ADDRESS: Hidden Valley Farm, Nellysford
ASKING: $1.8 million
BUILDING: 4,500 finished square feet; many outbuildings
LAND: 120 acres
YEAR BUILT: 1988/2002
CURB APPEAL: 8 out of a possible 10
LISTED BY: Owner Charles Kuhn 989-9287
As Western Albemarle disappears under bulldozers and million-dollar tract houses, it seems the very vistas that lure people to our area will soon be gone. Even along the Emily Couric Memorial Highway (Route 151), houses appear to pop-up overnight.
But despite the growth spurt, Nelson County still looks rural.
Seven miles from the 250 West turn-off and just before the hamlet of Nellysford rests this spectacularly placed farmette. It's perhaps a mile or so off the road, and the only indication that our directions weren't way off was a bold sign declaring "Hidden Valley Farm." Not so hidden after all.
Crossing a small stream and following a line of stately white pines, cedars, and dogwoods, we came upon a pale yellow house right out of a Scandinavian fairytale– not overtly grand, but impressive enough to make us catch our breath.
Inside, more pale yellow paint covered the walls. The 10-foot ceilings and massive windows created the effect of less delineation between outside and in than, say, you might feel in a barn. And that's a good thing.
Living here is all on one level, with no particular distinction as to what one might do with each room. The rooms are spacious and could easily be changed as families grow or shrink. All the bookshelves and floors gleam with a light pine finish. Wool carpeting covers the floors of the bedrooms, adding a little "green" appeal. The east wing, with a recently upgraded bathroom, sports a bamboo floor. A screened porch has been turned into a 300 square-foot all-weather room that literally begs for yoga mats and Yanni.
So much light and exposure do give the place a certain airiness, but sometimes it was a little too much. Just for a little contrast, one might think of creating a cozy dark corner for those moments when you're just not feeling sunshine-y bright.
Everywhere you go, the outside stays right beside you. Throughout the offices, bedrooms and living areas, the overriding impression was of the surrounding land. On this pre-spring teaser of a morning, the desire to take off into the woods was almost overpowering.
To the west, a wide-open kitchen with dining area was more of the same with continuous floor-to-almost-ceiling wraparound windows. From here, we stepped outside to find a second house, built in 2002. Connected by a covered carport, the new structure is nothing fancy but perfect for teens, grandparents, or visiting dignitaries.
From here we finally got to fully take in the breathtaking majesty that the house had obviously been built to inhale. And here is the reason for the price tag: Land in all its unspoiled glory stretching as far as the eye can rove.
The property breaks down into 20 acres of open hay fields, 40 acres of forest, and 60 almost flat acres enclosed by three-board oak fencing. A small bass-stocked pond with island looks like it could provide hours of summer fun. The list of amenities continues with a quaint guest cottage, large barn with four-horse stable, a tack room and hay storage, several small outbuildings, a greenhouse (for year-round food) and an organic garden.
Even that impressive list barely covers it. Hiking and horseback trails disappear into the hills where they meet up with the Appalachian Trail, the George Washington National Forest, and Wintergreen Nature Preserve and where– the owners promise– waterfalls abound.
It's a lot to cover, not just on foot but also in a brief review. Buyers with the means who value open vistas should look to Nelson county as one of the last frontiers of tranquility in the area.
PHOTOS BY OWNER