This is the first in a two-part series
The hundred-acre farm and its massive 1778 colonial home may both account for the zero-fat structure of 83-year-old John Barr.
“It’s all about love,” he says as he describes his motivation behind taking on the burden of the historic Gaige farm.
“We moved from the suburbs, and some friends and relatives had second thoughts about us moving into a house without heat,” he laughs.
That was 50 years ago, and it has taken all of that half-century to manicure the farm into the stunning estate that it is today. The sizable red barn is the sidekick to the 18th-century beauty, and it is framed by fields and a pond that is shaded by a lazy 40-foot weeping willow that Barr and his wife, Doris, planted when it was just 12 inches high.
Day by day, year by year, project after project and a great deal of steadfast determination all contributed to a home that looks like it could be on the cover of “Country Living.” Or, was it?
Challenges faced him every day. There was the morning when he woke up to his leveled two-story barn. It had collapsed as a result of a 42-inch snowstorm. He responded by cutting trees from the property and sending them to a mill so that he could rebuild on the barn’s original stone foundation.
While many, young and old, have chosen condos that might induce a simpler life, Barr has taken the road less traveled that, in an ironic way, has made life simpler-but-not-easier.
Growing up in a household with just enough to make ends meet, Barr followed college with a corporate career that found him in a lot of hotel rooms in cities far and wide. But the independent thinker gravitated toward open space and all of the accompanying complexities of rural living.
For Barr, there is no question that the obstacles and hard tasks have been worth the rewards of their now beauteous homestead.
“We have times when a son or grandson comes over and helps with a project or when we celebrate a large Thanksgiving dinner or host a big wedding,” he says.
Photos upon photos give credence to the richness of the family members that have passed through the center-hall Colonial.
His commitment to the rigors of this lifestyle and his philosophy and wisdom will be the topic of Part II.
To listen to this interview, go to “The Age Sage” podcast which is free and on smart phones and computers. “Portals to Heaven,” LaCosta’s daily devotional, is also free for the asking at [email protected]