Finding the right location
We’ve finally found it: the perfect location to put the 1808 log cabin! After only 18 months of searching, we have the most undeniable setting you could imagine.
During a conversation, Bob Timberlake asked me, “What do you plan to do with the cabin, and where are you going to put it?” I answered the “what” question—to create a guest cabin for family and friends—but in terms of where, I told Bob I had no idea. My wife, Karen, asked me the same question: “Well, where do you put the cabin?” It’s simple: The mountains I’ve been building and developing on the last nine years in Boone, N.C., and Blowing Rock, N.C., along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I had dreamed of having my own cabin for 15 years and now have a one-of-a-kind 200-year-old cabin. My objective for this cabin was for it to look like it had been on the new site for 200 years, too, which proved to be a challenge. I thought I could find us a view there, but homesteaders didn’t build on top of ridges and mountaintops. OK, how about along the river? No, because the riverbank has zoning rules and setbacks, which weren’t in place 200 years ago; no one told you how to use your land. Plus, there were other log cabins along the way that didn’t really fit an 1800s atmosphere. How about the lake? I thought that might be the place, but it didn’t feel right. One day I would have a neighbor 30 feet away, which takes away that homesteader feeling. This cabin has to have its space.
Then I heard rumor a local farm—Justice Plantation—might be for sale, which I confirmed with a friend of mine in the land business. I had knowledge of this farm growing up in Chatham County, N.C., and am still close friends today with the original homesteaders’ kin. Karen knew the current owners and got us an appointment to visit.
When we arrived, I knew this was “the place.” It just felt right and has a history that reflects the past. This 10.8-acre plantation goes back to the 1700s. There are eight old buildings, including a dairy barn, a pond and other log structures on the land, one of which is an 1850s one-room log cabin. Lined up with the North Star is the Justice house—a two-story traditional farmhouse where the existing owners live—dating back to 1908.
Then there is the huge grove of pecan, apple and peach trees that flows back into the garden areas into the most natural, picturesque setting for a cabin. This spot allows us to put the cabin between the cedars and walnut trees and without disturbing Mother Nature—as if it was planned.
When you hear the birds, smell the flowers and feel the presence of yesteryear, it is an instant reminder that this cabin was meant to be at Justice Plantation. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. We bought the farm.
Back to 1808 Restoration Diary.