Where could this be?

I'd like to have a small family (2 parents, 3-4 kids) living completely off-the-grid in some remote forest in the US. The story takes place in modern times. They have a well-established homestead. They farm, make their own food, and raise their own children, etc. They can access the outside world with some difficulty, but they are able to get things they can't make. Their homestead is secluded enough that it's plausible their children have never seen anyone outside their family. Indeed, that's the point.

I need the land to include a moving waterway like a river or large brook that flows year round.

Is there such a place in the US where there are forests but it doesn't freeze solid in winter? Hopefully rural enough that having a large plot of several miles would be possible? I considered the Pacific Northwest or upper Midwest, but it all seems too cold in the winter. An occasional frost or hard freeze would be ok.

  • $\begingroup$ why can't you have it seriously cold? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 22:09
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Also the mill year round - when I think of a mill I think of a business, but these people must not be in business if their kids never see anyone. What are they milling that they are not selling? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 22:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Willk the reason for there being no deep freeze is that the mill wouldn't work. I'm not sure I'm ready to give away the reason for the mill just yet, but there is one $\endgroup$
    – nuggethead
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ Does it have to be a water mill, or can it be a small hydroelectric dam? $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ Must be a water mill, not a hydro dam $\endgroup$
    – nuggethead
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


West Virginia

  • Mild winters
  • Wooded
  • Crenelated mountains that make thousands of tiny, remote valleys, short sight distances, and many small streams
  • Limited highway access due to the mountainous terrain
  • Strong heritage of independent living

In a cave in West Virginia (or elsewhere in Appalachia)

I've been to a number of natural caves in the Appalachian chain and I can't recall any that did not have flowing water to some extent. Some can have quite a bit as it's what created the cave in the first place. Cave systems of the Appalachians can be very complex and it's not hard to imagine some undiscovered or long-forgotten branch with large caverns near the surface hidden in some tucked away wooded valley. Maybe the entrance could be disguised as a shutdown mine to explain evidence of local traffic.


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