I have been living in lil' ol Ely for long enough to know it's people, somewhat understand it, and completely appreciate all it offers. Let's just assume that you have never been here. That you have never even heard of Ely, Minnesota. I could paste in a million links, bombard you with google images of it's beauty... but I want to give you a side you can't find on the world wide web.
Untouched. That is the word I most commonly use. Most residence leave their doors unlocked, keys in ignition all night, cars running in the grocery store parking lots.... heck, who are we kidding, we leave our kids in the cars while we run into the gas station. Sound like every other tiny town in the northern states? Well, let me add an eclectic population of locals, transplants, tourists, cabin owners and young adults coming to attend the community college. Still sound like every other small town?
Well, here is the difference... The "transplants"; the people who have come here once to visit and never want to leave. People who have sometimes left behind very prominent jobs in the fast paced cities, to find a simpler, quieter life. They spending years sometimes, making that move to Ely happen for them. College kids that attend a few years of school here and years later, return, with the hopes that someday they can make it permanent. Locals that have lived here for generations and can't imagine living anywhere else. For the most part, Ely is made up of people who WANT TO BE HERE. Which, in this day and age, isn't that common. Ely gets into your blood, mixes in, and somehow changes you.
Driving up here, surrounded by trees so lush and leaves so green that their tops appear as gently rolling fields of green. Air and water that so far remains, untouched, by big business. And shops, where 9/10 you can talk to the owner when you walk through the doors; there is a good chance they are the ones serving you. People, like us at the Pebble Spa, who choose to seek out a diverse range of services and merchandise to appeal so specifically to the year round Ely market. We spend endless hours searching for anything that will "work here", spending so much time getting to know who YOU are and what YOU want. Ely is real. I mean, the people are straight up and honest, helpful and really do, honestly, like you!!
The world is so big and busy. We are lucky if we live only an hour away from most of our family. Lucky if the busyness of life allows for dinner around the kitchen table with our kids. There are advantages to every different type of lifestyle, and depending on what you find value/importance in, will depend on where you find yourself living/vacationing. So, no matter where that is for you... take a little bit of Ely with you. Stop, smell the lilacs in full bloom, smile at the stranger passing you. Remember that here in lil' ol Ely, MN we have chosen to offer you a chance to breathe, to slow down. To offer a world that remembers that all of the little things count, that sometimes they are they are the only things that will bring you back to center.