Things To Do In Chelsea, MI – A Walking Tour Part Two

In my previous post, I discussed taking a walking tour as one of the things to do in Chelsea, MI. Since there are so many notable buildings to encounter during your Chelsea walking tour, I decided to make this into a two post series. The first post, which is my most recent one, covered the first half of the buildings. Today in this post, I will go over the second half of the buildings for the walking tour.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Heydlauff’s Appliance

Located across Main Street to the southwest of the Mack Building is the Heydlauff’s Appliance building. Back in the old days, the building housed office space for the Glazier Stove Co. This company was responsible for the production of oil stoves in the iconic Clock Tower.

The building that once stood there, was destroyed in 1970. But a new building was erected soon afterwards and has been housing Heydlauff’s Appliance Store ever since.

Chelsea Print and Graphics

This building is located on the southwestern corner of the intersection of Main and Middle Streets. It was built in 1906 or 1907 and once housed the Kempf Commercial Savings Bank. It also once housed a post office, a library, a shop called Groves 5 Cents & 10 Cents, and a Secretary of State office.

The building is notable for its modern white pressed roman brick veneer. It currently houses Chelsea Print and Graphics which is a printing, copying, and retail office supply store.

The Common Grill

Walk on the sidewalk south from Chelsea Print and Graphics and you will arrive at the building that now houses a restaurant called The Common Grill. It was built in 1893 and housed the W. P. Schenk Department Store which was the largest department store in the area at the time. Today, the building is notable for its original 1896 advertisement for Jaxon Soap that is posted on the south wall.

14th District Courthouse

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

Walk a bit further south to the intersection of Main and Park Streets and savor the beauty of the building that now houses the 14th District Courthouse. It was built in 1901 or 1902 to house the Chelsea Savings Bank. Frank Glazier built the building in honor of his father, George, who was Chelsea’s first banker. The building is notable for its Bedford limestone and granite exterior.

Also take note of two solid sandstone columns and terracotta tile roof. A carved stone memorial wreath is also found above the building’s entrance.

Old Chelsea Post Office

Located right across Park Street from the courthouse is the Old Chelsea Post Office. It was built in 1936 or 1937 to house Chelsea’s post office. This was a Depression era federal work project. The post office remained in the building until 2009 when it relocated south of town.

The building is notable for its three stone panels representing a train, a plane, and a ship. These were the three major modes of transportation that was used by the Postal Service at that time.

Chelsea District Library

The Chelsea District Library is across Main Street to the southeast from the old post office. It was built in 1860 as the stately residence for Chelsea’s founder, Elisha Congdon. He lived there until 1867. After Elisha’s death, the building was bought and converted into a hotel and boarding house.

It eventually became the library in 1958. The building underwent a major renovation in 2006. It house pictures of Chelsea’s past on the staircase walls.

Smokehouse 52 BBQ

Smokehouse 52 BBQ is located right across Main Street from the courthouse. The building that houses the bbq restaurant was built in 1889 or 1890. It used to house grocery stores including Schneider’s Grocery. It eventually became home to the bbq restaurant sometime after 2010.

Vogel’s & Foster’s

Walk on the sidewalk north from the bbq restaurant and you will reach a building that currently houses a clothing store called Vogel’s & Foster’s. It was built in 1876 or 1877. When it was first built, it housed Holmes Mercantile which was one of the oldest department stores in the area. The building then housed two separate clothing stores right next to each other.

One of them sold men’s clothings while the other one sold women’s clothings. They eventually combined to become the one clothing store that it is today. Much of the historic character is preserved including the vintage doors and the vintage 1911 water fountain.

Bill Ballagh Building

Just one building to the north of Vogel’s & Foster’s is the Bill Ballagh Building. It is renowned for its exterior features. These include cast iron columns and moldings at the front entrance and curved metal cornices at the roofline. The building was constructed in 1882 and has housed countless merchants over the past century.

These include a millinery, a jewelry store, an eye glass shop, a shoe store, a barber shop, an insurance company, and an accountant. The building’s window contain ever-changing displays of current events in town.

Municipal Building

Located right next door is the Municipal Building. It was built in 1910 or 1911 and for many years, was home to a general/hardware store called Holmes & Walker’s. The building also housed a number of town agencies including the fire and police departments.

The building went through extensive restoration in 2014 including a major recreation of the historic storefront. Today, it houses Moran’s Consigments and Breathe Yoga on the street level.

Chelsea House Victorian Inn

Take a walk to the east along Middle Street and you will arrive at the Chelsea House Victorian Inn. It was built in 1886 or 1887 and is most well known for being the home of US Congressman James Gorman who lived there for thirty years starting in the 1890’s. Today, it is a bed and breakfast inn called the Chelsea House Victorian Inn.

First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church is located across Middle Street from the bed and breakfast inn. It was built in 1894 and replaced the wooden structure that was destroyed by a fire. The church is noted for its breathtaking stained glass windows. There are 29 of them in total.

That sums up all of the buildings that you will see on your walking tour of this charming small town. So, if you are looking for things to do in Chelsea, MI, I would suggest that you do the walking tour to try and get the most out of your time there. You can go here to view a map with all the buildings dotted on it. Your walking tour will be within the downtown area.

The Hotel

Should you need a place to stay overnight at in Chelsea, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is only a short distance south of downtown just off Interstate 94. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast. For the hungry, nearby dining options include Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar. The hotel contains an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any of these buildings in Chelsea? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Chelsea, MI – A Walking Tour Part One

Chelsea is just a twenty minutes drive west of the vibrant college town of Ann Arbor which is renowned for being the home to the University of Michigan. If you have visited the area, chances are that you have been to at least one of the two scenic open spaces which are collectively located to the west and north of Chelsea.

As for the town itself, it is a charming small town that is rich in history. There are many buildings that are of significant importance to Chelsea. So, one of the best things to do in Chelsea, MI is to take a walking tour. The walking tour is self-guided, but you can make use of a map to help you find your way during the tour.

You can view the map by heading here. Just know that you will largely be spending time in the downtown area. So, it should be easy to navigate during the tour. I will walk you through the buildings you will encounter on this tour. But, because there are so many buildings to cover as a part of this tour, I figured that I would divide this into two posts. So, consider this to be the first of two posts focused on the Chelsea walking tour.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Chelsea Historical Museum

Your first stop on the walking tour is the Chelsea Historical Museum. It is located on Jackson Street on the south side of the railroad track. This is one of the oldest house built in Chelsea. It was built in 1853 by Mial M. Boyd who was a wagon maker. He owned a wagon shop on North Street. This building now houses a small museum that explores the rich history of Chelsea.

Chelsea Train Depot

The Chelsea Train Depot is located across Jackson Street from the Chelsea Historical Museum. It was built in 1880 by Michigan Central Railroad which owned the railroad track that passes through town. It was noted for its triple-gabled windows on both ends of the building which allowed for views of incoming trains.

Once upon a time, the train depot was used to transport wool via train from Chelsea to all over the country. That helped the town to become one of the largest distributors of wool in the United States. The train depot continued to be in use until the early 1980’s. Today, the building houses a community center.

Chelsea Farmers Supply

Chelsea Farmers Supply is located next door to the west from the Chelsea Historical Museum. It was built in 1853. That makes this one of the oldest commercial buildings in Chelsea. It once housed a hotel called Chelsea House Hotel. It is now a feed store which has been operating since 1926 under various owners.

Mack Building

Continuing west to the intersection of Jackson and Main Streets just before the railroad crossing, you will find a triangle-shaped building called the Mack Building. It was built in 1900 by entrepreneur, A. R. Welch. It once housed the Chelsea Manufacturing Company which was a factory where several Welch automobiles were made.

Clock Tower

(Photo courtesy of F. D. Richards via Flickr)

The Clock Tower is located just across the railroad track from the Mack Building. This is the most recognizable building in all of Chelsea because of the clock tower that looms over downtown Chelsea. It was built in 1907 and housed Glazier Stove Works. It was noted at the time for the production and shipment of what was considered the brightest and best oil stoves.

They were shipped all over the US and South America. The Clock Tower also housed a 30,000 gallon wooden water tank. The building now houses numerous offices and business. There is also a lovely courtyard behind the building where you can enjoy music, art, and celebrations.

Chelsea Milling Co.

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

Looking across Main Street from the Clock Tower, you will find the Chelsea Milling Co. It is recognizable by its towering silos and the JIFFY lettering. It is renowned for its JIFFY brand of baking mixes which are produced there and then shipped around the world. The JIFFY brand was first introduced in 1930 by Mabel Holmes with her biscuit mix. You can even take a tour of the company.

Welfare Building

Located to the southeast of the Clock Tower on the north side of the railroad track lies the Welfare Building. When the Clock Tower was a working factory for making oil stoves, they had workers who commuted from Detroit for work. So, they needed somewhere fun to be after work and that was where the Welfare Building came in. It once housed a swimming pool, a basketball court, a billiard room, a theater, and a reading room.

La Maison

La Maison is located at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Main and Middle Streets. It was built in either 1878 or 1880. It is noted for its French-inspired decor brimming with comfortable furnishings and fabrics. The building is currently home to a home decor shop.

Zou Zou’s Cafe

Located opposite Main Street from La Maison is Zou Zou’s Cafe. The building that now houses the French themed restaurant was once home to Chelsea’s first bank. It also housed a drug store near the front entrance. The building was built in 1870 and was known as the Glazier Bank Drug Store.

The Potting Shed

The Potting Shed is located just to the west of the Zou Zou’s Cafe building on West Middle Street. It was constructed in 1882 or 1883. It once housed the seat of Chelsea’s government. It also housed an opera theater. The building currently houses a gift shop simply called the Potting Shed.

Global Marketplace

The Global Marketplace is located across Middle Street to the southwest from The Potting Shed. It was built in 1915 and once housed a blacksmith called the Hirth Blacksmith Shop. It is currently home to a shop called the Global Marketplace which sells fair trade products from around the world.

The building is notable for its embedded iron rings which are hung on the walls. These were installed by blacksmith Simon Hirth back in the old days for securing the horses.

This about covers the first half of the buildings that you will encounter during the walking tour of Chelsea. I will cover the second half soon in my next post. So, I would suggest that you stay tuned for that if you are planning to do the walking tour as one of the things to do in Chelsea, MI.

The Hotel

Now, if you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at in Chelsea, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is located just a short distance south of downtown Chelsea near Interstate 94. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, you can find Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar all located near the hotel. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center available at the hotel for you to use.

All of the rooms and suites at the hotel come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on touring Chelsea? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Chelsea, MI For Outdoors Enthusiasts

Chelsea is a charming small town in of itself, but the outdoors also feature prominently in the area. The town is located around twenty minutes west of the vibrant college town of Ann Arbor via Interstate 94. Some of the town’s surrounding scenery is taken up by two state recreation areas – Waterloo and Pinckney. So, if you are looking to the outdoors for things to do in Chelsea, MI, you will want to visit these two scenic areas.

Waterloo State Recreation Area

(Photo courtesy of DawnBreaksOverMarblehead via Wikimedia)

Waterloo State Recreation Area is located to the west of Chelsea. This is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula of the US state of Michigan and the third largest in the state overall. The recreation area is home to 20,000 acres of forest, lakes, and wetlands. It is notable for its premiere mountain biking trails. The most well known of the trails for mountain biking is the DTE Energy Foundation Trail.

The overall length of this trail is ten miles. This single track trail is known as a “flow trail” because it is mechanically cut in order to create highly structured grades and outslopes. Technical, downhill, and climbing features go into the trail’s design. The trail is intended to suit mountain bikers of varying experience levels. There are four loops on this trail.

They are the Green Lake Loop with a length of 5.2 miles, Big Kame Loop with a length of 4.75 miles, Winn Loop with a length of 8 miles, and Sugar Loop with a length of 4 miles. The Sugar Loop is the newest and most technical segment of the trail. There are two trailheads from where to start your mountain biking journey on the trail. The first one is located on North M-52 and the second one is located on Cassidy Road.

(Photo courtesy of DawnBreaksOverMarblehead via Wikimedia)

Fishing is another popular activity within the recreation area. There are a total of eleven lakes that are available for you to fish at. The most common types of fish that can be lured out are bass, panfish, and pike. Dedicated fishing piers are available on Big Portage Lake and Crooked Lake. Fishing can also be done via a boat. Certain lakes will have public boat launches for you to slip your boat onto the water if you have one.

If you don’t own a boat, you can rent one at Big Portage Lake. The recreation area also feature the Gerald E. Eddy Discover Center. This is basically a museum that consists of exhibits that showcase the geology and natural habitats of the recreation area – both in the present day and during the pre-settler days.

Pinckney State Recreation Area

(Photo courtesy of Robert via Flickr)

Pinckney State Recreation Area is located to the north of Chelsea. It is connected to Waterloo State Recreation Area by the 35-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. The terrain of this recreation area consists of open grasslands, hilly oak forests, and lowlands with shrub swamps. Lakes are also a common sight within the recreation area. In fact, there are over twenty lakes located there.

The recreation area is noted for its extensive system of trails. In total, there are over forty miles of multi-use trails available for you to use within the recreation area. They include Pinckney-Crooked Lake Trail, Pinckney-Equestrian Trails, Pinckney-Losee Lake Trail, Pinckney-Potawatomi Trail, and Pinckney-Silver Lake Trail. These trails are in addition to the Pinckney-Waterloo Trail that I mentioned earlier.

As is the case with the first recreation area, fishing is popular within this recreation area. Those of you who are looking for piers to fish from can find them on Silver Lake and Crooked Lake. Silver Lake also has shore fishing if you prefer it that way. There are two public beaches available at Silver Lake and Halfmoon Lake if you want to go swimming, but don’t have a boat to jump off of.

For those of you who do have boats, improved boat launches are plentiful. They are found at Bruin Lake, Halfmoon Lake, South Lake, North Lake, Joslin Lake, and Portage Lake. It is worth noting that if you go boating via a boat launch via either Bruin Lake or Halfmoon Lake, you will be able to access a chain of seven lakes. Also, if you want to go boating, but don’t own a boat, you can rent one at Silver Lake.

If you want to have lunch and enjoy the scenery. There are picnic areas available at Silver Lake and Halfmoon Lake. There are also volley courts, horseshoe pits, and playgrounds available at both of these lakes for you to play in. For those of you who need to change clothes and/or want to take a shower while you are in the recreation area, there is a beach house available at Silver Lake.

So, outdoors enthusiasts will want to take in the scenery in these two state recreation areas for things to do in Chelsea, MI. Also, if you are still hungry for more to do once you have already hit the outdoors, I would suggest that you travel east to nearby Ann Arbor for some downtown fun.

Also, the sweeping University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is home to some world-class museums. So, they are well worth checking out too.

The Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight during your time in the area, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is located on Commerce Park Drive just north of its interchange with Interstate 94 in Chelsea. This will put you within easy distance to the two state recreation areas as well as Ann Arbor. The hotel offers free breakfast. Should you get hungry, nearby dining options include Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to go on an outdoors adventure in these two state recreation areas? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions – Downtown Fun

In my previous two posts, I talked about the world class Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions that the University of Michigan has to offer. That includes the museums and natural areas. Thanks in a big part to the university’s huge presence, the city has a vibrant downtown that is filled with fun activities. Whether you decide to check out art galleries, attend a live music performance, play games like ping pong, or treat yourself to one of the many tasty sweets, you are bound to find something fun downtown.

(Photo courtesy of Chriswaco via Wikimedia)

Art Galleries

Let’s start with the art galleries. There are at least two art galleries downtown for you to check out. The Ann Arbor Art Center is located on West Liberty Street just west of Main Street. This art gallery has been operating for over a century, having opened in 1909. That makes this art gallery one of the oldest and most respected community arts organizations in the US state of Michigan.

The art gallery is home to three rotating exhibition galleries that showcase artwork from local and regional artists. But, this isn’t all that the art gallery has to offer. There are fun hands-on classes available in its art education studios designed to help you hone your artistic talent in areas such as painting, drawing, and printmaking. Oh and also, there is a gallery shop where you can buy original artwork.

The WSG Gallery is located inside the same building as the first art gallery I just mentioned. This art gallery also focuses on artwork created by artists from the local area. There are different types of paintings showcased at the art gallery such as watercolor and landscape. There are also different kinds of sculptures housed inside the art gallery.

These include ceramic, assemblage, cast bronze, and art installation. In addition to the paintings and sculptures, other types of artwork showcased include paper arts, book arts, fiber, jewelry, art glass, drawings, photographs, and printmaking. WSG Gallery has been voted the best fine arts gallery in Ann Arbor in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2016. So, you won’t want to miss it.

Live Music Performances

(Photo courtesy of rosefirerising via Flickr)

Live music performances are a common sight to behold in downtown Ann Arbor. Here are a few places where you can go and see them. First up is Blue LLama Jazz Club. It is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. The establishment has a blue-colored atmosphere overall. The live music performances there are focused on the jazz music genre.

This establishment offers some kind of combo where you can dine on a meal while watching a jazz performance. The performances are scheduled on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights every week with earlier schedules for brunch available on Saturdays and Sundays. Another place that feature live music performances is The Ark.

It is located next door from Blue LLama Jazz Club. This is a music club that has seating for up to four hundred people. The performances there cover the folk and roots music genres. They happen over three hundred nights per year.

Downtown Fun Games

(Photo courtesy of unknown via LocalWiki)

Ann Arbor’s downtown is a great place for you to play a variety of fun games. If you are into ping pong, you will want to head to The Pretzel Bell. It is located at the intersection of Main and Liberty Street. The restaurant and bar has a University of Michigan vibe to it with decades of memorabilia of its sport teams filling the walls and cases. The ping pong tables are located in the basement of the restaurant and bar.

If you are into board games, the best place to go downtown for that is Blom Meadworks. It is located on South 4th Avenue just south of Huron Street. It houses a taproom with lots of board games for you to participate in, such as a quick party game and a strategy game that lasts for multiple hours. The establishment is renowned for its meads and ciders. So, you will want to try one out as you play.

For those of you seeking out a place downtown to play trivia, there are two places for you to do so. The first one is Conor O’Neill’s which is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. It is an Irish pub designed with imported wood and stone. Haymaker Public House is the other place for playing trivia. It is located at the intersection of Washington Street and 4th Avenue.

It is well known for being the best sports bar in Ann Arbor. They have live trivia shows for you to participate in.

Sweets of Downtown

Ready for some delicious sweets? Good, let’s get to a few great spots downtown for your tasting buds. Are you clamoring for ice cream? I have got someplace downtown for you to check out. It is called Blank Slate Creamery. It is located at the intersection of Liberty and 1st Streets. The ice cream can be order in many different forms such as cones, cups, shakes, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream cakes.

There are many flavors of ice cream at the creamery to choose from. Some example include salty caramel, cookies & cream, banana pudding, chocolate fudge brownie, garden mint chip, Madagascar vanilla, browned butter cookie dough, and roasted butter pecan. Another place for desserts is Le Bon Macaron which is located on South 4th Avenue between Washington and Liberty Streets.

It is a French themed bakery that is noted for its macarons. When you see them, they look like colorful burgers filled with buttercream. There are many flavors of macarons to choose from at the bakery. Some of them include strawberry swirl, cherry vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate, chocolate banana, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry, and honey lavender.

All in all, there is a lot of fun to be had in downtown Ann Arbor. So, be sure to add downtown to your Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions checklist.

Ann Arbor Hotel

Should you need a place to stay at in Ann Arbor, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94. It is only a short drive north to downtown via State Street. If you are hungry, the hotel houses a restaurant called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for your workouts.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning anything fun to do downtown? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions To Soak In The Natural Beauty

Ann Arbor is a pretty college town that is famous for being the home to the sweeping University of Michigan campus which houses the city’s most well known museums. The city has been nicknamed “Tree Town” and for good reason. It is densely forested in and around town. The Huron River snakes its way through portions of Ann Arbor and contributes to its beautiful scenery overall.

There are two Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions in particular where I think you will appreciate the city’s natural beauty the most. They are the Nichols Arboretum and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. They are both under the University of Michigan umbrella.

Nichols Arboretum

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

The Nichols Arboretum is located on Washington Heights on the eastern side of the university campus. This is a nice park that is home to a variety of gardens, flowers, and plants. The most notable of them is the peony garden. The peonies glow nicely in pinks, whites, reds, and yellows, especially when they are in bloom which happens around mid May through to mid June.

Owing to its complex glacial past, the arboretum is hilly in terrain. As a result of this, you will be treated to gorgeous views from certain vantages. There are a handful of area to note of when it comes to the arboretum. First up is Alex Dow Field. This is where you can blend yourself into a sea of prairies. The prairies are known to attract many types of birds and insects. So, you may want to look out for them.

The second area is called the Main Valley. This area is considered to be the heart of the arboretum. On the sloped lawns in this area, you can have picnics, lay out in the sun, form and engage in lawn games, among other things. Also, in one section of the area, you will get to watch a live performance called Shakespeare in the Arb.

This area is surrounded by beautiful woodlands of native oaks, walnuts, and pines as well as tree types from other countries including Turkey, Japan, and China. Magnolia Glen is the next area of the arboretum. It is notable for the hardy magnolias which are trees with impressive large leaves. Native and Chinese tulip trees are also found in this area.

(Photo courtesy of K2D2vaca via Flickr)

The Oak Openings area is a beautiful wooded area within the arboretum. At least one trail travels through this area, making for a peaceful hike. Oak openings is the name given to the quasi-open woodlands and prairies that were commonly found in southern Michigan and other Midwestern states centuries ago. Today, they are rare with less than one percent of the original oak openings remaining.

The River Landing area is where you can get down and personal with the Huron River. This is a popular area for bird-watching. Also, you may spot people canoeing on the river through this picturesque area. This is another great spot for picnics. There is also a hiking trail that passes by the river. Schoolgirls Glen is an interesting area in the arboretum.

It is a narrow valley with remnants of an earlier glacial deposit found beneath. As you hike the steep trail through this area, you will notice the bottom showing its severe erosion resulting from street run-offs. In total, there are nearly 3.5 miles worth of hiking trails that wind their way throughout the arboretum. There are also benches along the way too, should you want to sit down and enjoy the scenery.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located on North Dixboro Road east of US Highway 23 in Ann Arbor. The beautifully designed botanical gardens is divided into eleven distinct gardens. The Bonsai and Penjing garden is known for its traditional Japanese and Chinese styles of trees. It also has a structure designed in the architectural style of these two countries.

The Great Lakes garden is, as the name indicates, focused on the habits and plants that are native to the Great Lakes region of the US which include the state of Michigan. Among the habitats showcased in this garden include dune, limestone plain, and prairie. This garden contains a series of accessible pathways, boardwalks, and overlooks.

The Gaffield Children’s garden is designed specifically with young children in mind. So, if you have any with you, be sure to visit this garden. It features a builder’s garden, a maze, a digging pit, and a mud garden. The Herb Knot garden is designed in the 16th century English Tudor garden style. It houses plants that are normally used in Asian, Native American, and European cooking and healing traditions.

The Gateway garden primarily focuses on ornamental plants originally native to North, Central, or South America. The Perennial garden is notable for its color-coordinated waves of bloom from plants that are appropriate for the local area. The Woodland Wildflower garden is home to more than one hundred native species of ferns, woody plants, and spring wildflowers from the southern Great Lakes region.

(Photo courtesy of Emily via Flickr)

The Medicinal garden contains plants that are used in medicines meant to treat human disease. The Rock garden is primarily concerned with plants that are designed to thrive on exposed crevices and cliff faces. Succulents, tight cushions, creeping mats, and silvery foliage are all used to support plants in this garden. The Urban Pocket garden is notable for using rocks to tie up the plants and trees.

The garden is also notable for its curved bench that behaves like a fence around the garden. The Sitting garden is basically what it sounds like. It is a garden with seating designed to allow you to relax and enjoy the scenery. In addition to all these gardens, the botanical gardens is home to a conservatory. It is designed to house plants that wouldn’t be able to survive outdoor in the area.

It has three sections, each representing a different biome. They are tropical, temperate, and arid. A visitor’s center and gift shop called The Garden Store is also located onsite.

These are the two Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions I believe will help you get the most out of the area’s natural beauty. If you feel like you have not had enough of nature, you may want to head east to nearby Detroit and visit Belle Isle Park which is located in the middle of the scenic Detroit River.

Ann Arbor Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at in Ann Arbor, I have got you covered. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94 in the southern portion of Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan campus is only five minutes away from the hotel via State Street. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant and bar called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

If you are looking for somewhere to workout, there is a fitness center within the hotel. All of the hotel rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to fall in love with nature in Ann Arbor? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions – University of Michigan Museums

Ann Arbor is a vibrant small city located about 43 miles west of Detroit via M-14. This puts the city in close proximity to Michigan’s bustling metropolis. Ann Arbor is renowned for being the home to the sweeping University of Michigan campus which generally runs just to the east of the city’s downtown. However, you don’t need to be a college student to enjoy all that the city has to offer.

In fact, some of the best Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions are found on the university campus. I will go over four museums that you can find at the University of Michigan.

(Photo courtesy of JuwanGOAT via Wikimedia)

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

(Photo courtesy of WolfmanSF via Wikimedia)

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is located on North University Avenue. It is inside of the university’s Biological Sciences Building which it had recently relocated to from elsewhere on campus. This museum explores the natural world, our place in it, and the impact that we have on it. There are a total of seven permanent exhibits available at the museum.

The first exhibit, Evolution: Life Through Time, explore what life was like on Earth over a period of four billions years. You will be able to learn about how life on earth evolved and continued through five major extinctions. You can expect to see fossils of dinosaurs and other living things on display in this exhibit.

The Exploring Michigan exhibit is focused on the US state of Michigan and feature life-size dioramas that showcase the state’s varied habitats and wildlife. This exhibit also include hands-on activities designed especially for children. If you are curious about how your body works, you may want to check out the Under the Microscope exhibit.

There, you can step inside a giant replica of a cell and take a close look at the different types of cells inside your body and what they do for your body. There are also some fun interactive games in this exhibit for you to try out. The People and the Planet exhibit explores the relationship between ourselves and our planet.

You can learn interesting things in this exhibit like how early civilizations were shaped by the planet’s resources and how the growth of the human population impact the planet overall. The exhibit, On the Trail of the Mastodons, is centered on a group of extinct animals called mastodons. They are notable for their similar appearance to both mammoths and elephants.

You can look forward to viewing epic skeletons of mastodons in this exhibit. In fact, this is the only place in the world where you can view a male mastodon skeleton and a female mastodon skeleton on display right next to each other. If you are curious about how scientists measure different things such as the distance between galaxies and star clusters, the Measuring Time and Space exhibit is the place for you.

And lastly, as for Earth itself? You will want to head to the exhibit called Dynamic Planet to see how our planet evolved over the course of its existence. You can expect to see a collection of rocks, minerals, and crystals there too. Admission to the museum is free of charge to everyone. Also, there is an onsite restaurant called Darwin’s Cafe. Souvenir shoppers can stop by the onsite museum store.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Patterson via Flickr)

Another museum you can visit on the university campus is the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. It is located on South State Street inside Newberry Hall – a stately castle-like building on campus. This museum revolves around ancient and medieval civilizations. The museum’s solo permanent exhibit is located in the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing.

It is notable for holding many artifacts and artwork from the ancient and medieval eras in the Mediterranean and Near East regions of the world. You can look forward to checking out ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Coptic, Persian, and Islamic archaeological artifacts.

Some highlights include objects from the ancient cities of Karanis and Seleucia, a colorfully painted Egyptian mummy coffin, magical amulets from the ancient Near East, Greek pottery, Greek and Roman sculptures, Roman glass vessels, and an epic watercolored replica of the famous murals in an area of ancient Pompeii called the Villa of the Mysteries. The museum is free for everyone to visit and a gift shop is also located onsite.

University of Michigan Museum of Art

(Photo courtesy of AndrewHorne via Wikimedia)

The University of Michigan Museum of Art is located across South State Street from the previous museum. The museum is easily recognizable by the red sculpture that is erected on the lawn in front of the building. This sculpture is called Orion and was designed by famed sculptor Mark di Suvero. It stands at 53 feet tall and is an abstract form of art.

Inside the museum are around four floors worth of galleries for you to check out. The lower level is notable for its display of paper-based artwork and small sculptures. Works of Asian ceramics are also showcased on this floor of the museum. The first floor houses four galleries. The Richard and Rosann Noel gallery is focused on European art from the years 1100 through 1650.

There are paintings and works of decorative art found in this gallery. The Marvin and Mary Davidson gallery is centered on European and American art covering nearly two centuries from 1650 to 1830. One highlight of this gallery is the massive painting called Dead Soldier by English artist Joseph Wright of Derby. The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Apse gallery serves as the museum’s beautiful entranceway.

It focuses on a broad mix of American, European, African, and Asian art. The highlight of this gallery is a pair of sculptures called Nydia and Flora. The Irving Stenn Jr. Family gallery is dedicated to cutting-edge contemporary installation art. The second floor feature eight galleries which is the most of any floors at the museum. So, I will mention just a few of the second floor galleries here.

The Robert and Lillian Montalto Bohlen gallery is dedicated to African art from a range of regions and traditions with a particular focus on works from central Africa. The artwork that shines the most in this gallery is an almost life-sized maternity figure from the Urhobo people. Those who are into Japanese art should check out the Japanese Art gallery.

You will want to be on the lookout for the life-sized Vairocana Buddha from 17th century Japan. Also worth highlighting in this gallery is a group of armors from the Daimyo period. Located on the mezzanine level of the museum are four galleries that places the spotlight on Chinese art, Korean art, and Modern and Contemporary art.

All in all, there is a lot of art to see at this museum. So, take as much time as you need there. Better yet, entrance to the museum is free of charge.

Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry

The fourth and last museum to mention here is the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. It is located directly northwest of the first museum I mentioned earlier in this post. If you are curious about dental technology as well as the history of the dental profession, this is the museum for you. There are currently four exhibits at the museum.

They are Tooth Fairy Magic, Dental Hygiene: A Century of Progress, Student Reflections: A Retrospective of Dental Education, and Inside the Dental Practice 1860 – 1940. The first exhibit is focused on how childhood tooth loss rituals are done in different countries around the world. The second exhibit is concerned with the dental profession and how it has developed over the last one hundred years.

The third exhibit share the experiences of University of Michigan students who have received an education in the dental field at the school. The last exhibit explores the dental offices and equipment from that time period and how they evolved with the advancement of technology.

As is the case with the other three museums, you can visit this museum for free. This is one of only a handful of dentistry museums in the world. So, you may want to check it out if you find yourself in the area.

These are the four museums you can visit at the University of Michigan, even if you aren’t a college student there. So, you should put these Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions on your checklist.

They don’t really cost you anything to visit. So, there really isn’t any reason not to visit any of these alluring university museums. Also, if you are heading to nearby Detroit, consider reading up on the places to visit along the Detroit Riverfront. That includes Belle Isle Park.

Ann Arbor Hotel

Should you need a hotel to stay overnight in Ann Arbor, I am here to help you out with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located on Boardwalk Drive just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94 in the southern portion of Ann Arbor. This is the newest hotel in town and it is only a five minutes drive north to the University of Michigan via State Street. There is an onsite restaurant and bar if you are hungry and/or want a drink. It is called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these four museums before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan – Belle Isle Park

In my previous post, I discussed the things to do in Detroit, Michigan along the scenic Detroit River that divides the United States and Canada. One of the places I mentioned is Belle Isle Park.

It is a natural fit for those who want a break from the civilization of Detroit with its extensive network of hiking trails for them to take in the natural beauty which includes 150 acres of wooded areas and three lakes. This scenic island park is home to five key attractions and I am going to cover them here.

Belle Isle Aquarium

(Photo courtesy of Maia C via Flickr)

Belle Isle Aquarium is located on Inselruhe Avenue in the south central part of Belle Isle Park. It is the oldest aquarium in the country, having opened in 1904. The aquarium is especially noted for its extensive collection of gar fishes which is basically a group of long and slender fishes that look like needles. In fact, this is the only aquarium in North America known to house all seven species of gar fish.

Another thing to take note of regarding this aquarium is its beautiful arched ceiling covered in green glass tiles. This is meant to make you feel like you are underwater. In addition to housing the gar fishes, the aquarium also houses a large variety of both freshwater and saltwater marine life for you to check out. The aquarium consists of one long room with both sides of the room having a row of water tanks.

So, you will want to check out one side first and then after you are done, you can head over to the other side. There are sixty water tanks in total housed there. Sure, it may seem like a small aquarium, especially when compared to SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, but it is charming. And what’s even better? The aquarium is free for you to visit.

Belle Isle Conservatory

(Photo courtesy of sara hattie via Flickr)

The Belle Isle Conservatory is connected to the Belle Isle Aquarium. If you are into plants, this is the place for you. The conservatory houses a series of stately greenhouses that are home to many plants including flowers, ferns, and cacti. The building is divided into five sections. They are the Palm house, the Tropical house, the Cactus house, the Fernery, and the Show house.

The signature feature of the conservatory building is the 85-foot high central dome. It houses palm trees and other tropical plants. The grounds of the conservatory is also beautiful too. A lily pond is located on the grounds between the conservatory and the aquarium. It is decorated with 200 tons of moss-covered limestone boulders. The Japanese koi live inside the lily pond.

Located on the western grounds of the conservatory are perennial gardens neatly designed in a rectangular fashion. Within the center of the western grounds is the Levi Barbour Memorial Fountain that was designed by famed sculptor Marshall Fredericks. As is the case with the aquarium, the conservatory is free of charge for everybody to visit.

(Photo courtesy of A Healthier Michigan via Flickr)

Dossin Great Lakes Museum

(Photo courtesy of Corey Seeman via Flickr)

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is located just south of the conservatory and the aquarium on the southern shores of the Detroit River. As the name indicates, this museum is primarily focused on the Great Lakes. It places a special emphasis on the role that Detroit played in regional and national maritime history. The museum covers the last three hundred years of history.

There are a total of six permanent exhibits available at the museum. The first one is called Miss Pepsi. It explores the history of speedboat racing in Detroit and how the three Dossin brothers, Russell, Walter, and Roy, and their love for speedboats. You will learn about how they went about building the legendary speedboat, the Miss Pepsi, in the 1950’s.

The Miss Pepsi went on to set speed records and win numerous races over the next two years which is something that no boat or owner had done before. The speedboat is now on display at the museum. Outdoor Treasures is the second exhibit at the museum. This is an outdoor exhibit that houses a collection of maritime artifacts.

A few examples include the massive bow anchor of the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald, naval cannons that were used during the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, and a Coast Guard utility boat. You will be given the opportunity to captain a Great Lake freighter at the museum’s William Clay Ford Pilot House.

The freighter, the S.S. William Clay Ford, was one of Detroit’s most noted freighters. The Gothic Room exhibit is the first exhibit you will see upon entering the museum. It houses an impressive replica of a gentleman’s lounge that was housed inside a early 21st century cruise ship, the S.S. City of Detroit III.

The Richard and Jane Manoogian Ship Mode Showcase exhibit is where you can view more than 150 models of Great Lakes ships from the past three hundred years. Built by the River is the museum’s newest exhibit. It explores how the Detroit River served as the engine for Detroit’s growth and development. This museum is also visited free of charge.

Belle Isle Nature Center

(Photo courtesy of Michigan Municipal League via Flickr)

The Belle Isle Nature Center is located on Lakeside Drive at the eastern end of Belle Isle Park. This is basically the island park’s zoo. It features indoor animal habitats, a bee exhibit, bird observation window, and an outdoor native butterfly garden. The nature center’s focus is on the animals that are native to the US state of Michigan. When you enter the nature center, you will be greeted by a big fireplace which is nice.

The natural center takes the form of a big circle. Make no mistake, you won’t find a whole lot of animals there, especially when compared to the Detroit Zoo, but if you happen to be on the island park and love animals, then the nature center is for you. Oh and just in case you haven’t guessed, it is free of charge. Probably the best part about visiting there is getting to see the beehive.

This is where you can observe the bees at work as they go in and out of the building. Bird-watching is another highlight of the nature center. There is a nice spot where you can just sit (or stand) and enjoy the birds.

James Scott Memorial Fountain

(Photo courtesy of Mkrajenke12 via Wikimedia)

The James Scott Memorial Fountain is located on Sunset Drive on the western end of Belle Isle Park. This is a majestic fountain that you won’t want to miss. The fountain is designed like a series of Vermont white marble bowls. It contain 109 water outlets that take the form of cute statues of dolphins, lions, turtles, and human figures.

The fountain is 510 feet across and its center can spray water 125 feet into the air. This is yet another free attraction for you to check out.

All in all, Belle Isle Park is a great source for things to do in Detroit, Michigan. It is connected to mainland Detroit via the MacArthur Bridge.

Detroit Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay at overnight in Detroit, I am happy to help you out. Here is a hotel I would suggest you to book your stay with.

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

This hotel is located in downtown Detroit on the Detroit River. It takes up the taller, circular tower within the GM Renaissance Center complex that, at 73 floors, is the third tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. Should you get hungry and want a place to dine at, Fuell is the hotel’s onsite restaurant. For takeout food, you can head to Motor City Pantry which is also located onsite.

If you are looking to order coffee, you can head to the onsite Starbucks. Located on the 40th floor of the hotel lies a 24-hour fitness center. This will allow you to enjoy some gorgeous views while your workouts. Seeing that this is the third tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, don’t be surprised to find yourself in a hotel room with sweeping views of downtown Detroit, the river, and even Canada.

As far as hotel rooms are concerned, you can expect to have WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators at the very least. The average rate for a standard room range from $229 to $462. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you spent any time in Belle Isle Park before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan – Detroit Riverfront

The vibrant city of Detroit sits on the northern banks of the scenic Detroit River which serves as a border between the United States and Canada. The Detroit Riverfront has been undergoing renovations over the past couple decades in order to spruce it up from its not so pretty past. Today, the riverfront is an appealing place to be for things to do in Detroit, Michigan.

This is especially true in and near downtown. Here are some places along the riverfront that I would particularly like to take note of.

(Photo courtesy of Haljackey via Wikimedia)

Downtown Riverfront

(Photo courtesy of Al R via Wikimedia)

Let’s start with the riverfront in front of Detroit’s downtown. Hart Plaza is essentially the heart of downtown where people gather in order to soak in the beauty of the Detroit River and look up at the skyscrapers that towers above them. There are a few key features of the plaza to mention. The first is a statue of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

He was a French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701, long before the United States became an independent country. When it was founded, Detroit was known as Fort Pontchartrain au Detroit. Hart Plaza itself marks the approximate spot where Antoine landed in 1701.

Also found at the plaza is a sculpture that commemorates Detroit’s role as a sanctuary city for freed blacks who escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad in the 19th century. There are also two sections of the plaza that are shaped like circles. One of them contains an amphitheater where you can watch live performances. The other section houses the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain.

The fountain is made of stainless steel and has two legs topped by a 30-foot high ring. It sits within a circular black granite pool. The fountain contains three hundred jets and three hundred lights in order to produce spectacular water displays. While you are at the plaza, you may be able to see at least one or two cruise ships docked there like the MS Hamburg and the Yorktown.

At the southern end of the plaza lies the Detroit Riverwalk which runs right along the river. When you walk slight east of the plaza on the riverwalk, you will reach a group of close-knit towers known as the GM Renaissance Center. It is notable for being the world headquarters of General Motors which is one of Detroit’s big three automakers.

(Photo courtesy of Jon Rasmussen via Wikimedia)

The complex contains a number of dining options available for you. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and Joe Muer Seafood are by far the most well known options there. So, they are worth considering. Also worth checking out at the complex is GM World which houses a nice collection of cars on display.

On the riverfront in front of the complex is GM Plaza Promenade. When you are there, make sure to look down because you will notice some kind of painting that resembles a world map.

Milliken State Park and Harbor

(Photo courtesy of Notorious4life via Wikimedia)

If you are looking for somewhere more natural on the riverfront, you will want to check out Milliken State Park and Harbor. It is located about 1.1 miles east of Hart Plaza. You can reach the state park via walking or cycling on the riverwalk. This is the first urban state park in the US state of Michigan. It is notable for its lighthouse. The lighthouse is a scaled down replica of the Tawas Point Light in northern Michigan.

The state park’s lighthouse is about 63 feet high and is made of conical brick. It offers a unique vantage for you to take in the breathtaking views of downtown Detroit with the river in the foreground. Aside from the lighthouse, the state park is noted for its recently restored wetlands. There are paved trails throughout the park for you to take in the scenery.

Fishers will be pleased to know that there are opportunities for shoreline fishing at the state park. They can do so from the designated fishing platforms. If you are looking to eat lunch, there is a designated picnic area with sail-covered pavilions.

If you are looking to arrive at the state park by boat, there is a 52-slip harbor for you to dock your boat. You can follow along here or contact 1-800-447-2757 to reserve a slip at the harbor.

Belle Isle Park

(Photo courtesy of Mkrajenke12 via Wikimedia)

Nature lovers will want to head out to Belle Isle Park. It is a large, scenic island park located within the Detroit River. The island park is around ten minutes or so drive east from Detroit’s downtown. It is accessed via the MacArthur Bridge. As you will see, it certainly is a world away from the bustle and hustle of downtown. This is the third largest island in the Detroit River.

There is an extensive network of hiking trails for you to enjoy the natural beauty that the island park has to offer including 150 acres of wooded areas and three lakes. Even though the island park is a whole different setting, it is close enough that you can get a breathtaking view of downtown Detroit. Oh and yes, you can go fishing on the shore while taking in the downtown views. How cool is that?

One of the island park’s attractions I would like to bring up is the James Scott Memorial Fountain. This is a majestic fountain to behold, especially when compared to the one from Hart Plaza which I mentioned earlier. This fountain is 510 feet across and its central fountain is capable of spraying water 125 feet into the air.

There are also 109 water outlets in the form of cute statues of dolphins, turtles, lions, and human figures. The fountain is shaped like a series of Vermont white marble bowls.

So, for things to do in Detroit, Michigan, consider spending some time on the city’s riverfront. Also, if you are looking for somewhere more epic in the area, you will want to head to Detroit’s neighboring suburb of Dearborn in order to visit the largest indoor/outdoor museum complex in the United States – The Henry Ford. My previous post covers this.

Detroit Hotel

If you are looking for a place to stay overnight at in Detroit, I have got your back. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Do you see the taller, circular tower in the center within the GM Renaissance Center? This is where the hotel is located. This is the third tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest skyscraper in Detroit. It has 73 floors. Fuell is the hotel’s onsite restaurant for sit-down dining. Those of you who just want to order takeout food can head to Motor City Pantry which is also located onsite.

Additionally, Starbucks is also available at the hotel. A 24-hour fitness center is housed on the 40th floor of the hotel, allowing you to soak in some nice views during your workouts. Given how tall the hotel really is, you can imagine yourself being in a hotel room with sweeping views of downtown Detroit, the Detroit River, and even Windsor in Canada.

At the very least, you can expect to have WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators in your hotel room. The average rate for a standard room range from $229 to $462. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thought? Are you looking forward to spending some time on the city’s riverfront? Feel free to leave a comment below.