Wednesday, June 23, 2010

northern michigan in NYT

Petoskey, Michigan made the New York Times earlier this spring

Check it out, it's a fun story. But it does make Petoskey sound almost like, well, not quite a real place. Petoskey is a real place with a diversity of people, not all of which live in vacation homes.

I like Petoskey. We go there often when we want to go to a different town for a change of scene.

It occurs to me that Petoskey wasn't always the Petoskey we know today. I've heard that that part of Michigan actually used to be hillbilly county and was even the inspiration for Lil' Abner 'though I have not confirmed that story.

Whether the Lil' Abner part is correct, that area of northwest lower Michigan certainly did make a transition from rural outpost to somewhere considered by many to be the place to be, for a large part because it was discovered by the money-ed crowd.

A place doesn't have to become a yacht haven for wealthy people, but somewhere in their history some towns made a transition from 'frontier town' -- the mining, logging, railroad, or other industry that upon which the town sprang up -- to modern town that attracts forward thinking people. That happened in some towns and their economies show it. I am quite interested in seeing whether the place-making movement can help other towns make that transition.

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