Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in.

Pick up any of the magazines dedicated to the premise of “mountain living” and you will find that all too often the publisher’s idea of such living is nothing more than a citified suburb in a country setting.

The most laughable of these lifestyle magazines is Pinnacle Living: Mountain Homes, a glossy quarterly published in Roanoke that is, in reality, a shameless advertisement for developers who want to turn the landscape into gated enclaves with golf courses, paved roads and overpriced McMansions built on hillsides and surrounded by similar monuments to overbuilt stupidity.

Sadly a couple of friends of mine contribute to this monstrosity, adding stories and photos to the illusion that moving into an overdeveloped mountain community is somehow escaping the city and getting back to nature.

The current issue of this tome to conspicuous consumption lists “90 communities” and “18 hot properties” as “where to buy now” if you want to experience country life. And, as expected, every one of these hot properties sits in some developer’s project with prices ranging from $250,000 for a home site to $1.87 million for 3,380-square-foot “dream lodge” in a “775-acre private, gated mountaintop community (that) carefully blends a limited number of estate-sized lots with an exceptional wilderness paradise.”

Got a news flash for you folks. A “wilderness paradise” ceases to be such when the bulldozers move in.

One of the “hot properties” sits near Floyd County, on Bent Mountain, in a development called The Vista. For $499,900, you can have a four-bedroom, 2,865-square foot Cape Cod that sites with 33 other homes in an “upscale community with building restrictions to protect owners’ investments” which is developer-speak for “no A-frames or trailers or anything else that might piss off the neighborhood association allowed.”

No thanks. We didn’t move to the mountains to put up with the Gestapo-like tactics of neighborhood associations. Not too far up Sandy Flats Road, one of our neighbors lives in a nice single-wide that is kept up nicer than many stick-built homes and we don’t feel at all threatened by having a trailer in the neighborhood. Given the recent increases in property assessments; our investment here hasn’t needed protection either.

Moving to the country is self-defeating when you drag all the problems of urban life here with you. Gated communities, homeowner associations and subdivisions are just city life in a country setting.

And that ain’t why we came here.