A year ago today we packed up our new Subaru and drove north from Brooklyn to move to the Catskills and open an inn.
I remember being the kind of nervous where you feel nothing as we signed the surprisingly few papers needed to transfer the property deed.
Despite the piles on the lawyer’s desk, it was done in a matter of minutes.
We picked up Italian sandwiches at a local shop, and two shovels from the hardware store since we’d heard it was supposed to snow the next day. Then we drove to our new house, the thrill of this huge change starting to settle in, our grins growing wider with each mile we came closer to our new home.
We met our first neighbor before we could even get the keys in the door– Gary, who pulled up in his pick-up truck and welcomed us with an oh so friendly mile-a-minute monologue about “the valley” and all the nice people in it. I remember thinking how Moroccan or Malian that felt, to be welcomed like that. How not NYC.
We walked in every room, opened every closet door we’d been too bashful to invade during previous visits. Kept proclaiming things like, “Oh my god we live in a HOUSE! This is our HOUSE!” We even went down into the basement to poke around. Strolled the eight acres of land. Then had a celebratory beer and photo op to capture the moment:
Our moving truck which was supposed to meet us had broken down in Brooklyn and couldn’t be repaired until the next day (which actually turned into the day after that) so we set up camp with what we had.
A crate as a dinner table:
Sheets as a bed:
And some Cretian ouzo to cheers the move with since this whole buy-an-inn-upstate idea had been born over a bottle of ouzo on a beach in Crete:
We ended the night with a bonfire:
I wish I could say we slept like babies, but really we slept like grown-ass adults on a floor with only a sheet to pad us, which is to say, uncomfortably and fitfully.
I remember just how dark it seemed outside too. How much it felt like we were in this lit-up fishbowl. How attuned we were to every unfamiliar creek that echoed through the empty house.
But you know what was so much better than our fitful night of sleep? Waking up in our new home. Making coffee and taking our steaming mugs out into the crisp morning, the dew still frozen on the meadow.
And you know what’s even better than that? Being able to do that every day since.
We’ve put a lot of work into this place as a home and a business since moving here. There were times, especially right before we opened, when I almost didn’t believe my own mantra of, “Everything will get done because it has to.”
But it did! And through that work, over that time, this place became ours. And now, when we drive down the road and we come up to this house, something inside me says home.
And when I look out our window into the meadow, I think home.
And when I open our creaking door to go to work at the Inn in our backyard, I think home.
Not to mention all the people we’ve met over the past year who’ve made this whole experience more than the lonely move to the woods it could have been. And all the friends and family who’ve visited and even put their own sweat into the place. To all of you I say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! People talk a lot about community but I feel like it’s something I’m only just beginning to truly understand thanks to this past year.
And to Steven. Cheers. Thank you. I love you. You make everything an adventure!
And thank god you turned out to be handy with a hammer.