in one — one in the Amish community, the other in my chosen culture. Living among the Amish, yet still not being Amish is my attempt at bringing these two worlds together.

We would move to Holmes County instead of Geauga County because Holmes County has hills. David and I will miss the mountains terribly. We have to have at least hills, and Geauga County is pretty darn flat. As one of my Vermont friends once said, “It’s so flat, it’s almost downhill!”

Another reason for wanting to move to Ohio is so that I could do several research projects. I would like to interview former Amish people to find out how their Amish upbringing influenced their life choices, such as in their education and occupation. I would also like to research the early Holmes County Amish community: who were the founders, where did they come from, and who are their descendants?

We would likely run a bed and breakfast in Amish country. We’ve been enjoying the airbnb that we’re running here in the Pioneer Valley, so we’ll likely continue doing that. So we’ve been looking at real estate in Holmes County.

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Photo by David Furlong in Holmes County, Ohio

One evening David and I were looking at houses together online, when he said out of the blue, “Let’s go look at houses on the coast of Maine.” I always thought they had expensive real estate, but I said, “Okay.” Lo and behold, there are plenty of homes up there that are affordable. After looking at several David said, “I’ve got to go to bed,” and off he went. I heard him snoring in the other room, and I was sitting here at my computer saying, “Now what?”

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Photo by Saloma Furlong: David in his beloved state of Maine

So now we are debating between the midcoast of Maine and Holmes County, Ohio — two very different places. David is a New Englander at heart, so I suspect he would be happier up there. I am a people person, so I might go batty in the winters up there. But the summers would be so blessedly cool compared to here or Ohio. Environmentally the coast of Maine is leagues ahead of Ohio, but then again, Maine is far from everywhere in the country, whereas Ohio is more centrally located. David and I have always wanted to take a cross-country trip (hopefully by train), and doing that from Ohio would be so much more feasible than from the coast of Maine.

Either way, it seems we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. We’ve had a few potential buyers looking at our home, but the sentiment seems to be that they want a second bathroom. That has been our goal all along, but the north part of the house still needs to be renovated before we have a place to put the bathroom. So it looks like we’ll need to do a winter’s worth of work, then put the house back on the market in the spring.

As we do house projects, we will likely be contemplating what kind of life we want to live, realizing we are in the autumn of our lives. We will be looking for a home where we can age in place. This, we realize, is different from living in this home, which has 45 steps from the basement to the attic. Right now David is taking these three sets of stairs numerous times a day as he constructs posts and railings above the attic stairway. I’ll include photos of the finished product in a future post.

Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads, pondering which way to go? If so, how do you go about choosing one way or the other?

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Photo by Saloma Furlong at a crossroads in Sunderland, Massachusetts

48 thoughts on “Another Crossroads”

  1. My husband and I have been retired for 8 years. He would like to live in Florida full time but I am not about to leave my son and daughter who live here in Pennsylvania. We also have extended family with whom we are very close.I do hate the winter weather so for several years we have been snowbirds spending 2 to 3 months in Florida. My husband was finally able to logically convince me to buy a place in Naples, FL instead of renting. But we are keeping our home in PA. This will allow us to go to FL whenever we like but still be close to family.

    1. Susan, it sounds like you have the best of both worlds. David and I are wanting to commit to one home, so we don’t have to maintain two.

      Thanks for sharing how you solved your “where to live” decisions.

  2. I’d like to say a few words in response to your potential interest in Maine. I’ve spent much of my life migrating north–from Maryland, where I was born, to Boston, where I’ve spent most of my adult life so far, to the north woods of Maine, where I’ve lived for the past twelve years. I’ve always loved remote, wild places, and I especially love what folks up here call “old-fashioned winters” (a phrase that speaks volumes about our changing climate). So I have to admit I’m a bit biased when it comes to Maine, and I know that the factors that drew me up here would not appeal to everyone. But, with regard to your concern about winter, winters in midcoast Maine are somewhat milder than winters in the north woods; the ocean moderates the climate. With regard to isolation, even in my small hometown of Greenville there are church and community activities that keep me connected with other folks during the winter. And it’s less than a three-hour drive, even from my relatively remote location, to the lovely small city of Portland, which connects by rail to Boston and from there to the rest of the country. With regard to Amish scholarship, there are small but growing Amish communities in Maine that might prove interesting to research. And Maine’s natural beauty, as you suggest in your post, is amazing. I have to confess, in case you haven’t guessed it already, that I’m now a confirmed “Maineiac.” Of course, I understand that no one place is ideal for everyone…but I felt moved to write a few words about my chosen home.

    1. Wendy, thank you for this positive feelings about your choice to move to Maine. I have to say of all the things you wrote here, the aspect that is most encouraging to me is that you are able to stay connected to people in the winter. This has been my biggest concern. The next one on the list is moving to someplace where we don’t know anyone at our age. I’ve found it hard to find new friends here in the Pioneer Valley, partly because we didn’t have young children. I became involved in the Friends of the Library Committee, and in our church. I have one really close friend and lots of acquaintances.

      We left behind a whole group of friends in Vermont. The winters there are too long and hard, and the real estate too high for us to return, but we always love to return to Vermont for visits.

      Thank you again for taking the time to give this encouragement. We may still end up there.

  3. Being from Vermont, living in the Pioneer Valley of Massechusetts for almost 9 years and going to Maine a week every summer for several summers I can honestly say I miss New England so very much (we now live in PA). I really miss the small NE small town lifestyle but I do not miss the long winters with the extreme cold. My favorite road to travel is Route 302 that literally goes from Portland Maine to Montpelier, VT through the White Mountains of NH. I lived in Barre only a couple of blocks from Route 302. The East side of the Green Mountains is far cheaper to live than the West side of the mountains. Our son lives in the Milton area of Vermont and real estate is really expensive there compared to Central Vermont but the Lake Champlain area is so very beautiful. We just returned from Colorado Springs and the weather there is just beautiful with reasonable temperatures and no humidity and big beautiful mountains. Very tempted to move there. We too are trying to decide where we should move as PA is getting too expensive for us to live and the summers are too hot and humid. We have children who live in PA, VT and CO and we want to be close to all of them and we want to live where property taxes are far less than here which we will not be able to afford in retirement which is coming very soon. We would like to live in a small town as we feel it is easier to be connected with a community where you see the same people all of the time.

    David must be amazing to be able to work full time and do so much work on your house at the same time. We do not have that kind of energy. I wish you both the best. God Bless you!

    1. Michele, thank you for your insights. We’ve looked at houses in Washington County, Vermont, and they are still too high for us to afford to buy without a mortgage. Barre is beautiful! David has a brother living in Moretown… also very beautiful! The winters there are long and brutal, though!

      I have never been to Colorado. David and I don’t want to move that far away from everyone we know, but we sure want to visit the West someday.

      David is amazing. He loves taking on house projects. He claims he is energized by them. And he just doesn’t want to hire people to do what he can do. I will do the finish work, but I am no carpenter!

      God Bless you, too, Michele. Thank you for all your encouragement.

  4. I have not been to either Ohio or Maine, so I am unable to comment on either state, although both look very nice in their own way. But we all know, looks aren’t everything.

    As far as the autumn of our years go: they sure aren’t as “easy” as I, years ago, thought they would be that’s for sure.

    1. Kris, I don’t think I would call this stage of our lives easy, but I am actually enjoying it. For the most part, I think David and I have created the life we love. I used to believe in “do what you love and the money will follow.” So far the “will follow” hasn’t happened for David and me.

      Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

  5. MIchelle O'Neill

    Hi Saloma – enjoy your blog! As you find yourself having had arrived at this crossroads, I didn’t know if you are aware that there are Amish Communities in Maine. See these links for more info: http://maineanencyclopedia.com/amish/ AND http://amishamerica.com/amish-maine/. My husband and I were in Maine for a week in the middle of July – escaping Western Mass heat – it is just beautiful! We explored the Northeastern most regions to start and worked our way down. Machias – Cutler – Blue Hill – Stonington – Castine – Searsport – Bucksport – Belfast – Lincolnville and Camden. Ended our stay in Port Clyde. I have many pictures to share if interested. There is a way of life there that is simple and majestic. Hope to make it our home someday. Maybe we’ll see you there~

    1. Michelle, I do know about the Amish in Maine. They come from different groups, and I have been meaning to visit them. Perhaps that should be on our list of things to do before we decide.

      Perhaps we will see you there!

  6. Good luck, Saloma! It sounds like a difficult decision.

    If it were me, I’d go to Maine. I need to be on the edge, close to the Ocean, which I get such great consolation from. But it is cold up there and hard to get to or out of in the winter. That’s why we’re here in central Virginia, only 4 hours to the sea.The summers are stinky hot but the winters are much warmer than in New England. And four hours isn’t a huge distance to cover to hear the sound of waves on the shore!

    1. Joan, we lived in Charlottesville for a year. I loved it, but David and our boys did not. They are all New Englanders at heart.

      Being by the water is what gives David solace. I love it too, and when I think of summers, I think of Maine, but the winters may be whole other story, though I was heartened by Wendy’s comments above.

      All these comments give me food for thought. Thank you for yours!

  7. Were I at the crossroads I think I’d have to consider the current realities and the ‘new norms’ right around the corner. I cannot hold onto what is or alter the anticipated changes in our new world but I CAN put myself where I can expect to happily fit in.

    I’m trying to say: If I were looking for a place to spend my last years I’d look at places where I could logically expect the year-round climate to be livable, where I needn’t fear that my front yard would become a large swimming pool while the yard itself was floating off into the distance, where my eyes could rest upon peaceful hills and where I could live among likeminded people. As far as finding friends goes, if a person has well-defined interests I haven’t found that a problem. Twenty eight years ago I knew no one within a thousand miles when I came to Juneau, Alaska; today and for many years past, I have more good friends than I ever had in a lifetime in Oregon.

    If my view seems pessimistic, I’m sorry. It’s just that I think that our new norms have not yet come even close to the new realities, and that change will only accelerate for years to come.

    I wish you the best in your new and exciting adventures.

    1. Elva, thanks for your thoughts. I would think that living near the ocean could possibly be worse in terms of one’s yard floating away, but the climate in Maine is probably more livable year around than Ohio, at least if one doesn’t depend on air conditioning.

      I am so glad you have found friends that far north. Perhaps hyper-individualism hasn’t set in up there because people need one another more. I don’t know how I would deal with that darkness in the winter… all the power to you.

      Thank you for your insights.

  8. Saloma, I appreciate you sharing your life with us. I think you have a very interesting life. When I’m at a crossroad, I spend times of silence and quiet to find the needs of my heart and my body, and continually ask God for guidance. Somehow I am able to find the path to take remembering that I can shift directions if it doesn’t work out. It seems like the time until the spring will give you and David opportunity to find your way.

    One question: can your body handle the damp cold of Maine in the winter? (I haven’t read all the responses yet, so If you covered that previously, I’ll find it.)

    I grew up 1 mile from Lake Huron, MI for 14 years then moved inland, lived in coast area NH for 3 years, IL for 30 years (my first land lock), and Atlantic Coast FL for 6. Listening to the waves crash on the sand I realized that it’s not so much the climate and topography–even the coast–that matter to me; it is my connection with people.

    1. Denise, I am right there with you about needing connections to people. I feel like I can visit the seashore, but if I’m in a place far from the people I feel at home with, it’s much harder.

      Can I handle the damp cold of winter in Maine… that is the question. I feel like over this coming winter, David and I should go visit the coast and see how we do with that.

      Shifting directions will not be so easy for us if David decides to move his woodworking machinery. Those things are so heavy, and it will be hard (or expensive) to move them. He has not yet decided if he will move them. If not, it will give us much more freedom to move. I’ve even thought of renting a place for a year on the coast of Maine, and then a year in Holmes County to decide which one we like.

      Thanks, Denise, for your suggestions.

      1. You have such good ideas, Saloma! Like visiting the coast the winter or renting a place for a year in both places, depending on the machinery.

        One other question came to mind–would Ohio be too far from your sons? Would David, a New Englander at heart, feel at home there? You’ve probably asked those questions, too.

        It will be interesting to see where you end up!

        1. Ohio would be farther from our sons. They are both single, so they could still visit us, and we them. (Though I keep telling our son, Paul, he has to move out of NYC before we can afford to visit him.) I think Paul will likely end up in Vermont eventually, because that is where his heart is. That would ensure we would visit him quite regularly.

          It is hard to tell where Tim will end up. His has been a meandering path. He has a wonderful girlfriend who lives in NJ, so it will be interesting to see where he lands.

          It will also be interesting to see where we end up. I’m looking forward to discovering that myself!

  9. Were you to choose Ohio, is there even a smidgen of a chance that in a vulnerable moment you might make a decision to go back to the Amish? In reading some of your writings, and I can’t point to specific ones, I’ve almost had the feeling that eventually that might be the direction you would take. Sorry if I’m way out in left field on this, but sometimes long term feelings of guilt in family matters play out in unexplicable ways.

  10. MY husband Paul and I are asking ourselves the same questions. Our house sits on a slope and so there are steps outside up to our house, steps to our basement and steps to the second floor. He is in his 60’s and I am in my fifties. Our six boys are grown with families of their own but all live around us here in Pittsburgh. I watch two of our grandchildren three days a week so moving out of state is, for now, out of the question. But we are tired of all the Pittsburgh congestion that has reached us in the suburbs. we want to live in the country. So we look on line, we talk, we look some more. I pray, a lot!! for answers. So, you have my sympathy as you go on this quest, its not an easy decision to make. Though to be honest, my heart leaped with joy when you mentioned Holmes county. Paul and I head over to Berlin a few times a year and of course wonder over to Lehman’s. A bed and breakfast with your name attached to it would be a delight!!!! We would happily be calling to request a stay. As for David I understand. The New England states are amazing. I’m a big fan of Newport, Rhode island. If I had my way I would live in Vermont. We have visited that beautiful state a few times and I love it, I even subscribe to the Vermont Life magazine!! Praying God gives you both clear direction!!

    1. Pamela, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. That would be very cool to have you stay at our B&B!

      Vermont would be more of a draw if it were more affordable. The cost of living there is too high for us. If we could afford it, we would be really torn about this given we have so many friends and how much we love the feel of Vermont every time we drive into the state on the one hand, and knowing how long and hard the winters are on the other hand.

      I have a feeling our paths will cross yet. I hope so!

      Thanks, Pamela, for stopping by and for your support.

  11. I grew up in Holmes County and it is a beautiful area. Twenty four years ago we moved to central PA. The climate is a lot the same but we love it here.We love the mountains and the pace of life is slower. We still go back to Holmes County to visit as my family lives there, but in the 25 years we’ve been gone it’s become so much more commercialized. I don’t really have any advice for you, but the two areas would definitely be on opposite ends of the spectrum! Will be anxiously waiting to see what you decide!

    1. Twila, I know that Holmes County is become much more commercialized than it was thirty years ago when I first visited it — which is not nearly as commercialized as Lancaster, but still it is not as much of a rural Amish community as it used to be.

      Thank you for your support, Twila.

  12. Saloma, I will want to keep tuned as you turn over these options in your mind, heart, and soul. Holmes County v. the coast of Maine, wow. What a choice. I can merits in both. Maybe a house in Holmes County and a month-long visit to Maine every August with your sons?

    I’m always trying to find win-win. :-)

    But you and David will know what is best.

    Blessings in the quest.

    1. Shirley, thank you for your support and blessings. Yes, there are merits in both. I pray that as we move along in this process, we will reach clarity on which will be more in sync with our values and our purpose.

      It would be nice to have a win-win. If we could afford it such options, we would go for it in a heartbeat. But we also don’t want to become a financial burden on others by outliving our resources.

      Blessings to you, too, Shirley.

  13. Like you, as I grow older I think more and more about my childhood home, even though I’ve lost all connection with old friends there. In 2012 my 59 year old husband passed away after a short 79 day diagnosis of cancer. During those 79 days I was online searching and searching for anything I could find regarding my old hometown. Now, four years later, I am able to see that my strong desire to return home was because of the security those memories provided, during a time when my world was out of kilter. C.S. Lewis says “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” and I used that quote to help balance my yearnings for home. Our two daughters live in other states: Vermont and New Jersey. I live in PA and will probably stay here but I definitely am at a crossroads and looking for something smaller and easier to manage. Right now with the heat and humidity, Vermont is very appealing, but then I remember those bitter below zero winters and the deep snow…
    On another topic; are you still looking for former Amish women to interview? I have a close friend, now Mennonite, who grew up Amish and she may be open to an interview. You may email me privately if you wish.

    1. Judy, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I love that C.S. Lewis quote!

      I’m with you about Vermont. And the cost of living there is quite high. As those struggling financially in Vermont will say, “You can’t eat the vistas.”

      Yes, I am gathering information for possible interviewees for my research, so I will definitely be emailing you.

      Thanks, Judy, for sharing your thoughts.

      1. Saloma,
        Cost of living here in south central PA is higher than we had in VT. In Vt there was a law that you only paid 5% of your income for property taxes if your income was $75,000 or under so we paid about half of what we are paying in PA. Water and sewer is much higher here but some other things are less expensive. We could not wait until we could get out from under the high cost of living in VT but for the most part it is more expensive here. Yes some things are cheaper like heat but electricity is more because of air conditioning (we did not need it in VT). We sold our house in VT for $148,000 in 2007. Two years ago our son in Milton area paid more than twice that for his house. Where ever we end up Vermont will always be “home” to me. We have a dear young friend (like a daughter to me) who lives in Rangeley Maine area. Looking forward to your next “installment”. Love your blog. It always feels like you are writing to me alone.

  14. Saloma, one question I would be interested in having answered is “What makes one person content to remain Amish? while another, equally bright and whole, looks outside that life?”

    I think of some first cousins of mine, about my age and raised the same way as I. Each of them – all eight of them – lived and died Amish, while of the nine children in my own birth family none remained Amish although two did join the Mennonites. The seven others’ lives range from charismatic churches to non-churched to outright agnosticism.

    But what is the difference? My mother and her brother were brought up similarly- their father was an Amish bishop, her brother eventually became an Amish preacher.

    1. Elva, you bring up good questions here, but I don’t think I can answer them. I would like to ponder this and respond to it in a blog post if I may. These questions have been nagging me for ages, but the clear way you have asked really makes me think.

      I will save this discussion for a blog post. Thank you so much for asking.

  15. Really, Saloma, when you talk about your and David’s being in “the autumn of our lives,” you sound as if you think you’re ready for the rest home, and in the background I hear the old Jimmy Durante recording of “September Song”:
    Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
    But the days grow short when you reach September

    Words have power as you know, good writer that you are, so don’t make yourself feel more decrepit than necessary. A definition of “autumn” in my old American Heritage dictionary is: “A time or period of maturity verging on decline.” Surely THAT’S not what you have in mind!

    You’re entering a new chapter in your lives, but it doesn’t need to be . . . autumnal. My husband and I are in our 60s, so I fully understand about downsizing, but that can also be a way of becoming freer to “tiptoe through the tulips.”

    1. Joan, interesting interpretation of “autumn.” The way I see it is that David and I are exactly at “a time or period of maturity verging on decline.” Certainly we are past the “climb” of building up our potential, about to head down the other side. We both get tired a lot quicker than we ever have before, and we know we’ve gone past the middle of our lives. (At least I don’t plan to live to 120!)

      I also don’t feel like this state of maturity is “decrepit.” I actually enjoy this time of my life, and sharing it with David is my greatest joy. However, if “entering another chapter of our lives” is more appealing, then consider it said.

      I don’t know the song you mention. I’ll have to listen to it now.

      Thanks for your comments.

      1. You can find plenty of other versions of the song (including one by Willie Nelson), which was written by Kurt Weill, but it’s the Durante rendition that plays in my head.

        I guess my perspective is different from yours – I had a great-aunt who lived to 108, still in her right mind. Plus, I think I subscribe more to the idea that later years can be filled with greater perspective and peace of mind, which free one to explore life in new ways, rather than to retreat. Your studies and books surely are in tune with that!

        Another song comes to mind, this one from the musical “Mame”:
        “Open a new window, open a new door.
        Travel a new highway that’s never been tried before.”

        My 60-something friends seem mostly to think the way I do, I guess, and while I certainly support planning prudently for one’s future, your perspective seems “older” than it needs to be, more like what our parents or grandparents would have envisioned. If you persuade yourself you’re old, you’ll start feeling that way – tho’ I’m certainly not advocating trying to dress like a 20-something or getting cosmetic surgery. (Of course, maybe you’re just a very-young-looking 80-something, and my comments are way off-base!)

        1. Joan, “old” to me spells “wise.” I have an 88-year-old friend who is one of the wisest people I’ve known. I keep telling her that if I reach the age of 88, I want to be just like her. One day she was struggling to get into a big old SUV. She said, “Getting old is for the birds!” I asked, “What’s the alternative?” Another friend called me a “wise one” for saying that.

          Having grown up Amish, I am pretty matter-of-fact about life and death, sickness and health. I appreciate every day, week, and year I get to spend in health with David. However, last year when he tore the patellae tendon in his knee and had to have surgery, we had to take a step back and recognize we are no longer the young people we once were. That’s when we started asking ourselves what we are doing living in a house with three sets of stairs at our age.

          Believe me, cosmetic surgery and dressing young is not a remote possibility for me. Perhaps I think old, but then again maybe I think wise. Depends on one’s perspective…

          I just turned 59 this year, and David turned 62. So we are in the early autumn of our lives or the late summer of our lives (or entering a new stage) as David contemplates retirement.

          Thanks again for your comments.

  16. This blog post leaves me speechless, moving to Holmes County or Maine. Of course I can think of more reasons to move to Ohio rather than Maine.

  17. This is most interesting! A choice between Maine and Holmes Co.Ohio. For you it would be a completely different experience to move to Ohio. You grew up in that part of the world. Your husband would have a completely different experience. like you said you are entering the autumn of your lives. A completely different story. When you get older you need a network and that kind of thing depends on a lot of things. Be sure to check out that kind of thing if going to Maine. How active are you with your book ativities? How easy can you get to all the places you would like to go? I wish you and your husband the very best as you try to figure what your next step will be. If you chose Ohio I just might meet you sometime. Take care, Mary

    1. Mary, you and several others make it tempting to move to Ohio. Not only do I want to be near Amish people, but many others who have left the community for one reason or another. We have so much in common, don’t we?

      Yes, traveling to book talks would be so much easier from Ohio than from the northeast corner of the country. In Ohio the network is in place, and I’m sure we’d branch out from there. We would be starting at ground zero in Maine.

      The pull to Maine is stronger for David. The pull to Ohio is stronger for me. How does one weigh that? This is the question we’re pondering.

  18. Many couples have a beautiful house but having “a home” is where the heart is and nothing compares with “being home” and “at home” My own personal situation is such that the older I get the more I love being home. My neighbors think I am a tad eccentric with all the wild grass I trim/cut and they seem completely convinced when I tell them that I feel blessed-love for every single blade of grass that God temporally has given just to me.

    On a really important side-note I believe that having privacy when one moves back into the/the “old neighborhood” is an absolute priority. (a direct view from the road would not be good) This is especially in my situation because when I moved home I moved right into the centre of the core old community. (die ald nuckba-shaft) Some of the most blunt and best personal testimonies I have ever been blessed to share are when the old folk and the teenagers in the neighborhood make it a point to come right in the driveway out of genuine curiosity. I LOVE IT! What a life!

    I do not go into town much but when I do people I run into are so stunned to recognize me that that they often are speechless and just stare. It is very amusing because I do not dress plain and have aged a lot…but for the strangest reason those that used to thing I was “not one of them” they now just stare at me and know that “I am” Even the young ones that were not even born when I was raised in the area seem to know that “I am home” and they do not even know for sure who I am. Yes I am talking about the ladies as well and you know better than most that they would immediately look down or away if they knew I was NOT one of them. I especially get a kick out of seeing a whole group of them whip their heads around when I walk past and they all just stop talking to stare at me. I apologize to those who do not understand my experience, unless you have walked in “our shoes” it probably does not make much sense. I love being “home” !

    I know exactly what you are referring to when you speak about your roots/your heritage…it is SO MUCH MORE than just a religious experience or being close to blood relatives…I describe it to be the intense experience where the sky meets the soil on YOUR LAND/YOUR HOME! It has very little to do with money or real estate investment etc . It is simply “being” where you truly know you belong. It is “that place” where peace and freedom would wait for me to get there…

    I remember a few tears when I left my big custom house in the City to move home, but now I would not move back if I could get it for free. Through you initially, David would also be able to have all the advantages of immediately being home. God Bless You!!!

    Matthew 10:13 “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

    Isaiah 32:18 “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places”

    Isaiah 32:18-20 18 “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; 19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. 20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.”

    Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

    Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

    1. Delmar, thank you for your thoughts. Yes, home is where the heart is. But mostly my heart is with David. I realized yesterday that David and I are each trying to return to our roots. He grew up going to Lake Rangeley in Maine each summer. That has become a place of solace for him. I KNOW I don’t want to live in Rangeley all year around. That would be like being put in solitary confinement for me. I tell David he needs a new wife if he moves to Rangeley year around.

      The coast of Maine would be a compromise. He could still visit Rangeley as often as he pleases, and we would be near the seaside as well. We’d probably open a B&B there.

      I have a need to return to my roots as well. It just happens to be in the opposite direction. You describe the scenes of returning to Amish, not as one of them, but among them, quite well. I keep coming up short when trying to describe in words what it’s like to have that desire to return to one’s roots to those who have not had this experience.

      “‘that place’ where peace and freedom would wait for me to get there…” Beautiful!

      Thanks, Delmar, for your comments and inspiring quotes.

    1. Donna, it’s great to see you here. Yes, we are taking this into consideration. Medical care doesn’t get much better than what Akron and Cleveland have to offer. And the midcoast of Maine also has good medical care. Lots of people retire up there, at least spending their summers there.

  19. Where ever you end up, boyfriend & I will be sure to visit your B&B. I’m sure you make a delightful host!

    Finally got a chance to read both of your books. I really enjoyed them. Gave me lots of food for thought.

    1. Stacy, thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed my books. An author never tires of hearing that :-)

      David and I would love to host you and your boyfriend. We have an Airbnb now, here in the Pioneer Valley. You are welcome anytime!

      I appreciate your comments.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  20. Hello. Though I read your blog regularly it has been a while since I’ve commented. It appears you and I are the same age and in somewhat similar stages of life. For us, we love southwest FL and visit there at least twice a year. Would we move there when my husband retires? Probably not, though renting for a couple or so months in the winter as snowbirds is appealing in the years to come. Four and a half years ago we downsized but stayed in the same geographical and life area, close to my husband’s work, our church, friends and our siblings. We like to travel and this affords us the opportunity to do so.

    It seems you may have a period of continued renovations on your home if you add a new bathroom. This time may be a gift as it should increase the attractiveness of your home to buyers but also gives you and your husband time to try out each of the locations you are considering. If possible try and plan an extended visit to each area in Ohio and Maine. Hopefully Air BnB is in both locations so you could spend a week or so trying out each place. Maybe both locations together might work if you live in one and “migrate” to the other for the desired season.

    Best wishes to you in your decision process.

    1. Phyllis, thank you for sharing your situation.

      I had no idea how many people our age are asking the question of where they want to spend their remaining years, but these comments have been so engaging!

      Yes, we are seeing these coming months to do exactly what you are suggesting. We hope to reach clarity in this process.

      Thank you for your comments, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

  21. Hi Saloma! I drove through Sunderland today and thought of you and David. I hadn’t been on your blog for several months so am checking in to see what’s new. I love your home and wish I could buy it! Like you, I’ll soon be at a crossroads because I retire next year and want to move closer to my family, who live in Maine and NH. There is lots to consider. NH doesn’t charge sales nor income tax, but if I buy anything there will be property taxes to make up for the other savings. I don’t want to be up in the mountains with all that snow, yet I feel a tug for my home town. I hadn’t considered mid-coastal Maine as I was thinking southern NH or ME. Fortunately, I don’t have to make a decision in a hurry, other than that I’d like to live more cheaply than I do now. And I don’t really want to live out my retirement alone, so I need some community along with my own space for the kitties and me. I’m a New England native who yearned for here the whole time I lived in Tucson. I still have friends there that I can visit in the winter. I don’t have any advice to add for you, everyone else has done a great job of that. But wherever you go, you’ll be missed!

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