Living in a unique building with a pastMon June 5, 2017
I saw an article the other day about living in a building with a past - not ghosts or meddling spirits, but living in a building that had a former, non-residential use. I remember when our daughter was looking for a home in San Diego in the midst of a low housing inventory -we urged her to look for old schoolhouses, or garages, or industrial buildings. This advice did not surprise her (but was impractical in CA) because this is exactly what her parents did 18 years ago.
It is not a surprise to those who know us, but the idea of moving to PA (where we knew only a couple of people) and rehabbing a neglected general store building was not a very big leap. We have always been open to creative thinking, and to find this building so neglected and in need of tender, loving, knowledgeable care was, to us, a signal for a new, re-configured life. Our building had once been home to the owners who worked the general store every day, so it was technically a home, but out of the realm of usual thinking. The daily wonders of living in a renewed space, while savoring the history of what went before, is an especially satisfying experience.
Over the course of our 18 years here, we have met descendants of all 5 families represented by the names of our B&B rooms. We have hosted them as they dig into their own genealogy, and have loved hearing the stories of how the store was such a vital part of their childhoods. Sharing childhood memories is such an important way to spend time - we urge you to do it with elderly members of your own families!
So I embraced the thinking of living in alternative (let's say non-traditional) spaces and enjoyed reading about other experiences. This is especially true of historic buildings whose rich trappings cannot always be duplicated and will not exist if we don't save them now. Just because we have chosen to make our historic building a B&B does not need to limit the potential uses going forward - we have done the big stuff, now our historic building is ripe for creative new uses.
Enjoy your summer! Best regards, Donna Land