"When I was a kid looking through the magazines I always thought the girl with the tight party dress looked a little trampy, but I thought the Ralph Lauren girl with the horses and the dogs, I thought she looked very cool. So I always talked about living in the country my whole life. I was going to have a horse farm in Virginia and thousand acres in Montana, but I always lived in the cities.
"We developed a tradition as adults of taking father-daughter trips together. One year we were on the phone and we were discussing our upcoming trip, and I said to my dad I want to do what I’ve been talking about my whole life. I want to buy some land. It’s time to leave the city. For the money I can earn here it’s not worth it. I’m getting older, and I want to find something. He said to me, and these are his exact words, we should go back to that place where you turned to me in the car and said, ‘What kind of lucky people get to live in a place like this?’ I said, ‘Are you talking about that part of southern Utah we visited about five years ago?’ He said, ‘Yea, we should go back there because you really liked it there.’
"We came back here on that trip that year, we were along Scenic Byway 12, and we pulled into Escalente at 2 in the afternoon and by six oclock I’d signed papers to buy an 80-acre ranch. You know, when you’re ready you’re ready.
"Geologically and geographically (this area is) very unique. I’ve rarely found a place, if ever, where within 15 minutes by vehicle you can be in red rock desert with beautiful geologic formations and 15 minutes in the other direction you can be on top of the longest continuously forested plateau in North America, the Aquarius Plateau, that is very much like Wyoming or Montana. It’s riddled with freshwater lakes and streams, has world-class fly fishing, Ponderosa pine, beautiful stands of aspen, cattail, beaver, bear. That’s very unique. Plus, there’s very few people here. The county I came from has just over 1.5 million. This whole state has about 2 million."
-Marcie Hoffman, Escalante, Utah
Hoffman owns Escalante Mercantile and Organic Grocery on the main drag in Escalante. It opened in 2011 after a year and a half of renovations. "I moved out here and thought I was going to retire," Hoffman said. "I forgot that I brought myself with me."