Monday, February 15, 2010

Why We Chose the Upper Peninsula

A comment from my previous post asked why/how we chose living in the Upper Peninsula.

First off, we'd both lived here before, so we were familiar with the overall area. Sweetie once owned a farm near Sault Ste. Marie - the area I call flatland - and yearned to return. I'd owned four homes - all in Houghton County - and most of my immediate family lives here.

This tie made the decision easier, though we investigated all areas of the U.P. except the flatland. After a few trips, we discarded anything along US2 from Manistique to Ironwood. When Sweetie was an OTR trucker he'd ventured as far as Baraga County to our south and that ended up being our second choice. We reasoned that it was close enough to family while still offering plenty of seclusion.

Ultimately, the Man Above and Karma influenced our decision. With any piece of property we'd looked at, there was always something holding us back - even after we'd saved the down payment. Either the location lacked something, the price couldn't be negotiated, or another offer was accepted. Since buying here, we've driven buy places we once were attracted to and every time we look at one another and say: "Our place is better."

If you look at a map of the U.P. you'll notice what I call the bunny's ear jutting out into Lake Superior. Any land beyond the Portage Canal has always been my favorite. Guess it has something to do with my childhood history. My Dad was career Coast Guard and we were stationed on islands or coastal lighthouses around the Great Lakes. My mother spent many an afternoon driving back roads, exploring old mining ruins, deserted farms, beaches and two-track roads. She'd pack a lunch and load us kids in the station wagon or Surburban and off we'd go. Between living off the beaten path at lighthouses and exploring the north woods as a kid, I developed an appreciation for solitude and seclusion.

If I ever won the lottery, I'd buy the largest track of land, the furthest from anyone within the U.P. that I could find. I'm aging now and accumulating ailments besides the MS and Fibromyalgia, so my dream is probably not wise, but I hold fast to it nonetheless.

I was fortunate to meet the Hermit of Brockway Mountain years ago. You can Google him and read about his solitary existence in a one-room shack with wildlife for companionship. He's venture into Copper Harbor for supplies and learned to survive with his wits and determination.

His life wasn't easy or ideal by any stretch but people were in awe of him. He made his own path and to hell with the rest of the world. Doesn't that sound appealing, given the way this country's deteriorated?

Finally, never look at real estate once and make an offer! I'm eternally grateful we didn't buy certain places. Make repeated visits and consider locations you DON'T think you'd be interested in. We found our home because I suggested we "just go for a ride" after an exhausting day of looking at properties. Two years previously, we'd driven within three miles of here and turned around. We'd also seen this listing online and said I'd always said: "It's too far out and we can't afford it anyway!"

Even after purchasing there will be things you'd like to change - like us wishing we had different neighbors. Fortunately, we're stubborn enough to make our stand here and a GOOD FENCE will communicate more than any words.

Whether it's a city block, a country road or a township, it takes time to acclimate oneself to the area and it helps to keep that in mind.


Did it MY way said...

If I was your neighbor you would not need the fence.

See Ya

Anonymous said...

thanks...sounds like us a lot
same here on the lottery... I would make sure mine was on the shore of Lake Superior. :)

HermitJim said...

Just like Robert Frost said..."Good fences make good neighbors"!

Very good advice about looking at land...and so true!

debbieo said...

Is this the fellow you were talking about?

Also, please share more of your childhood. How interesting to have lived in a lighthouse.

Anonymous said...

I have always been intrigued by the lighthouses of all of the lakes. Read any book I can find of stories fiction and non-fiction. That is so interesting to me. I , too, would like to hear about them from your perspective and your dad's too. Think of all he has to share with us and the rest of your family. Beth , again.