It’s not every day you have a newborn baby or a pair of laughing toddlers, and these moments certainly don’t last forever. But when your family comes together to capture those moments, those laughs and those hugs, the memories can last forever, and they can even hang on your walls for generations. The right photographer can make that process easy and comfortable for you, for your baby and even for the shyest kids.
To help you hunt down the best in and around Ann Arbor, we put together up a top ten we think you’ll love. Each photographer has a unique style and a distinct personality, so flip through a few galleries before you decide on the artist that’s right for you. Enjoy!
Amanda Dumouchelle has been a professional photographer since 2008 when she was living in Japan. Now, she’s home right here in Ann Arbor and specializes in maternity, newborn, family and lifestyle photography. Her modern approach highlights the real-life moments more than the stiff poses so you can remember your family and your relationships exactly as they are: filled with laughter, surprises and plenty of hugs.
Amanda Eskridge was born and raised in Ann Arbor and is now raising her own family here—a teenager and two toddlers—with her husband. She specializes in natural light lifestyle photography of families, children, newborns and expectant mothers. We love her intimate lifestyle approach to photography because it shows your real family in your real surroundings and can even take place inside your own home. Because she doesn’t photograph inside a studio, her images are honest and naturally beautiful.
Amy Kimball has four kids of her own and quickly learned just how important it is for families and children to have room to roam. Bringing that insight into her professional photography, she offers a unique studio experience on 70 acres of farmland in Chelsea. After backbreaking work, she and her family have turned the land into a dreamy destination for family photos and exploration. The lands include wildflower meadows, a 25-acre wood, a spring-fed pond and buildings in various states of repair. And after your family is done playing and exploring, you’ll get stunning professional photos to remember the day and the honest relationships you all share.
Bak Photography was founded in 1980 by Mark Bak right here in Saline. Today, the award-winning studio offers a staff of ten photographers and six DJs available for events and entertainment. Mark himself has been known as one of the state’s most notable photographers for several years and has more than 35 years of experience. He has also studied with 37 master photographers and now teaches other professional photographers. To meet the team and see their impressive lineup of services, check out the Bak Photography website here.
Based in Brighton, Christina Maria Photo and Design is run by professional photographer, mother and wife Christina Kafkakis. Through her business, she gets to explore her passion for photography and focuses in maternity, newborn, baby, children and family portraits. As a mother herself to three boys and a girl, she definitely knows how to make kids laugh. And since 2011, she has photographed more than 350 newborns, including several sets of twins, triplets and even a set of quintuplets.
Lori Page is an Ann Arbor-based photographer but travels to Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Plymouth, Northville and our surrounding communities. Throughout her life, she has gained experience as both a mother and a teacher; she is a member of the Professional Photographer’s of America; she was accepted through application into the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, and she was accepted as a ClickPro. In summary, she’s one of the best people to make your family comfortable and to capture those comfortable smiles, big laughs and huge hugs.
Melissa Cozart is a mother, wife and professional photographer specializing in newborns, maternity, family, children and senior portraits. Her flexible style and personality offer a combination of posed and lifestyle portraits in the location of your choice or even in the comfort of your home. Because her passion for portrait photography is heavily influenced by her own children and her desire to freeze her favorite moments, she strives to provide the same for you and yours.
Through global travels, big moves, career changes, marriage and motherhood, Meredith Allyn has always had a camera in hand, and she has always had a desire to capture every moment: both the laughter-filled and the tear-filled. Through her powerful conviction that images matter, she has developed a stunning, honest style of family and newborn photography we love. One session, the day in the life documentary, chronicles the simple interactions and everyday happenings we all wish we could capture every day.
Mary, the artist, owner and wizard behind MJR Photography, travels all over Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio to prove real photos matter and that they can and should last for generations. Experiences with her three children and husband have given her plenty of experience in making families and kids comfortable in front of the camera so she can capture the candid moments, the authentic smiles and the playful instants in between standard shots.
Trae is a mother, an artist, a knitter, an entrepreneur and one of Southeast Michigan’s best photographers. Based in Belleville, she uses both studio light and natural light to photograph newborns, new mothers, children and families. Her passion is in capturing the moments you can’t capture yourself, the memories you’re wrapped up in but still want to remember forever. If you want to see her work for yourself, here is a direct link to her online galleries.
Located in Howell, Tara Droz specializes in newborn, baby and family photography in the Brighton area, Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Her studio is located in Howell, and some of her best photos have been taken during outdoor sessions all over Southeast Michigan during all seasons. Completely self-taught, we especially love her style because it offers a balanced combination of posed photos and candid moments so you have the perfect image for your holiday card and the perfect capture of genuine moments.
In addition to various hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton, our Ann Arbor community offers countless options for hyper-local and boutique overnight stays in town. Did you know you can rent The Palmer House, an entire home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright?
We rounded up a handful of our favorite locally-owned hotels, inns and B&Bs so your time in Ann Arbor can be as charming as it is convenient. And, if you want to see even more Ann Arbor bed and breakfasts, we invite you to check out the Ann Arbor Area Bed and Breakfast Association.
Click each label to jump ahead and find Ann Arbor’s best:
One of two Ann Arbor hotels owned and operated by Dahlmann Properties, The Ann Arbor Regent is part of a multiple-generation, family-owned business and is one of the highest customer-rated hotels in the area. Their amenities include an indoor pool and hot tub, billiards, a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free WiFi and free parking.
Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor and on the University of Michigan’s main campus, Bell Tower Hotel offers one of the best locations and some of the most glamorous accommodations in town. As another Dahlmann Properties business, the hotel offers incredible amenities like 43″ flat screen TVs in every room, a coffee and tea maker in every room, valet parking, free parking, free WiFi, and a freshly baked cookie at check-in.
Graduate is quite possibly the most talked about hotel in Ann Arbor thanks to its unique decor and outstanding amenities. Located directly across the street from the University of Michigan campus, the decor pays homage to Ann Arbor’s love of coziness, arts, books and, of course, Maize and Blue. Partner businesses on site include Poindexter Coffee and Allen Rumsey Cocktail Lounge which is reminiscent of an old-school club. Check out the website to get an inside look at more luxurious Graduate rooms.
The Kensington Hotel boasts 200 newly revitalized guest rooms and suites surrounded by bonuses like the Union bar open 24/7 in the lobby, in-room dining from the on-site restaurant, a marble bath in every room, pet-friendly options and a complimentary Viennese coffee bar.
Weber’s has been a family-owned Ann Arbor institution since 1937. Over the years, it has become a destination hotel, restaurant and live music venue all rolled into one. The boutique rooms feature modern furnishings and decor, patios, free WiFi and more luxurious amenities. The hotel itself boasts an indoor saltwater pool, a 24-hour gym, an elevated sun deck with a giant chess set, a pinball arcade, charging for electric vehicles and so much more. Don’t miss the live music and cocktails at The Habitat at Weber’s!
Ann Arbor’s unique, boutique motor lodge is The University Inn which offers some of the best accommodations at an affordable price. And they’ve been doing so for more than 50 years! The renovated rooms are available as King and Double Queen Suites as well as Kitchenettes and feature contemporary decor alongside vintage and mid-century details. To see the long list of amenities (which includes free breakfast and bicycles available to rent) check out the website.
If you want a luxurious stay right on the University of Michigan campus, there’s no better choice than the Inn at the League. This inn is located on the fourth floor of the Michigan League and mimics the classic decor of the building with stained glass windows, oak and walnut paneling, and campus views. These glamorous accommodations are available to alumni, conference attendees, wedding guests and parents of students.
Since opening as an inn in 2004, Burnt Toast has been one of Ann Arbor’s best. Just three blocks west of Main Street, the small, family owned and operated bed and breakfast offers eight beautifully appointed rooms between two properties which can be rented individually or as whole houses. The food is mostly organic, locally made and locally sourced, and the breakfast offerings change daily. Don’t miss your chance to say hello to Mr. Gus Gustoferson, the family’s black lab!
Davies House Inn Bed and Breakfast offers boutique overnight stays, extended stays and entire home rentals. Located on the first fairway of Georgetown Golf Club in Ann Arbor’s quiet Georgetown neighborhood, the inn boasts four suites and two rooms, scrumptious breakfasts and amazing tailgates for University of Michigan football fans.
If you’re hoping to explore downtown Ann Arbor or the University of Michigan campus, First Street Garden Inn is a perfect starting point. Located in the Old West Side neighborhood, this cozy, turn-of-the-century home offers a personalized stay that includes customized breakfasts and afternoon tea. They only offer two rooms so the home always stays quiet and comfortable.
Stone Chalet is tucked away in a quiet Ann Arbor neighborhood just southeast from the University of Michigan campus and directly south of Nichols Arboretum. Every morning outside of busy weekends, breakfast is cooked to order and served in the formal dining room. Throughout the home, you’ll find ten charming guest suites, all with their own private bathrooms, four with balconies overlooking the gardens, and six with their own gas fireplaces.
Located right in the Kerrytown district and renovated in 2010, Baxter House blends Craftsman style with modern touches and offers amenities that include natural and whole food meals, bikes available to rent and, of course, a full, satisfying breakfast. They have five different rooms available, including the entire Baxter House Apartment to sleep four guests.
Less than one mile south of the University of Michigan campus and one and a half miles from downtown Ann Arbor, Avalyn Garden is a bed and breakfast located in a beautiful 1920s home that was renovated in 2005. While maintaining its Arts and Crafts style, the renovations added a gourmet kitchen, sunroom and dining room to make your stay even more relaxing.
Q. Can you describe the architectural style of the home? This custom 2 story home was designed and built by Mike McKay of MR Builders and has amazing attention to detail. It has high ceilings, squeak-free trusses and wood flooring. Q. What distinctive features set this home apart? This stunning 6 bedroom home features solid oak doors, oak flooring & trim throughout. The spacious kitchen has granite counter tops and custom cabinets. The living room features tray ceilings and solid oak pillars.
Q. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood? This house resides in the renowned Tim’s Lake Preserve; a wooded lake neighborhood. It is conveniently located near the expressway for an easy commute. It is just 15 minutes away from Jackson and 20 minutes to Ann Arbor.
Q. Have there been any recent renovations or upgrades? This immaculate house has been freshly painted. There is also new carpet and granite counter tops in the kitchen.
Q. Does the community have any amenities we should know about? Adventure awaits as you hike the nature trail over to the community beachfront for a picnic. Kayak the channel that leads to Mud Lake or go fishing on the private 200 acre Tim’s Lake. Recline on the covered patio or sit around the fire pit on a cool night.
Q. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy? Nature surrounds on the 1+ acre lot that has been beautifully landscaped. This property has flower beds, flowering trees and a gazebo.
Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about the home? Fishing near this home is amazing. Neighbors have been pulling out 28 inch pike out of the lake for the last past few years. There are at least 3 nesting pairs of sandhill cranes in the neighborhood.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home? There is plenty of storage as the basement features custom shelving & the attic space is set up for storage as well. This home has 3,034 sq. ft. above grade and 1,500 sq. ft. in the finished walkout basement.
From Ann Arbor to Dexter and all the way to Northville—Southeast Michigan knows how to welcome Santa Claus! With events and workshops popping up right after Thanksgiving and through Christmas Eve, you and your family will have plenty of opportunities to share your wish lists in person this holiday season.
We rounded up the events, the brunches and the malls that will be hosting Father Christmas himself. Mark your calendars, check for registration or ticket requirements, and get those wish lists and festive sweaters ready!
From mid-November through Christmas Eve, Santa and his shop will be set up in Briarwood Mall every single day. Hours vary each day and there are FastPass options to skip the line. For more information, click here.
The farm fun at Three Cedars doesn’t stop after Halloween. Country Christmas turns the farm into a winter wonderland complete with Christmas trees, wreaths, hot cocoa, roping and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for hours.
Southern Michigan Railroad keeps this event small and inexpensive so the community’s kids can have a spectacular holiday experience. This December, hop on the train and enjoy a ride to meet Santa himself. From there, the train will take you back to your car for a 30 minute round trip. Book online today before tickets sell out and be sure to bring a toy for Toys for Tots!
The City of Saline is hosting three PJ’s & Stories with Santa events on December 6th. For just $8, kids in their coziest pajamas can enjoy sing-a-longs, crafts, photo opportunities, stories, and treats like milk, cookies and hot chocolate. Pre-register online here.
Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. Each December, the farm celebrates the season with Santa Visits. Available two weekends in December, families can come to the Holiday Open House to enjoy delicious treats like hot cocoa and cider, shop in the General Store, see the farm in the snow and meet Santa. There is no admission charge for this event but donations are appreciated.
The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark on December 9th allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.
Each year, Father Christmas himself comes to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one day. A Visit with Father Christmas allows parents, kids, individuals and families to come to the gardens for free and get a great, festive photo with Santa.
This year, Brunch with Santa is happening at Kensington Hotel on December 15th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Past events have included omelet stations, vegetarian options like the Michigan Apple Cherry Salad, potatoes, a dessert bar, and the always popular waffle and pancake topping bar.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 16th, guests to Polo Fields Country Club can eat, drink, visit and take photos with Santa! Prices are $36 for adults, $16 for children between 3 and 12, and free for children two years and younger. To see the menu, click here, and call (734) 998-1555 to make reservations.
If you know of a place in the Ann Arbor area where we can see Santa, let us know in the comments below.
Our Ann Arbor area communities are famously skilled at coming together in times of need and in times of celebration: thanks in large part to the people who call these neighborhoods home. Over the years, our peers have built outstanding organizations and nonprofits which serve our community in countless ways—from providing shelter to providing laughter.
We rounded up a handful of those organizations you can help now and all year long. Whether you want to donate your money, volunteer your time or hop on stage to put on a show, this list has an organization for you to love and an opportunity for you to help. Thanks for making our communities even better!
Click each category to jump ahead and find out how you can help:
Mission: Founded by teens for teens, The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas. They provide an after-school drop-in space, weekend concerts and special events, and host more than 20 after-school programs.
How you can help: The Neutral Zone accepts volunteers and donations. Volunteers can participate in many different projects and programs, including special events and the community dinner program. Get information on both donations and volunteering here.
Mission: Mentor2Youth works to ensure youth have a promising future by preparing them to excel in life, academics and work. The organization puts together school-to-career intervention programs grounded in the principles of personal, academic and professional development. These include the Future Leaders Program, Youth L.E.A.D. and B.O.S.S.
How you can help: With assistance from more than 30 volunteers, Mentor2Youth serves over 150 youth annually throughout the school year and summer. You can join in by volunteering in tutor, mentor and leadership roles. Get more information on volunteering here. To donate, click here. And to learn about partnering with Mentor2Youth as a group, click here.
Mission: Through year-round programming and mentoring, Girls Group empowers young women in middle school and high school to achieve emotional and economic self-sufficiency by graduating from high school and becoming first-generation college graduates. As of 2018, they serve 500 young women in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
How you can help: As an organization, you have the opportunity to support Girls Group through grant funding. For more information, click here. They also welcome monetary donations which you can do online here.
Mission: As a major human services provider in our region, The Women’s Center provides direct services to more than 500 women and girls as well as a handful of men. They also assist an estimated 1,032 people who call for help in accessing community resources. Their programs assist women with counseling, divorce assistance, job and financial coaching, community resources and they also host a mom and infant group.
How you can help: The Women’s Center is run by only 4.75 full-time staff and an amazing team of more than 100 volunteers. To join in, you can volunteer in skilled positions, apply for an internship or provide in-kind contributions so the team can purchase things like paper products, gift cards, tea, breakfast bars and more. For more information on all of these, click here.
Mission: In 1973, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels began with a gift of $8,000 and 16 hungry neighbors. To this day, this local Meals on Wheels organization provides meals for homebound individuals which include a friendly visit, a bit of conversation, assurance that the client was safe and well and additional services like pet food delivery, minor home repairs, a personal care pantry, weekly produce deliveries and case management.
How you can help: Volunteers are the driving force of Meals on Wheels. Opportunities include meal prep, home deliveries, special holiday meals, special events and more. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts monetary donations online as well as donations through Amazon Smile and Kroger Rewards. For more options and links to donate, click here.
Mission: Since 1984, Arbor Hospice has been providing expert end-of-life care through Arbor Hospice in Ann Arbor and The Residence of Arbor Hospice in Saline.
How you can help: This organization has 50 different ways to volunteer, including pet visits, patient companionship, administrative support and more. For more information, click here. They also accept monetary donations which you can give online here.
Mission: As a no-kill shelter and the only animal shelter in Washtenaw County, HSHV has the highest save rate among all similar animal shelters in Michigan. They’ve been serving the community since 1896 and now help over 14,000 animals and their people every year. In addition to the shelter, they provide a full-service, nonprofit vet clinic that is open to the public and they operate Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center.
How you can help: HSHV provides volunteer opportunities that include services in the shelter, foster programs and animal advocacy. For more information, click here. You can also donate, sponsor and fundraise in various ways. Learn more here.
Mission: The Creature Conservancy began in 2005 when Al the alligator was left abandoned at the door of a local veterinary hospital. He was soon joined by a sloth rescued from a trailer park, a macaw left at a pet boarding facility, ball pythons found in a dumpster, and iguanas wandering loose on the UM campus. Today, the nonprofit organization hosts camps, classes, private events and programs that inspire compassionate connections to wildlife and allow the public to learn about ecology, biology, conservation and more through real animal encounters.
How you can help: The easiest way to help The Creature Conservancy is to attend events and learn about wildlife conservation yourself! They also offer memberships, internships and jobs, and volunteer opportunities. For more information on volunteering, click here. To make a monetary donation or get information on fundraising, click here.
Mission: The Jim Toy Community Center is a resource center that exists to provide information, education, social events and advocacy by and for the queer and ally community in our county. Their mission is to foster an inclusive community where people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity are visible and live together in equality, respect and happiness.
How you can help: To apply as a volunteer, click here, and to provide an online monetary donation, click here. The center also hosts Ann Arbor Pride every summer which is a free festival and parade open to the public. You can directly donate to the event here.
Mission: A Fisher House is a home away from home, a no-cost shelter provided for the families of active military and veterans while those men and women are receiving medical care. Their goal is to keep families together and to reduce stress during an incredibly difficult time. As of 2018, there are is not a single Fisher House in Michigan, but Fisher House Michigan is working to change that. In 2019, the groundbreaking for our state’s first facility will happen right here in Ann Arbor.
How you can help: Fisher House Michigan is primarily a volunteer-run organization and would not be able to complete their Ann Arbor home without continued help from our community. The easiest way to help the cause is to attend one of the organization’s annual events which you can see here. You can also donate directly through their website which you can see here.
Mission: Serving as a sort of savings account for our community, the Ann Arbor Community Foundation was established more than 50 years ago to distribute funds and grants to local nonprofits and scholarships. Their overall mission is to enrich the quality of life in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: Giving online through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation includes opportunities to give to Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, Community Foundation of Plymouth General Fund and Youth Council Fund. For more information, click here.
Mission: Community Action Network partners with children, youth and families from under-resourced Washtenaw County neighborhoods to create better futures for themselves and improve the communities in which they live. In addition to helping students with their education, they ensure the families are supported and the community is enriched so the positive results last for future generations.
How you can help: CAN could not be successful without the help of countless volunteers like you who help with after-school programs, arts classes, summer camps, food markets and more. For more information on those opportunities, click here. And to make a monetary or material donation, click here.
Mission: The mission of Peace Neighborhood Center is to provide programs for children, families and individuals who are affected by social and economic problems so that they can find options, improve skills and make choices that lead to self-sufficiency and community involvement. Since opening in 1971, their team has helped more than 16,000 people in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County through programs that cover education, health, well-being and fiscal independence.
How you can help: Peace Neighborhood Center accepts monetary donations online here and offers a variety of volunteer opportunities which you can see here. In addition, they host an annual Thanks for Giving Benefit Dinner, can be benefited through grocery rewards programs, and have a wish list of material items they need which you can view here.
Mission: 826michigan inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities. They do this through tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing opportunities, field trips, in-school projects and even publishing opportunities.
How you can help: Volunteers with 826michigan provide one-on-one homework help and tutoring, teach creative writing, work the counter at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair here in Ann Arbor, and serve our community in various other ways. For more information, click here. To make a monetary donation or view the organization’s wish list, click here.
Mission: Striving to completely eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County, this nonprofit organization provides literacy support at no cost to adults through a network of trained tutors, and they’ve been doing so for more than 40 years.
How you can help: Since 1971, they have served over 20,000 learners and trained and fully supported over 10,000 volunteer tutors. You can find information on joining that team here. Or you can donate directly here. For just $100 you can help 50 adults improve their English in a group tutoring session!
Mission: Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition, and they strive to engage minds, expand perspectives and inspire growth in students of all ages, teachers, artists and the community. Now, they engage more than 49,500 people every year through programming, exhibitions, classes and the 117 Gallery Shop.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Art Center welcomes volunteers who get to assist in the office, with special events, and with setting up the 117 Gallery. For more information, click here. Other opportunities to become involved include purchasing a membership, applying for an internship and working at the center.
Mission: This community theatre group provides opportunities for members of our community to participate in theatre. In addition to putting together shows that are open to the public, they support artists and creatives by giving them a place to practice and enhance their skills.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is supported by members who purchase memberships and then get to participate in productions, attend one free workshop per year, and vote at the annual meeting. To help monetarily, you can get information on sponsorship opportunities here. Or you can get information on volunteering as an usher here.
Mission: As a completely volunteer-run organization, Young People’s Theater helps young people build their self-confidence, sensitivity, creativity and leadership through professional theater experiences, training and educational opportunities.
How you can help: The easiest way to help the theater is to buy tickets to a show, and you can see current and upcoming shows on the website. Other ways include making a monetary donation, promoting the team’s shows in your community, and volunteering. Get information on all those opportunities here.
Mission: Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Their team of workers and volunteers distributes 6.4 million pounds of food annually through 150 partners and programs in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: You can join their efforts by donating online here. For every $5 you donate to Food Gatherers, you can help provide 15 meals to adults, seniors and children in need. They also accept food donations, material donations and host annual events so you can help simply by having fun! If you’d like to see individual and group volunteer opportunities, click here.
Mission: Ozone House is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy and productive lives through high-quality housing and support programs as well as services that provide support, intervention, training and assistance to runaway, homeless and high-risk youth and their families.
How you can help: To help Ozone House, you can donate money and items directly or through shopping programs, school supply drives and more. For more information on donations, click here. You can also get information on joining the more than 170 volunteers here.
Mission: SafeHouse Center serves to provide safety, support, advocacy and resources for any survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence and the children involved, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. They also work relentlessly to change the systems and attitudes that allow this abuse to continue.
How you can help: SafeHouse Center accepts volunteers in both Direct Services and Non-Direct Services. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts various types of donations, including shopping through Amazon Smile and buying directly from their Amazon Wishlist. For links to all donation opportunities, click here.
Mission: Packard Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and meets all federal requirements to offer health care services to people who are uninsured, isolated and/or medically vulnerable. By serving everyone who comes through their doors, they strive to build a healthy community in which every individual has dependable, quality health care.
How you can help: Volunteers with Packard Health can work in the food pantry, help with mailing services or serve on the organization’s boards and committees. For more information on volunteering, click here. To give a monetary donation online, click here.
Mission: Operating on the belief that any addict or alcoholic can get better, Dawn Farm works to assist addicts and alcoholics in achieving long-term recovery. Their team identifies and removes the barriers which prevent these individuals from joining the recovering community.
How you can help: Volunteers with Dawn Farm get the opportunity to help in the Dawn Farm garden, assist with cooking and housekeeping at Spera, help host special events like the Jamboree and Ride for Recovery, and more. For all those opportunities, click here. Material donations are also accepted and you can view the wish list here.
Tell us about your organization
Make the list bigger and better by telling us about your favorite local organization in the comments below.
The holidays in Ann Arbor kick off with lighting ceremonies, parades and shopping events, then continue throughout the season with themed classes, concerts, plays, screenings and more. To help you join the fun this year, we rounded up more than 25 events where you can shop local holiday gifts, meet Santa, enjoy carriage rides, and even get your blood pumping with a festive 5k!
The Ann Arbor Art Center’s annual Holiday Art Shop gives you the opportunity to support a local organization and local artists when you’re shopping for gifts this season. Located in the gallery shop and open every day of the week, you’ll find one-of-a-kind creations and amazing art pieces.
The most popular event from Zingerman’s Bakehouse is back for the 2018 holiday season! Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies teaches participants how to make the best cookie creations using whole grains, local ingredients and freshly milled flours. There are 70 classes through Christmas Eve and all the spots are currently sold out, but if you sign up for the waitlist, you may be able to snag an opening in the event of a cancellation.
In Chelsea, the holiday kick-off lasts an entire weekend! The activities start with Santa lighting the Christmas tree at Pierce Park on Friday night and end with a holiday carol concert featuring singing groups from the churches of Chelsea on Sunday evening. Highlights throughout the weekend include Santa’s Workshop, gingerbread house decorating, the annual Light Parade, and more. To see the full activity schedule, click here.
November 30, 4 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Coinciding with Midnight Madness, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. You can shop Kerrytown retail businesses which will be open late then grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!
November 30, 6 p.m. – close | State Street District
During Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness and Kerrytown Kindlefest, be sure to head over to State Street District, too! Businesses in the area will be offering amazing deals as they gear up for the holidays, including Bivouac, The M Den, The Original Cottage Inn and more.
Just in time for holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County as well as performances by various outdoor entertainers.
An amazing hometown celebration every year, Manchester’s Christmas in the Village includes a Christmas parade, business decorating and tree decorating contests, carriage rides, a scavenger hunt, cookie sale, home tour, pop-up market, pajama movie party and more! Follow the team on Facebook for updates.
One of Ann Arbor’s favorite Christmas celebrations kicks off on November 30th this year. A Manor Christmas is another local Christkindlmarkt, featuring tours of the historic Earhart mansion decorated for Christmas by professional designers, a unique Festival of Trees, premium artificial pre-lit trees for sale and, of course, the European-style Christmas market. Tickets are between $5 and $7 and you can buy them online here.
Christmas at the Mansion | Dexter
November 30 – December 2 | Gordon Hall
Hosted by Dexter Area Historical Society, the 2018 Christmas at the Mansion events last all weekend and include a special event on Friday, tours of Gordon Hall on Saturday, and a special tea on Sunday. Whether you’re volunteering or just enjoying the attractions, you’re welcome at the Mansion this season!
Each year, Theatre Nova puts on a new holiday-themed play for the holidays. Created by the same team behind The Year Without a Panto Claus and Sugar Plum Panto, this year’s production is a mash-up of musical comedy, slapstick, vaudeville and fun. See all the showtimes and buy your tickets here.
Hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, the annual Holiday Home Tour explores some of the most historic homes in our community and is the unofficial kick-off to the holidays in Ypsi. The 2018 event includes an inside look at five homes in our community and is followed by the Afterglow Reception, complete with local drinks, appetizers and desserts, live music and a silent auction. Get more information and purchase your tickets here.
Holiday Bazaar at the Museum | Dexter
December 1 | Dexter Area Museum
Hosted by Dexter Area Historical Society during the same weekend as Christmas at the Mansion, you’re invited to the annual Holiday Bazaar at the Museum. There, you can shop handcrafted holiday decorations, wreaths, unique gifts, hand-knit apparel, toys, gifts for pets, and the Guild’s signature scrubbies. And be sure to grab something from the bake sale!
Saline’s holiday fun continues after the tree lighting on November 27th with the 43rd Annual Christmas Parade. The parade itself includes more than 100 floats, animals, dancers, musicians and even a hot air balloon. Guests can also see Santa himself in Downtown Saline!
This holiday show has been an Ann Arbor tradition since it began in 2007. Now, each year in December, The Ragbirds present a collaborative musical production suitable for the whole family. In 2018, Erin Zindle—known by her stage name, EBird—is joining the fun for four shows of vocals, fiddles, horns, bagpipes, guitars and instruments from all over the world.
December 7, 5:30 – 11:30 p.m. | Marriott Ann Arbor Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest
This concert and holiday party invites you to an elegant setting complete with a gourmet dinner buffet, open bar and live entertainment from Your Generation in Concert. Different price packages include dinner and the concert, the concert only, band meet and greets, and more. Get all the info here.
This one-mile fun run and 5k in Dexter has become one of our favorite family traditions in the area. The hilly dash through the community allows participants to take in the neighborhood light displays and run in festive costume and lights, too! Five dollars from each registration will be donated to local charities and race day participants can bring non-perishable food items to receive free raffle tickets.
December 8, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Busch’s Shopping Center
Treasure Trail to Santa invites kids and their families to visit Santa and take photos, explore the Busch’s Shopping Center, enjoy treats and free carriage rides, and more. Admission is free, but be sure to dress for the weather!
December 9, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center
The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.
DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and once each winter. Their holiday market this year will feature 90 vendors at Riverside Arts Center. Come to shop local and enjoy the community’s favorite indie art fair!
This Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra tradition returns to Hill Auditorium on December 14th. The community’s favorite choruses will come together with orchestral instruments to present all our favorite classical and pop melodies of the season. And Santa may even make an appearance!
Presented by the Academy of Russian Classical Ballet and the Michigan Classical Ballet, The Nutcracker is coming to Michigan Theater this holiday season. The live show will feature some of Michigan’s best ballet students alongside international professional ballet dancers as guest artists.
Part of the world-renowned National Theatre Live series, The Bolshoi Theater’s production of The Nutcracker will be screened at the Michigan Theater right before Christmas this year. Join the fun for two full hours or professional performance and festive fun on screen.
This week we are featuring Rick Jarzembowski’s listing — 17230 Carolina Trace, Chelsea, MI, 48118 Q. Can you describe the architectural style of the home?
Lovingly maintained brick ranch with a full basement.
Q. What distinctive features set this home apart?
Private, wooded lot provides a quiet retreat from everyday life.
Q. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood?
Just minutes from downtown Chelsea, Eddy Discovery Center, Waterloo Recreation Area and easy access to I-94.
Q. Have there been any recent renovations or upgrades?
Beautiful Brazilian cherry floors throughout most of the main floor.
Q. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy?
12.5 acres of woods and trails and lots of wildlife. Q. What makes the price of this home so great?
Great 32’ x 48’ heated pole barn with a 33’ x 20’ lean is perfect for the car enthusiast or woodworking hobbyist.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home?
The light-filled master bedroom has his & her closets and a private bath.
As the headquarters of handmade and vintage goods, Etsy is a great place to start your search for one-of-a-kind art whether you’re shopping for home goods, gifts or even apparel. Their marketplace provides a place for artists, collectors and creatives to offer their best work, and our home state provides some spectacular inspiration.
We rounded up the Etsy shops that are helping us show off our mitten pride, our #GoBlue pride, our Ann Arbor pride, our Ypsilanti pride and, of course, our love for the #PureMichiganLakeEffect. Next time you need a handmade piece of art, start your search here.
Emily Frushour has been pursuing her passion for art and creativity since she was a child coloring in Care Bear coloring books. After studying graphic design at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, she started her own small business, taught children’s art classes out of her home, and worked as a graphic designer for schools and other small businesses. Now, you can shop her watercolor and mixed media prints on Etsy! Her inventory includes art inspired by the Wolverines, paintings of the Great Lakes, and customizable options.
The map art at Beneath the Sail is unlike any other map art you’ll find on Etsy. Each topographic creation is locally designed by their team then laser-cut and framed in a Baltic Birch wood frame. Maps in the shop include travel destinations like the Grand Canyon and San Francisco, as well as Michigan-inspired pieces that represent the Great Lakes, interior lakes and even Mackinac Island. Check out this Great Lakes Topographic Cribbage Board!
Ahmed and his team craft wooden, 3D and 2D maps on wood blocks and even live edge wood pieces. Their inventory includes everything from minimalist coasters and serving trays to detailed city maps you can hang on your wall. We love this Ann Arbor map etched on a locally harvested and milled round of Ash tree! Click here to see even more on their website.
What began as a tiny booth at Changing Thymes in Grandville has transformed into a brilliant, family-run Etsy shop offering handcrafted wood signs that can add warmth to any home. The designs begin with Karen Kemme’s daughter, then Karen paints them by hand, and her husband frames. Heavily inspired by their home state, you’ll find signs that represent the Michigan country, lake life and more. We love this Michigan Wood Sign that defines what it means to be a Michigander.
Owner, designer and maker Susi Cruz is a graphic designer and painter who also likes to dabble in drawing, screen printing, letterpress art and block printing. In her shop, you’ll find colorful and quirky designs that show off pride for the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Detroit and specific local landmarks.
Right out of Ann Arbor, Caili Dalian crafts hand illustrated paper and fabric goods that show off her love for the mitten. From greeting cards and save the date announcements to art prints and gifts, her designs are as colorful as our beautiful state. If you don’t believe us, check out this fun Ann Arbor Map Art Print.
Artist Jeff Joseph creates original works of art using oil paints then offers high-quality prints in his Etsy shop. Heavily inspired by his Michigan home, prints include representations of Yost Ice Arena, Tiger Stadium, University of Michigan landmarks and Wolverine celebrities. And, though we hate to mention Michigan State, Jeff’s Spartan art is impressive, too.
If you want a bit of Michigan art that isn’t as obvious as a map, we recommend shopping jenQ. Her nature-inspired abstract art is pieced together from collected wood bark found on the ground right here in Michigan. Beautiful either alone or hung as multiples, these framed works of art will add warmth and a statement piece to any room.
Artist Jodi Lynn Burton has been doodling her whole life, but she only realized she could sell her doodles as one-of-a-kind artistic creations a few years ago. Now, thankfully, we can all shop her cartoonish pins, illustrations, prints and cards. With more than 100 illustrations to choose from, you can celebrate your love for camping, your love for Ypsilanti, and even your love for David Bowie.
Owners, creators and married couple Kristen and Chase create prints, paintings and wood art available in their Etsy shop. The inventory includes uniquely designed and hand-pulled screen printed tees, tanks, towels, posters, koozies, wood cutting boards, coasters and screen printed wooden wall decor. Check out this colorful Hand-Pulled Ann Arbor Screen Print Poster.
Janna Coumoundouros is an artist and photographer based out of Detroit. Popular for taking photos of places and moments that other people might overlook, her renditions of Ann Arbor landmarks like Nickels Arcade, Graffiti Alley and Michigan Stadium would add character and color to any home.
The team behind Michigan Imagery, creates Michigan-inspired metal artwork for the home, the car and even the man cave. Their Michigan lake maps come in various inland lake and Great Lake shapes, and can even be customized to represent your favorite lake. To show off your Wolverine pride, check out this section in their Etsy shop.
At Midwest Coast Studios, the team hand makes historic map prints directly on wood. Images are transferred to the handmade pine base stained with the stain of your choice then sealed with a polyacrylic sealer to preserve. The map design and the wood base are both hand-distressed so no two maps will be the same. In addition to custom creations and international maps, the inventory includes historic Michigan maps and an Ann Arbor map.
Artist Sandi Oliverio was inspired to paint scenes of her favorite state upon returning to Michigan after living in various other states throughout the country. Now, she cements her love for the mitten in original, realistic paintings available as prints and as original pieces in her Etsy shop. See which landmarks and scenes she’s recreated here.
Lydia Pinkham is a Coast Guard veteran and student by day and a crafter at all other hours. Her Etsy shop displays that passion for art and craft through paper, fabric and knit goods she hand makes in Ypsilanti. Check out her layered paper art to see work inspired by Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Derek Bleyenberg’s massive Etsy shop is where he comes to combine his love for photography and graphic design, canvas art and travel. In the shop, you’ll find detailed maps, minimalist state outline pieces, travel illustrations, wood art prints, game boards, vintage-inspired travel posters and so much more. The inventory includes just about every state and major city you could imagine, including Michigan and Ann Arbor.
Kate originally opened her Etsy shop as a hobby where she sold a few needle felted pieces, but in 2013, she created a cut-canvas map of Michigan and people were clamoring for their own. Now, Wish You Were Here sells handmade maps cut from canvas with a hand-painted heart in your favorite place.
Q. What distinctive features set this home apart?
One of Tanglewood’s finest, this lovely home offers custom features and warmth for the discerning buyer. Brazilian Cherry floors, crown molding throughout, and two covered porches. Richly paneled den, oversized family room and master bed with custom built-ins.
Q. Can you describe the architectural style of the home?
Custom built colonial home; brick and wood
Q. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood?
Set on 1.4 acres in Ann Arbor with Superior Township taxes, and Ann Arbor Schools.
Q. Have there been any recent renovations or upgrades?
Recently renovated luxurious master bathroom. Q. Does the community have any amenities we should know about?
Large community with lots of space between homes.
Q. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy?
Private wooded backyard; home is set back off of the road with view of woods in front as well.
Q. What makes the price of this home so great?
All these amenities and custom updates on 1.4 acres in Ann Arbor with 5 bedrooms and 5 baths.
Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about the home?
Downstairs is a large finished rec room perfect for crafting; a full bath, wine cellar, exercise room and even an egress window. Could be perfect for a home theater or additional guest room.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home?
Spacious bedrooms and a 2nd floor laundry.
Reinhart recognized members of the 2018 President’s Club on Thursday, November 8. Lunch was served at the Standard Bistro to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of more than 80 real estate agents.
For nearly 30 years, the President’s Club has recognized the top producers at the Charles Reinhart Company Realtors. To qualify for the President’s Club, an agent must close 18 or more transactions per year, which is more than 2.5 times the national average.
“Our annual President’s Club event provides fellowship as well as peer and corporate recognition for the elite members of our sales team,” explains Dave Lutton, President of the Charles Reinhart Company Realtors. “They are industry leaders. It is our pleasure to honor them. Their outstanding sales achievements are the reason for our firm’s dominant position in the local real estate industry.”
The 2018 President’s Club includes:
LaDonna Bow Billman
Maria Gilbert Anglin
Rhonda Lore Cloutier
Debora Odom Stern