Follow My Lead: Move to Traverse City, Michigan

October 24, 2023
Paddleboarding on Grand Traverse Bay

By Kathleen Grant for  |


Known for its thriving wine industry, acclaimed restaurants, vibrant economy, stunning natural landscapes and welcoming community, Traverse City, Michigan, stands out as an exceptional place to call home. Not only does the region retain those who grew up here, but it also sparks a “what if” curiosity in visitors and business owners. This interest often leads to people relocating to the city. Meet two individuals who moved to Traverse City and are now thriving.


Chad Lindsey, 48

Chad LindseyTitle: Executive director of City Opera House, one of 48 opera houses built in Michigan in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Relocation: Moved from New York City, where he was operating an art space in Brooklyn, to Traverse City in July 2023.


Cameron Stefanski, 30


Kay Anna Photography

Title: Founder of 989 Creative Group, a full-service social media marketing and brand strategy agency.
Relocation: Moved from Gaylord, Michigan, to Traverse City in March 2023.



What brought you to Traverse City?

Chad: I’ve always wanted to return to Michigan. I’m from Saginaw, Michigan, originally, and I was very excited when a challenging position in my field opened in beautiful Traverse City.

Cameron: I moved to Gaylord, Michigan, with my family in high school and traveled up north from downstate throughout various parts of my early childhood. I love the peace and slower-paced lifestyle that northern Michigan offers.

How have you gotten involved in the community?

Chad: Well, it’s only been a few weeks, but already I’ve been invited to experience the amazing food scene here with kind and committed people from local businesses. I got a pretty great mountain bike and have been taking advantage of the stunning network of trails in the area . . . and, of course, the lake. There’s so much to enjoy here.

Cameron: I am still meeting new people. With that being said, I volunteer and attend community events with Up North Pride, Michigan’s Creative Coast [and] Evergreen. I also performed in Old Town Playhouse’s most recent musical production, “Something Rotten.” I am looking forward to auditioning to volunteer to perform in upcoming shows there this season. I started meeting folks when I got to town by performing and volunteering and spending time with friends who live here. [I also attended] Commonplace Coworking and Northwestern Michigan College’s Office of Possibilities meetings, events through Traverse Connect and Michigan’s Creative Coast’s Fresh Coast Quarterly Club, and community events.

Why is Traverse City a great place to live?

Chad: Traverse City is a city on the rise. With all the challenges and opportunities of a small American city, Traverse City is blessed with a stunning natural location and a growing population of caring and committed people dedicated to finding the best of what’s next.

Cameron: Traverse City has that charm and liveliness like a city does, but you can be out in nature away from the hustle and bustle in just a matter of minutes. [My] favorite spot to dine – so hard to choose! I love The Filling Station, Poppycocks and The Little Fleet the most. I adore the pizza selection at The Filling Station – the Burlington Northern flatbread pizza there is awesome. At The Filling Station, they will let you split a pizza in half [and have] two flavors. It is a great way to try two different flavors or split with a friend or partner. I also thoroughly enjoy Rough Pony and Hexenbelle at Warehouse MRKT for a quick coffee, tea or snack.

How has the Traverse City community supported you?

Chad: I’ve been able to lean on professionals from across the city already to answer questions and find solutions. Everyone has been welcoming and supportive.

Cameron: The community has a lot of different networking organizations and opportunities. It is also a great community to find work-life harmony if you work remotely like I do. I am looking forward to continuing to grow my marketing agency here in Traverse City and beyond.

In what ways does Traverse City cater to your lifestyle?

Chad: I’m a big outdoors person and, fundamentally, an art person. Traverse City has mountain biking, the lake, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, and, of course, swimming in the lake. It’s a wilderness paradise. I swim in the lake every day. [Traverse City allows me to] exercise my love for the performing arts but also be out in the wild and do things in nature.

Cameron: The LGBTQIA+ community in Traverse City is full of a spectrum of demographics, community events and much more. Up North Pride has an awesome directory of community safe spaces that include businesses and organizations that are safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ folks in the greater Grand Traverse area.

Why has moving to Traverse City been great for your career?

Chad: After 20+ years living and working in our nation’s largest cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City – it’s great to have a place to refine my skills and apply my experience for the betterment of an enthusiastic and discerning community. All that with the natural beauty and unique energy of Traverse City.

Cameron: Moving here has allowed me to expand my network, build new-client relationships with businesses here in Traverse City, and create new partnerships and creative collaborations.

Why would you recommend others move to Traverse City?

Chad: I think it is the balance of indoor and outdoor places to explore [that makes this place great]. As for the indoor experiences, we have the arts, culture, restaurants, fantastic culinary and music experiences, and we can balance that with the natural world.

Cameron: I love the outdoors and that sweet escape of being in the city and countryside in five minutes. Traverse City offers a small-town atmosphere that is engulfed in arts and culture. I’m a big foodie… [and] Traverse City has a lot of new food experiences. I’m born and raised in Michigan, and Traverse City offers all that Michigan is in every season. And Traverse City is extremely welcoming to all walks of life and ages. There’s something for everyone, so that is something that called me in for sure.

This article was sponsored by Traverse Connect.