Winter Break

It's the end of January and a reminder that Winter Break is over. But that doesn't mean the fun is over. Although not the winter we experienced in 2014, there's plenty of snow to get out enjoy the beauty of northern Michigan. In the winter, snow-tubing, snowboarding, and downhill skiing as well as numerous groomed or wilderness trails for cross country skiing and snowmobiling are all available. 70% of Crawford County is public lands and that means thousands of acres available for public access to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. See more things to do in the Grayling area.
It's also a good time to start searching for that other destination...your up north dream home! Start your search at Au Sable River Realty, where you'll find detailed and comprehensive information on over 4000 northern Michigan properties. Au Sable River Realty ~ Guiding you to northern Michigan property and real estate.


The One That Got Away

It was a cold, damp and gray morning on the Au Sable River this Friday morning, the second day of May. Upon pulling into the parking lot at the Old Au Sable Fly Shop, I took note that the river was still running high from spring melt off and recent rains. More rain in the forecast wasn't likely to improve the conditions any sooner. The river tumbled over the boulders at the bridge and roiled by the shop onward to hallowed fishing grounds. Not ideal conditions for a fly fisher looking for a day of dry fly fishing, but for the avid angler, there are alternatives and options.

Au Sable River Realty
Heavy runoff at the James Street Bridge in downtown Grayling.

Inside the shop, anglers and guides were preparing for the day. Bending over bins of fly patterns, trying to decide what feathered creations to stuff their fly boxes with, they chatted about the river, weather and current conditions. This early morning ritual is repeated daily throughout the season.

None of this concerned me as I would not be fishing today. I had come to the shop to meet new clients. I had originally met John and Gene at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo earlier in the year. They had expressed a desire to start searching for a Grayling area property that some day would become their retirement home. The fly fishing couple had come to Grayling earlier in the week for some river adventure and had been out with a guide from the shop on the Au Sable River. The fishing conditions had been tough, but they were enjoying their week and were now ready to embark on a new adventure. I would be their guide for the next couple of days in search of that northern Michigan dream property.

An experienced angler is always prepared for a day's outing and we laid out our plan and strategy. John and Gene had spent the last month researching available listings on the Au Sable River Realty website. They had signed up for free membership that provides online tools for searching and accessing properties on the site. This would allow them to save, compare and rate their findings. Au Sable River RealtyThey could explore all the disclosed details, view photos, pull up maps and even keep track of the current status of any listing they set aside in their custom portal. By setting up defined data fields they could also get daily alerts of any new listings that met met the criteria of their searches. Now it was time to hit the road and see what we could find. Searching online is great but until you're in the field and "on the water", you don't know what to expect. They had narrowed down the selection to six properties. One of them was a property I had "scouted" earlier in the week while working with another client. The property was still available and I suggested that they might find it interesting to see.

Our itinerary would take us south to Roscommon along the banks of the South Branch Au Sable and then north all the way to Lovells, heart of the North Branch Au Sable. From there we would head west and eventually full circle back to Grayling. The first viewing went fine but the location was a negative with loud road traffic in the near distance. The second property had all the potential of a charming, rustic up north home but had some serious issues with log deterioration. This one was a disappointment to Gene who had high hopes for this property. We moved on. Along the way we would stop at a couple of locations to view the river and discuss the geographic benefits to the area.

Mark Bear Photography
Loon family on Shupac Lake
Upon arriving in Lovells, we were ahead of schedule and decided to stop at Shupac Lake. Gene had expressed an interest in seeing the lake and I mentioned that it was a great trout lake. With a good portion of the lake surrounded by public land, local residents enjoy convenient access to wooded trails that connect to the lake as well as the North Branch Au Sable. Shupac is a spring fed, designated trout lake with several species of trout. Every year, nesting loons return to the lake to rear their young. While we were standing at the launch, Gene spotted a cruising trout in the shallows. These large rainbows can be found in close to shore after ice out and this one looked to be in the 4-5 lb. range. May have to come back to check that out!

Now we were off to the next listing. Located down Twin Bridge Rd. in Lovells, this was the one I had shown earlier in the week and had suggested we put on the list. When we arrived, I was dismayed to see that the listing Broker of the property was there with his own clients. This wasn't a good sign for us. We stayed out of their way while they finished up. We first toured the land which was a spacious four acres that butted up to state land. Although the property was not on the river, good access was available right across the road. John was very amiable to that idea and I could see that he was intrigued by the pole barn that would quite adequately accommodate his boat and other toys. The other party finally left and we viewed the home. Without going into all the details of the property, lets just say it was "fish on!" The features and condition were more than one could have hoped for. Although a bit higher in price, the value was evident. This was a great property that fit John and Gene's requirements.

We had three more properties to view and by comparison to what we had just seen, they paled in comparison. We headed back to Grayling and decided to sit down over a cup of coffee to review what we had seen. We quickly dismissed all but the Lovells property. John and Gene definitely had an interest and wanted to discuss it that evening and get back to me. I suggested that given it was listed at a good price and there appeared to be activity, we would want to "get on the water" quickly. That evening they called and said they would like to revisit the property the next day with the intention of making an offer. I made all the arrangements and prepared the offer so that we could submit it quickly to the listing Broker. By late Saturday afternoon, all this was accomplished and now we would wait for a response from the Broker and his Seller.

Sooner or later, it happens to all anglers. You're fishing a great stretch of water and you've just hooked what may be the trophy of your dreams. It was a solid hit and this fish puts a bend in your rod. You feel the excitement and give it some play. The fish moves away and you lift your rod to turn it's head and then it happens...your rod springs up, the line flinging back, going limp on the surface of the water. Immediate disappointment and mixed emotions set in. You question your tactics and ask if you could have done something different. 

Au Sable River Realty

Au sable River Realty
That pretty much sums up how I felt for my clients after I heard from the listing Broker that evening. He had just returned from the Sellers where he had presented and received an accepted offer for his own Buyers. It was over and our dream catch was heading downstream. This one was the one that got away. But, they call it "fishing" and we'll continue to pursue it.

Who knows, my clients may find a better catch right around the bend! Find your northern Michigan dream property at Au Sable River Realty.


Grayling ~ Home to the Au Sable

The town of Grayling, named after the fish that was once abundant in the Au Sable River, is the county seat of Crawford County. The grayling are gone but the river is now considered the finest trout stream east of the Mississippi. It's also known by many as the "gateway to the north" and a popular destination for those seeking casual outdoor adventures.

Mark Bear Photography It's beginnings were born from the lumbering era and it has been the home of Michigan's National Guard for over 100 years.The famous archer, Fred Bear produced the finest archery equipment in Grayling. Every summer, thousands of people come to see North America’s toughest, richest, non-stop canoe race, the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon and delight in eating a burger at Spike's Keg O'Nails. It's largest attraction has been the Au Sable River.

The Au Sable River is the premier destination for fly fishers seeking to test their skills with a fly rod sitting in the unique river boats designed for use on this river. Anglers from around the country have waded her currents and written of their passion for it's beauty.

Many have chosen to make the river banks their home, finding themselves weekend cabins or year round homes away from the grind of larger urban areas. But fly fishing is not the only reason people come to Grayling. Kayaking, canoeing and biking provide additional outdoor activities as well as snowmobiling and skiing in the winter months. The region is rich with state lands and forests ideal for hunting for the variety of game available.

In the last several years, efforts to restore the downtown business district and to give the entire area an economic boost has been a priority for business leaders and residents of the community. Exterior enhancements on Michigan Avenue in downtown Grayling along with some new storefronts has been evidence of the efforts. Already in place are some art galleries and news of some micro breweries coming soon.

The Rialto Theater is renovating and upgrading their equipment and word is that there are plans for a new restaurant on the river. It would seem that Grayling is on the move!


Grayling Real Estate

Learn more about real estate opportunities in Grayling and the surrounding area by visiting Au Sable River Realty.


Au Sable River - Vacant Land

Dreaming of a home on the Au Sable River? Living on the Au Sable River is a tremendous opportunity to improve and enjoy your quality of life. But, with limited availability of residential properties available on the Au Sable River, you might not be able to find a home, cottage or cabin that suits your needs and taste. What are your options? You might consider building!

Building is not for everyone but for those who have the will, the benefits are tremendous. The obvious pros are that you'll be building to your own specifications. And, with all the state of the art building materials now available you can build an energy saving and aesthetically smart looking structure.
When looking at vacant land for purchase, its wise to know what type of structure you're planning on building. Parcel size, ingress, egress, water quality, well, septic as well as utility availability are all key factors in your search. Contacting and understanding what local zoning mandates is also a first step in understanding what you'll need to address.
Au Sable River Realty can guide you along the way to assist you with the resources and the answers you'll be looking for. In the meantime, take a look at these Au Sable River parcels waiting to be built on. For more waterfront real estate, visit www.ausableriverrealty.com


Searching Northern Michigan Real Estate

Finding northern Michigan real estate and property couldn't be easier than when using Au Sable River Realty. The search tools at Au Sable River Realty are easy to navigate, diverse and allow the user to search for property in a variety of ways.
Click the image to go to Au Sable River Realty

The convenient "quick links" located at the site's homepage will provide instant access to a variety of listing categories. As illustrated in the image above, by accessing the "Lakes" tab I can see that there are 386 residential listings on the region's lakefronts. I can view the list by price ascending or descending. If the "Map" tab is clicked, I can see where all these properties are located in northern MIchigan. Clicking on any of these points will bring up the associated listing. By highlighting any specific property, I can access the details and photos of any listing. By using the "Edit Search" tab, I can narrow down my search to specifics such as size, number of bedrooms, list price, etc.

While there are quite a few quick links to choose from, a user can conduct a specific search using the "Custom Search" tab. By entering the available fields that apply to the search, the user can quickly narrow the search to their personal specifications. Additionally, users can sign up for a free membership that allows them to save their searches in a "portal". This portal is a personal account that allows saving searches, rating the results for future consideration and review. One can set up auto notifications to keep track of what may come on market based on their search preferences. Joining is free and access is easy using your own password to enter the portal.

At some point, the serious Buyer will want to know more specifics about listings that the internet is not going to be able to provide. That means previewing the listing in person and working with a professional Realtor. Until then, use the company that can provide concise and valuable information in the search process. Au Sable River Realty and Mark Bear are here to guide you to Northern Michigan real estate.


Winter is Fun!

Gaylord, the Alpine City
The holidays have come and gone. Seems it was just yesterday that the leaves were turning and here we are in the New Year! Winter started early in our northern region of Michigan and I suspect that it will be sticking around for awhile. Global warming has not been a topic of conversation here lately with cold temps and an abundance of snow arriving weekly. And the snow has been spectacular, providing outdoor enthusiasts to get out and enjoy winter at it's best.

Looking for events and things to do in Northern Michigan's Winter Wonderland? Check out these activities. It's a great time to be up north and to enjoy the outdoors!