A few years ago Matt and I discovered Detroit on a somewhat aimless weekend trip. Although curiosity about the city’s ruins and reputation inspired the initial visit, over two years of repeated trips, we began to understand that Detroit is much more than these two things. The people impressed us at every turn with their hospitality, warmth, creativity, and perseverance, while the place inspired us with its open spaces and opportunity for reclamation and restoration, not to mention the low cost of beautiful historic homes.
Realizing that my years of living a professional, office-bound existence had been stable but deeply unfulfilling, that we had exhausted our options in our then-home of Pittsburgh, and that there seemed to be something that kept drawing us back here, we made the decision to relocate on a particularly beautiful evening in July around a bonfire with friends in Southwest Detroit. Two weeks later, we arrived with all of our worldly goods in a truck as new Detroit residents.
Shortly after moving, we were fortunate enough to find and purchase The Detroit Homestead. Rough at first, we saw the potential in this unassuming brick duplex. Six weeks of frantic cleaning, repairing, and renovating later, we welcomed our first guests and entered into our new life as self employed innkeepers.
Since opening in November of 2012, we have had the privilege of hosting guests from around the world, sharing stories and experiences, learning more about what brings people here and their own perspectives on Detroit. We are honored to be ambassadors for the city that has captured our hearts and to help visitors explore and appreciate it for the unparalleled positives that are too often overlooked – the vibrant art and music communities, the wonderful food, the explosion of urban gardening, and the overwhelming kindness of the locals.
We are constantly at work making improvements to The Homestead and the land surrounding it, envisioning it as an integrated and self-sustaining community garden/farm, inn, bike shop, and a hub for visitors and residents alike in our neighborhood. Rentals from Airbnb go directly towards that goal. In the coming seasons and years, we look forward to continue development of our approximately 1/4-acre community farm in the adjacent lots, eventually expanding to include bees, rabbits, goats and chickens; converting to a wood-burning stove for heating and otherwise upgrading to more energy-efficient systems; and partnering with other individuals and groups also at work re-imagining Detroit’s future.
Living and creating a small business here has challenged us, inspired us, and gone beyond our expectations. Detroit is changing inevitably, and we feel lucky to be a part of the process, to help renew our block with the help of our community and support of visitors. We look forward to showing you why we love it here!
Alyssa & Matt
Frontier Industry, LLC / The Detroit Homestead