In October of 2006, after years of renting a place in Stowe and imagining it our own, I ran across something fairly rare on realtor.com: A southern Vermont cabin with septic and well for less than 80k that didn't look like the set of a B-grade horror film. My surprise was compounded when my wife actually agreed to go look at it.
And so we found ourselves in Vermont on a Saturday coming to a slow realization that this cabin wasn't going to happen for us. Though I tried desparately to ignore them, the problems appeared one by one: The interior was 'rustic' in a sort of hasn't-been-updated-since-the-50's kind of way, the sill plates were rotting on both sides, the well was actually a spring box in the middle of what appeared to be a swamp, and the septic was 'unknown', but believed to be a dry well that may or may not have given up the ghost.
Standing on the center of the (painfully quaint) next town over, my long suffering wife gently persuaded me that we'd use all of our funds to buy it, and then the next 10 years of bonuses to make it what we wanted. With our first child on the way, it was more work than we needed. I hated to admit it, but she was right.
The wheels were in motion, however, and they apparently couldn't be stopped. If we couldn't have a cabin, it was time to upgrade our home. Sunday morning found us perusing open houses, and on Sunday night we had signed a sales contract with a realtor. Then the housing market began to collapse, and we endured 7 months of open houses and showings before we got our price.
But fate was at work: The house we bought was that very first open house we saw the Sunday morning we decided to sell. Our realtor claimed that she had never shown one couple the same house so many times.
I couldn't shake the idea of a cabin, though, clandestinely surfing realtor.com every week for a sub-100k cabin. And so it was that I found myself walking the parcel facing the historic meeting house in Shangra-La almost 2 years after visiting the first cabin...