Published in The Battle Creek Enquirer
Many people, when they think about Ann Arbor, remember a visit to the internationally known art fair in July or a football game at “The Big House.” Both are great reasons to visit Michigan’s sixth-largest city, but those experiences just scratch the surface of what Ann Arbor has to offer.
For several years, our family’s annual trip to Ann Arbor started with a brunch at Zingerman’s Road House. Right off Interstate 94, the Road House features “really good American fare.” My husband loves the fried chicken and barbecued beef; I love their mac and cheese and their black bean burger.
After stuffing ourselves, we usually visit the Treasure Mart, a terrific consignment store found downtown on Detroit Street near the original Zingerman’s Deli (another great stop). During my last visit, I bought a wrought iron table and chairs for our deck for a pittance and an antique dresser for less than $100.
Consigned items in the store get an automatic 10 percent discount every month, so you can find some great deals.
If we are lucky and the season is right, we also squeeze in a stop at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, where we can take home locally grown produce, plants, jams, home decorations, furniture, pottery and candles — all of which are on display in the open-air market.
The first week of April offers other unique reasons to visit Ann Arbor. That’s the weekend when foolishness is on parade in the city. The April 1 FoolMoon Friday, a 10-year tradition, is a street party from dusk until midnight, when hundreds of people make luminaries of all kinds and march into downtown with all of the other “fools.” On Sunday, April 3, the FestiFools takes place from 4 to 5 p.m. and strange giant puppets loom over downtown on Main Street. Sounds like fun, right?
To make my point that Ann Arbor offers something for everyone, serious art lovers can visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art, where 150 years of collections are a gem. The university also offers a Museum of Natural History for those more interested in the natural world.
Having a world class university in your town also means that top notch performers come through town frequently.
Another benefit of a college town is the wide array of interesting restaurants at all price ranges.
At my favorite spot, the Original Cottage Inn, pizza is plentiful. According to the proprietors, the Cottage Inn was the first restaurant in Ann Arbor to serve pizza. Lots of folks also like Pizza House, because it is a cool place to hang out to watch the game, and it’s also perfect for big parties.
If you’ve developed a thirst during your visit, beer of all flavors can be found in Ann Arbor, including craft beer at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and the Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub.
No Thai!, on South University Street, is still a great choice for a casual meal, and West Main Street offers dining alfresco (once the weather cooperates) at restaurants like Café Felix.
Or try Gratzi, a wonderful Italian restaurant, which has been part of the dining scene for almost 30 years.
If it is a weekend trip you are planning, I can recommend the Stone Chalet, a charming 10-room bed and breakfast with delicious hot breakfasts. Filled with antiques, it’s not stuffy or chintz-filled. Choose a room with a fireplace, while the temperatures are still a little chilly.
My other favorite, The Campus Inn, will be re-opening this spring under a new brand, Graduate Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor offers something for every taste and every budget, and it is just a short drive away.