By Dave Enscoe, Advertising Department
If Laurie Schlam had won the lottery last week she'd now be the proud new owner of Misty Acres, a 9-acre horse farm in Egg Harbor Township.
"I was supposed to win the Powerball and if I did I was going to buy the place," she says. "But it didn't work out."
Laurie has a close connection with the property that fronts English Creek pond: She's been working there for the past 35 years, since she was 15 and a student at Absegami High School. Back then, the farm was owned by Dee Troehler, an elementary school teacher, and her husband, Bill, a longtime Somers Point schools superintendent. Dee ran Misty Acres, which she named after the popular children's book, Misty of Chincoteague, as a working horse farm. She raised show horses - jumpers and Arabians - and even delivered foals. For many years she hosted an end-of-the-school-year picnic for her class at Jordan Road Elementary School. The kids would fish in the pond, pet the goats and take rides on Dee's pony, Sweetie Pie.
Bill passed away in 1996 and Dee sold Misty Acres in 2003 and moved to Naples, FL. Laurie, who was Dee's longtime friend and barn manager, continued to work for the new owners, Alex and Mary Kazmarck, an elderly couple who have since passed away, leaving the property to their children. For the past few years the three-bedroom, two-bath home has been rented out while Laurie looks after the five horses that are boarded at Misty Acres.
In addition to the house and a 7-stall horse barn, the property includes two large corrals. The back yard slopes down to English Creek Pond, which was formed long ago when English Creek was dammed above Zion Road. There's also an added bonus: just a few yards offshore is a private island that is part of the property. The one-acre island – accessible by canoe or kayak - is completely overgrown with evergreen trees that Laurie has watched grow over the past 35 years.
Built in the late 1970s, the house sits on a rise at the end of a long stone and blacktop driveway off English Creek Avenue. It features a stone front and an enclosed front porch that runs the length of the house.
An entry foyer opens into a large living room. Sliding glass doors open to a concrete patio and in-ground swimming pool that overlooks the pond. There's a formal dining room and a family room with a wood-burning fireplace and a stone chimney currently equipped with a stove insert. A Florida room looks out over the back patio and pool. An eat-in kitchen has a stone tile floor and the huge unfinished basement encompasses the entire footprint of the house. The master bedroom features a private bath and glass doors to the back patio. The other two bedrooms share a bathroom with a walk-in shower. The house has central air conditioning and a new roof.
For Laurie, Misty Acres abounds in memories, most of them horse related. It's where her own horse, a half Arabian named Marnie, was born, raised and died at the age of 31. Now she's hoping that the next owners will be horse lovers who will retain her services.
"I love this place," she says. "It's the only constant in my life."
An open house at this property, which is listed for $799,000, will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and directions call Cindy Kaczmarski of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors, 609-391-1009 or 609-703-9045.
Where: Egg Harbor Township
Lot size : About 9 acres including an island
Style: 3-bedroom ranch, 7-stall horse barn
Taxes: (2012): $7,361