Splinter Creek's newest residents, John and Sarah Frances Hardy (photos courtesy of the Hardy family).
When the pandemic hit last year, Oxford, Miss., residents Sarah Frances and John Hardy found themselves home with their three grown daughters, two home from college and one in high school.
"We were all together for several months," Sarah Frances said. "Swimming, paddling and hiking at Splinter Creek helped keep us all sane. The more time we spent there, the more we fell in love. The girls and I swam and hiked. John spent a lot of time fly fishing."
Julia Hardy enjoys paddling on the Splinter Creek lakes.
The outdoor activities kept calling the family back. They decided to purchase a lot, and they officially became part of the Splinter Creek community last fall.
"We live downtown in Oxford with lots going on around us all the time which we love...most of the time," Sarah Frances said. "Splinter Creek gives us a place to unwind and let go of our schedule, and we can be there in twenty minutes. It’s peaceful, quiet, and sublime."
The Hardys decided to purchase a lot at Splinter Creek after spending time there with their family over the summer.
They say the overall ethos of Splinter Creek factored into their decision to purchase land and build.
"We love the sensibility of the development with its focus on protecting the natural character of the landscape," Sarah Frances said. "The houses respect the setting rather than stand out from it. We also wanted a quiet lake where we could swim and paddle, not zoom around on jet skis."
Their dog Fig enjoys exploring the property with them.
The couple has already started planning their lake house, with respect to the topography of their lot and lake vistas.
"Our lot has a point that extends out into the lake, so we are planning a small contemporary cabin that takes advantage of our views of the water," Sarah Frances said. "We’ll have lots of windows and porches with a focus on the outside rather than the inside of the house. We’re also planning to build a small separate structure higher up on the lot that I will use as a writing and art studio. It can double as a guest house when we need it."
Discovering hiking trails and challenging themselves with more difficult hikes is a favorite pass time.
Once built, they look forward to continuing their exploration of Splinter Creek's 650 acres, hiking trails, and lakes.
"In 2019, John and I hiked more than 200 miles across England," Sarah Frances said. "Needless to say, we’ve loved discovering the hiking trails that wind through the property, especially since there are some challenging ones. It will be good training for our next hike -- especially the “Seven Hills Trail” -- consider yourself warned! We also love fishing and paddling."
Fig roams around the banks of the lakes.
In addition to those activities, Sarah Frances said the property also feeds their artistic sides.
"Our daughter Julia is an excellent photographer, and she’s gotten some great pictures of the wildlife," she said. "I’m excited about setting up my easel in the woods and painting as soon as the weather cooperates."
Overall, they are eager to keep spending time as a family and enjoying the property together.
"When we finish the cabin, we’re looking forward to spending lots of family time there with our daughters as they come home for visits," Sarah Frances said. "Plus we want to reunite with friends."