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The Good Life Center

October 18th, 2010

After reading Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life I really wanted to visit the Nearing Farm. I have yet to read Scott Nearing’s book The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living, it’s been on my “to read” list for quite a while. I have read a lot about them and have been longing to see their walled garden and their little greenhouse. Since we were headed up to Maine we decided to visit The Good Life Center, which was the Nearing Home.

I checked their website and they were going to be closing at the end of September, but I figured we could stop by and look around anyways. There wasn’t anyone there to show us around and the gardens were harvested and pretty empty, but it was still wonderful to see. I’d always read about their stone house, the stone walls around their garden and the solar greenhouse that they built. It was so wonderful to see these things in person, the gardens especially. I won’t bore you with too many words, the home and garden speak for themselves.

One of the wonderful things about the Nearing home is that they built all the buildings themselves from stone. The house is stone, part of the greenhouse is stone, the workshop is stone, the wall around the garden is stone, and even the outhouse is made of stone, it truly is remarkable.

I loved seeing the little things like the compost piles, wooden shoes and the little cat statues throughout the garden – which were a nod to Stanley & Lynn who purchased Forrest Farm from the Nearings and loved cats.

The Nearings really are an inspiration for many of us simple life lovers. I really appreciate people like them, I may not agree with all their ideals or beliefs, and I will most likely never live off the grid without electric, but I really appreciate people than can and do live this kind of lifestyle!

Have you ever read about the Nearings? Who is an inspiration to you?

I’ll be adding more photos of the Nearing Place and the rest of our trip to my Flickr account, so check there often to see them.

18 Comments to “The Good Life Center”
  1. Sue on October 18, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I loved your pictures of the Nearing place. I have ALWAYS wanted to see it. Thank you!

    Reply to Sue's comment

  2. The Mom on October 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

    What a beautiful little place. I’m going to have to head up there soon.

    Reply to The Mom's comment

  3. Sense of Home on October 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

    It is interesting to see photos of the place I have read so much about.


    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  4. Shannon on October 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Be. Still. My. Heart.

    This is my dream home. and life. and pictures to hang on the walls of my dream home :).

    Reply to Shannon's comment

  5. Beegirl on October 18, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Love the photos.. I think the book I read only had black and white pictures and now it has come to life. How beautiful! BTW.. I am in love with that green house. They are the ones who inspired me to start a cold frame. 37 degrees here this am and 50 degrees in the cold frame! Lettuce, spinach and kale starting to come up!

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

    • Susy on October 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Me too, when I read about their greenhouse I wanted one. I must get out and cover my plants with plastic and move the cold frame, it was cold here this morning as well. Right now I think thought the plants might appreciate the extra light since they’re all pretty cold hardy.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Mary W on October 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Yes, I read The Good Life books this summer after reading The New Organic Gardener and how the Nearings inspired Eliot Coleman. I finished the books on the airplane to Finland, where we found ourselves in rustic surroundings. The Nearings instructions on how to properly maintain an outhouse came in handy!

    Thanks for the photos of the stone structures. I was interested in seeing details.

    Reply to Mary W's comment

  7. risa b on October 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    We read the books in the 1970s and they have been a strong influence on what we do. The first greenhouse, at the Vermont place, was much bigger and they truly farmed all winter in it. An example of what can be done with a place if it’s not priced beyond living and working there instead of having to commute to keep up unrealistic mortgages.

    Reply to risa b's comment

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elllen Roberts, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: The Good Life Center #miscellaneous #inspiration #thegoodlife […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention The Good Life Center | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  9. meg on October 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Wonderful photos! I would love to visit their place. I have read ‘Loving and Leaving the Good Life” and think they are very inspiring. The journey they took to creating the center is really interesting as well! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to meg's comment

  10. lydia on October 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    thank you for posting this and including the photos. I was given the book “Our Home Made of Stone” many years ago by a friend that had meet the Nearing’s and was inspired by their work. If you can find a copy you might find it inspiring … I think it took them 14 years to complete the wall around the garden as they started their last stone house when they were in their 70’s and 90’s. Very inspiring to me along with Harlan and Anna Hubbard.

    Reply to lydia's comment

  11. Mustard on October 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    How inspirational! It reminds me of my grandparents’ house. They had a manual water pump in the middle of the courtyard. It was used for all the animals too. I’ll have to head up to Maine, maybe next year.

    Reply to Mustard's comment

  12. Marlyn on October 19, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Such gorgeous photos!

    You have just added some books to my reading list – thanks!

    Reply to Marlyn's comment

  13. amy manning on October 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    That’s on my reading list too! I love the tour, thanks.

    Reply to amy manning's comment

  14. Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe on October 20, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I enjoyed seeing these photos, I had read their column in Mother Earth News, years (30+) years ago. They were a powerhouse couple, having each other to work with and provide inspiration. I knew I would not ever take my life to the point that they lived, for one thing I had young children at the time! But I found their ways intriguing and informational.

    My favorite person of influence was Ruth Stout, a very down to earth lady.

    Reply to Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe's comment

  15. Rita Maines on October 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

    What a treat to see the photos of the Nearings homestead. I always found them fascinating and any tidbits about their lifestyle have been enjoyed. A few years ago I read their book on maplesugaring and it inspired me to make syrup; which turned out to be a smoky and slow job over an open fire but what else to do in March? Still have one quart left which I can’t bear to open (lest I have none left and have to do it again!)
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring. I love your blog.

    Reply to Rita Maines's comment

    • Susy on October 21, 2010 at 9:56 am

      We make our own maple syrup as well and I know what you mean, we are sometimes reluctant to open our last jar as well!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. KimH on August 22, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Lovely pictures of a lovely place.. I too am familiar with the Nearings from Mother Earth News magazine back in the 70s & 80s..and read their books a long time ago. (Ruth Stout too)
    How awesome that you went there and were able to look around!

    Reply to KimH's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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