Helen and Scott Nearing lived, celebrated and wrote about the good life. Their definition of the good life might not be everyone’s, but the Nearing's simple, well-ordered life of work, reading and writing, and involvement in the community, has inspired generations of homesteaders to emulate the results. For seven decades, the Nearings developed their New England homesteads by hand, building stone buildings and garden fences one rock at a time, earning cash from maple syrup and blueberries, and educating younger generations on the virtues of simplicity, hard work and self-sufficiency.
Helen and Scott said, "We maintain that a couple, of any age ... with a minimum of health, intelligence and capital, can adapt themselves to country living, learn its crafts, overcome its difficulties, and build up a life pattern rich in simple values and productive of personal and social good."
The Forest Farm, the Nearing’s home near Harborside, Maine, is now an educational facility, The Good Life Center. It is open year round for tours of the property, and in the summer sponsors Monday evening lectures on important topics of the day. They also offer workshops and classes on growing food, building low impact shelters and care of the natural world.
If your travel plans include a visit to New England, you might want to include a visit to The Good Life Center. It’s located right on the coast, on the beautiful Blue Hill peninsula, just south of Acadia National Park. If you go there, you can also visit the nearby farm stand of Mother Earth News contributors, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. Sometimes the road taken can be life changing.
Photo by Jennifer Smith-Mayo