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Old 01-10-2023, 08:35 PM
35 posts, read 131,406 times
Reputation: 49


Hi Friends,

I am currently living happily in North Idaho, however, my wife is originally from Michigan and has been asking to move closer to her aging family back home.

She tells me that the rural or small town areas of Michigan are very much like North Idaho. However, having never been, I am reaching out to this awesome community for some advice (the city-data community greatly helped me move to North Idaho from New York 10 years ago!)

Here is what we are looking for:

A community that is conservative, traditional, and generally religious

Preferably either an exurb or rural area (however, would like a major grocery store like a Safeway or Walmart within 30 minutes)

We have our own business so non-satellite high speed internet is necessary

Acreage of 10+

Somewhere that isn't under an opioid crisis.

Lastly, and this is one of my bigger concerns. I understand that the state government is liberal leaning, yet most of the counties outside the large cities are more conservative. After watching the scary power moves the Michigan state government applied across the state during the pandemic, I would prefer to live in a community / county that kind of insulates itself from those things. For example, I am sure there were local communities that thumbed its nose at state enforced mask mandates and lockdowns.

I understand this comment may be unsettling for some people but I am just trying to be as honest as possible to get the best advice. I respect your personal preferences and I ask that you offer the same courtesy to me.

So with that said, what counties / regions do you think I should be looking into for a home purchase? The UP seems like an interesting place to me, but honestly I don't know much about it. I am a huge hockey fan so I would be happy being a SOO Greyhounds fan (I know they play across the border but I imagine there are fans on both sides)!

One statewide question I have is, what is the forecast on gun restrictions in the state? I know Michigan is famed for its outdoors and hunting activities and the gun laws aren't currently too restrictive. Is there pending legislation or discussion on creating New York or California like firearm restrictions?

As always, thank you for all your help.
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Old 01-13-2023, 01:16 PM
Location: Brownsburg, IN
174 posts, read 243,731 times
Reputation: 381
I live in Indiana; though my wife's parents and some other extended family on both our sides live in Michigan. Therefore I can't fully speak on all of Michigan, just my experiences and what I hear anecdotally through them. They are pretty split. Some family members lean left while others lean right.

If you are considering the UP, I would look at the northern counties of the lower peninsula. You have some great areas for fun no matter the time of year, but slightly better access to the major grocery store desire you have. In the UP unless you are close to one of the larger towns/cities it can be over an hour to a major grocery store.

However, in the northern part of the Lower Peninsulas that is not hard. Traverse City gets all the publicity a lot of times and will be the only really left-leaning area of the LP, but you could easily find lots of towns/cities that lean more conservative in those areas that meet your requirements. My In-Laws have a 2nd home about 20 minutes from Gaylord. Gaylord has less than 5,000 people living there though it expands significantly with tourists. It has pretty much most stores you would need. Once out of the city though you are quickly going to get the rural feel. Lots of towns and cities in those areas are similar. Great hopping off point from there to the UP, down to Detroit, Lansing, or Grand Rapids, and plenty of beaches and outdoor activities in that area too. Many of these communities inflate significantly during the summer due to tourists, not unlike ourselves, enjoying the outdoor activities. That can drastically change the experience of different areas.

Not as sure about the internet connections in the UP. Where my In-Laws live the internet is really good and they are not in a town. I would assume that is true of most of the LP and towns.

This map could help you with seeing what I mean: https://www.politico.com/2020-electi...ults/michigan/ It shows presidential, senate and other results and can be broken down by county. Maybe by community or township but I didn't dig too much.

Other communities we like (though mostly from a tourist perspective not living there) in that area are:
1) Charlevoix (No Walmart/big store, but Petoskey is only 25 min away -- Some like Petoskey better, but we like the slower feel in the summer of Charlevoix, nice free beach, watching the boats head out to Lake Michigan along the canal, state park nearby, breweries, etc)

2) Manistee (Has Meijer and other stores in town, further from some of the tourist spots, so while it gets tourists, not as busy as some of the other towns, several state parks/forests nearby, free beaches, lighthouse, very cool downtown, more isolated)

3) Gaylord (Right off 75 can get you quickly to any part of state you need for seeing family quickly, in town is very busy but as soon as out of city limits it gets rural fairly quickly, has walmart, meijer in town, busier due to being the hopping off point from 75 to adventures, more big stores, cool "alpine" downtown feel, Elk park and herd)

4) Boyne City (Very touristy with Boyne Mountain Sky area nearby, but some great breweries/distilleries, restaurants, small town feel and even in summer busy time not as bad as some of the other towns.)

5) Holland area South West part of state (The city itself is really cool for tourists, but at 33,000 is pretty large, however, outside the downtown area it's not quite as big feeling. Great beach access, lots of grocery, close to Grand Rapids if you want the entertainment that can provide, has a strong farmer's market and dutch island/tulips fest.)
With Holland area though where I would really look is Saugatuck or South Haven. Provide similar experiences without as much population crush. These areas really fill up in summer, but if you live not far from them in rural area you still have their services without the traffic.

My aunt lives in Coloma now. She likes Coloma because she can get up to South Haven quickly, but is completely rural. Many towns and things like that if you look.

If you are against left leaning just avoiding the big cities/metro areas/suburbs/college towns is your best bet. I think same will be true with masks. More rural will be less likely to enforce while more urban will enforce.

Some relatives live in Adrian not far from Ann Arbor and there are some great things offered in those areas, minus beaches/Lake Michigan, but the Ann Arbor area will definitely lean more left. Adrian I feel is a mix/slightly more right, but as Ann Arbor and Detroit area continually creep/sprawl and people work more remote you may find that shifting. Adrian is a cool area for SouthEast Michigan.

Again just my experiences in Michigan and only 4-5 times a year so I could be way off base, but as an outsider that's my feel.
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Old 01-16-2023, 06:17 PM
Location: Michigan
792 posts, read 2,323,777 times
Reputation: 934
OP, you didn't say where your wife's folks are. I'd say start there and look at communities in the nearest county that went red in 2020. Then, of those, pick the nearest community that has the amenities you are looking for.
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Old 01-21-2023, 02:51 PM
996 posts, read 1,235,802 times
Reputation: 1512
What Tuebor said … where do your wife’s folks parents live ?? Michigan is a big state.

Grand Rapids area (Second largest metro area of the state) tends to be more conservative than the Detroit / Lansing areas, and for sure the Ann Arbor area
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Old 01-27-2023, 12:51 PM
Location: Summerfield FL
518 posts, read 869,002 times
Reputation: 715
Just about every city outside of the big ones covers all the requirments.
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:30 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
13,258 posts, read 22,828,258 times
Reputation: 16416
Originally Posted by Regajohn View Post
What Tuebor said … where do your wife’s folks parents live ?? Michigan is a big state.

Grand Rapids area (Second largest metro area of the state) tends to be more conservative than the Detroit / Lansing areas, and for sure the Ann Arbor area
Kent County (Grand Rapids) is rather light blue these days. But the exurbs areas in Ottawa, Allegan and Barry County remain pretty red. I’m not a fan of Ottawa County because I still think it’s pretty insular- “If you ain’t Dutch (and a member of the Christian Reformed Church); you ain’t much” still comes up along the Interstate corridor there. (Yes, I have relatives in Jension and Hudsonville and it’s still like that.) Allegan and Barry have less of one ethnic and religious group trying to dominate civic life.
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