Sunwise Homestead is a protected, Vermont residential property with a three-bedroom home that has been meticulously maintained in its simple, farmhouse feel, inviting modest living. There are green sources of energy; garden beds featuring medicinal plants, vegetables, berry bushes and colorful flowers; fruit trees; meadows; and sustainably managed forests. A conservation easement was established to protect the property from future development, with the exception of +/-10 developable acres.
In addition, the property offers end-of-the-road privacy, serene, southern, valley views, and easy accessibility on a town-maintained road not far from state and interstate highways. Sunwise Homestead can be a year-round lifestyle where one can pursue sustainable living at a variety of levels. Or, the property can be a vacation retreat where the swimming pond, woodland trails and beautiful views can relax and renew owners and visitors alike.
Sunwise Homestead rests on a hillside in Randolph, Vermont, in the central part of the state. Randolph is a small town, anchored by Gifford Medical Center, the Chandler Center for the Arts and Vermont Technical College. The downtown has several shops and restaurants and an Amtrak station. Outside of the town center, there is a golf course as well as many farms and scattered residences. Sunwise Homestead is 8 miles from downtown and 5.5 miles from Exit 4 on I-89.
Randolph residents work locally or commute to jobs in Lebanon, New Hampshire (35 minutes), or Montpelier, Vermont’s capital city (25 minutes). Both of these cities and environs offer a large array of services and amenities and have rich cultural scenes. Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city is an hour to the northwest. Killington and Sugarbush Ski resorts are an hour’s drive.
Sunwise Homestead is reached by taking Route 66 east from Exit 4 off I-89. Follow this paved, state highway 4 miles to a left-hand turn on to Salt Box Road, a gravel, town-maintained road. Drive 1 mile up Salt Box Road and turn right on Denning Road. This, dirt, town-maintained road is 0.4 miles long and ends at the farmhouse on Sunwise Homestead.
The property begins well before the house, as marked with pink flagging. The distance from the beginning of the property along the road to the road’s end is about 1,000 ft. There are also 500 ft of frontage on Salt Box Road along the property’s southwest boundary.
There is a large vegetable garden on the site of an old barn across the driveway from the house. Here, there are also blueberry, currant, and chokecherry bushes. Nearby, raspberry and blackberry bushes grow. Fruit trees on the property include apples, plums, pears, as well as black walnut trees and a hazelbert bush.
The meadows on the property total about 17 acres and could be used for pasture or cropland. The owners have kept the fields open with annual brush hogging. In 2020, the fields should be able to be certified organic.
The property rests on an unnamed hillside and ranges in elevation from 800 ft above sea level at Blaisdell Brook in the southwest corner to 1,300 ft in the center of the northern boundary. The topography is sloping with a southern aspect. Slopes range from gentle to steep with scattered level areas.
While the property is an ideal place to live sustainably off the land, it is also a wonderful environment for recreation. Several miles of trails weave through the forest, providing opportunities for walks, wildlife viewing, and riding snowmobiles, bikes or horses.
The swimming pond is 1/3 of an acre, 10 ft deep and has a gravel beach with a wooden deck. It is fed by an underground spring. Numerous amphibians enjoy the pond, including spotted salamanders in the early spring. The property also has 500 ft of frontage along Blaisdell Brook, a lively, year-round stream in the property’s southwest corner. Seasonal streams, such as the overflow from the pond, course down the property during spring melt and heavy rains.
The 2,172 sq. ft., 1-1/2 story, cape-style home was built in 1973. The kitchen and sunroom were added later. After the current owners bought the property in 2001, they added the mudroom entry. The entrance to the home is via a small, recessed porch that leads into the mudroom. Here, wooden pegs, drawers, cubbies and cupboards provide copious storage.
From the mudroom, enter into the large, eat-in, country kitchen with wooden cabinetry, an island, ceramic tile flooring and a breakfast nook overlooking the view. Next to the eating area, a door leads to a stone patio, which also looks out towards the view. From the kitchen, a nicely-sized dining room with wood floors also serves as a pass-through to the living room.
The living room is generously sized and features wood floors and a brick hearth with a wood-burning stove insert. Two sets of French doors lead to the sunken sunroom with an uninterrupted view of the valley below. Windows on three sides and skylights create an outdoor feel, which can be enjoyed year-round.
Off the living room are two bedrooms and a full bath. Stairs behind the hearth lead to the second story. Tucked under the roof is a master suite with a 3/4 bath and a walk-in closet that leads to a small balcony for enjoying the view. Drawers, shelves and cupboards built into the knee-wall provide storage, and skylights keep the space bright.
In 2008, the owners gave a conservation easement on the property to the Upper Valley Land Trust. The purposes of the easement are to protect water and soil resources, conserve highly productive forest and agricultural land, conserve biological diversity, and retain the property in its undeveloped condition in perpetuity.
In addition to the 2-acre site of the existing home and grounds, the conservation easement establishes another 2-acre lot where an additional residence can be built. Between this second building lot and the western property boundary, a 5-acre area can be used for not-for-profit buildings consistent with the easement.
Activities permitted on the property include agriculture, forestry and low-impact recreation (use of snow machines, bicycles and horses at the discretion of the Grantor). Small structures in support of these activities can be built as well as one 800 sq ft cabin.