In February my family and I unintentionally settled in Green Cove Springs, FL which is a small town set along the St. Johns River. I say “unintentionally” because we had only intended to stay on nearby Camp Blanding, a Florida National Guard base, for a month to get caught up on things. You see, we’d been full-time RVing for over a year, and we had overextended our cash flow to a point that we needed to stay put for a while. We were in the need of some RV maintenance as well as letting our cash flow catch up with our travel expenses (aka ‘ $ burn rate’). Traveling from place to place requires expenditures for fuel and short term stay rates at RV parks that are always higher than staying in one spot for an extended stay. Staying put saves a bit of money when things get tight.
So, we found ourselves stopping back through Florida as we were ultimately headed back up to Virginia Beach where I’d initially accepted a position with the Navy. Life had a different plan for us, however. I’d ultimately decided against the job and backed out of the position; however, we were still headed north to Virigina Beach to look for more enjoyable work opportunities and a new home. We’d decided to stop the full-time RV traveling to get settled back into a more ‘normal’ lifestyle to focus on our kids’ homeschool. We decided this while on the fly and settled to stop into Green Cove Springs for the aforementioned reasons and to be nearby our Florida-based mail service, St. Brendan’s Isle.
We’ve a habit of checking out houses and property while traveling, and Green Cove Springs was no different as I pulled up Zillow to check things out. We were literally driving off of Camp Blanding within the first week of arrival when I did this. Low and behold this beautiful farm-style house popped up in the listings.
From there we contacted a realtor via the Zillow app (not the first time) and was put in touch with Jeff Sherman with whom we immediately connected. We’d been initially looking in Oklahoma and Texas using a couple of different realtors and services. We’d deliberately planned on those searches before finally deciding that returning to the East coast was the best financially for us. On a whim, however, is how we ended up with Jeff, and we were so comfortable with him that we didn’t try to switch to another realtor with our home-buying and mortgage service. It would have saved us money if we had, but Jeff was just the right fit for us as we were warming up to settling down here. Our last home purchase in Virginia Beach taught us that it was extremely important to have the ‘right’ realtor working with you. That’s a topic for a different discussion, however.
There were several things that caused us to make such a big decision on short notice. First and foremost, the town is just a gem. It’s located right along the St. Johns River and still has a ‘small town’ feel to it. There is a lot of development coming its way with a new by-pass that’s bringing more housing and business. However, it seems that there is a big priority to maintain the downtown – small town feel. The home that we found is the farm style that we have always dreamed of. It is located just over a half mile from a playground and park with lot’s of kids available for ours to play with. And, there’s a great little mom-and-pop coffee shop named Spring Park Coffee also right next door to the park. Between the town, the park, and the coffee…we were sold!
Fast forward a few weeks, and we were closing on the home on February 6th and looking forward to moving into a MUCH larger space than our comparatively ‘small’ 38 foot RV that we’d been traveling in for so long. We were all definitely giddy with anticipation as we headed to the closing at the title company. The process was not without out some stress when dealing with the former owners, but in the end it was all worth it. By the way, the actually closing meeting was excellent. Jeff surprised us with a wonderful gift that is now displayed above the fireplace in our formal living room.
We are slowly making the place our own with updates, landscaping, and new touches. The neighbors are great and seem to welcome our addition to the neighborhood. It was also a relief to park “Beulah” for a while as we moved most of our belongings from the RV to the house.
I also had to endure a trip back up to DC to get the remainder of our household goods out of storage. We’re happy to have that behind us. We’re now focusing on the landscaping and getting the property back to a beautiful state as the previous owners let things slide a bit as they were preparing to leave.
So, here we are! We love our new town, and we’re looking forward to it getting back to normal since all the drama and delay that the ‘pandemic’ has caused. We’ve met some really wonderful folks since settling, and we look forward to the years to come!