First impressions of the new city

So one of my last posts was the big announcement – we’re leaving our home of the state of Georgia to pack our tyrant twins and head north to a suburb of Detroit. Or even possibly downtown Detroit and rent a condo for a year. Who knows. That’s the million dollar question (if only the answer truly resulted in a million dollars though….)

We prepped our house and after being on the market for 9.5 hours, we had our first offer. And we are officially under contract. Now, anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home before knows that this doesn’t make it a done deal, but this is still pretty freaking amazing! Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong… Now comes the stress and trial of finding a new home 12 hours away without even being there to physically look at a place. Yikes!

Our first trip to the Mitten State together, my husband and I looked at tons of houses and did a great deal of cruising around townships (yes, Townships, not towns or cities), to get a feel for the area and the locations we’re cool with, and those we don’t feel a real connection to.

Did we find a house? Maybe. That deal is still in the works, but I don’t think anything will necessarily be working in our favor when it comes to the real estate market in northern Detroit. However, we did find some incredibly amazing places for shopping and just getting out and about (not to mention a ton of Canada all along the St. Clair River)!


Here’s a list of some of my favorite findings in Wayne and Macomb Counties of Michigan:

  1. Nino Salvaggio’s. OH MAH GERRRD!!! It took me telling my husband he could either wait in the car or go with me to check this place out for him to see it for himself. I had read about it online and was immediately intrigued, so when we saw it heading to do some shopping, I figured it had to be kismet. This place is not just a grocery store, but an immense international market with incredible findings and fresh produce, meats, cheeses, a bakery and so much more. And their prices? Not so different than a Kroger in Georgia. They have all sorts of worldly finds, as well as carry a great deal of products from Michigan-based companies. #SupportLocal ! And their wine, craft beer and liquor shelves are a section to spend an entire afternoon in. They even host wine tastings! Score!
  2. Rochester Hills. This place was beautiful, y’all. If you’re familiar with the Atlanta area you’ll understand when I say it was the Johns Creek of Detroit. It was the first neighborhood that reminded my husband and me of home. Hills, woods, dirt roads and houses that weren’t built in the 70’s and never renovated (no offense to the rest of Macomb County). Their downtown area apparently has the most amazing Christmas lights and decor for the season. I’ll definitely be recapping this area later this year if it lives up to the expectations of the holidays.
  3. Townhouse – holy shit ballz (yep, I just said that). This place is amazing all across the board. The atmosphere is super trendy and definitely hipster (my husband teeters on the idea of liking that part), and the food and drinks are incredible. Really crafty drink creations are the only way to get me to drink anything other than beer or wine, and I didn’t have a glass of either of my regular at this place; and the macaroni and cheese was to die for (and this coming from a true Southerner).

Here’s what we learned:

  1. Traffic in Detroit equates to Tuesday at 2am in Atlanta. Okay, maybe not quite THAT dramatic of a difference, but it’s a BIG difference in interpretation of the word “traffic.” On the Friday night we were in town scoping out the place, we were staying in New Baltimore and heading downtown Detroit at about 6:30pm. Now, anyone who lives in Gwinnett County knows that even thinking about attempting to make it to downtown, or even Buckhead, in Atlanta in a short drive is a completely asinine thought to pop into your mind. As we were headed down 94, from the burbs to downtown Detroit, the friends we were meeting for drinks called us to ask if we had “hit the traffic yet.” My husband and I just stared at each other and started laughing. We never went less than 70, and were downtown at our destination in no time at all.  
  2. Detroit doesn’t seem to be about encouraging public transportation. Coming from the Atlanta area and attending music midtown, 99x Downtown On the Rocks and On the Bricks summer concerts, and any sports game my entire life, as well as having graduated from college in downtown Atlanta, I’m all about some MARTA. Public transit is something I love, no matter what anyone says. Getting to study for an exam or not worry about who’s stuck driving home from a concert or game at the end of the night makes the abundance of homeless folk and caution of riding at night totally worth it. Hell, I can’t tell you how much food I’ve given away to those homeless people! But Detroit? Being the Motor City, I guess it’s been absolutely frowned upon to invest in public transportation. But as of the 1980’s, Detroit has the “People Mover.” A less than 3 mile loop of downtown Detroit of public transit, that has 13 stations (compare this to MARTA which has about 48 miles of rail with 38 stations). WHAT?!? Although, Amtrak does link to the People Mover at one of the stops, to connect to other cities in Michigan. Although it’s dated (and I don’t post this to be political), here’s a great article that gives some history and background on the public transit systems (or lack thereof) in Detroit.
  3. Real estate is even crazier than it is in the Atlanta area. Homes are selling just as quickly due to low inventory and large volumes of buyers in the Detroit area as they are in the Atlanta area. Real estate is a bit more expensive – square footage, renovations, niche architecture, etc. In our price range and areas of need and interest, there’s not really anything to be found that’s been renovated or even the slightest bit updated since the 70’s or 80’s. In addition, to get a kitchen I’m used to, as well as dual sinks and a private toilet room in the master bath, we need to cough up another $200k for that to be the norm! It’s incredibly eye-opening, not to mention a bit nauseating.

Regardless…

We’re making the move from Georgia to Michigan; Atlanta suburbs to Detroit suburbs; and both in the northern locale of the major city. So it is what it is, and we are both excited and nervous about this new adventure! We support each other in this move, and (most of) our families support us as well. We’re as ready for it as we’ll ever be!

And seriously, just as I mentioned in my announcement post about our move, let me know if you’re from Michigan! Especially the Detroit area! I would love to get some feedback from all you Michiganders and suggestions for what to check out!

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