Two Years In Transylvania (County)

The story of how one family left Florida for a mountain homestead in Transylvania County, North Carolina and established a successful greenhouse business.

| November/December 1978

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    It took a lot of hard work, but the De Trinis' greenhouse in Transylvania County, NC turn a small profit its first year.
  • A sign welcomes visitors and customers to the nursery.
  • Yellow flowers
  • Bonnie fills a tray of starter plants.
  • The family also keeps chickens.
  • Eleven year old Johnny helps tend plants too.
  • Assorted flowers for sale.
  • Exterior view of the De Trinis greenhouses.

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Hey! You out there! …I don’t necessarily mean you that's doin', this report is more for the folks who are still readin' and thinkin' and dreamin' 'bout doin’. I'm here to tell you that you really can get up and make those wishes—the "back to the land" wish, the "be your own boss" wish—come true!

Now I know that the methods which work for one person or family could very well drive another to bankruptcy, but when your fantasy gets a little shopworn around the edges, the knowledge that somebody else has "made it" can sure brighten things up again. Not that everything has been peaches and cream for us up here in the mountains of western North Carolina—we're not even really "out of the woods" yet—but my family does feel that it has found a permanent home here in Transylvania County.

Of course, we didn't move to the country on a spur-of-the-moment impulse. Even seven years ago—when my wife, Bonnie, and I were still newlyweds—we realized that we wanted to leave our Florida city life behind someday and establish a more independent, more down-to-earth lifestyle for ourselves.

Bonnie was a teacher then, and still is today. At that time I was supervisor of a welfare office. Our homestead dream (though we talked about it a lot) was little more than "wishful thinkin"' until some friends offered us a week in their house in the Blue Ridge mountains. Those cool hills —contrasted with the body-punchin' heat and humidity of a Florida July—were all that we needed to convince us that the time had come to act.

In fact, that short vacation pretty much determined our future. We decided then that we'd be livin' in those mountains the following summer, come hell or high water.

Bonnie and I had never been really conscientious money savers, but we had invested in a small lot somewhere along the way and we owned our house, so we did have a little nest egg that could be converted to cash to finance our move.

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