Katie Wilson’s life up North includes a job she loves and an atmosphere she lives for


katie wilson

Katie soaks in the sunshine as she poses by Torch Lake near her cottage.

Unlike some students that enjoy the convenience of having a job close by, senior Katie Wilson’s work commute is notably different.

Located in the quaint, small town of Bellaire, Michigan, about two hours and forty-five minutes away from here in Grand Rapids, Katie’s family owns a cottage, which also happens to be the location of her work.

Though she doesn’t make the long commute simply to work at her job—and never in the middle of a school week—she does work on weekends when it is convenient for her family to go up to their cottage. Most of the time she works throughout the summer when she spends a great deal of her time up North.

Katie works at a boutique called “Uniquely North” where she assists customers at checkout, helps with displays of items, and makes sure the store is always organized and visually appealing to customers. The store sells clothing, jewelry, and home decor—an aesthetic that is quite fitting for a cute little town.

“Right now, I like that I can walk to my job because it’s only about a three-minute walk away [from my cottage],” Katie said. “It’s environmentally friendly [to walk instead of drive] and fun to be outside a little bit more in my day.”

Working somewhere far away from her main home allows Katie the opportunity to explore more freely and interact with people that she doesn’t see every day.

“I’ve had a newfound appreciation for the whole area while having a job there,” Katie said. “Getting to be involved more with the community and everything going on has opened my eyes to more things which I think has been super beneficial.”

Another benefit of working in a more enclosed environment rather than one that always has action happening includes getting the chance to have a close relationship with coworkers.

Since Katie is eager to immerse herself in the Spanish-speaking culture in her future, even little details that make work more enjoyable contribute to her love of working in her cottage town.

“One of my bosses was a Spanish teacher so he speaks Spanish with me on occasion, which I think is good for me to practice that,” Katie said. “And also, since it’s a small store, you get to know people you work with more, and it’s not super stressful; it’s more fun and you get to do a lot more and be more involved than you would in a different [work] setting.”

I’ve made a lot of memories there, so I think it’s just symbolic of summer and a happy escape.

— Katie Wilson

Taking advantage of the cute shops and picturesque town is also on Katie’s list of to-do’s when she takes a trip up to her cottage; she often gets a closer look at items at her own store too, which oftentimes ends up with her having her eye on something.

“I definitely buy things from the store,” Katie said. “Sometimes it’s a slow day, and I’ll clean things around the store, and I’ll shop at the same time. I do have a fifty percent discount, so I buy a lot of jewelry or purses designed in Spain and fun things like that.”

However, work is not the only way Katie likes to spend her time at her cottage. She also loves to utilize all the time she can get outdoors, and sometimes that means going on adventures.

“I like to go to the orchards and go to the different lakes,” Katie said. “[I like to] kayak, paddleboard, and I like to explore a lot of things downtown because it’s super pretty. You can just be driving somewhere with no destination and end up somewhere super pretty. I got my senior pictures in a lavender field up there.”

Above all, Katie’s cottage atmosphere includes time to recuperate and relax, infinite places to explore, and a job that makes her love the town of Bellaire even more—everything she could ever want in a place that is almost more of a home than her permanent one.

“I’ve made a lot of memories there,” Katie said, “so I think it’s just symbolic of summer and a happy escape.”