Before I moved to the mountains of Colorado, I was living in North Philly – Kensington, to be exact.
When I decided to move to Colorado in 2017, I was searching for a new beginning in my life. I was depressed and highly anxious when I left Philly and decided to move to Colorado for a couple of reasons.
First, I was enrolling in a coding Boot Camp at DU, and second, I wanted to be near family who had all moved out west over the previous few years.
Moving to Colorado has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I fully enjoy life out here; the weather is much better than the humid east coast. And my style of life is more balanced than it was before. However, that doesn’t mean mountain living comes without challenges. Quite the opposite, in fact!
In this post, I’ll share with you what my experience has been living in the Colorado mountains.
A cabin in the woods requires much more maintenance than my rowhome in Philly. There’s a lot more property and a lot more chores to be done. When I first bought the house, I had an idea of what I was signing up for, but I didn’t realize it would essentially be like a part-time job taking care of everything myself.
The summertime is all about preparing for winter, and winter is all about snow removal and keeping the house warm. There’s always something to do!
Keeping the cabin warm in the winter is a full-time job. I do have electric baseboards throughout the house, but electricity is expensive up here, so I bring my house up to a comfortable temperature by burning a wood stove fire all winter.
Then there’s snow removal! Keeping the snow blower up and running all winter can be a challenge, especially when temperatures get below freezing. And since my driveway is pretty steep, it’s a full-on workout to remove snow. But hey, saves costs on going to the gym!
Less Convenience = More Planning & Cooking
There is no food delivery service, and the closest grocery store is 25 minutes away – and that’s if I want to shop at the mountain grocery store with higher prices. More often than not, I head down the other side of the mountain into the plains to go to regular grocery stores there.
This also means that I’ve gotten quite good at cooking and baking! When I lived in Denver, it was easy to order take-out, and my budget and waistline showed it! But ever since moving to a place where there are no food delivery services, I’ve had to learn how to cook well so I could eat well. Check out that tofu bahn mi I made!
Being at least 35 minutes away from everything means I have to plan out my trips more. I can’t just dash to a corner store and pick up a missing ingredient or get a snack; I have to think out what I want to eat that week, what I’m running low on, and add it all to the list to stock up while I’m in town.
This has actually helped me stick to the list and think through things more thoughtfully so I can make the most of my runs to town. While it’s less convenient, I spend less time “quickly” running to the store to pick up something I forgot. On the other hand, if I DID forget something …. well, I either have to make the drive or go without until next time.
More Peace and Quiet
Being up in the mountains lends itself to beautiful sunsets and quiet nights. There are fewer people around, which means less noise pollution and busybodies. It’s much less stressful if my dogs are out barking because I know they won’t be bothering a neighbor. However, it can get lonely at times. Especially since I work from home and do my grad school from home. I’m home alone 95% of the time.
Internet and Working From Home
When I first moved into my cabin, satellite internet was the only provider in my area. After a year and a half, fiber internet became available in my area thanks to an awesome locally owned company. That was a total game-changer! It’s made streaming TV and working from home so much faster and easier.
What has been the hardest transition to “West” living?
The transition from city life to rural life was an interesting one, to say the least. I moved from North Philly to the Denver suburbs, where I lived for 7 months before purchasing my cabin. Having that small stepping stone in between North Philly and cabin life definitely made the transition easier. The biggest thing I’ve had to get used to was moving to a place where there aren’t as many people. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just had to get used to a slower pace of life which ultimately is what I was looking for.
Were you always a winter person? Was that hard to adjust to?
Yes! I’ve always been a winter person. Weird, I know, but winter has always been my favorite season. Snow is just pure magic to me. I love it and it warms my soul.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
Hands down the views. The views of the mountains from my log cabin are exquisite. When I first walked into my house to tour it, once I saw those views, I immediately knew this was the house for me.
Are you on the grid or do you generate your own power?
Thankfully, I’m on the grid! I don’t have a desire to do off-grid living. Now THAT sounds like a lot of work haha.
What goes into your snow prep?
Two main things: getting enough wood for the winter and making sure the snow blower machine is working. If those two things are lined up, we’re good to go!
Living in the mountains has taught me a lot and has been challenging and rewarding in so many ways. At times it’s been really difficult, and sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a house that is easier to maintain. However, I’m super grateful for my time here in the cabin, and it’s been a blessing in so many ways as well.
Would you live in a log cabin in the woods?
I don’t think I would like this cabin life at all. Not the solicitude nor the weather. We have been at the beach since March. I love walking 3-4 times a day. We have maintenance crews to do yard work. I am now 60 and need less hard work.
I hear ya! Sounds like you love where you live too : )