March. The month of St. Patrick’s Day, four-leaf clovers, the arrival of spring and all things green and alive! For me, this year it is also a month of new adventures, new neighborhoods, new chapters and new beginnings!
A year ago, I realized a long-time dream of moving to Northern Michigan! With no set plan, other than a general idea that I wanted to be near Traverse City, I began searching Craig’s List for rental properties had enough space to welcome visiting family and friends. I wanted a place with charm and character, that would make me feel at home in my new neighborhood during those times when no one else was around.
In mid-February, I found what would later be dubbed “The Blog Cabin” – a 2500-square-foot log home on four acres (including an historic barn) just north of Lake Ann and a dozen miles west of downtown Traverse City. The Lake Ann area was a relatively new discovery for me, yet ironically the house I had found was one I had seen many times in the months prior while visiting with friends who happened to live and work within a stone’s throw of the property.
Family and friends were there to help with the move in, something I couldn’t even imagine doing alone. It was especially important to me that my kids were there, to help me in this transition of my life – to be happy for me and my dream, even though it meant I wasn’t going to be in close physical proximity to them anymore.
The Blog Cabin was perfect, my collection of Michigan memorabilia covered the expansive walls on three floors. As winter melted away to spring, I found enjoyment in cleaning the yard, planting flowers (including many cuttings from my family’s garden in Plainwell), searching for morels and relaxing on the backyard swing.
As summer rolled around, I was able to host my first gathering – a “Housewarming Party” complete with outdoor bonfires and nearly 70 pounds of fixings for a fish boil. There were countless meals on the deck—both alone and with friends, a handful of other parties, jaunts over to Lake Michigan to watch the sunset and discovering new local hangouts.
As summer turned to fall, and fall into winter, I began planning Christmas in the country. Late in Thanksgiving weekend, the kids made a quick trip up to help decorate the house for the holidays. With this big house, it was fun to search for a tree which fit the space and accommodated all the ornaments and decorations. We made cookies and Christmas cards, watched movies and just enjoyed each other’s company (now, all as adults). Out of the past year, it was probably my single most favorite day at the house—that, and the actual celebration of Christmas the next month.
With the New Year came the news that the landlord was going to be selling The Blog Cabin, and just like that this dream home I had built started to fade. The disappointment was short-lived.
Over the course of the last year or two, I’ve found a renewed interest in the power of positive thinking! Having read several books during that time about the “law of attraction” and good karma, I set myself up to find my next home. It was back to Craig’s List, this time with a wider net that encompassed not only the Traverse City area neighborhood, but also as far north as Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Boyne City and Petoskey. My travels for work take me all over the state, and as long as I was able to find a quaint and affordable place “Up North” all was good.
It was the morning of Sunday, February 8 when I saw the listing for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on Round Lake in Petoskey—the northernmost spot on my radar search. I immediately sent an email, explained my current situation, outlined my background as a self-employed marketer, dropped a few names of people I knew in the Petoskey area and waited patiently for a reply—which came just a few hours later.
Before the end of the night, the property owner and I had exchanged several lengthy emails and had a 30-minute phone conversation which left us both excited for the possibilities. He sent more photos throughout the following days, shared information with me about the lake and the nearby residents and we set a time for the following Sunday for a walk-through. That week, I was often distracted by thoughts of the house—of mentally placing furniture in various rooms (something my daughter says is a sure sign I’m destined to be there).
Much like The Blog Cabin, I knew when I pulled in the driveway and first stepped foot in the house that I was at home. In each room, I again thought about which furniture would go where, how the space would work for parties, what it would be like to go out to the lake in the summer and paddle around or just relax at the water’s edge. I pictured myself sitting on the deck for morning coffee, fixing dinner while staring out over the lake, having a real wood fire on a chilly night. After about an hour, and a verbal commitment to a year lease, I finally left with only one question: what will THIS house be called?
When I wanted suggestions on names for The Blog Cabin, I threw the question out there to my Facebook friends and a slew of ideas came through over the course of the day. It worked once (thank you Heather Fortin)…so I was certain it would work again. After posting a picture of the home, I once again trusted my online friends for recommendations. Round 2, Blog Cottage, Cabin in the Words, Round-A-Bout, The Round House were among more than two dozen suggestions.
Just like when you find the house, when you see the right name you just know! When “The Write House” showed up in my Facebook feed, it instantly clicked. As a life-long writer, and future published book author, I believe this lake home will provide unlimited inspiration for me on many levels.
I’m anxious to explore my new surroundings (eight nature preserves, a state park and a linear trail are all within a mile of the house, which has 800 feet of shared lake access). I’ll be just five miles from downtown Petoskey and about seven to Harbor Springs, which means even more places to discover like coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, bookstores and markets. The opportunities really are endless!
Several people have told me I’ve been so lucky when it comes to finding beautiful places to live. Maybe. Or, maybe it’s just that law of attraction and power of positive thinking that keeps me focused on what my heart really wants (and the universe wants to deliver to me)!
Luck or not, what I do know is how thankful I am for those near and far who have been there to help my dreams become reality and who have supported my decisions without hesitation. Since the move north a year ago (3/21/14), I’ve made so many wonderful friends who have repeatedly offered a lending hand and welcomed me with open arms!
In the days leading up to and immediately following the move last year, I did question myself in the decision to leave my family and friends back in Plainwell. Over the past year, I’ve learned however that it isn’t necessarily the amount of time spent, but the quality of that time. While there are often weeks, or months, that go by without seeing my kids—our visits are (in my opinion) focused more on quality. We call each other “just to chat” frequently and the times when they’re able to come up and visit are treasured!
My dear friend Marty told me last March that I would learn something new about myself in making this move north—and he was right! I learned that I am strong and capable of not only surviving but thriving in my new environment; that I taught my children well and that those skills are helping shape them into fine young adults as they’ve learned to stand on their own; that it’s not always the number of friends, but the quality of friends in your life; that you can’t look for something and find nothing—meaning you might find something even better than what you’d originally been seeking; and that dreams really do come true if you put your mind, heart and soul into making it so! That’s a lot of learning in less than a year!
Now…my focus is on my next adventure! Move date is Saturday, March 28. Housewarming party date TBD.