Saturday, March 10, 2012

Looking for a place out of the snow

Murphys, Ca -- Last winter, you may recall, was a doozy. We had 29 (some claim 32) feet of snow fall at our mountain home in Camp Connell during the biggest winter in years.

We survived just fine, but admit we got a bit tired of not being able to go anywhere, losing power, losing internet, hauling wood, losing phone service, shoveling and looking for the dog in the snowbank.

So we thought maybe we should look for a temporary winter escape this year, and perhaps one for the future when we get creaky. We had just sold our former home in Sacramento with the idea of simplifying our lives.
Yeah, right.

We began very slowly looking at property in the foothills a bit below the snowline with the idea that over the next year or so we might find a nice little house near Murphys where we could stay warm during the winters and walk to the best bakery in the world for coffee.

At the start of this winter we agreed to temporarily rent-- for a respite from the expected snow -- a small house from friends. The fact we have had little snow this year does not bother us. We have enjoyed the break.

Then last week our friend/Realtor called on Thursday and said she found a place we might be interested in. Within 24 hours we made an offer. A few days later it was accepted.

We are currently in escrow to buy an interesting piece of property in Murphys within walking distance of that special bakery, a few blocks from our church and a short walk to my poker-playing friends.

Our idea of a small winter escape has morphed into a large 80-year-old house with lots of character and four bedrooms, needing some updating, plus a lot that is .7 acre in size, plus an antique three-car garage, plus a duplex.

The big old house we hope to live in part of the year was built by the state as a home for the administrator of the state hospital that once had numerous buildings that covered our hillside.

The large yard has what I like to call a seasonal creek through it, though some might point out it looks more like a ditch. If so, it's a pretty ditch.

It was a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients originally, called the Bret Harte Sanatorium, and two of our local friends have direct connections to the home from its earlier days. One used to play with the children of the doctor who lived there at the time, and the other was born in in the house because her grandfather lived there. We are still researching the history.

The photos will give you idea of the house we hope to live in when winters get rough.

It looks like good deal to us. Time will tell if we have the money and the energy to update the house and manage the second house. Check back with us in five years. Assuming the deal goes through in the next few days we will post periodic updates.

Meanwhile, we are pretty darned excited. I am day-dreaming about all the great power tools I will get to justify buying. Pat is thinking about a big garden where plants will actually grow, and the neighbors across the fences (a senior complex on one side, and modern zero-lot-line town houses on the other) are wondering what the heck is going on.

When we stop to think about what we are getting into, so do we!

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