Once the decision was made to allow for the possibility of relocation despite living in the same town for thirty-seven years, the same attic apartment for thirty-three, I decided that it would be on my terms. I got a list of homes in my price range, all of which were in nearby towns, and told the realtor I’d do drive-by’s first, because I wanted to “try on” the town. I’d spend a day in each town, walk around and talk with people, take my own photos of the houses. First stop was Mancos, thirty miles west of Durango.
While I had frequently driven through Mancos en route to Cortez or Moab, Utah, or even to Oregon or California, I have to admit I’d never spent any time there. In recent years, word has it, this tiny town has become something of an artists’ community. Okay!
I drove over on a weekday, went into the tourist info center, and an older man wearing long hair and shorts told me his favorite places to hike and how the price of bananas compared in the local grocery with that in Wal-Mart back in Durango.
I moved my car to the shade of tall trees in the park at the east end of town and started my exploration on foot. Sure enough, I passed several galleries, a hatter, and the Absolute Bakery from which laughter and great aromas wafted.
Around the corner, on Main Street, was the Fahrenheit Coffee spot, an old gas station remodeled with whimsy.
I asked the owner about the first address on my list of two homes and she said, “Oh! You mean the bottle house!” She gave me directions and I walked quickly to go see this weird place.
Listed at $195,000, this property was actually two houses. A small rental in front (the bottle house) and a two-story house in back with a deck overlooking the river.
From the inside of the house in front, the artistic placement of glass bottles in that wall depicts a tree with green glass for the boughs, and brown for the trunk. There was something oddly appealing about the property–not the least of which was the guaranteed disapproval by family and others. But it also included 150’ of riverfront (although the river is more like a trickle than the rushing river in Durango), it had a covered deck surrounded by trees that reminded me of my time in Canada, and it was within easy walking distance of town.
Did I mention that the bakery and coffee house are mere blocks from this place? I also had huge respect for the builder of this house who apparently used “found materials” and was obviously a craftsman regarding the precise, angled alignment of windows.
On the down side, there’s an empty lot next to it (please see my series, “Living next to construction”) and it faces a heavily trafficked road, the business route to Mancos from Highway 160. I considered what it would be like parking my car out in the open during winter without the support I now have in Durango–excellent snow removal and neighbors with small plows.
Next stop was an older home I named “Red Doll house” because the owner had trimmed it in red and royal blue and created such a lovely garden in front–at least according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) photos online.
It sits next door to the Fahrenheit coffee house and might or might not include river front on its back side. I imagined myself living there, waking up to the aroma of fresh roasted coffee next door. On the inside, according to the realtor’s photos, she had used the same bright colors for the open kitchen cabinets and counters and had her own brightly colored dinnerware artfully arranged. Sadly, renters have not kept up her yard and when I went back on Sunday I realized the proximity to the bakery wasn’t necessarily a good thing–at least not for me who has lost three sizes and more than twenty pounds recently.
A friend from Cortez, seventeen minute drive west from Mancos, met me for that second trip to show me places in nature I could access like I do the woods in Durango. The drive to the state park took twice as long as the one to my favorite “forest walk” in Durango; the park isn’t by a rushing river, and there are ATV’s racing through it.
It took only two days for me to try on Mancos as a possible relocation site and decide that it would not work for me. As precious as it is, it does not have the amenities I’ve gown so fond of:
- less than five minutes from a river trail that continues the length of the town and beyond
- less than ten minutes to the pull-put parking for the Colorado Trail where I can walk along the river and into the woods at least as far as Denver (an eight-hour drive)
- brief 15-minute drive to Trimble Hot Springs where I can soak in two different therapy pools, depending on how much heat I can tolerate at the time, or swim laps in the outdoor nearly-Olympic-sized pool
- easy walking distance from town, including three health food stores
- surrounded by natural beauty everywhere I look
I realized that it’s going to be hard to match what I’ve got here, and that this process is going to include a lot of personal reflection, clarifying what is most important to me.
Till next time, I’ll be taking my sweet time while Skating Thru the mire of confusion regarding relocation and what’s next for me to do–is it still writing? Info-marketing? Or something else I have yet to discover? How about you? Facing any big changes?
[#1 in Relocation/moving series, copyright by Pam Young]