Claussen Walters had its start back in the 1980’s in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We, the eponymous founders, Barbara Claussen and Tony Walters, brought a fresh and lively approach to the there-to-fore mundane business of real estate. We always did things differently because we saw things differently and became known as the innovators within our industry.
In 2013, driven by a great weariness of Canadian winters, we began our plans to relocate ourselves, together with the furry entourage of Whinny Hill Farm, to the sunny Foothills of North Carolina, just down the mountain from Tony’s hometown of Hendersonville. We wrapped up our business, Claussen Walters & Associates, and arrived at “Bray Away Farm”, just outside of Columbus, in late 2014 with 6 donkeys, 5 horses, 5 dogs and 4 cats.
Our years in Nova Scotia can be measured in many ways but we are most proud of the relationships we built, the lives we became part of, and the communities and causes we were able to gave back to and our reputations that we carry forward.
Barbara Claussen was born and raised in Kampen, Isle of Sylt, Germany. At the adventurous age of 18, she moved to what was, at that time, West Berlin. She achieved a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. Barbara was recruited by a real estate company known as Engel & Voelkers and, for six years, worked with her colleagues in Berlin. She helped mold the company into what is now the largest privately held real estate company in Europe, with offices in 38 countries worldwide. She worked there as the first female Commercial Realtor and won an award for the highest earnings in this field in her second year.
Engel & Voelkers’ affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty brought Barbara to Canada in 1996 on an exchange program with the Nova Scotia affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty, AA Walters Limited. She came to learn better English, which she did and fell in love with Nova Scotia and Tony Walters, the founder of the firm she came to work for. Together Tony and Barbara lead for 18 years as co-owners Claussen Walters & Associates and set the standard of excellence within the Province’s real estate industry.
Outside of the office, Barbara renovated numerous historic houses. In 2001 won the Historic Restoration Award presented by the Town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But Barbara’s real passion in life, which goes back as far as she can remember, lies within the animal kingdom. Home in Nova Scotia was Whinny Hill Farm, where Barbara established the Donkey Sanctuary of Nova Scotia and Hoofbeat, a horse rescue endeavor. Together the two organizations have rescued and found homes for more than 120 horses and donkeys.
In the fall of 2014, Barbara and her husband, Tony, packed up the farm in Nova Scotia and moved, together with 6 donkeys, 5 horses, 5 dogs and 4 cats, to the sunny foothills of North Carolina. Barbara continues pursuing her animal rescue passions and loving horses and donkeys. She is riding CETA trails in her spare time and renovating their home close to Columbus. Being close to Tony’s family means a lot to her. Her five stepchildren and six grandkids love to come for a visit because of the beautiful landscape and the much warmer weather than up north.
Tony Walters was born fourth in a family of 12 children and raised in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Hendersonville, North Carolina. From his youngest years he lived by the adage that “not all who wander are lost”. Following this maxim he attended universities in Canada and Mexico. He hitch hiked here-and-there, and then from the Panama Canal back to North Carolina. In 1968 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served as an Infantry Officer in the Republic of Viet Nam. After that there was another university year in Bozeman, Montana. Liberally, if not meagerly, educated, Tony’s wanderlust took him and his wife and two children across the country in a 1952 Chevy pick-up to a little farm they had acquired on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The family grew to 5 children.
Having had enough of subsistence farming (idealistic poverty) the family moved from the farm to the historic seaport of Lunenburg. In 1989 he founded AA Walters Limited, which became a premiere real estate brokerage company. This company was soon recognized for its excellence by Sotheby’s International Realty and appointed as their exclusive affiliate for the Province of Nova Scotia.
In 1996 Barbara Claussen arrived from Berlin to work with the company that was soon to become Claussen Walters & Associates. Tony and Barbara had married, and now managed their business together. At Whinny Hill Farm they tended organic gardens and honey bees and rescued more than 90 horses and donkeys. The harsh winters finally got the best of them. They packed up their menagerie and moved “back home” in late 2014 with 6 donkeys, 5 horses, 5 dogs and 4 cats. Bray-Away Farm in the foothills of North Carolina, just outside of Landrum, is now their new home.