As exciting an adventure moving from Michigan to South Carolina was, it was a BIG DEAL to uproot the kids + say goodbye to the life we built this far. It felt like loss. Or a breakup. To help process how I was feeling on the goodbye side of things, I wrote a letter to the new home owners.
I wanted to the new home owners to see this place for all its magic and to feel lucky + welcomed. Mostly, I honestly did this for me. I needed to slow down and express how much I valued this passing season in our life. If you’re feeling a bit stagnant in your shooting around your four walls, imagine what you would miss if you left.
Through writing this letter, I documented my memories. I also came up with ideas around things to put into a picture and places to take my camera to one last time. This made for a fun project with my daughter that I mention over in this post.
I felt on fire with my camera!
In the end, acknowledging the past 4.5 years in a way that was doing something kind for others felt so so good for my soul. After the house closing, my husband received a thank you text from the buyer who said the letter made his fiancé cry. #jobwelldone
Here’s the welcome letter to the new home owner:
(Note: Bits were removed for privacy. Should you decide to do this yourself, I also included a few things like our daycare, babysitter, pediatrician, and cleaning girl’s contact details, with their permission, of course.)
Hello and welcome to your new home!
It’s nerve-wracking to buy a home and wonder if it’s actually going to be as wonderful as you imagined. So, we wanted to tell you –
This home IS that wonderful.
Certainly, it has its “charm,” such as the rockin’ aqua carpet around the Jacuzzi tub in the master bath or the, “just have Home Depot color match a chip of the original paint and you’ll get a perfect color match,” our drywall guy told us for the non-matching ceiling patch in the dining room.
But, at its core, this home was made to be an anchor for creating memories + harboring love.
I don’t know anything about you – if you’re a family, a couple, or someone solo. I felt connected to you in a small way and wanted to leave you with a warm note about the family who once lived at X Pratt Rd. To be honest, writing this is just as much for me as it is for you as I can’t help but feel a little sad to say goodbye to this space we completed our family in.
In this home, a hard-working dad, a big dreamer momma, a creative girl (almost 6), and a wild boy (just turned 4) lived. I wish I could convey how much our children have thrived here.
This home provided plenty of space for our girl to push her imagination through pretend, crafting, coloring, and playing outside.
Our boy ate up every inch of this property driving his “Batman-mobile” aka Power Wheels! He’d bounce between pedaling his bike into mud puddles to stacking up buckets to climb + pick apples to loading the up the Red Ryder with pinecones + sticks for campfires.
My husband found his man-fort with his first garage and enjoyed new toys, like his zero-turn mower, and time shared with friends – in translation: a place to relax after long work shifts.
I built a career here as this home inspired me to make pictures of memories that have inspired photographers around the globe.
Your new home is the best of both worlds – a place for individual space + high family connection.
In the 4 years we lived here, I’ve always felt safe – even all the years my husband worked nights and I was alone with the kids.
Cars sometimes drive a little too fast for comfort (being a parent) down our road, but overall, you’re entering a peaceful neighborhood. During the spring and fall, you’ll notice more tractor traffic than cars – something our kids never got tired of seeing!
Walk west down Pratt, just before the greenhouse, and you’ll find a creek. You’ll also find one on your way to Bordman (off Deland). Many walks to collect rocks + toss have passed time in our family.
Your new neighbors are hospitable and have been graciously dependable when we’ve needed to call on them –
Like the time we were buying this home and my husband’s car got stuck in the snow on the day of the inspection. Your southwest neighbor dug him out with his farming tractor!
One neighbor may seem a little rough around the edges (and you may hear some choice words occasionally) – but I promise you, he is a wonderful neighbor. Have a beer with him.
Beyond your new property, Memphis has been a pleasure to be a part of! Both kids attended Adventure’s Daycare right inside the Memphis Elementary School for years – LOVED it there.
Go to Mom’s for breakfast. Make sure to ask for the homemade whipped cream to go with your pancakes.
Drive east on Bordman. It eventually becomes Rattle Run. Stay on it and drive the 35ish minutes to the St. Clair riverfront. Go to Bub ‘n Ellas for pizza (Mondays is ½ off large pizzas). You must get the fresh cannolis + bring a blanket to picnic along the riverfront.
St. Clair is also the best place to go for 4th of July fireworks too – but space DOES fill up fast. You can claim your spot by laying down a blanket early in the day. They also do a holiday kickoff parade with Santa and Reindeer to see.
Memphis does a Tree Lighting in town each year – Santa rides in on a firetruck and then you can head to the fire house for free hot cocoa. It’s small. It’s quaint. It’s perfect. Oh – and attend the Memorial Day Parade!
For Halloween, head to Richmond. The houses get festive – especially on Main St. We always parked between the fire station and the church. When our boy was 2, he was a fire fighter, and the fire department filled his entire bucket of candy!
Assuming you’re cider and donuts kind of people, like most of us Michigan folk, our favorite time to go to Blake’s Cider Mill on Armada Center is NOT during the typical touristy fall time. Instead, go on Black Friday. Cut down your Christmas Tree (if this is your holiday). It’s a quiet experience and you can indulge in cider and donuts while you wait to see Santa at noon. This quickly became our annual tradition!
A little past Blake’s is Crooked Creek. It’s a hidden gem that we only discovered in 2016! There’s almost always baby calves + goats in the warmer months to pet and feed. Turtle Swirl ice cream is out of this world.
You’ll love Goodells Park – including the splash pad. Just around the corner is the Pine River Nature Center.
Look up the Wadham’s to Avoca trail – specifically the Trestle along the trail. It’s super cool!
Hop on I-69 to Wadham’s Road. Take the backroads north and head to Lakeport State Park – the Day Park has a quiet beach on the blue Lake Huron. A bit north, on M-25 there’s a killer BBQ stand. Lexington is lovely for a day trip too.
In the addition of the house, if you leave the lights on in the summer, you may find tree frogs on the back window waiting for dinner. Our kids loved that!
Garbage + recycling happens on Thursdays.
A quirk: The addition and master bedroom ducts are tied together. You may want to keep the master bedroom vents closed, because it will get hot in there in winter as the geo tries to heat the back room.
DEFINITELY take advantage of using Kroger’s Clicklist. I didn’t set foot in a grocery store for almost a year! You can short cut to Kroger by taking R on Deland > L on School Section > R on Lowe Plank > L on 31 mile to avoid the city traffic.
There’s so much more I could add, but I’ll let you make your own discoveries. May you find much happiness, abundance, and contentment + make a lifetime’s worth of memories in this home!
The Masse Family