Where to Build a Little House

Today, we end our summer of Monday guest posts with one from Mary Brown. Mary has a decision to make about where they should settle and build their little house.

Mary’s House

Here’s the post from Mary:

Mary's Kitchen

The kids have all moved out and started families. Luckily for us, my husband is able to take early retirement from his job in two years. We will be able to move anywhere but now we need to figure out where?

The problem is there are so many beautiful places. I think we could live just about anywhere and be happy. We would love to have a place with space between us and the neighbors and the space for gardening.

We did have a place on the beach in North Carolina but the bugs and alligators just aren’t for us so, we sold it. It was nice walking on the beach but we also love hiking in the mountains.

We currently live in New Jersey, but to it’s very expensive to stay here. The current NJ community we live in prohibits fruit or vegetable gardening. Our house is on the market in an effort to start the process of moving forward.

How did you choose where you live and what would you change if you had it to do over?

The decision for us had already been made. My mother, sister and my aunt and uncle chose this land back in 1984. A long story, but my mother ended up with my sister’s share and sold 20 acres back to my aunt. My aunt deeded our first 2.5 acres to us. When my family initially bought this land on Bull Shoals Lake in the 1980s, it was very affordable. When we received our plot, not so much.

We did buy seven more acres on the other side of us when the opportunity presented itself and my aunt picked up nearly 10 more acres across the road at a tax auction. That gives us a 50 acre barrier surrounding our house that is owned by us or family.

We wouldn’t change where we’re living. Last winter, when Dale didn’t have a stable job holding us here, we thought about different places to go. It seemed the jobs were in North Dakota, but that is definitely too cold for me, as are Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. We thought about New Mexico or Arizona, but would miss the change of seasons. Nope. Right here in the Ozark Mountains is the perfect spot for us.   -Kerri

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16 Responses

  1. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    Mary, good luck on your search. I have tossed at the idea of moving, most likely after retirement, but being a Native Texan, feel drawn to stay in Texas. It is a big state with lots of options. I grew up in a big city but have lived in the country for 20 years. Visiting the city is ok, but living there is not an option for me.

  2. Vida says:

    Our dream had always been to live by the sea. So when we finally sold everything to find our dream spot on this earth, the sea was our guiding parameter. We went as far as Panama but ended up in Greece. Our mantra used to be: “You and me and the coconut tree.” Now we get to say, “You and me and the olive tree” which is fine by us. We feel very lucky to have achieved this dream. We still wake up daily and are staggered anew by the views from our terrace.

    Good luck with your search, Mary and have fun! It sounds like a very exciting time of your life.

    • Mary Brown says:

      Hi Vida,

      WOW! Your really did look all over the world, I think my area is smaller…..LOL
      just so I get to see the grandkids more often

      Of course I’ve never been to Greece but from what I’ve seen on TV it looks beautiful.


  3. Rae says:

    I live in NJ too. I grew up here and swore I’d never move back. We lived in the Florida Keys, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Georgia and were happy to be back in NJ. I learned a few things from living in other areas-I am not a southern person, I need changing seasons, I love the ocean and the mountains, I prefer a shorter winter. I love Maine, Hawaii, Palm Desert,the Cape-maybe I’ll just shuffle between them! Three and a half seasons in Maine and half of winter in someplace warm-I could live with that!

  4. Mary Brown says:

    Hi Everyone!

    Well, timing is a funny thing. We received an acceptable offer on our property and we are now under contract with a closing in a few weeks. I guess I’ll start packing tomorrow.

    Oh, I wanted to mention that not only is the cat in the kitchen picture but my dog is in it too behind the cat, it’s just that the cat 4 times bigger than the dog….LOL You probably guessed that the cat is in charge.


  5. Kim says:

    My extended family is all from central Arkansas, but my parents loved the mountains in the north of the state, and moved us there when I was about 12.

    The Ozarks have become a part me now… we moved to a big city in Florida for a few years, but something in me just needs hills and views and clean air/rivers/lakes and four seasons… and elbow room!

    I love Marie’s RV idea, even if just for a month or two, if you really have no idea where you’d like to be. Try several different climates- beach, desert, mountains, plains, cities, seclusion… and then come back to your favorites six months later when the seasons have switched to make sure you can enjoy it year-round. Brilliant!

    • Mary Brown says:

      Hi Kim,

      Does that mean you are moving back to the Ozarks?

      It seems like people like to stay were they were raised and by family. If I were to stay by my kids I would have to stay in NJ or on the NJ/PA boarder. We will be taking trips to different areas to check them out and I love the idea of checking they out during different seasons.


  6. Melanie says:

    Ouray, Co – its beautiful, small and the people are fabulous!

    • Mary Brown says:


      I spend a week in Denver for a business trip a couple of years ago and it was beautiful.


  7. Marie says:

    After 30 or so years in the rainy northwest we moved into an RV… Our goal to live frugally and find a new spot. Three years later and a few months ago much to our surprise we found a very affordable home in a 55+ community outside of Tucson. We had already fell in love with the Sonoran Desert. It is so beautiful here. The cost of housing is so much less than Washington! We have trails into a County and National Park right across the street as well. Life is good!

    I love living in a community like this one. The size is good for us with about 300 lots where you own your lot and a share of the community. HOAs are very reasonable too! Oh joy!

    • Mary Brown says:


      That’s an interesting way of finding a new area to move to and having an adventure on traveling in the RV.

      I haven’t made it to AZ yet


  8. Hi Kerri, it is always interesting to hear why people live where they do or why they want to move.

  9. Alexandra says:

    We moved to Cape Cod from Paris, France to care for my elderly parents. Twelve years later they are gone but we are still here. We live in Wellfleet, a great little community that is looking to attract year-rounders. The problem is real estate, expensive. If your husband worked from home, this might be a good option as that type of thing is now being facilitated. There are many retirees here. Many find added income by renting their homes in summer. We have become addicted to walking on the beach in all seasons. I don’t know if we can move away now. I plan to post a blog next week about Wellfleet in Winter and what the options are. If you want more info, please feel free to contact me, Mary.

    • Mary Brown says:


      I’m sorry for your loss but it nice you were able to spend the time with your parents.

      I love Mass but haven’t made it out to the cape even though I do have friends that keep inviting me.


  10. Heather says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for you Mary. I’ve always lived in Washington State and don’t think I could go anywhere else, but I have slowly migrated from Seattle to less populated areas. I like being able to get to Seattle within an hour but not have to put up with the traffic and population regularly.

    • Mary Brown says:

      Hi Heather,

      Yes, I’m excited about finding a new home in a new state, I’ve always lived in NJ. I’m only 40 minutes from NYC by car and less if I jump on the train. It’s nice to go into the city once in a while but also to escape to the peaceful country.