SELLING THE FARM

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We are selling Rockspring Farm.

That’s a line I never thought I’d write. In fact, when I telephoned my mother to give her the news she was literally speechless. I thought my cell phone had cut out. Then she finally whispered, “I never imagined you’d leave that place.”

We never imagined it either. Nine years ago this summer we left Connecticut and bought what was then a rundown, neglected 20-acre farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were looking for a lifestyle change. We spent thousands of hours and spilled lots of blood, sweat and tears – literally – to convert the farm into an ideal place to raise our family.

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After refurbishing the 1860 farmhouse, we built a 5,000-square foot, hand-crafted, timber-framed building that has served the function of a school for our children and a guest house for friends, family, and people who have fallen on rough times.

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We affectionately call the building “The Barn.” But it’s much more than that. Many of our friends from around the country have stayed in it. And almost everyone I’ve written about – Bill Marler (Poisoned); Susette Kelo (Little Pink House); Tito Momen (My Name Used to be Muhammad); Donyetta Hamm (“Straight Outta Compton,” Sports Illustrated) has stayed on our farm. We’ve hosted famous writers, television personalities, filmmakers; and we’ve put on workshops for students, book signings, events for children, large holiday feasts for friends and family, and annual Christmas Eve visits by Santa.

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We have absolutely loved living here, from the organic food to the beautiful vistas to the friendly surroundings. It has been, in some respects, dream-like. If I think about it too much, I get downright sad about leaving. After all, our daughters, in particular, grew up here.

9th bday

clara chicken

But in life, things happen that you never see coming. For us that happened four months ago. It started with some unprofessional comments delivered publicly and directed at me. Those were followed up with some mean-spirited lies cloaked in self-righteousness. I was the target, but the collateral damage inflicted pain on my wife and children. I will never forget the moment when Lydia turned to me and said with tears in her eyes: “It’s time for us to leave.”

Over the years my family has had plenty of experience with public criticism. I ran for U.S. Congress in Connecticut; my wife ran for public office; and I’ve written some controversial books and stories about powerful people – Donald Drumpf, Kobe Bryant, the richest (phoniest) Indian tribe in America, athletes who abuse women, and so forth. So I’ve been hammered in places ranging from the New York Times to Fox News to cable television to talk-radio. My family rolls with it.

But what happened here was different and much more personal. Basically, if you’ve ever had someone judge you as unworthy, you know what I’m talking about. Obviously, I’m leaving a lot unsaid. But I will say that we’re not selling our home because someone hurt our feelings. That’s just silly. The fact is that this ordeal was more like a trigger mechanism that caused us to re-evaluate where we are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

At the end of the day, we decided that it was time for our family to return to Connecticut. The past nine years have been life-changing for the better. Now we’re beyond excited to go home and write the next chapter of life. After all, you only get so many chapters.

Meantime, whomever acquires Rockspring Farm will be getting a gem of a place to raise children or grandchildren. There are fields to run in, trees to climb, blueberries and strawberries and raspberries to pick, a swimming pool, lofts, a spring and a pond, brick sidewalks, stone walls, and beautiful gardens.

An incredibly talented team of realtors, led by Paula Martin, is marketing our property. Paula’s husband Steve created this website about our place. Check it out.

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