by Jane Johnson, Becketwood Member
A new blog series: Introduction
Many of you know that Ken and I spend much of the year at our home on the North Shore. In fact, at this point in our life, we call our Becketwood unit our “urban cabin.” Many members at Becketwood have connections to the North Shore. Because of this I thought there might be interest in an ongoing blog called Real life on the North Shore.
Ken and I have enjoyed the North Shore for many years—staying at resorts, as well as short stays in our vacation home during our working years. Now we are here year round (yes—winter, too). We get to see how the ice changes daily on Lake Superior, a half mile from our house. We’ve enjoyed bird nests on our property. We identify “families of deer.” We know what mud season is, and why more people leave then than in January. We truly understand the phrase “gardening in head-nets.” We see how sunsets reflect to the eastern horizon and across The Lake.
We’re learning the joys and challenges of living in the north woods. For those of you who have lived in a rural area this will be familiar. Ken and I have lived in cities all of our lives. Despite having our land and house here since the 1990s, we had no idea what it would be like to really live here. We occasionally come across tourists who strike up a conversation: “You live here?” They then say,” You’re sooo lucky!” “Yes,” we reply. They say: “That’s our dream too—someday.” Living here is very different from vacationing here. To live 90 miles from the closest movie theater, shopping mall, Target store? To be 30 miles from the closest clinic and hospital? And as Ken will tell you—it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of planning.
I am aware, however, that living in Tofte we have more amenities than those who live further inland. We’re a half-mile from Highway 61. Tofte has a resort with two restaurants. There is a Post Office, a corner store, a Holiday Station within two miles: civilization. Lest you picture us in a tiny log cabin somewhere, I’ll tell you we have a two-story year-round home on about 20 acres of woods. We’re not on a lake but our house overlooks a creek with several waterfalls. We have propane heat, electricity and indoor plumbing. Our closest neighbors are about a block away.
I’m also aware that our “Real Life on the North Shore” is less ‘real’ than life for most in northern Minnesota. We are retired, while many work two or three part-time jobs to keep food on the table and the bills paid. If we don’t want to go out when a snowstorm hits, we don’t have to. And when we choose, we can go to our “urban cabin.” For those who believe you can’t have everything, we’re certainly trying.