11 December 2013
In May of 2010, the Civil War-era barn at Heartmoor Farm in Kents Store burned to the ground, and the Hale-MacKinnon family faced a decision: pack up and leave, or stay, and change their plans for the future. Fortunately for Fluvanna, they chose to stay.
Robert MacKinnon calls it “a real turning point.” The barn was not only used as a traditional barn, but it also contained his workshop and all of his tools. “It was devastating and at the same time it was really cleansing,” MacKinnon said. “There was a building behind the barn that was basically a storage building, and it was filled with the kind of stuff that you tote around with yourself all of your life – stuff that you cannot bring yourself to throw away.” That building, too, was destroyed, with all of its contents, but the Hale-MacKinnons saw that loss as a chance for a new beginning. “It was getting rid of all of that that gave us an opportunity to look at what we wanted to do – so we both quit our jobs.” Now, he had a chance to follow his passion - adolescent education, using the Montessori method.