This picture from her blog at http://highgroundfarm.blogspot.com/ shows the Harrington-Dewar House, the late 19th century restored farmhouse which is the centerpiece of High Ground Farm. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/HT0123.pdf).
There is so much to say about our visit that it is hard to know where to begin, except to start with Deborah herself. The word most fitting to describe her is the one she uses to describe herself ... purist. Whatever she does, her desire is to do it well and right, always with the aim of giving back. One of my first questions to her was about the restrictions placed on her home since it is listed on the National Historic Register. As most homesteaders seem to be free spirits who like doing things their own way, I wondered how she managed to restore this house, for which she paid $500 in 1977 and moved almost 5 miles to its current location, according to National Register Criteria. She quickly pointed out that she would never violate the history of the home, registered or not. From the rocking chair front porch to a small rear kitchen with an arched-opening fireplace, past walls made of painted hand hewn boards and wooden floors that sometimes creak under foot, Deborah has tastefully decorated her home with beautiful vintage furniture, dishes and utilitarian pieces that trick one's senses into believing it is 1860 again. The Civil War era ambiance continues on the grounds, which are landscaped with stone walls -- made from stones removed from the heirloom tomato garden -- and split rail fences, fashioned by an 85-year old gentleman from a nearby town, using trees harvested when the pasture was created. Although not in bloom, the climbing roses, fruit trees and perennials bespeak history and legacy.
A recounting of our visit would not be complete without telling you how she fed us homemade soup and fresh-baked bread made from flour she milled herself. Occasionally she rose from the antique farm table at the center of her kitchen to stoke the fire and add a log. Conversation flowed as we shared stories of our lives and family, friendships, beloved animals, nursing careers, hobbies and favorite books (both Deborah and Anne are Anglophiles). We even discovered we have other mutual friends and marveled how small the world really is. Dessert was iced molasses cookies with a hot cup of tea; she introduced me to the smoky flavor of Lapsand Souchong tea. Delicious!
It was hard to leave this new friend and the slice of afternoon that was suspended in time. As we drove homeward, first along the tree lined gravel road, then on isolated country roads and finally back into the city, we both commented how the trip covered more than distance. It transported us forward in time, back to the 21st century and our awaiting responsibilities.