Rob and Carrie Mohn made the decision to leave life in Tennessee and move to Calumet's neighboring village of Laurium. While they made their move a few years pre-pandemic, there are now many others making the move to more spacious spaces. Whether you're a remote worker contemplating a change or a local curious about your new neighbors, we think you'll find the following interview with Rob and Carrie an interesting insight!
Why did you decide to move to Calumet?
Our story might be a bit unique. We grew up in northern Wisconsin and had dated each other in high school. We lost touch with each other a couple of years out of school as we both went on to college and beyond. We got back in touch 32 years later, and having found each other again, we dated and got married. For a portion of our honeymoon road trip we drove to the Keweenaw - a place that each of our family's had visited regularly. On a day that the entire Keweenaw had lost power, due to a powerful thunderstorm the previous night, we pulled into Calumet - and fell in love with the town and area. We spent the entire day driving around the perimeter of the Keweenaw and that feeling just grew stronger.
By that time, I had been a “remote worker” for a major telecom company for several years. When we got back together, we were living in Tennessee. The area is beautiful, as we lived in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and had easy access to miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. However, the summers were getting hotter and hotter, and the winters were wet without snow. Each season felt like we were being forced inside, either by the heat or the wet coldness. We thought about selling our house and moving north - and after much internal debate, decided to move forward with it.
How did you find a house?
We looked for homes online. Once we’d narrowed down what looked good, and what had what we needed, we contacted a Keweenaw area agent. We then drove north in February, and spent 3 days looking at 12 different homes. We didn’t make an immediate decision, but again, once home, deliberated on which would be best until we decided. At that point we put our home in Tennessee up for sale, and put an initial bid on the home here we liked. The offer we placed was contingent upon the sale of our home in Tennessee.
How much did you have to spend to get your house improved? What did you do to your house?
We can put it this way; The home we owned in Tennessee was a 1500 square foot 1930s English Cottage style in a very nice historic section of town. Upon putting the house on the market, we immediately received 3 full price offers. With the money we received from the sale of that home we could afford to buy a home here for 1/3 the price of the home in Tennessee. However, we did need to invest a considerable amount, perhaps another 1/3 of the price of the home, to conduct some repairs to the roof and internally. Upon moving into the home, we lived on the first floor, sleeping in the dining room for a month or more, while we updated the second floor. We did the painting, stripping and refinishing floors, updating the bathroom, and a number of other small repairs. All this time I worked remotely.
The key to all this is that even though we did this work, our overall mortgage was much smaller, and we were able to save even more by performing a lot of the work ourselves.
How do you like winter? Is it what you thought it'd be?
Summers and falls are very easy to love here - they are some of the best in the country. However, we really love winter. It isn’t an in-between winter; it’s a full on winter. The snow is wonderful, the x-country skiing is world class, and the fat tire biking is great. What was even more surprising is the quiet - the snow dampens the sounds of everything. We had been told, mostly by people that live in the south, that we would hate the winters and would soon be back to the warmer climate. Well, not a chance - this is everything we could want.
What's your favorite part about living here?
The area is so very unique - hiking, biking, skiing, camping. If you even like the outdoors just a little, you could not find a better place to live. And, there is that lake - it is awe inspiring each and every time you come over the crest of a hill and see it….
What's the hardest part about living here?
The hard part of living here can be the travel times if you have people that you want to go see, or if they want to come here. We’re not on the way to somewhere else, you have to want to come here…It is important to know that at this time local flights are routed through Chicago.
Would you do anything different in regards to your transition to Calumet (would you have rented somewhere first, etc)?
If there was something to have done different, it would only be that we would have come here earlier.
What do you do for work?
As mentioned, I work for a large, international telecom company. My clients are very large multinational financial/banking companies. I spend my days speaking and working with customers in all parts of the world (i.e. Hong Kong, Singapore, Hungary, the UK, Ireland, and of course the US and Canada).
Would you move to Calumet without a remote job?
If there were a job here comparable to what I do now, perhaps. However, I’ve become very comfortable working from home.
After we moved here, we collected as many links as we could find that would have helped us make our move. You can find them at Main Street Calumet Living and Working.
And even more importantly, visit this site for tips on moving during a pandemic.
Consider the Keweenaw!