Skip to content

Selling our lovely home – why and how

March 15, 2010

I live in a dream place. Many people say that about where they live but for me and for many others who have been here – this is no exaggeration. We had been looking for a place like this all our lives and found it quite by accident. We were driving along and saw the drive. It looked like the entrance to a magic kingdom.

That is what we saw. It was for sale!

Over the next few weeks and maybe months, I will share with you why this place is magic. But first I think it best if I answer the obvious question. If this place is so special why am I selling it?

I think this video may give you a clue

[Robin has now watched this and here are the corrections from the Oracle – the “Pines” are Spruce! The Red Oak is 20 years old – it was 10 when we got it and has been planted here for 10 and not five years. Am I getting old or not?]

I am 60 this year. In ten years, I will be 70. At my age the decades fly by. I will awake and be too old to look after the place as it deserves. Our children have made their lives elsewhere. They come down and visit us but when we are 75 plus, it would be good to be close to them. We also have one grand child and hopes for more. It is lovely to see them here for visits. But we want more. So that is why we are selling.

Who do we want to buy our place? We don’t want our sale to be another transaction. Of course we want our price. But as much we want the buyer to be someone who will love and cherish this special place as we have and as have all the past owners. Later I will tell you more about them – they are indeed a special lot as well and we know who all of them have been back to the first clearing of the land here.

When the Palmers left, the previous owners, Mrs Palmer hugged the oak. That’s how much they felt about this place.

We have been the stewards for the last 10 years of a long line of stewards going back to the Bovyers who settled this part of Lot 48 in the early 1800’s. The Bunbury Road was in effect their driveway.

Are you that new steward of this property? Do you know this person?

We want to show you our place and deal with you too.

Oh yes and all the details are on the links on the right hand side of this post.


Family – Co Housing in Challenging Times – Your Haven?

May 10, 2010

Are you an Islander living away and looking to come home? Are you looking for a new life and wish to ensure that you will be able to include your family and friends?

Here is our family – 3 generations – cousins from all over the world – Christmas on PEI.

This is where we were that Christmas. This is what we call “The Barn”. It is 2,500 square feet and sleeps 7 easily. It is 100 feet from the main house. Here are more pictures and more information about it.

We converted the old horse barn into a guest house so that we could provide a place where our family that is all over the world could connect. Christmas, summer vacations – whatever works. For many who have cottages, they are far away. But here our family can be just around the corner.

Many families are like ours – spread out over thousands of miles. We have found that our place has helped us all be more connected. In particular it has sown a seed of connection between the young.

I also look into the future. Is living on our own going to work? Can we be sure that our parents and our kids will be able to cope on their own? Our place is designed to enable an extended family have community but also their own privacy and autonomy. Our property is more than a place for great vacations. It is a place where many people can live permanently.

If you are thinking about the future this way – then our place may make a lot of sense for you.

Selling our Lovely House – A Place for Adult Kids and Aged Parents

March 30, 2010

Do you have aging parents? Do you have adult children who are a bit lost?

Of course we love our parents and we love our kids but having them live with you……..

Robin’s parents came to PEI from Ontario in their late sixties, as we plan to move closer to our own kids now. At that time in life, your family trumps friends.

For several years they lived in a very nice apartment downtown. But as Frank grew weaker, he needed more care and Ann more help. The choice was a seniors residence or to have them come and live with us.

By this time both were in their early 70’s. It seemed wrong that they go so early to the gateway to dementia and death, a seniors home. So we built this 1,000 sf addition to our house. Close but separate. their own front door. We could lend a hand and be there in a flash if we were needed.

We were too late. Before it was finished Frank fell, broke his hip and died a few weeks later. Exactly the kind of event we were hoping to avoid.

Ann now widowed, moved in and lived with us for a few more years before her death. The choice again would have been to soldier on alone or to move into a home.

Many of us boomers share this story. Many of us have aging parents. Our “Wing” is designed for you.

It has beauty as you can see here and functionality. It is wheel chair accessible both from an access point of view but also inside with wide doors and a bathroom designed for a wheelchair.

You can see more pictures here on our rental site.

What about adult children? These are uncertain times. Especially hard on our young. Our daughter Hope returned from 6 years of travelling a few years back. Re-entry to life in Canada was very hard for her. So she came to live with us. A common story. But while we all love our children and they us – well most of us and most of the time – living under the same roof as an adult child can be very stressful for all.

The wing again gave us that solution. Close but separated.

This is why I describe this place as a family compound – does this fit your needs?

Selling our Lovely House – Don’t take my word for it – Cynthia Dennis

March 25, 2010
“When I got to the end of the magical, tree-lined driveway on my first visit to the Patersons’ home, they were in the midst of lawn bowling. Two beautiful, black dogs, let a few excited barks as we parked the car, and stepped out to join the game. “Welcome!” said my new friend, Hope as she threw the ball. “What kind of property is this?” I thought to myself as I looked around.
That was the beginning of one of my most memorable summers in the last 10 years. If I wasn’t visiting Hopey for one of her infamous Indian cooking nights, I was being hosted at an intimate “let’s catch up” dinner, or helping out with one of her kid’s cooking camps she organized in the barn (the renovated/converted carriage house next to the house).
Friendship, family, FOOD (lots and lots of FOOD), and peaceful, real moments are the themes I cherish from that time.
Fortunately for me, Hope was living in the “Granny wing” then. She had moved home from Montreal to spend some time with her Mother as she (successfully) battled an illness. We both worked in the same art gallery, hit it off immediately, and so when she suggested a car pool, I gladly agreed. I used to drive the 5 minutes from Charlottetown every morning, tunes blasting, coffee at hand, looking forward to the sound of the spin on the tires as they floated down the lane, speckled with morning sunlight through the trees. It was always good vibes going to that place. I would never dare turn down an invitation, of which there were many.
It wasn’t just Hope and myself who had solidified a friendship that summer on Bunbury Road, but I had also developed a fantastic adoration for the rest of her family. Rob and Robin, her two wonderfully welcoming parents, and James, her intriguingly talented and captivating brother. Not to mention the extended family, all of whom I’ve come to call friends.
My circumstances and place of residence have changed numerous times since then, but every Christmas, and summer, I would end up traveling back down that drive to check in and reconnect with the Patersons. Last summer, James had his wedding in the lot next to the home.
They had mowed a patch just large enough to host the small ceremony, and left the rest of the field to be freckled with Queen Anne’s Lace as it overlooked the river. Hanging out in the barn that night, with Hope and James, and friends, and everyone all glowing and connected feeling, a few of us started reminiscing about all of the amazing memories created on that land. “It’s a shame your parents are selling this place…it really is special…and it will be so weird not having this ‘chill out zone’ to come back and unwind in….” they collectively realized.
I flashed back to that first summer when James and his friends from all over planned to meet up for a week to stay in the barn at the Patersons. What an interesting smattering of characters, most of them escaping from the big city hustle, all just looking so positively tranquilized with the oh so apparent peaceful vibes. Yep, those are ones for the books, boys. None of us will forget those moments.
This past autumn, Rob and Robin asked if I would look after their property while they took a trip to visit their granddaughter. I absolutely said I would, and was so looking forward to it, confused as to why they were phrasing it as a chore. Spending a week in their home, was a privilege for me. A time and place for me to get in a great zone. Getting up in the morning to walk Jay and Mildred around the track was such a welcome change to my usual routine. Coming downstairs and seeing the fresh sunlight beaming in the windows surrounding the dining room, and listening to the dogs flap and stretch about and they greeted the day was just fine and dandy with me.
While I was ‘stationed’ there, a group of my friends, touring musicians from Ottawa/Toronto, happened to be passing through PEI to play a show, with failed accommodation plans. I had a large empty house to offer, so with a big go ahead from the folks, the doors were opened to them. It was a beautiful, clear, brilliantly starry night in October, and I remember them stepping out of their big van, and even in the darkness, marveling at the, what must of seemed to them at the time, magical fairy land of a crash pad they just scored. They started to rummage for their sleeping bags, and it was funny because you’d never seen a bigger sigh of relief when I interrupted to inform them they all had beds.
Everyone immediately dropped into their comfort zone – one of the guys made a b-line for the giant OED complete with magnifying glass to satiate his reported obsession with words, another friend grabbed his sketchbook and cozied up into the corner chair with the cat (he missed his cat), another was busy calling home to the girlfriend, while the rest of us played Boggle by the fire. The dogs slept peacefully at our feet, so obviously relieved to have plenty of warm bodies around again.
In the morning, the guys spent a good chunk of time wandering around the property, snapping photos, stealing some sunshine, breathing the fresh air, and just chilling out. They were so thankful their other couch surfing gig fell through. It was a stop on their tour where they could all just relax, rejuvenate, and re-center themselves. I wasn’t surprised. That’s what visiting the Patersons’ has always felt like to me.
I can’t echo the sorry sentiments from the night of the wedding any louder, really. It is such a loss for those of us who will no longer have the land to revisit regularly. I believe it is an incredibly healing space, with nothing but positive, loving, embracing energies all around. But, the memories that were created there have carried us all to different times and places and as with everything in this life, this too shall (have to) pass. I know that things have their own timelines and purpose, and perhaps for all of us so privileged to experience what the property has to offer, its purpose has been served. Time to pass the torch?  I’m content to do what I can to share my connection to the space and hope that in so doing, I can help the right kind of owners discover and learn to appreciate this extraordinary parcel of PEI.”
Thank you Cynthia

Selling our lovely house – the Mundane & the Sacred

March 24, 2010

This is why I came to PEI. It’s a March day and I am walking my dogs. Yes, we get winters here and it is not always summer. I came to PEI after a traditional life working for a large bank. I needed to find the sacred.

I had been worn out by the grind and I had detached from people, from nature and from myself. PEI as a whole has re-attached me. It is a human scale place where you are “known” and where you know others. Even as an outsider, you can be part of life here – if you wish to contribute. It is the kind of place where the Premier can get on the plane with you and have a chat. It is the kind of place where Danny  Carmichael can teach you how to use a chainsaw. It is the kind of place where you wave at folks as you drive. It is hard to hide here. I struggled with this before I decided to come here. Would it be too small?

I found not. While the total population is less than a small town, about 140,000 people, we are a province. What that means is that PEI is not like a small town. We have the infrastructure of a medium sized city but in a rural setting. A university, UPEI, that is is on the path to become something special. It is becoming the economic and social hub of the place. Supported by Holland College that is also becoming a first class institution. Supported by a health system that is at scale and that as we have found out first hand can offer you the best support in the worst kind of situation. Supported by an arts and food infrastructure designed to offer our million plus visitors a wonderful experience. And of course we are supported by a beautiful land and seas scape.

So I found I could have my reconnection with a human scaled community and still not be a hermit. I could still have the intellectual and social life that I needed. It was small enough to bring back community but also big enough to keep me engaged.

But the issues of the mundane still confront all of us. How am I going to make a living and or keep myself productively occupied? For many might want to “get away” but know that they still have to work. Work is surely more than money. Good work validates us. We all need to find that. Robin, my wife finds that work in her art and in her crafts. But I needed to play in the wider world. I need a lot of complexity to make me feel good.

I have my answers to this and you will find your own. I have work that exists anywhere in the world. Most of my paid work takes place online and in the US. Online I am connected to a global community. The online community on PEI is very strong too. We punch well above our weight here on PEI with several of us playing leading global roles. The airport is 15 minutes from my front door. It is still intimate. Everyone comes to see you off and to pick you up here. You know all the staff and they know you. I can get to Washington by late morning. Getting home is another matter! What I am saying is that if you have mobile skills, you can have the best of both worlds, you can be living on paradise at PEI costs and have globally challenging work and global fees.

But what about here? Can you get work here? I suppose the answer is “That depends”. Depends on what you have to offer. I have been here for 15 years and have had a lot of very interesting work on the Island. I have also had wonderful unpaid work. Wonderful in that the work has been complex and has made a real difference. If you have something to offer and an open heart, you will find work here or you will make it happen.

Work is work. I have never had much difficulty in finding it. My challenge, and the reason I came here, was that I had lost myself in work. I had to find myself again. Maybe this is you too? Maybe you too need to reconnect?

It is our lovely place that has been my “doctor”. Where the mundane work at home is the portal to the sacred. Where the tasks of walking the dogs, stacking the wood, mowing the lawn, feeding the birds, shovelling the path, planting the trees, raking the leaves in all the seasons have brought nature back into my nature.

Where the reward at the end of the day is also sacred. Where sitting on the deck with a drink in the summer evenings, eating in front of the fire in the winter, sharing the hammock are rewards in themselves.

Where even in my work work, in my home office as I am now, I can look up and see the eagles fly above the river. All keep me connected.

Is this what you want too?

Selling our home – Its History

March 16, 2010

It is not often that we can buy a property and know the complete history of the place from when it was first settled. With our Property, originally called “Bunbury”, we can go back to its first days.

In this post let’s look at the property itself and then later we can talk about some of the amazing people who have lived here. Click on any photo to see it larger.

Here is an overview of the connection back to Charlottetown after the building of the railway. The Bunbury Road that now crosses Fullerton Marsh and goes onto Mermaid and points East, ended at the main house. It would have gone up what is now Premier’s Lane. The Bunbury Road was in effect the driveway to the main house!

Getting to Charlottetown was not easy then. Before the railway bridge, you would have crossed to Charlottetown by ferries running from either Southport or Kelly’s Point. The remnant of the old road to Kelly’s point, can be found today at Cotton’s Park that runs to the water.

This map below is earlier still and shows the detail of Lot 48 before the railway.

The Brook was dammed to drive a shingle mill. The dam is till there as is the pond but the mill has long gone. This was a full on working landscape then. Not only farming but shipbuilding as well. At least 7 schooners were built here as well. The Bovyer estate ran in 1798 all the way to Kelly’s Point on the West and to Fullerton’s Marsh to the East.

By the 1930’s the farm had shrunk in size but had become one of the most modern and important farms in Canada. J Walter Jones, later Premier of PEI, had married into the family and had developed the best dairy farm in Canada. One of his cows, Abegweit Milady, held the world’s record for butterfat production. One of his bulls brought an unheard of price of $25,000 in the late 1920’s. In 1931, he was awarded the Master Breeders Award from the Holstein-Friesian Association. It was the first time this award was ever presented to an individual. Jones was also one of the pioneers in the silver fox industry.

Here is how the home farm looked in 1936 at its peak.

The Bunbury Road runs from left to right [West to east] the main drive is in the centre. The small gap at the beginning is a small barn. I bet that this was for winter and the mud season giving access to the main road. What is now Premier’s lane runs from the bottom left to the house forming a wonderful circular drive in fron of the old house – which had to be pulled down in 1972. You will just catch the railway line in the bottom left. The Bunbury Station was a few yards away to the west.

Here is the home farm in 1958.

Jones had been dead 4 years and the farm would have been on the turn.

Here is the site today taken by Google.

At this level not much has changed. But at a detailed level it has. The old house had to be pulled down. The new house was buit in the early 1970’s by Lloyd and Marion Palmer. They also extended the old barn to the right [East] of the new house – the shiny roof. Lloyd built a half mile horse training track on the green field on the right. I still mow the track and walk my dogs every day there.

The best feature of the site remains the drive way.

Since we have owned the property, we have added a Granny Suite to the West Side side of the house and a Sun Room/Dining Room to the East. We have also rebuilt the barn and made it into a guest house – but I get ahead of myself.

The property now includes the driveway and the wood on the right of the drive and the area immediately surrounding the house. We do not own the fields. But we are as it were in the country.

Here you can see how close we are to town. About 7-8 minutes. You can also see how close we are to the shoreline. In the summer the dogs and I walk there all the time and on hot days even swim!

So what is this place? It is redolent with the history of the Island. It has been loved and cared for by only 4 families since the Bovyers bought it in 1788. What was 895 acres is now only 3.3 but it is the heart of the place.

In the next few posts I would like to share with you some stories of some of the wonderful people that have lived here. For they are still here. They have shaped the landscape and have cumulatively made this magic place what it is.

Their story will meld into yours as it has into mine.