After 2.5 years of living in the 40′ coach and following a near-disaster when three pit bulls broke through our fence and attacked one of my Labradors and me, we decided it was time to move. For years, we had debated about going farther south into Florida, but I didn’t want to be too far from my family and after 2.5 years in Aiken, we had grown to love the area. So it was time to start searching for the perfect piece of property.
A search through the local classifieds let us to a small rural plot of land not too far from Rose Chase RV, where we had been living in our coach since arriving in Aiken in December ’09. We jump in the car to recon the property and see if it would fit our needs. We plug the coodinates (no street address yet) into the GPS and head down the road.
When I say this place is rural, I’m not exaggerating. To get to this property, you turn off the main road onto a dirt road, then take a sharp left onto another dirt road. You pass cattle, sheep, and donkeys grazing contentedly in the southern summer day, flicking tails and ears against the flies. Three huge silver warehouses emit the ever present odor of a commercial hatchery. And, loping down the road in front of us is a coyote.
After several passes and a call to the property owner, we figure out which “driveway” (more like a deer path through the woods) belongs to the advertised property. We turn into the driveway, thankful for all-wheel drive, and park in a small clearing at the end. Although the property has 500′ of road frontage, or maybe because of that, it has no depth. Any house would have to be sitting right on the edge of the road for us to turn this property into our dream mini-farm. We decided it was a no go and called the property owner to let him know. ”Wait,” he says, “I have another piece of property next to that piece that you might like better.”
So we drive bumpily back out the driveway, go to the next driveway and turn in. We drive down the cleared path, expecting to see a similar cleared space. All we see are trees, weeds, and sand. We keep driving. More trees, weeds, and sand. The path curves to the left and a cleared patch of ground opens up before us – about 40′ square. Hardly big enough to put our chicken coop on. The property is shaped like a flag with the long driveway being the pole and the rest of the property sitting off the road, in the back. We sit in our car for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of nature all around us. Other than the bird calling and the leaves rustling, it is the very embodiment of peace and quiet. After all the drama at Rose Chase RV, the quiet is inviting and soul satisfying. We love it!
We spend the next few days doing some more research on comparable properties, tax values, zoning restrictions then call the owner. After a little negotiating, we agree on a price and a closing date. In two weeks, the property is ours. The dream of Sand Castles Farm is about to become a reality. We are finally about to experience our Home Sweet Home.