We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time

~ T.S. Eliot

If you’ve followed my blog in the past you know my husband and I lived in a small town in Connecticut for several years.

When my husband and I retired I wanted change. I wanted to live a big city, in a warmer climate,  gardening in a longer growing season. We moved to South Carolina and I  was excited about gardening in a different gardening zone, I read books learning about plants I had never grown before.

We moved into our house the end of summer; we felt like we were on vacation, warm temperatures and summer clothes. Seasons changed but not the landscape. I can remember trying hard to notice Fall; but with very few changes and the same warm, humid temperatures, it wasn’t the same Fall I knew in Connecticut.

In December I was happy purchasing evergreen roping and wreaths knowing I would continue our tradition of decorating our porch for Christmas like we had in Connecticut. Everything was brown in 2 weeks. Remembering what we had before made me miss it more.

I thought I’d adjust to the area if I started gardening but found out garden centers didn’t stock perennials and shrubs until April, so much for a long gardening season. When I was able to purchase plants, we created new garden beds; I enjoyed the creative part of planning the beds, but my heart wasn’t in it. Digging into the sandy soil made me feel like I was at the beach.

I tried to like our new city, but it wasn’t happening. Everything felt wrong. I realized all the things I thought I was tired of were still a part of me, held in a special place in my heart, and I didn’t want to give them up.

I remember the first time my husband and I walked the property of our Connecticut home. I wrote about that time in my first blog post: I Always Pulled the Weeds. Please click here to read.

You are probably thinking, who would move to an area they didn’t know anything about.  But, I did know. I read retirement blogs and articles referencing the best places to retire. I read city forums with questions and answers of pros and cons of areas. We visited the area 4 times and I felt sure I was making an informed choice of where to spend the rest of my life. But, I was wrong.

And so I chose this T.S. Eliot quote again, because it best describes how I felt the first time my husband and I walked around the property of the house we now call home. 

It is winter now, with remnants of our first beautiful snowfall still on the ground. Evergreen roping and a wreath decorate our front porch. And dried Annabelle hydrangeas are bent with snow-capped flowers.


Merry Christmas!




  16 comments for “Home

  1. Shirley Kiely
    December 16, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Dearest Ellen,

    It’s so nice to hear your voice again. I love the way you express all that has transpired in the last couple of years of your life and happy to hear that you have found your home. Seasons ARE important to so many of us as each one brings it’s own renewal.

    Keep writing and sharing. I love to hear about your new location as it gives me insight
    as to where you now live.

    The Happiest of Holidays,



    • December 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you! And thank you for sharing your wisdom. I love, “Seasons are important to so many of us as each one brings it’s own renewal.” xoxo


  2. Kim Stafford
    December 16, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Love that photo! Merry Christmas Ellen and Jim. ☃️🌲❤


    • December 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you! I too think dried flowers covered with snow are beautiful.
      Merry Christmas!


  3. Kim Stafford
    December 16, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Merry Christmas Ellen and Jim!


  4. Sandy Marinuzzi
    December 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Toby & Jim,
    So happy to read your blog! I often wondered how you were. Did you move back to New England? If you’re nearby at all, I’d love to see you.
    Your writing is beautiful as always! Chuck and I are in Branford still only going on vacations to warm climates.
    Merry Christmas 🎄🎅🏻 Please write back & tell me where you are at home.
    Sandy Marinuzzi


  5. Elaine
    December 16, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Toby. Read your blog with a heavy heart. So what are you going to do? Stay or move back to CT? I miss you and all our talks on plants. We are going to go to Florida on Dec. 16 for 3 mos. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and Jim.




  6. Klaft
    December 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    There is no place like home!
    You have hit your final destination
    HOME sweet HOME…
    Many, Happy, Healthy, Years
    Merry Christmas, Much Love,


  7. Marie
    December 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Toby, so good to read our blog again. I enjoy your writing. Sounds like you made a good choice in Hendersonville. You get the change of seasons without the very cold temperatures and the big snows we get in CT that last all winter. Ken and I wish you and Jim a very merry Christmas in your new home.

    With love, Marie


  8. December 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Merry Christmas to you too! The T.S. piece is spot on. We too are looking to make a change, which will keep us in NH, but in a different setting and likely a condo. It takes time to settle in, a dear friend also moved to SC and is challenged by the newness of it all. Happy 2018 too!


    • December 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Moving to a new state with so many things we didn’t like was instrumental in another move to North Carolina; we love our town and having the 4 seasons again. You will be happy you are staying in NH, I can tell through your blog posts you love writing about it and taking photographs. Good luck figuring out the where’s and when’s. I’m happy to be writing again! Happy 2018!


  9. Amy
    December 31, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Welcome back, Ellen! I have missed your posts! Much love to you, and many blessings in 2018! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you Amy! It’s so good to hear your voice too!
      Peace and blessings to you in 2018!


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