For those who’ve never read my column, I thought it might be helpful to know a bit about me, and my husband, Houston. Together we own and run a farm to table venue in nearby Purdon. Some people assume this is something we’ve always done, or at least had some experience doing. Well, it’s not. Many days look like a reality show with massive challenges, mistakes and loss. But some days are beautiful. The golden hour is well, golden. Photos of our animals come out magical, the chores go as planned and our guests are happy. And that suits me just fine.
I met Houston when I was finishing my master’s in education at the University of Georgia and he was wrapping up a business degree. Within six months we were engaged and five months later we married. We moved to Atlanta, where we lived for 25 years, raising four children.
When my husband’s company that he’d started with his brother wanted to open a Dallas office, we both jumped at the chance to move. Our youngest child had recently graduated from high school and was getting ready to leave the nest, so the timing was perfect.
Our plan had been to live in Dallas for six months to a year and then return to our home in the Atlanta suburbs, but we didn’t count on falling in love with Dallas - and Texas. After taking into account the Atlanta traffic, as well as Houston’s frequent flights to both coasts, we decided to make the move permanent.
We began to consider buying land within an hour or two of Dallas - a place where we could retreat on the weekends and somewhere we could host others. We especially wanted to provide a place for artists to find a sense of renewal and inspiration. We looked at a lot of properties, but still hadn’t found what we were looking for, when our realtor told us about a place outside of Corsicana. It was Easter Sunday, 2017, and we almost didn’t go. We both had slight colds and got into an argument about who was going to drive.
In the end, we made the drive. And boy! Were we glad we did! We couldn’t believe it. When we walked onto the property, our jaws literally dropped. The owner had spent 18 years after he retired hand clearing the property. Each tree was manicured to allow him to drive a tractor underneath. The land was beautiful, with groves of trees and open meadows. There was even a pond.
We walked the property and told the owner and his daughter that we were definitely interested, and that we’d let them know for sure the following day. We shared what we wanted to do with the property. Right away they seemed to connect with our vision.
Fast forward three and a half years and here we are. We live in Corsicana, which we love! And we hope to move out to our farm early next year. Our vision for the property is the same. The way we're doing it may have been tweaked a bit, but our overall goal has remained. We’re creating a place of retreat - for us and for others.
There’s no greater joy than hearing how others have been refreshed; how they’ve connected, celebrated, retreated and reflected. As hard as many days are, we feel like our lives have real purpose.
Special thanks to Freddie Eads, who passed away earlier this year, for putting his heart and soul into the property that is now Purdon Groves. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. Her column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, appears each week in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out www.purdongroves.com or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.