my view

‘Going Up the Country’

Posted 3/31/21

Things I didn’t know when we started thinking about moving here: Your neighbors are your 911, my local nurse practitioner told me. Every real estate agent here’s grandmother used to run a …

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my view

‘Going Up the Country’


Things I didn’t know when we started thinking about moving here: Your neighbors are your 911, my local nurse practitioner told me. Every real estate agent here’s grandmother used to run a boarding house in the summers. Honesdale is the real winter wonderland; it’s where the first U.S. railroad ran. Brooklyn was paved from its blue stones.

Hunting season is all the time. Any land that isn’t an empty summer camp is hunting club property, including kitty-corner from my neighbor’s land, a hunting-on-demand place, with imported exotic animals on request and payment. The woman who had owned both our and our neighbors’ houses, whose maiden name was the same as a park in Staten Island, denied being aware of this, though living in this very house all her life. I shall watch out for Dick Cheney.

My idol, John McPhee, has a place a few miles away. A college dorm mate of mine had land adjacent to John McPhee’s land. He wrote a New Yorker piece about never seeing a bear here, though seeing much of their poop, that my mother, an avid midwestern New Yorker reader, had sent to my outdoorsy son. She was rather horrrified when she learned that was near where we were going to live. On her first day visiting us, my sister saw a bear. I haven’t seen one yet.

The Delaware River is not good swimming for those not accustomed to its currents.

Most of Brooklyn moved here before we did.

Which side of the river you are on is a pretty good indication of whether you are a part-time/former Brooklynite or a current Trumpian.

We have a local celebrity. You know, oh, what’s his name... You know—that guy. He was in... a bunch of stuff.

Another college alum I’ve met a couple of times shared a manager with the guy who has a sculpture garden a mile up the river from my nearest town.

This house is a carnage house of flies. Little crispy carcasses cover the floors under the windows several times a season.

Everyone here from the city is much more accomplished than me.

Washington Irving loved the view from a cliff in Honesdale so much they named it after him, upon which Honesdale lights a holiday symbol which used to be a cross and now includes a less exclusionary star for the winter holidays.

No one here has a Brooklyn or Staten Island accent even if that’s where they live most of the time.

Wondering how the northern Civil War vets in the local cemeteries feel about the confederate flags scattered in the area—rolling in their graves comes to mind—while surrounded by the aforementioned vacant summer camps of horror-movie fame, can lead to jumping in the night at the slightest rattling of bones... uh, branches.

I really, really love it here.

We’ve been permanently here for six months and managed to get our voter registrations a week before the last election. We voted in person at a “grange,” not enough time for mail. We had to look up what a grange was.

No one can successfully maneuver our corner. In six months, three different vehicles have failed to make the 145-degree turn from the sort-of-major-road in front of our house to the road on our south. One fell into the creek across the south road, another avoided the creek on our east side and just scraped through its overgrown weeds, and the most recent plowed a few feet into our front lawn. So far, our mailbox has survived, but it’s been close.

Did I mention I love it here?

Leah Casner and her husband bought their home in Equinunk in 2019 for weekends and to retire to. The ability to work remotely made it possible for them to move sooner than planned. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Miami Herald, and Chicago Tribune, among others.

See a full list of tips for newcomers, “Secrets of the country dweller,” in the latest edition of Our Country Home at

country, Delaware River, newcomer, tips


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