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I am sick of the desert and I am selling this place here pronto. Over the summer I traveled around and found a wonderful spot up by Traverse City, Michigan on the Leelanau penninsula. 105 acres of awesome rolling hills, valleys, and woods overlooking the lake. I love the seclusion too. You go between some hills to your own private little valley and I just love it. I would put my house on the top of this little knoll surrounded by blue spruces.

Problem is, I have only been there during the summer and we just spent 3 weeks there. How is it up there? Do you have a long enough growing season? Any winter with snow seems harsh to me but how long does it last up there? What are the regulations like? This land is zoned ag and doesnt seem to have any deed restrictions on it and isnt in any sort of preserve. Is being able to drill a well a concern up there because this is a completely raw piece of property. I am also uncertain of where to go to find this information.

I had originally wanted to just buy an existing place but putting things together yourself and planning things exactly how you want them can be such an adventure but it makes me a bit nervous not knowing the rules, so to speak.

So, anyone who lives around there, what are the pros and cons of the place?

Traci
 

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Climate shock!

I can't speak for Michigan, but here in WI we get snow beginning roughly Dec 1 and lasting until March (or later)...You can *usually* begin planting in early May and stop about late Sep...I'm in S. WI so its more mild then northern parts.

BRING A SHOVEL



looks like quite a bit in Traverse City area
 

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I don't live there, but I've made several trips out to that lighthouse. The 45th parralell crosses the end of the pennensusla. It is half way between the North Pole and the equator To see Travess City in all its glory is when they have the cherry festival on the week of July 4th. I love that area as do many well heeled people from the Detroit area. Ground has to be expensive. I'm told the population thins out in the winter. While you are waiting to move you might want to check out snowmobiles. They would be much more than a toy up there.
 

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I did live in the Traverse City area some years back and now live about an hour's drive from there. It is absolutely beautiful, no doubt about that. However; you should expect snow - and lots of it - anywhere from November until May. Admittedly November and May are exceptions (or at least May is) but it has happened a number of times. In this area, no one plants anything above ground until after Memorial Day (May 31) due to the fact that it can still freeze up until then and often does. In the fall, if you cover things up at night when it might freeze, you should be okay through September.

Regarding restrictions: the best thing to do would be to contact the county extension agent to find out what they might be. You should also check with the county to see if you would be responsible for maintaining your own road if you put one in. That is a very real possibility and in the winter time, can be an important, time consuming job, requiring heavy duty snow plow equipment, especially if you are going out to work.

You could inquire w/ surrounding home owners what, if any, troubles they might have had getting a well put in. I would also ask about property taxes for similar properties.

Having delivered some harsher realities, let me quickly add that there is no place more beautiful than northern Michigan in the fall and, even though it can be stark, the winter.

Good luck to you.
 

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My husband grew up in Traverse City and we still have tons of family up there. First off......please know it is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. The city is moving out farther and farther and farther and it has attracted yuppies from all over the country and the world.

"Problem is, I have only been there during the summer and we just spent 3 weeks there. How is it up there? Do you have a long enough growing season? Any winter with snow seems harsh to me but how long does it last up there? What are the regulations like? This land is zoned ag and doesnt seem to have any deed restrictions on it and isnt in any sort of preserve. Is being able to drill a well a concern up there because this is a completely raw piece of property. I am also uncertain of where to go to find this information."

How is it up there?.....I think it is getting really expensive.
growing season.........what do you have in mind to grow? Most years the typical garden crops do just fine.
snow.......can you take what seems like forever?
regulations......these vary from township to township and can be discovered by inquiring of the township office.
well drilling..........depends on the terrian of your place, some spot you have to go pretty deep to hit good water.

That said, I do think it is one of the most beautiful areas of my state....I just don't think I would want to live there. For years we always had planned to retire up there, but not anymore.
 

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Traci,

I live in West Michigan, about 2.25 hours south of Traverse City. My parents live in Cadillac (1.5 hours north of here and .75 hours from Traverse City) and my husband and I spend a lot of time in northern Michigan (Cadillac, Traverse City, Petoskey, Sutton's Bay, etc.). However, I haven't lived there except a short time as a child. I can help a little, but not with all of your questions. My husband and I have researched living Up North and still hope to do so. Here is what we have learned and observed.

The weather changes a lot even in just a few hours heading north. There is a definite snow band shift around Big Rapids - they get more snow than say Grand Rapids. Cadillac and Traverse City get a lot more snow than Grand Rapids and it stays on the ground ALL WINTER. Sometimes Grand Rapids will lose the snow for a while. Up north it is generally on the ground from early November until March, sometimes April. When the bulbs are out in Grand Rapids in late March/early April, things aren't even close to starting to bloom in Cadillac and Traverse City. I haven't grown a garden up there, but the growing season has to be significantly shorter. I know they generally get a hard frost a couple of weeks before we do.

I am amazed you can find 105 acres for sale on the Leelenau Peninsula. There is a huge push in the Leelenau and Mission Point areas to preserve the open space and farmlands. There are a lot of business working to keep the farmers producing and making money so they will not sell out to developers. You might want to check further regarding what kinds of restrictions you might have put on you if you ever want to sell some or all of your land in the future. On the other hand, if you purchase 105 acres, take care of it and don't develop it except to put a house on it, you will be EVERYBODY'S friend.

While we were vacationing this summer on Leelenau, we read the local paper and found local chamber of commerce type info. There were three problems for the area that were discussed and one of them was lack of affordable housing for people who live and work in the area. Employers are having a hard time finding people to move there and work because the housing prices have been pushed up to ridiculous levels by downstaters who are purchasing second homes. Have you researched the property taxes?

Some general thoughts...We have found the people to be very nice up north. We don't find things to be that much more expensive up there, but they are a little pricier. Gas is always more expensive up there and groceries are a little higher. Traffic can be a real bear around Traverse City, especially in the summer. The TC area has really grown a lot in the past 10-15 years and the roads are not totally set up the best to handle it. If you like winter sports or think you would enjoy them, you would be in paradise. And nothing can beat the views. Northern Michigan is an incredible place. I know there are a lot of people who would never consider living in a place with so much cold and snow, but I can't imagine ever living someplace that didn't have four beautiful seasons. The falls can be absolutely spectacular (like this year) and the summers are very moderate and comfortable. Most people don't even install AC up there because they get so few hot days.

Have you checked out www.leelanaunews.com?

Well, I hope that helps. I'll probably think of other things as soon as I post this. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions!

Sallie
 

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Having lived in the Traverse City area (AKA T.C.)-myself 16 years and DH nearly all his life, I've noticed that people who enjoy the out-of-doors activities REALLY ENJOY all seasons here, including winters. That said, this summer was a bummer for the garden...way to cool for much to grow. Some summers are ideal, and some winters are perfect too. Every year is different. We both love to see the snow come but it does get old by the end of March, especially if you're paying to have a long driveway plowed. Leelanau peninsula is in the path of "lake effect" snow. If you move here, you will hear that term a lot.

Another thought. Leelanau peninsula is shaped as the little finger of the mitten of Michigan. You can only drive a short distance east, west, and north. To get anyplace farther you must drive south. It's kind of like living on an island but you are connected to the mainland. Will that type of isolation bother you?
 

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Thanks for your replies everyone!

As for not being able to develop my land into a housing development, NO PROBLEM! I hate those things! We intend to make this place into our place for the rest of our lives and put it in our trust for our children with restrictions so that THEY cant turn it into a housing development when they put us in an old age home.

What about a green house? Will that extend the season some? A friend of mine told me it would do me no good because the days get so short up there. Frankly, I cant see why a green house wouldnt give me a couple more months. I just want to grow simple garden veggies and the like really. Maybe some stuff for my livestock too.

There appeared to be alot for sale up there and alot of it was reasonably priced (it is much more expensive in Nevada) if you took out things like waterfront, views of water, walking distance to lake Michigan, etc. Leelanau was a bit more expensive than Traverse City area but this property was definately reasonably priced for the area and for the amount of acreage.

I think a snowmobile would be in order and I am not planning on going to a daily job. I hate those. The snow scares me.

Thanks alot for that website Sallie. I am going to look at that in a bit.

How are the schools? The schools in Nevada are disgusting. Just about anywhere is an improvement. I am home schooling next year if I cant make it out of here by then. I would really rather that my kids went to a good school though. I dont really have the patience or consistency for home-schooling I dont think.

I have a feeling I am going to freeze my tailfeathers off. I have never ever lived in snow. In my whole life I think I have spent about 40 hours total in the snow maybe? I like it though! I honestly think it will be a blast and I am looking forward to the snow. It's gotta be better than 115 F heat. I love to be outside but the summers here are just too unbearable.

Thanks for your replies!
Traci
 

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If you move there you can spend 40 hours every week in the snow- cleaning out your driveway. They hang their mailboxes in the air to keep above it and snowplows don't bury them. Have fun.


mikell
 

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Excellent information on that website! Boy oh boy though, average no. of days below 32....163.6.....that's gonna be tough. BRRR! OMG! I need to put my barn right next to my house so I can build me a nice insulated walkway in between the two. I do like the average number of days above 90...8.2. After this dusty desert, that will be a welcome change. I never look forward to summer here because it is such suffering and the spring is so windy. I have fruit trees but never have gotten a piece of fruit off of them because before they are ripe, just when they get fully grown, the wind comes along at 50 mph gusts and blows the lot of it all off the trees. Grrr. I believe I will love it up north. snow and all.

As for shoveling snow, well, that isnt going to be my chore at all. My husband is the one who has really talked me into moving up there and if snow is to be dealt with, he will be doing the dealing. I am sitting by the fire and cheeringhim on from the window. Yeah keep dreamin' Traci. Can't I just get a flame thrower and melt the snow? I know! Covered driveway! I am sure my husband will somehow come up with a snowblower before too long.

Summers will surely make all that worth it though minus the mosquitos. It sure is nice up there and the humidity is not a bother at all. I went to Arkansas once at the end of July and breathing, oh gosh, that was like trying to stick my head inside a fishbowl and breathe. No offense to anyone living in the south but when you are used to pretty much 4% humidity a the most and go to the south, its really hard on your body.

Traci
 

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Like Pansies I lived in that area for almost 35 years. If you aren't used to the cold, the wind chill on the penninsula will really chill you to the bone. It's a very pretty area like everyone has said and Traverse City was an All American City a few years ago. If I were you I would look really hard at the restrictions on the penninsula. There is a BIG movement by residents to preserve it from all kinds of development. I too am very, very suprised you can find that kind of acres for sale there. I love Traverse City but the traffic is a killer. It has big growing pains but so far it still has a small town feel. And you don't need one of those good for nothing snowmobiles to get around. Nasty things - glad we moved away from them. Be sure you are nowhere near a snowmobile trail. We lived over a mile from one and you could hear the roar all weekend long, way into the night. If realtors think you like them they will point out near by trails but if they think you don't they will tell you trails are way far away.

Barb (ducking for cover from snowmobile owners)
 

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There are different types of 'cold'... the moist windy cold is the absolute worst. I've met folks from far northern Ontario who would not live in southern Ontario because of the cold... and the avg. temp. up north is lower than in the south.

cheers,
 

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I lived outside of traverse city for a couple of years, we got over 100 inches of snow both winters (145 the first winter).

what got to me the most was the cloudiness in winter (and I have lived most of my several decades in the midwest so am used to gloomy winters). One winter I was there, they set a record for number of days without any sunshine at all, it was MONTHS, like over two months, without a single sunny day.

the rest of the year was wonderful, cool summers, beautiful springs and fall.

However, all that being said, winters really were fun, much much funner than here in Indiana. we get just as cold or almost but don't get the snow so there is nothing to do. there they had all kinds of winter festivals involving ice fishing and snowmobiling. They really know how to enjoy their long winters.

this was around 10 years ago, and I couldn't afford land on leelenau peninsula back then let alone now! but it sure was beautiful,

mel-
 

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We've lived in Benzie County (the county below Leelanau) for 10 years. We moved here from rural N FL. The lack of sunshine those first few years really took a toll on my mood. Moving from Nevada you and your family may experience the same thing. There are lights that mimic sunlight that you can sit in front of for light therapy and many people find it helpful. We've adjusted now, but I still have a light box in my closet that I use now and then.
It is truly beautiful up here, even in winter. I guess that's why the land prices have risen 500% in the 10 years we've lived here. IMO Traverse City is a real pain because of the traffic and how built up it is becoming. Here in Benzie County, we have only 1 traffic light.
Starlighthill
 

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my sister in law is from there, and we lived there for several years, yes, you get snow. and lots of it. you will get use to it, after the first winter, it will become old hat to you.
Jobs, are hard to come by in the north that pay very much.
northern people can be rather clcikish, no doubt about it.
you will love it. Evryone up there ski's, and cross country ski's. hunting is taken seriously.
buy a good wood stove or furnace, and don't use an electric stove to cook on, [incase you lose power], and you should be fine.
 

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As promotions go, you've got to hand it to the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League.

After going 1-15 last season, they sent out season-ticket renewals with a bonus gift: a roll of toilet paper with "1-15" printed on each sheet.

The roll came wrapped in a message that said, "It's time to put last season behind us." The promotion was the brainchild of the team's ad agency, Justice & Monroe.
 

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HI I live on the east side of northern lower mi about 2 hours east of travers it is buetiful up here with out dought however the only thing i have to say about that side of the state is MONEY!!!!! if you have it no problem but you will find out the taxes and property values everything is more as that area caters alot to the elite and tourist I live in asmple part of the state with amish amd mennonite's all around here and they expect my type of alife style very common on this part of the state as far as winter I am not agood judge I have lived in Mi all my life and dont plan on leaving theyare part of Michigan you either hate them love them or get used to them !!!! :haha: I love the changing seasons but hey if youget over that way look be up :) but I can say this Michigan is a wonderful beutiful state!!!!
 

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I agree that Traverse City is quite busy in the summer. I am not planning on living too close to the city proper. My husband, he doesnt want to be too far away from good medical services and the other services that you have in a city so leelanau seems a good compromise. I also like the East Jordan area too up by Charlevoix. Myself, if it werent for the fact that I freak out when my kids get hurt or very sick and I absolutely suck in emergency situations involving anyone I love, (if I dont know you, I can deal with them) I wouldnt mind living as far away as possible from any city.

I know the winters are going to be hard to adjust to. I dont think I have ever been much colder than around 20F. It can get about that cold here and I have to break ice out of all the tanks but since we dont get much in the way of precipitation, we dont get snow. We have a horrible cold wind that comes out of the north and starts about the end of December and can go into February so I know a bit about awful cold winds. Thats all we have in the desert. Cold winds and hot winds. And alot of worthless dirt. And this town is getting immensely more crowded by the month. Developers have come from Vegas and the town is adopting all these new laws and zoning plans.....its past time to leave but at least they have inflated the price of my land here so I can get something nice within reason somewhere else and not worry too much.

I really am looking forward to living in a very different sort of place. I had heard that it is pretty gloomy up there all winter with no sunshine. We have like 20 cloudy days a year here so that is probably my biggest worry and I dont want anyone to end up getting depressed.

Traci
 
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