“We’ve done a lot of camping,” Will Heiden says, “and we like to hunt. My family has been all over Michigan and Ontario and we were looking to set up our own place. This property gives us a home base. It’s meant for those times when you think ‘oh, I don’t want to pull the camper, but I want to get away!"
Will and Nancy Heiden are the new owners of a log cabin on nearly 200 acres on the Manistique River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“The cabin is rustic,” Will admits. “But it has solar power, a large wood-burning stove and it sits right on the river.”
Despite having to do some heavy cleanup involving lots of spiders and mice, the cabin was in good shape. Situated about three miles from Seney National Wildlife Refuge, the surrounding woods are full of grouse, deer and even bear. The Heiden’s have witnessed Trumpeter Swans, osprey, loons, beavers, and a bald eagle landing on a branch next to their car window.
Living close to wildlife was part of Will’s getaway plan, but he was having difficulty finding a lender with the expertise to finance large amounts of recreational acreage. Referred to GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Will and Nancy met with Senior Financial Services Officer Kim Cool.
“Our loan situation was complicated by several factors,” Will says. “There was an old house on the property, the drivable access wasn’t deeded, and we added some family members to the initial purchase. We worked through the hiccups with Kim and the GreenStone process went very smoothly.”
Kim Cool agrees. “This loan application process was challenging for sure -- although, I do love this sort of challenge as it tends to push me into some critical thinking and always teaches me something new.” Kim appreciates Heidens’ patience, and the collaboration between the credit and appraisal teams at GreenStone’s Cadillac branch that ensured the smooth loan delivery.
Nancy Heiden discovered the cabin’s history as she washed the inside of the cabin’s log walls. Inscribed on the logs are the names, dates and home locations of all the cabin visitors since the 1920s!
“This place was really hopping in the 1940s,” she notes, and adds that she was very careful not to erase the signatures from long ago.
The two yellow chairs parked in front of the cabin overlooking the Manistique River are another hat-tip to the past. Growing up, Nancy remembers her grandfather often sitting in a yellow metal chair on the high bank of the Pigeon River in Indiana; she found similar metal chairs for Manistique Rriver watching and painted them yellow in his honor.
However, Will and Nancy are more often fishing or kayaking in the river than watching it. Adventuring by kayak north to the wildlife sanctuary and even southeast to the Mackinac Bridge, the Heidens are both awed by Michigan’s natural beauty and happy to return to their new home base in the woods.
The Heidens’ German shorthaired pointer, Gus, is an avid bird dog, and Will anticipates working him this fall hunting grouse and woodcock. Nancy is quick to join in, carrying equipment and managing the dog gear, which allows her to get outside and walk the beautiful, secluded wilderness surrounding the cabin.
“I’m looking forward to hunting season,” says Nancy. “I love to cook, and will enjoy the opportunity when the weather is cooler and hunters visit.”
Both Will and Nancy are excited to invite friends and family to their new property, and hope to create a place where everyone feels comfortable and welcome. The cabin’s big draw may be hiking, hunting, fishing and kayaking, but daydreaming in a yellow chair in front of the river has a classic, rural allure for both of them!
To view the article in the online 2019 Fall Partners Magazine, click here.