My First Blog Post...Grand Rapids Neighborhood Places - A Great Place to Be Somebody!

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX SUNQUEST - Downtown

The Comedy of Real EstateThis is my first blog post and I must admit that I feel a little bit like someone who has been thrown out onto the stage and doesn't know their lines. But I hope that if I tell a good story, perhaps you will come back and visit my blog time and time again.

So let me start by saying that a few years ago I moved into the Grand Rapids Neighborhoods.   In fact, I live right by the Wealthy Theatre.  Some family members, who shall remain nameless, think that I live in the hood.  But what they don't know is that I walk out my door and I know my neighbors.  They also don't know that I walk out my door sometimes and I meet new people.  This is something I didn't have or experience in my last home and it makes my life interesting.  it's like a have a river of life right out my front door every day.  And here's the best part of it, I love the Grand Rapids Neighborhoods!

Prior to a river of life flowing by my door, I lived out by the little village located in Alaska, Michigan.  Only I had a real river flowing by my door everyday-the Thornapple River.  You see, like so many people I know, I had, for the last 10 years or so, I kept buying or building a bigger and bigger home.  Life was great.

My last refuge was a beautiful contemporary lodge-style home which I built with my partner.  It was a santuary, a retreat.  It was away from the hustle and bustle, nestled into the woods, overlooking the Thornapple, on a street where our motto was:  Live Free or Die. Who could ask for anything more?

Then, my Mom had a stroke and in an instant my life changed.  Soon, most of my time was spent driving back and forth into town to take my Mom to doctors appointments, physical rehab, cardiac rehab, etc.  There were surgeries.  More rehab.  More and more care required.  Before I knew it, I felt disconnected from my life and from my home.  So, I changed...

My partner and I split. We sold the big home on the river.  I took up residency in the neighborhoods and to my delight and surprise, I discovered my life again.

Now, I live 2 minutes from my Mom's house.  I am 2 minutes from my downtown RE/MAX SunQuest office.  I am 2 minutes from so many activities that I love:  Yoga from the Heart, Wealthy Theatre, EGR Library, Grand Rapids Dogpark, Fulton Street Farmer's Market, Marie Catribs, Schnitz Deli, Reed's Lake, and on and on and on.

I Am Somebody  - Neighborhood PlacesSo, in the next few weeks, I am going to introduce a Series called Grand Rapids Neighborhood Places...A Great Place to Be Somebody. 

The Series will feature some neighborhood art, and will feature the work of some local artists.  My hope is that this Grand Rapids Neighborhood Places Series will spark some delightful conversations about your favorite neighborhood places.  I hope it will inspire you to share your stories of why those places are so special with you.  I hope that I will get to know you better and that you will come to consider moving to the neighborhoods if you don't live here already. 

Here's a little excerpt.

Grand Rapids Neighborhood Places – A Great Place to Be Somebody!

So what, exactly, makes a place a favorite "neighborhood place", you may wonder?

Well, usually it's a place that holds special memories for us. Maybe the place tugs at our heartstrings because of a shared beverage, or a meal, or an ice cream cone. Or, it has become a cool, interesting place to just hang out.  Or the place has been there so long it offers a comforting visual reference in a constantly changing landscape. Or, maybe the place has unique architectural features that speak to our sense of beauty and art. And then there is history - oh, if only these walls could talk!

Favorite neighborhood places can contribute to our sense of security, our stability as a community, and our growth as a cool city.  These special places let visitors know what our values are, and perhaps most importantly, give us a deep sense of place on this vast planet. 

We believe, however, there is something more fundamentally human at the heart of what makes a favorite neighborhood place. Simply stated, everybody wants to be "somebody”.  From the moment we are born, we are coddled, coaxed, and called to answer the question— “who do we want to be when we grow up?”  We are raised to BE “somebodies”!

So, if we are anonymous, as we are in a big box store, or the mall, or a franchise.   And try as they might to make us feel different—we are merely a number.  A nameless face, whose information is captured at the checkout counter.   Even when we return time and again, we’re still just a number—a nobody.

But when we walk into a place like The Kopper Top located in the Stockbridge Neighborhood, and sit under the unique canopy of lights commemorating whatever holiday is be continued.

Copyright 2008 Amy Miller and Neighborhood Places All Rights Reserved

Theatre Masks courtesy of Janice Yuvallos

Trees and Moon photo courtesy of Ctd 2005's Photostream



Comments (53)

Sue Prins
Five Star Real Estate - Forest Hills, MI
Realtor- Greater Grand Rapids, MI

Hi neighbor eighbor, I am aslo from the GR area. It is good meet a new face on AR from home. Great first post. You did it like the pros!!! I love the way you write and look forward to more posts from you. By the way, never been to Marie Catribs, looks and sounds amazing! I love good healthy organic, chem free, foods.


Mar 20, 2008 02:00 AM
Jimmie Graham
Keller Williams Realty - Ypsilanti, MI

Welcome to AR! I remember my first blog and I was amazed how people respond to you hear. I look forward to seeing more of your blogs.  I have a younger brother who lives in your area! So hopefully I can send some business your way!

 Good Luck!

Mar 20, 2008 02:01 AM
Bob Edwards
Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc. - Appleton, WI
Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI
Congrats and Welcome Amy, you're off to a flying start!
Mar 20, 2008 02:20 AM
Sharon Paxson
Sharon Paxson, RealtorĀ® EQTY Forbes Global Properties - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate
Welcome to AR and fantastic first post . . . you will love it here!
Mar 20, 2008 02:31 AM
Matthew Zgonc
Aksland Real Estate - Modesto, CA
Realtor, CFS, CVS
Amy welcome to Active Rain. It is wonderful here and the people are very helpful. Congratulations on your first post.
Mar 20, 2008 02:34 AM
Tina Maraj
RE/MAX One - Fullerton, CA
Celebrating 30 Years of Real Estate Sales
Great first blog. What a wsy to start out. Nice colors and pictures.
Mar 20, 2008 03:56 AM
Linda Scanlan
A Fan of AR - Burleson, TX
Amy - Oh, my goodness what a great first post! I was going to suggest that you join the Newbies group, but you're way ahead of the curve. I look forward to getting to know you here in the Rain! Congratulations on your feature!
Mar 20, 2008 04:02 AM
* Rate A Home
Rate A Home - Saugatuck, MI
Amy, Wow, I'm impressed, great job and welcome to The Rain. Alaska is a neat little burb, use to enjoy going to Sam's there.
Mar 20, 2008 04:06 AM
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Hi Amy, Great first post!  Welcome to the community.  By the way, I think you have a great idea, I plan to do the same in my area...just need to finish taking some photos.  

I was born and raised in Michigan (Detroit area), but my family and I would go to Grand Rapids from time to time to see my cousin conduct and to visit my great uncle's store Klingman's.  Grand Rapids holds a lot of memories for me.  I'm with's a neat place to live! 

Mar 20, 2008 04:07 AM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
Congratulations on joining Active Rain. Looking forward to your series. Keep on blogging.                                                                                         
Mar 20, 2008 08:14 AM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
What a great start to Blogging Amy!  Nicely done, I look forward to future contributions.
Mar 20, 2008 09:40 AM
Barb & Ernie Suto
Wow, great blog .....we are new to Active Rain, the blogging seems a little intimidating to us.  You always wonder if something that interests us would interest anyone else.  We did a couple of lines on New Jersey, but have no idea what would hold the interest of readers.  Will be looking for your next blog, we are really having fun with this site..
Mar 20, 2008 10:59 AM
Monika McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Hampstead, NH
Southern NH & the Seacoast Area
Welcome to Active Rain...I'd say you have the gift of blog. I enjoyed reading it very much.
Mar 20, 2008 12:21 PM
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
Welcome to Active Rain! That was a fabulous first post. I've seen a bunch of new people with wonderful first posts. I am so jealous! Congratulations. I look forward to reading more.
Mar 20, 2008 02:02 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI
This is a great first post Amy. You are going to do well here.
Mar 20, 2008 04:29 PM
Scott Hoyt
Founding Partner, - Cary, NC


You just made my mouth water for a YesterDog!

My best friend from college married my best freind from high school and they moved to Grand Rapids after he finished Dental School. What a great place! They now live in EGR a block from Wealthy Elem. (I love the fact my "nephews" run around in Wealthy t-shirts, it really cracks me up.

I have had so many great times in EGR and the people are awesome, can't wait to visit again soon.

Mar 21, 2008 12:21 AM
Ed Vogt
Midwest Properties of Michigan - Grandville, MI
Grandville, MI Midwest Properties
Hi Amy:  Welcome to AR and fabulous first post!   I can't agree with you more - Grand Rapids is SO happening.  It never fails to amaze me of all the goings on the area and especially downtown.
Mar 25, 2008 01:29 AM
Mike Slager - Holland
Greenridge Realty - Holland, MI
MI Realtor

For a first post you sound like a pro!  I love the Wealthy area! I used to be there often when "the Intersection" was there I would go to see concerts frequently. Billy's is nice too, and have heard the Wealthy Theater has acts there frequently as well. And who could forget Yesterdog!? Not me I assure you!

Jun 17, 2008 08:32 AM
mike slager

Hi Mike:

I am afraid I have eaten way too many Yesterdogs.  But I am anticipating that they will come out with a Veggie Yesterdog any day now.  Then, my life will be complete.  I was just co-chair of the Waterfront Film Festival opening night street screening party and event last weekend.  Have you ever gone to the film festival?



Jun 17, 2008 02:42 PM
Jane VanderLaan

Hi Amy! I'll be happy to take some credit in the writing of "What exactly makes a Neighborhood Place..." as I remember your inspired first draft being emailed to me and then your generous allowance of my editing and additional words about big box stores, etc. I have the final, original piece over on my myspace page and I included on your myspace page when I set it up for you. Enjoy!  

Jun 27, 2008 04:42 PM