Our Story

After working for many, many years in a large city of 2 million, Larry and I decided it was time to pull out that dream we had when we met in the 1970’s of living ‘out in the country’. When our wonderful kids were launched it seemed like the right time to spread our wings too and to resume the adventure we had set on the shelf while we raised our children and honed our work skills.

We wanted to live a life that was not consumer-driven, that was more meaningful and where we could embrace our creative selves. We wanted to garden in a self-sustaining way and to take time to smell the roses. We wanted more time to connect to others and to the community.

It occurred to us that fifty-something might be too late to start on such a change. We don’t have the stamina that we once had and we are also feeling our mortality. But in the end we thought, ‘We have nothing to lose and we sure aren’t getting any younger.’

This blog is a chronicle of our transformation from big-city dwellers in Canada working a regular 5 day week in Toronto, to a couple wanting a simpler, but richer life in rural Nova Scotia.

We now have the luxury of time to develop our artwork. Visit Larry’s website to see the copper enamel jewellry he’s developed.  Flora’s painting and art blog is at FloraDoehler.ca We are members of the Bear River Working Artists’ Studio Tour Group.

Enjoy the journey with us.

Flora Doehler and Larry Knox

Larry and Flora, 2015

17 thoughts on “Our Story

  1. Hi,

    I am trying to find a man who used to have a jewelry business in Annapolis Royal called the Falcon’s Way I believe. I have heard that he now lives in Bear River and still does some jewelry work. If you happen to know this man (anyone) could you please reply. I am looking for someone who can make custom engagement rings.

    Thank you so much. I have been trying to find him for over a year and thought your blog was worth a shot.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! As a young professional I feel very privileged to have been able to live and work in SW Nova and it is great to hear stories such as yours of people who have found the value of a place where time still moves at a reasonable pace.

    I appreciate any info you can provide me in advance,

    Ben M

  2. I am using your platform, Flora, to communicate with June and ask her to contact me if she decides to come to Nova Scotia. I am a quilter, very involved with the history of traditional quilts and the vintage quilt kits of the 1930’s on.
    I can relate to your quest for a more connected and sustainable life after having, through a marriage partner’s itchy feet, been transplanted from my native Nova Scotia and into Southwestern Ontario. I adjusted to being there, but I missed the sea, and the way of life here so badly that in 1985 I came home to stay and have been here on the North Mountain near Hall’s Harbour ever since, developing a quiltmaking studio and online business venture involving mainly quilts and vintage linens. Isolation breeds independence and a lack of desire for all the 21st century toys, and makes life simpler and slower. Living in isolation., social connections are treasured and nurtured.

  3. Hello : )
    I hope u don’t mind me having dropped into your world but I am so fascinated with Nova Scotia…You see in my search for family history I learned that my fathers’ family may have Acadian connections…And so in my travels of the web I discovered just how beautiful NS is and if I can convience my husband I am not crazy ….
    Well I am sure you get the message….I also was searching to see what the culture there is and the forms of arts- especially quilting. And so now I am on this journey to discover all I can about the people. I have always felt I belong near the sea…And my dad was born in Bretagne and so NS reminds me so of his homeland.
    I hope we can maybe be friends and you could tell me about life there.
    Thank you, june

  4. Hi Flora, yes I did get you invite for tea and we would love do that when we get there. I sent you back an email but perhaps you didn’t get it, (its probably floating in space somewhere!!). I will re send it…….looking forward to meeting you and getting to know the community. Scotland is a very beautiful country. I haven’t been back in a 20yrs. Maybe now that I will be closer I will take a trip back.

  5. Hi Denise, I hope you got the email I sent you with an invite for tea! It will be an adjustment, for sure, but there are so many aspects of life here that can’t be had in the city AND there is a real community spirit here that is quite lovely too.
    We used to watch ‘Hamish MacBeth’ on TV and fell in love with Scotland, the home of my maternal grandmother and Larry’s paternal grandfather. We visited there about 8 years ago and were amazed at the place….Skye, Inverness, the Orkneys. (The painting that hangs over the stage at the Rebekah is one of mine painted after our ferry trip to the Orkneys.)
    We couldn’t move to Scotland, but heard that Nova Scotia had similarities, so here we are!
    Have a good trip out here and ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’.

  6. My partner and I have just bought a house in Clementsvale, so Bear River will be our closest little town. We will be moving in the last week of June. Looking forward to checking out the Rebekah, grabbing a coffee and enjoying Bear River and new surroundings.
    We are moving from Victoria BC and although we know there may be an adjustment in weather we are moving for alot of the same reasons you have made your move. Victoria is a beautiful area but as more and more people want to move here we are choking with development and chocka block housing. Need to move on (for us anyway). My partner is originally from Nova Scotia- Middleton area. So now its time to come home. I am originally from Scotland and have loved Nova Scotia ever since we made a trip out.
    Maybe we will see you soon on a Rebekah Saturday night or just around town!!

  7. Hello Pam,
    I thank you so much for your comments. As I’ve said in the past and as I’m sure other bloggers also say. It is always a lovely surprise to hear from readers and to know about their lives and what brings them to the blog. I write this as a way to keep track of the changes that happen to us and as a way to connect with people we’ve left behind too. Like all blogs on a ‘theme’, readers are attracted who relate to the story and I know that there are lots of people who have a need to reconnect with a natural setting.
    I sent you an email yesterday and I’m happy to continue a discussion that way.
    Bear River turns out not to be the paradise for everyone. When I think back to the city street we used to live on and imagine if I’d been able to interview everyone on that street, their stories about what they thought of living there or living in Toronto would have all been different. I suppose I am trying to throw in a disclaimer here that says “Blog point of view is strictly the point of view of Flora Doehler. Caution is advised.”
    Now having said that, it is true that for the people who chose to move here, and no doubt for many who were born here, there is a magical quality that is impossible to describe. I would say that either you feel it or you don’t.
    As for assessing the suitability of a person….oh that it were that easy!! I think that a person can’t really know if a place feels right unless they spend some time there. The 3 important things for me were:

  8. physical beauty
  9. The financial thing is always the tie-breaker.
    I miss lots of things about the city….the galleries, the bright lights, the energy, the convenience of being able to buy whatever i wanted, my dentist and my chiropractor! Some would miss the anonymity of a city, but I really like it here that everyone knows what’s going on with everyone else. I realize now that living in the city fueled my feelings of alienation that were never too far from the surface.
    Anyway, feel free to email me and we can talk about it some more.
    Your letter reminds me so much of myself 4 years ago – like I stepped into a time machine. Too bad I missed the Greek Islands part!!!

  10. thanks for stopping by my blog today and posting a comment…! sounds like we have many similar interests…while I’m not an artist, I do artsy things…does that count? 🙂 I did grow up on a farm but didn’t get to come back to the country until our kids were in their teen years…you can take the boy off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy as they say…thought I would stop over and say “hi” DM

  11. Hello fellow transplanted Torontonians. I live down digby neck adn have probably crossed your path at the okedene coffee house.
    I also moved from Toronot…for me 13 yrs ago..
    My standaard saying is . I’m from Toronto. But I’m ok Now…

    Glad you are liking it here. I used to have an art gallery for about 4 yrs in Bear River.. It’s a good town.
    Hope to cross your path again soon,

    If you are coming down digby neck anytime please feel free to find me.
    Happy Creating,


  12. Hello Rebecca!
    thanks for your wonderful message. It’s nice to know that people find my ramblings and pix interesting. See you in May!

  13. just a note to say how much I have enjoyed your site and it has given us such a good insight into what life is going to be like for us in Bear River. already feel so at home when we have been over on our short visits in the past 2 years . feel that we already belong there and can’t wait to get back in May. will come and introduce ourselves properly then.
    keep warm !!

    Rebecca and Richard

  14. We miss you here in the big smoke (Toronto)… but I am so happy to hear that you are moving along in your endevours of “smelling the roses” in Bear River.

    Miss You!!

    Love, Marcie

  15. My wife and I really appreciate your blog.
    As we plan to be in your area of Nova Scotia in March we would like to be able to see you at that time. From what we have seen you certainly have one of the most interesting living space.We look foreward to hearing from you.
    Bob and Monika – Edmonton

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