I’ve lived a lot of places in my adult life. I confess that I was born in the US, so most of the places I lived were there, but I moved to Nova Scotia in 2006 and very quickly felt more at home than I had felt in any of the five states I had lived in over a period of 20-odd years. Why? One reason is that having school-age children helps one integrate into a community in any locale. But I’d had school-age children in the previous ten years living in Minnesota, and I never felt as much a part of that community as I did in Nova Scotia.
Another reason is that this province is truly a hopping place, both agriculturally and culturally. Most areas have active farmer’s markets, which are far more than places to pick up locally grown produce, often including local crafts and live music and serving as a community hub. I went to my local market to socialize as much as to shop. It is easy (if one chooses) to find and become involved in local cultural activities such as making music, stage performances, dances, and such. And those activities are so much more enriching when you are involved in putting them on, even if just as a stage mom.
And then, there is the pull of the sea. In Nova Scotia, one is never more than 56 km (35 miles) from the sea. Whether it’s the beaches along the South Shore or the highest tides in the world on the Bay of Fundy, there is nothing like the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salty sea breeze.
When life circumstances had me returning to the US for a stint, the plan was always to return to Canada within five years, most likely Nova Scotia, since it has always felt like home and since my children (now grown) still live here. But buying a home wasn’t on my radar at first. How could I afford an energy efficient home that would help me with my long standing goal of reducing my ecological footprint? How would I find a community?
My daughter actually first brought cohousing back to my attention. It was something I’d looked into decades ago (possibly when my mother-in-law was considering the idea), but had forgotten about. Fairly quickly, it became apparent to me that this was the answer to my conundrum and Treehouse Village was the solution all wrapped up in one package: A vibrant, multigenerational community of people working together to create a cluster of energy efficient homes; a private home to call my own, as well as common, shared spaces in which to socialize; a location nestled in the woods within walking distance of the Town of Bridgewater.
If not for the support from this community, ranging from specific advice from someone who had just repatriated from the US to emotional support and encouragement to actual logistics once I got here, I sincerely doubt that I would have been able to make the move back to Nova Scotia when I did, only four months past the five-year mark.