ThorneBrook Farms

Cattle • Lamb • A Passion for Good Food

A Cumberland Farmhouse: the Dream, the Drive-By, & the Land

Since before we married, we’ve been stalking various farms all over the state of Virginia. Our favorite has always been one in the Green Springs District of Louisa County. It’s 200+ acres, with a historical home, a cottage, various outbuildings & ag structures.

It was far into an abandoned state, but we still walked up the long driveway off of Route 29, past the rusty for sale sign, and up to the stately house. We peeked into the windows and later found an open door.

Shhh, don’t tell anybody but we snuck in through that opened door. It was open after all and was whispering our names.

Evidence of squatters, dirt, clutter, and water stained walls filled the house. But, the view was spectacular because the house sat on a hilltop amongst lots and lots of open farmland. The land, mostly open, was perfect. Location, wonderful. Old house status, blissful. My favorite part though was the kitchen. Open and with brick floors; complete with a bay window, too.

[Sigh] Be still my heart.

But, that one wasn’t quite right for us… It was priced at cool $1.3 million despite it’s abandoned state. Ha! Oh well… on to the next.

The Dream

That gem of a dream popped up some 12 years ago and since then we haven’t gotten it out of our mind. While that particular farm will never be ours, that’s ok. Because what it did was serve as a catalyst into what we have always dreamed and hoped for – a farm of our own with an old house. Historical values optional but preferred. We knew what we wanted for our life because of that one property. It helped us visualize something that we thought would only be a dream. Little did we know, the Lord had other plans.

Brooks and I have been farm shopping for about 15 years now. We’ve seen deals come and go. We’ve re-evaluated our parameters based on how we are progressing through life and the ebb & flow of the market.

The Drive-by

Our newly purchased property popped up on our radar several months back. Based on pictures, we didn’t really consider the house but we went to stalk it anyways… I mean look at it anyways. As we pulled into the driveway, we immediately fell for the land. It’s stunning. Slightly rolling, great soil, pastures and woods, wildlife galore – deer, turkey, and lots of box turtles.

By the way, box turtles are typically a good sign of a well balanced habitat. They’re quite picky when it comes to their nesting grounds. 

The 54 acre plot of land was a good shape. No funky angles. It’s a nice rectangle shape with some narrowing to one end, a mixture of pasture and sturdy oak woods, and has road frontage on two roads making it ideal for later development. Not that we would ever go that route but good to know if one day a family member wanted to build or if we decide to build a little rental house somewhere on the property.

But wait, we wanted a SMALL house!

While we were sold on the land, the house was another story. It was enormous and was a complete wreck on the outside. Ask any of our family and they will tell you that we are minimalistic at heart. In our search, one of our parameters was a small home. Something like 1600 sq ft or less. We had bought a house back in 2008 in Goochland County that was a 1930’s craftsman style with 1400 sq ft. That was perfect. We loved it.

So, in farm shopping, we had had something like that in mind. A small farm cottage.

This house was anything but small. It’s grand and demanding in attention. It stands at somewhere around 25 feet tall not including the roof pitch and it’s base is 45′ by 45′. In all, its about 4000 sq ft. WAAAAYY, bigger than anything Brooks and I would ever consider in a house.


I am a writer. Writers have vintage cars and a small writer’s cottage somewhere on a lake. Their homes consist of coziness and lots of windows for inspiration while writing…. NOT 4000 sq ft.

This was our only deterrent. At this point, we were still looking at it in drive-by style, so no realtor was involved and we couldn’t go into the house. As we left, I said to Brooks,

“I am definitely sold on the land. But, I am not interested in the house unless we can some how shut off the upstairs and only live in the downstairs. The upstairs can be used for storage unless the Lord should give us like 10 kids.”

Can you tell I am practical and a realist?

Even still, we were interested enough to contact a realtor and see the inside.

One last cool discovery during this initial drive-by… about a mile and a half away, down a winding dirt road, is the Appomattox River complete with a suspended bridge.

Time to hurry up and call a realtor…

4 Comments

  1. Wow, congrats! It’s beeauuuutifull. Also, excellent tidbit about box turtles. Thanks.

    • ThorneBrookFarms

      December 20, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you! We are excited and can’t wait to share more. I think our customers are going to be happy. 🙂

  2. Nice writing Jil. You left me wanting more…..

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