Getaway: Escape the world in Nelson

ADDRESS: 73 Drumheller Lane, Shipman NEIGHBORHOOD: Rockfish Depot

ASKING: $424,000


SIZE: 1,854 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 27 acres

CURB APPEAL: 7 of 10

LISTED BY: Mike Peters, Roy Wheeler, 434-951-5155

Wend your way along bucolic Rockfish River Road to an old two-lane bridge over the Rockfish River. Find the hidden entrance to Lucky Penny Farm through a bamboo forest on your left.

As you climb the stairs to the brick terrace outside the kitchen, imagine the original residents two hundred years ago spending carefree days under the apple, pear, and cherry trees (maybe not these, but undoubtedly some like them, given the distance to town and supplies in those days).

This is an authentic period farmer's house with about 27 acres of hillside on the banks of the Rockfish River in the community of Rockfish Depot. The property is defined by its proximity to the Rockfish. All the agent's publicity materials emphasize the river frontage, the sounds of the rushing water audible from everywhere in the house, and the fishing, swimming, and tubing opportunities the river provides.

Here an owner can turn back the hands of time's clock and live like country folks did in the days before the Civil War. The original 1800 two-over-two structure in the heart of the house has been altered over the years by gradual expansions to accommodate demands of modern life, but reminders of the life those people lived are still evident.

Outbuildings surround the house, throwbacks to times when barns, springhouses, and sheds were required to house the animals and store the provisions needed for survival. Lush plantings nestle around dry stone walls defining the gardens from the woods and pasture, necessary in a part of the country where wild things still roam.

The central feature of the house is an original massive stone fireplace. A new sunroom with cathedral ceiling has been added beside it, where a slate floor holds the warmth of the morning sun. Outside the dining room, a walkway bordered by raised flowerbeds provides an attractive bit of color to contemplate during summer meals.

A state-of-the-art woodstove takes up one corner of the dining room beside the large kitchen, pantry, and attached mud room. Although the windows have been replaced and the floors covered with vinyl, old-time woodwork around the windows and doors has been preserved.

The first floor has a large bathroom and laundry for prep before and cleanup after Saturday night hoedowns. A small bedroom on this level has a bath en suite. The other first-floor bedroom is furnished as a family room, but could become a parlor, library, or sewing room.

Up the steep stairway are two more bedrooms, the smaller with a (boarded up) fireplace and circulating heat from downstairs via openings in the wall. The other one– painted a cheery yellow– overlooks the terrace.

The house has spring water– no chlorine or well– and the oil-fired forced-air heat makes a comfortable alternative to the original fireplaces. That sound you hear rustling in the trees is the wind whispering the word "rustic."

Aside from the stone fireplaces, perhaps the most striking remnants of days of yore are the low ceilings and the wide-paneled front door that swings open to offer a shady front porch, with a glimpse of the spring house and the woods beyond. While crime is undoubtedly as mythological here as the stories told around the old fire places during the long nights with no TV, a large nail slides into place to keep this door secure.

It's just more evidence of the all-encompassing sense of seclusion from the modern world at Lucky Penny Farm.