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Faces of the Valley: Fran and Arnold
By Stephanie Park

Although the phrase that “some of the best things in life happen when you least expect it” is often overused and a little cliché, it truly encapsulates the story of Fran and Arnold.

For Arnold’s birthday in 2001, he didn’t want a typical birthday supper at a familiar restaurant. Instead, he was yearning to travel up north with a picnic to explore the beautiful Beaver Valley. For fun, Fran suggested stopping in at Sea and Ski Realty Ltd. Brokerage to peruse the local real estate. The eager couple met with Sales Representative Russell Severnuk to discuss properties for sale in the area. Fran was very thankful with Russ’ honesty as she claims that “if it wasn’t for him, we would have ended up with a bad property…[because] he found the problems and saved us.”

After thankfully dodging a potential real estate disaster, Fran instructed Russ to show her “any place in the woods that he could find and this is what he found.” They were introduced to the place that they now call home in August 2001 and were moved in by October of the same year. Fran reminisces about purchasing their home on Taylor Drive in Holland Centre as being “a complete surprise.”

After spending many busy years in the workforce, Fran and Arnold were in need of tranquility and peace of mind to fully retire. Fran experienced an accident that encouraged her “to get away from the city and find a place in the woods.” The forested area of healing is exactly what Fran found when she took her first steps onto their property and inhaled the soothing fresh air. Fran remembers that “there was a spiritual connection the moment I drove in…[and that] there was something very magical about it.”

It is no surprise that the land itself sealed the deal on this property and that it is still the key element of happiness for the joyful couple.  Fran and Arnold spend a great deal of time outdoors. Whether they are gardening, maintaining the property or engaging in other outdoor activities such as running and hiking, they truly embrace the scenic location of their home.

Fran describes her love of the nurturing nature surrounding her by stating that “I love being around trees…[and that] down the street there are two lakes that we were unaware are so close.” In fact, they are in close proximity to many natural amenities that were unexpected. They are mere steps away from a beautiful trail equipped for hiking and running in the summer and snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter.

When asked what her favourite part of living here is, Fran immediately responded that it is “the proximity to nature…[as] I feed off the clean air.” Fran describes her appreciation for the country air as she states that “when we step out in the morning and we breathe in this air and look around, that’s it. You can’t explain that.”

The connection that Fran has with nature is apparent not only by her overt appreciation for the earth, but also from her carefully crafted gardens. She claimed that “I had the vision with the gardens to make this a healing place,” which is exactly what she accomplished. Fran acknowledges that in relocating to this area, she has given herself an opportunity to truly heal and has continued to strengthen her relationship with nature. Even as the snow gently falls onto her spectacular gardens, she does not get discouraged that she is unable to garden in the winter. Instead, she eagerly awaits what surprises will bloom again in the spring.

When they are not busy in the great outdoors, they thoroughly enjoy spending time getting to know the community and the people within it. They love going on drives to neighbouring towns to discover what each area has to offer. Fran and Arnold are most fond of exploring Blue Mountain as it is quite beautiful. They are also captivated by the Coffin Ridge Winery and truly enjoy adventuring to the many falls within the area.

Fran and Arnold have developed a great deal of friendships and interests after joining the Grey Highlands Probus. They are both part of the wine tasting group and Fran is now involved in many other groups including a writing, wellness and gardening club. All of these social activities have heightened their love of the area.

The story of Fran and Arnold is truly special as it uncovers the many secrets of this area such as the crisp fresh air, the peaceful trails, and most importantly, the chance to build an everlasting relationship with nature and to allow nature to have a profound impact on your life.


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