This amazing property has been carefully tended and restored by a creative owner, to protect and preserve its quiet, off grid sanctuary for generations to come. The gigantic, south-facing house is situated on 14 acres of field and forest, with a view of the Chelsea valley that's one of the best the area has to offer. Located just a mile down the road from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (V.I.N.S.)'s newly acquired wilderness campus of 300 acres, there are miles of hiking and cross country skiing trails right out the front door.
The three story house was redesigned to allow for an open floor plan on the ground floor, perfect for group gatherings, house concerts, dances and spacious living. Stripped down to the studs in 2000, the house enjoyed extensive window replacements and non-toxic spray foam insulation, new interior walls and massive steel beam installations, to support the huge, open span. An all new heating system, featuring restored classic old-style radiators and exposed copper piping, add a lovely touch to the aesthetic and a powerful warmth, when hooked up to either the propane furnace in the basement, or to an outdoor boiler for which piping is still available. Three full bathrooms sport both antique clawfoot tubs, and one shower. There is a half bath on the ground floor, and all the water runs reliably fresh and clean from a deep, drilled well that has never failed.
The electrical system was also rewired and simplified during the 2000 renovations, and most of the old wiring removed. With two sets of solar panels numbering 16 total, in sunny weather there is plenty of power, enough to run the recording studio that has been functioning on site since 2005. A wind energy system has been put in place utilizing a new, state-of-the-art turbine, along with some of the old wiring from earlier decades with limited success, but could be improved with a little ingenuity. There is plenty of wind! A well used generator serves as backup and can be run remotely from the house. They system charges batteries in the basement, and a modern inverter runs A/C power to the whole house, and out to the shop building as well.
There are three airy, and sunny bedrooms on the 2nd floor, that have charmed many an Airbnb visitor, thanks to their incredible views and pleasant redesign. There are many artistic splashes and funky raw edges to the house, which add to the ambiance while leaving the future open to the next phase of development. The third floor which was formerly an attic has been opened up with skylights and dormers, and new windows, with a commanding view of the valley below. Currently used as a studio, it could be an apartment unto itself, artist's loft or bedroom suite. The vibrations on the top floor are special, for all the music that has been made, and people who have spent happy hours there.
The shop building has serviced a full wood shop, with high ceilings and post and beam construction and has an additional storage loft and bedroom space. The building was approved for a mound system septic, but currently there is no septic or water running to it. With the addition of those amenities, the shop would also make a fabulous studio rental. There is radiant floor heat in the foundation, that used to run off an outdoor wood boiler, and that underground piping still runs to an adjacent wood shed where the boiler used to be. The plumbing is in good shape.
There is a large, outdoor shed with dirt floor, that was used to store log length fire wood, a lawn tractor, and that also provided a covered location for our old wood boiler. All the piping for that boiler is still in the ground, running to the main house and out to the shop building, and was filled with anti-freeze to preserve its functionality, should the next generation of heating systems involve an outdoor boiler of some kind.
Out beyond the pine trees but not far from the main house, a one-room writer's cabin sits in lovely proximity to the open fields, forest and vernal pool of the property. This space has a peaceful setting and no conveniences, but is warmed by a tiny wood stove, and its cheerful southern exposure. A perfect get-away for guests seeking privacy, there are mowed areas around it and a fire pit to sit by on star filled nights. Used as a honeymoon cabin and Airbnb retreat, the dwelling provides magical moments for those seeking to unplug.
There is a perennial garden off the back deck, and an additional second floor deck that looks down over old lilac bushes, the garden and a magnificent fieldstone wall hand-crafted by stone mason and musician Spencer Lewis. Landscaping has been a part of the restoration of the property, with many new shrubs, fruit bushes and trees added to an already lovely array of crab apple, plum, wild apple, and cedar trees planted by the original owners.
Also included within the 14 acres are a vernal pool, alive with amphibian activity in the spring months, an undeveloped, private meadow suitable for a second house site, and a hilltop field that has been brush hogged for years and boosts some of the best views in all of Vermont, looking south down the First Branch river valley through Tunbridge to South Royalton. This field has hosted weddings with big top tents and caterers (references available) and for farmers or hobbyists, the rolling grassland would be perfect grazing for pasture animals.
This is a slice of real Vermont, not a Disney version of Vermont. The area is quiet but has only a seven minute drive to the charming village of Chelsea, a town that has always welcomed newcomers and well as preserved the traditions of locals. There are new, young farmers moving into the area, and a thriving, weekly farmer's market during the warmer months, on the spacious town green. An hour's drive north to Montpelier (Vermont's capital) and a hour's drive south to Hanover NH and Dartmouth College, culture and fine dining are not too far afield. It is best of both worlds: a place of peace, and rustic seclusion, as well as a jumping off point for adventuring all over New England.