By Sarah Blizzard Robinson
I thought about telling our three adult (and married) daughters, “If your dad ever retires, we’ve decided to move to Alaska and become homesteaders” just to see their reaction. Would they just roll their eyes, and talk among themselves about how their parents had lost their minds?
Over the years, we’ve been known to make big-move announcements, like the time when we lived in Pascagoula, Mississippi, we bought an 1850’s farmhouse across town, and it needed a total refurbishment. Other moves have been across states. Presenting them with yet another relocation plan, we braced ourselves for their reactions.
Though their lives currently revolve around Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee respectively, and their dad is still involved with his office in Morgantown (West Virginia), we weren’t sure how they’d take the news of us having a home in yet another state.
My husband spoke first. “Your mom and I purchased a small lot down south, and we’re going to build our forever home in Fairhope, Alabama.” Our Facetime call revealed nods and smiles, with one of them voicing, “Makes perfect sense. West Virginia winters can be brutal.”
Well, so can South Alabama summers. Our daughters had all been raised in nearby Pascagoula, Mississippi when their dad ran a car dealership there for many years, and they still have good friends in the area. We’d always loved the Gulf Coast, often bringing them to the Eastern Shore.
As many newcomers to Fairhope will tell you, there are copious challenges to relocating, all worth the effort, in our estimation. Complications on our end included a home that sold very quickly in one state and a lease on a condo that was ending in another state. What made all of the effort less stressful was getting support from Baldwin County locals who encouraged us every step of the way.
First on my list of local encouragers would be Eastern Shore Transfer. They sent two strong, dependable young men in a truck clear to Texas (ten hours) to retrieve the contents of the condo. They arrived with the necessary tool kit to disassemble beds and would reassemble them when we secured the rental house off of 181 in Fairhope.
With our family’s support, especially our middle daughter, her husband, and our soon-to-be-born grandson who’d recently relocated from New York City to New Orleans, we stayed focused on whatever needed to be done next.
My husband still commutes to West Virginia where we keep a residence. We make it work. With our new home under construction, we are here to oversee the build. Shamrock Rentals walked us through the process of establishing the temporary residency. We needed some of our furnishings for the rental and some would have to be stored. The bulk of our storage solutions would be found at Cube Smart—Self-Storage.
General manager Chris Lane has been a tremendous help. Cube Smart’s motto, “It’s What’s Inside That Counts”, refers to the lengths to which the company goes to keep the climate-controlled environment well-cooled. “Our energy bills are $3000 more monthly during these hot seasons.” They even offer solutions for humidity control and musty odors, demonstrating a product called Damp Rid, with moisture-absorbing crystals.
In recent years, whenever our daughters made plans with their in-laws for the holidays, or when we wanted to visit friends and were craving fresh seafood, their dad and I would take the opportunity to come down to Fairhope. We enjoyed the beautiful farmlands, the equestrian neighborhoods, the Grand Hotel, and the scenic Mobile Bay.
Two years ago this fall, we made such a trip, where we met Walter Billups, a real estate agent for The Colony. His office was headquartered in a spec house, a charming one-level southern cottage, exactly the style and size home we could see ourselves living in. A ride through the properties in Walter’s golf cart sealed the deal. “This corner lot is still available,” he said. The stately southern oaks and the sprawling green spaces really sold us on the development.
Walter didn’t have to convince us we would be in good hands with the high standards of Stuart Construction. Assigned an architect, a designer, and a superintendent, we forged ahead under their professional leadership. As I write this, we are just weeks away from moving into our forever home.