July 17, 2019

Hello, From the Rivah!

Friends! We've been excited to tell you that we recently bought a river house, where we have been spending a good deal of the summer.

It's in the Northern Neck in Lancaster, Virginia, situated directly off farmland and on a point where 2 creeks meet the salty waters of the Rappahannock River. The house was built back in the 1940's; it's a single story with a charming cottage feel and a dock that takes a 150' run into the river.

It feels so remote compared to our home in the city and will be an intentional place for slowing down a bit. We've already been surprised to see so much wildlife — ospreys, turkeys, deer, groundhogs, fish, crabs, skates and even a snake to name a few. The most spectacular? We've caught glimpses of dolphins swimming the river 4' off of our dock and a bald eagle that lives in a nearby tree. There was even an older osprey's nest on our dock when we first came to take a look.

We closed on the house back in March and it's a completely blank slate. While there's no lack for ideas of changes and improvements we'd like to make over time, right now the plan is simply to work on furnishing the house just as it is to enjoy this next year. We're not planning any renovations, however, hope to make some smaller cosmetic upgrades and down the road update some features of the kitchen, bathrooms and outdoor spaces. The truth is, we love the house and have our hands and hearts full just soaking in these early months with Etta. Instead of trying to take on big projects, we want to make sure we're just living in the moment during this special time. To that end, our intention for this place is a second home. We have no plans to rent it out or turn it into an investment property in that sense. Instead, we have dreams of making it our own over time, gathering with family and friends, coastal cooking and all that comes with river life.

While the timing of finding this house was a little crazy amidst balancing everything else going on in our lives earlier this year, the purchase was anything but spontaneous. For some background, we've always known we wanted a second a home at some point but were open to the location, be it the beach, mountains or river. Tim's grandparents had a place on the Potomac when he was young, so he has strong ties to growing up on the water. My parents had a beach house in Nags Head when I was little and I cherish the special memories we made at a place other than our primary home in Richmond. Tim and I were both on the same page about creating something just as special, we just didn't know when the timing would be right or where the ultimate location might be.

We kept open minds and saved searches in areas we liked on Zillow. As a side note, does anyone else look at houses on Zillow just for fun? We did, for 3 years. As different properties came up, there were things we liked but enough others we didn't that prevented us from pulling the trigger. We even toured a few properties we thought were the ones in Hatteras and Deltaville in the last 2 years. It wasn't until Tim expanded the search to include Lancaster that this house suddenly appeared. From the photos alone we knew it was the one so we scheduled a viewing the same week and by the end of the month, we'd closed. It felt surreal.

Since then, we've slowly been bringing things down and with each new trip, it feels more and more like ours. It's little things like your own belongings that help make a new place feel familiar, but the memories we've already made too. For instance, we were here when the baby dropped and I had my first Braxton Hicks contractions. It was here where we've been able to watch Basil roam and swim freely. It was here where we had our entire family down before getting any furniture to host a Father's Day cookout. It was here that we'll always remember taking a big chance and "doing the thing" instead of waiting until the timing was better, our ducks were more in a row or every other excuse we told ourselves for years.

As you can see, we're most happy to have taken a chance on a place that will add a new dimension to our lives, and cultivate new memories together. It will be a place that Etta can grow up with — and while the timing of the house seemed hectic back in March, it's turned out to be just what we've needed.

We're so looking forward to sharing more photos of the inside of the house as we begin to pull things together and more from life on the river. Now, back to that hammock swinging in the breeze!

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