1779 Georgian Colonial in Francestown, NH | House For Sale
During the 1990s, a New Jersey couple walked through more than 50 New England homes before deciding to purchase this 1779 Georgian Colonial in beautiful Francestown, New Hampshire. Time goes on, though, and now they’re looking at retirement communities—but not before writing us one of the funniest ‘House for Sale’ letters we’ve seen in a […]
The elm tree in front
of the three-story Gregg–Montgomery House is about 200 years old.
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Country Brokers Real Estate
During the 1990s, a New Jersey couple walked through more than 50 New England homes before deciding to purchase this 1779 Georgian Colonial in beautiful Francestown, New Hampshire. Time goes on, though, and now they’re looking at retirement communities—but not before writing us one of the funniest ‘House for Sale’ letters we’ve seen in a long time …
People often ask us how we go about choosing properties to feature in “House for Sale.” Well, it varies. Sometimes simply a letter convinces us. The following, received recently, is a case in point …
Dear Yankee,We’re offering for sale a 200-year-old tree that’s very valuable because it’s an American elm that the Elm Research Institute calls “historic.” With the elm we’ll include several 150-year-old locusts as well as two acres of gardens (part of a total of 15 acres), called by various garden writers as “extraordinary,” surrounding a beautiful, stream-fed, quarter-acre pond. Oh yes, also a 1779 three-story center-chimney Georgian Colonial, known as the Gregg–Montgomery House, recently accepted for inclusion on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places, as well as a two-car garage/barn and a garden cottage with pergola and greenhouse. The price for the elm and the locust trees is $500,000. (Try buying and planting these!) The pond, barn, garden house, and surrounding gardens are priced at $150,000. The 1779 house is free. (signed) Leonard and Meredith Allen
We couldn’t resist. A week after receiving the letter, we were relaxing on lovely wicker furniture with Leonard and Meredith in their large garden room, with cathedral ceilings and three walls of windows (adorned with oodles of plants) overlooking the pond, the bluestone terrace, and those extensive flowers/shrubs/rock-wall gardens that will be coming to life this month of May. Also with us (that is, on Meredith’s and Leonard’s laps) were Josie, an adorable poodle-type dog; Felicity, a Siamese cat, who later, on a leash, accompanied us on our walk around the property; and another cat, a big furry “Russian” one named Niko. We felt so at home with them all. As for getting to know Meredith and Leonard, well, we learned that they have two grown daughters living elsewhere and four grandchildren (who, incidentally, love to swim in the pond when they visit). Leonard, before retiring, was, as he put it, in “manufacturing” all his life. They’re both passionate about old houses, having owned no fewer than four over the years; they’re both obviously also passionate about gardening; and, finally, they recently turned over to their daughters their beloved “fishing shack,” as they referred to it, out on Maine’s famous and wonderfully remote Monhegan Island.
Eventually, accompanied by the Allens, with Josie and Felicity (Niko had other things to do—like napping), we toured all of the impeccably restored rooms on the three floors as well as those gorgeous gardens and outbuildings next to the pond. In short, the entire place is impressive. Maybe “elegant” would be a better descriptive word. In all, there are four bedrooms (including the lovely corner master bedroom suite and bath on the second floor), four bathrooms, a new kitchen, and five working fireplaces. We particularly loved the one in what they call the “keeping room.” It’s six feet four inches wide, with a bake oven, a raised-panel chimney piece, and five of the most charming little warming
Photo/Art by Courtesy of Country Brokers Real Estate
Of course, after spending three years searching for and finally finding this property and then working so hard in the ensuing time restoring and enhancing the place, the Allens hate the thought of leaving. But nothing remains the same forever. So a couple of years ago they began looking at retirement communities around New England.
Believe it or not, they inspected no fewer than 40 of them before settling on a certain one in nearby Peterborough, New Hampshire, the very one, in fact, we recently moved into ourselves! (We love the idea of continuing our new “House for Sale” friendship with them.) But, of course, they must first sell that historic elm tree. The locust trees, gardens, and pond, too. The house? Still free.
Contact Country Brokers Real Estate,
P.O. Box 10, Francestown, NH 03043.
603-547-6333; firstname.lastname@example.org; countrybrokers.comYankee likes to mosey around and see, out of editorial curiosity, what you can turn up when you go house hunting. We have no stake in the sale whatsoever and would decline it if offered.