Last year around the beginning of September my partner and I rounded up our dogs, loaded them into the car and made our way North to dodge the extremely destructive Hurricane Irma. The entirety of South Florida was in a panic. I-75 flooded with vehicles due to the mass exodus. It took us a total of three super fun days to drive 1,513.1 miles.
We finally arrived at 4 a.m. Sept. 10th. After sleeping for a day, we went on a tour of the town, Boyne City (stopping at Cafe Sante for lunch, of course), Petoskey and Harbor Springs. I have always liked Gaylord and its surrounding areas, but my partner fell instantly in love.
I had watched the man I love fragment into pieces for a year before we decided to move to Gaylord. Illness and sadness had a vice grip on him, and we were both drowning so when he suggested staying, I jumped at the opportunity. Soon after we found what we believed to be the home that would make us whole. A home for us and our furry family.
Excited, we began a new life in this lovely place. We poured all our love into this beautiful home. Our funny little family grew with the addition of a super chill cat and a hilarious chicken. We even got to banish a ghost (more on that another time). But as time went on his fragments got smaller, and smaller, and in the end, so did we.
After, the initial panic/bouts of ugly crying that ensued, I found myself looking for alternative uses for this house that is no longer a home, and decided that Airbnb was the most logical maneuver. Gaylord is such a beautiful, bustling town with so much to offer as far as activities. I just knew that the demand was there.
I found I was correct. Gaylord has a total of 63 houses available for out of town visitors. From cabins on the lake to farms stays, Gaylord's Airbnb culture offers a broad spectrum of ways to experience the area.
My property is special. A spacious vintage house on two acres of pristine land surrounded by trees that offer privacy. Sweeping hill views that provide a spectacular picture of the fall colors, and calming blankets of snow in the winter. The house is old with modern touches that add comfort and style without taking away from its rustic charm with just enough wear to make it cozy.
Knowing the demand is there, and seeing the opportunity this unique property affords, I set out to create my Airbnb profile. Finding the right balance is still a challenge, but it has been a very positive learning experience.
Of course, the goal is to add a source of income, and the funds gained has helped pay for the renovations we dreamed about. But this adventure has yielded so much more. I have met people from all over the world. A group of Indian students that left my fridge full of beer (yay). A retired couple that has spent the two years traveling the globe. Japanese grad students. And, people in town for weddings — so, so many weddings. That surprised me. I wasn't expecting my guest list to be international.
I am also amazed by the pleasure I am taking in the experience. The Zen-like calm that comes when pressing linens. The pure joy in being able to hand pick perfect white dishes, and clean, cool marble surfaces for the presentation of small comforts like tea bags and scones. Fluffy towels warm and fresh from the dryer. Flawlessly made beds. Balancing scents — fancy soaps, cleaning supplies, air fresheners. There is a sense of peace that one can only find in perfect order.
Bittersweet is the only way to describe the situation. I am grateful the house is so full of life. It's not what I wanted but, it is what happened. In the words of another Frances, Frances Mayes from Under the Tuscan Sun: "Any arbitrary turning along the way, and I would be elsewhere. I would be different. What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game."