Two years ago, my husband and I made the decision to move to Bigfork, MN from a much more populated area in Tennessee. My family thought we were nuts, our friends thought we were nuts, and even our children thought mom & dad had gone a little crazy. I mean, who in their right mind moves to a tiny town with a population of only a little over 460 people? Well, that would be us and we love our small town.
There are some adjustments to make living more rurally and in a small town, but there are so many more benefits of living there too! Here’s my 5 Best Things About Small Towns:
- The Local Businesses: Every town has locally owned businesses but they often get lost amongst the corporate giants. In Bigfork, we have everything anyone would need. Our grocery store is great with an awesome butcher shop and is locally owned. We have “The Shop” were the fabulous folks can repair your lawnmower, sell you a 4-wheeler or side-by-side, and make sure you have the parts, batteries, and such that you need. We have a great local bank, great places to eat, and I can’t forget the Timber Rose Gift and Floral shop. The gift shop not only has great flowers but also consigns great pieces by local artist and craftsmen.
- Friendly Folks: Coming from the south where you have that whole “Southern Hospitality” thing, its hard to believe that “Northern” people could be so nice! I know, Minnesota Nice....is very true. I’ve met some of the nicest people in my little town. I think small town folks really band together to get things done, help their neighbors, and in general know how to treat people. Maybe its because we aren’t stressed out. No traffic, no problems!
- Great Fun: Small towns love to get together and do fun things! In Bigfork, we have The Edge Center where we have locally produced plays as well as get Arts, Music, and more that come up from the cities. We have folks that get together to teach cross-country skiing every winter. And, let’s not forget the Wilderness Days Festival. There’s so much to do in a small town, you never get bored.
- Get Involved: In small towns with less people there are always ways to get involved in events, volunteer time, and stay very active in the community. I love seeing the school children getting involved in the city with clean-up, painting, and doing community service. We support our High School Teams; volunteer at the hospital, and even sit on various boards.
- Peace & Quiet: I really, really, really don’t miss traffic! I don’t miss the noise of the big cities! I don’t miss all of the people. I like that my little town closes up by 8:00 pm during the week and that I can look outside at night and not see a million lights.....I just see starry skies and a beautiful moon. The deer come into my yard almost daily and I watch the Eagles fish on the lake. It’s hard to describe how good a little town is for the soul; but you really should experience it for yourself.
When you are ready to escape the BIG CITY LIFE, turn your eyes Northward!
I love to read. It is one of the simply pleasures of life for me. While I enjoy reading on my Kindle, sometimes I just want to hold a real book in my hands. The library in Grand Rapids is very nice but honestly I just don’t get the chance to swing by there much. If you live in a rural environment, like our Edge of the Wilderness Communities, you can get to the library without leaving your home! The Arrowhead Library offers a great program called “Mail-A-Book”. You can find the book you’d like to read on their website and then simply place your order (you’ll need a library card first). Your book will arrive a few days later with a pre-paid postage return label. Just enjoy your book and when you’re done, pop it back in the fabric envelope, attach the return label and put it in the mail. How simply is that?
I just received my first “Mail-A-Book” book. I’m reading a book by William Kent Krueger. He writes some great crime mysteries that are set in Northern Minnesota. It’s fun to read something where you can identify places in the book.
If you want more information on the “Mail-A-Book program, you can visit the Arrowhead Library’s page here.
Here’s a list of resources that I’ve compiled to give you some more information about Northern Minnesota. I’ve found these sites very beneficial to both buyers and sellers plus some of the sites are simply fun to visit.
- DNR Eagle Cam: When we moved to Northern Minnesota, I was struck by all of the wildlife that I saw. I especially love seeing the Bald Eagles. This fun site from the DNR shows a real-time webcam of a Bald Eagle Nest. Amazing to watch especially in the spring when the little ones make their appearance. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/eaglecam/index.html
- DNR Lake Finder: My goal since I moved here is to fish as many of the 1,000’s of lakes we have in Itasca County. As most fishermen/women know, to have success on a new lake, you need to have some information about the lake. The DNR Lake Finder gives a wealth of information to anglers. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/eaglecam/index.html
- Fall Color Tour: Fall is a magical time in Northern Itasca County. I can’t even begin to describe the vivid colors of the fall leaves. It’s my favorite time to go hiking or put my kayak in a remote lake. This DNR website give you all of the information you need to plan your trip when the colors are at their peak. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors/index.html
- Chippewa National Forest: The Chippewa National Forest is the 1st National Forest established East of the Mississippi River in 1908 and is home to more lakes and wetlands then any other National Forest. It is breath-taking! Trails, camping, fishing, hiking; you name it! https://www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa
- Scenic State Park: I spend a lot of my limited free time at Scenic State Park. Winnie, my dog, and I love to hike the many trails. Scenic State Park is home to Coon & Sandwick lakes for fishing. You can camp, hike, and more. If you love to hike, try the trail to Chase Point. It’s amazing. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00262#homepage
- Plant Hardiness Map: Moving from Tennessee to Minnesota was a big adjustment to my gardening. Luckily I had great neighbors that told me “never put a plant in the ground until June 1st.” In TN, I was often planting cooler weather veggies in February! This Plant Hardiness Map is very helpful in learning about your planting zone. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
- Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center: If you want to learn more about the Edge of the Wilderness, stop by the Discovery Center in Marcell. They are very friendly and have lots of information to share. In addition, there is a gift shop, nature programs, and more. https://www.facebook.com/Edge-of-the-Wilderness-Discovery-Center-430246440342339/
- Becoming an Outdoor Woman: What a fabulous program this is ladies! Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW) is a program just for women. Learn all kinds of outdoor skills at their many workshops throughout the state. I attended one of their weekend get-away events and learned about Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, and Dark House Fishing. Plus you get to meet women from all over. They also offer programming for Becoming an Outdoor Family to get the kids involved. I highly recommend it! https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html
- Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board: The principle mission of the Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board is to "retain the natural beauty of the area while progressing to provide our diverse population with opportunity, economic viability and a quality of life that will carry on into future generations". This site provides links to all of the Edge of the Wilderness Communities. Definitely worth a visit. http://www.edgeofthewilderness.org/
- Itasca County Soil & Conservation District: If you have land in Itasca County or are considering a purchase, this site is valuable. The Itasca County Soil & Conservation District provides programs in Wetlands, Forestry, Shore land, and more. They have cost share programs and do an annual plant sale where you can purchase native trees, plants, flowers, and grasses. https://www.itascaswcd.org/
Looking to purchase or sell a home in the area? contact Karen Wortman today.