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Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens.

This history has cultivated some of the most important organizations serving our communities, too! For example, Food Gatherers runs a Plant-A-Row program which invites gardeners anywhere to grow extra food for community food pantries. A few community gardens even have designated areas for Plant-A-Row and Food Gatherers.

We the People Growers Association is another force behind urban farming in Washtenaw County. This local farm business was founded by Melvin Parson, the man behind several community gardens in the area, and is working to build the We the People Opportunity Center, a world-class, nonprofit, urban farm in Ypsilanti. To find out how you can help, follow the team on Facebook here.

If you want to grow your own food, build community and help our local organizations, gardening is one of the best ways to do it. And while community gardens are great settings, these plots aren’t always easy to find. To help you find your new gardening home, we rounded up more than 35 community gardens operated by volunteers and organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.

Keep reading to learn more about each garden or organization, and keep in mind some sections have information on more than one garden site. Happy planting!

 

Click to jump ahead and find:

Gardens where you can grow your own food or gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

White space

Gardens where you can grow your own food

 

Project Grow | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Photo courtesy of Project Grow

Project Grow is one of the driving forces behind urban farming and community gardens in the Ann Arbor area. This organization operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park. On the list, you’ll also find three different Discovery Gardens which offer raised beds for limited mobility gardeners. To see the full list, click here.

 

Pittsfield Township Community Garden | Ann Arbor

The Pittsfield Township Master Plan includes initiatives to increase local food availability and their first community garden is working to do just that. Open Spring 2019, the Community Garden at Prairie Park will feature more than 15 different beds, six of which are located on an ADA Accessible surface. Other on-site materials include compost bins, an equipment shed, a pollinator garden and rain barrels. For more information on reserving your plot, click here.

 

Frog Island Park Community Garden | Ypsilanti  

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The community garden at Frog Island Park is maintained by the adjacent neighborhoods at the north end, and plots are available to rent on a sliding scale. Open to all residents of the City of Ypsilanti and all skill levels, gardeners are welcome to grow both vegetable and flowers. For more information, check out the group, Frog Island Community Garden (FICG) on Facebook.

 

Parkridge Community Garden | Ypsilanti

Developed and maintained on city-owned land next to Parkridge Community Center, the Parkridge Community Garden is a hidden gem in Ypsilanti operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and community members. To find out how you can help cultivate the garden and when you can attend special events, join the group on Facebook here.  

 

Normal Park Neighborhood Association | Ypsilanti

With assistance from Growing Hope and nearby neighborhoods, Normal Park Neighborhood Association developed three community gardens around Ypsi, including Recreation Park Community Garden, West Middle School Community Garden and Midtown Community Garden, which was developed with the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Plots in these gardens are available through registration and are open to all skill levels for planting organic fruits, vegetables and flowers.

 

Chelsea Community Garden | Chelsea

The Chelsea Community Garden at Timber Town Park has plots available by reservation so residents can grow their own organic vegetables and flowers. And as a gardener in this tight-knit community, your household is expected to contribute at least six hours per plot in the gardening season to help with composting, mowing, weeding, administrative duties and more. For full details, click here.

 

City of Dexter Community Garden | Dexter

Dexter’s community garden is located at 7651 Dan Hoey Road and plots are assigned to residents on a first come, first served basis. They offer three different sizes and types of plots, which you can reserve here.

 

 

Gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

 

Help Yourself Garden at University of Michigan School of Dentistry | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The University of Michigan has several gardens on campus, including the Campus Farm available to students and interns. Many of these gardens aren’t open to community members, but the Help Yourself Garden at the School of Dentistry is open to everyone! Begun in 2014 as a community resource, the garden is maintained by staff, students and faculty from the School of Dentistry. Anyone walking by is welcome to plant, water and weed, take photos, and even harvest your own veggies to take home. For more information, click here.

 

Children’s Services Community Garden | Ann Arbor

This community garden began at the Washtenaw County Youth Center in 2008 by local celebrity Lisa Gottlieb. Today, the garden is directed and guided by a group of Washtenaw County Master Gardeners and community volunteers, but students do all the planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. Together, they grow more than 40 types of vegetables and 10 herbs.

 

Ypsilanti District Library | Ypsilanti

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Ypsilanti District Library maintains gardens at YDL-Whittaker, YDL-Michigan and YDL-Superior. These include a community vegetable garden, The Learning Garden and a pollinator garden developed specially for bees. Through these gardens, you can learn about growing and cultivating your own garden. The Learning Garden welcomes any aspiring gardeners to lend a hand and learn. Additionally, fresh produce is given away to library visitors during the growing season!

The Seed Library is another great resource for local gardeners at Ypsilanti District Library. Available to anyone at YDL-Whittaker and YDL-Michigan with or without a library card, this library is a collection of seeds that anyone can take from and contribute to.

 

The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | Ypsilanti  

The land that is now home to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was once a family farm, and in 2010, they honored that history by breaking ground on one of the first hospital-based farms in the United States. Today, The Farm serves both as a staff community garden and as a tool for hospital patients and the community to learn, heal and eat locally grown food. If you want to taste the food for yourself, stop by the farmers market that pops up in the main lobby every Wednesday. To learn more about the educational opportunities and facilities on-site, click here.

 

Growing Hope | Ypsilanti

Growing Hope is a local organization that serves to improve our lives and our communities through gardening and through increased access to healthy food. The Growing Hope Urban Farm began with just 1.5 acres in 2008 and has grown into a community gathering space, educational facility and setting where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish. To get hands-on at the farm, check out Growing Hops events here which include Farm & Garden Volunteer Days, cleanup days, special celebrations and more.

 

The Cooperative at Dawn Farm | Ypsilanti

This farm is located on 64 acres of the Dawn Farm property in Ypsi. When it began, the program served to put the land to better use and that mission has grown into a beautiful cooperative of varied growers, farmers and stewards who have built the perfect setting for flower growing, beekeeping, vegetable harvesting and even sheep raising. Currently, the land is home to an eight-acre food forest, bees, personal gardens, a market garden and Project Mow which is a sheep lawn mowing service. And the member program is driven by a gift and service system rather than a monetary one. Each member is encouraged to give back to Dawn Farm in an appropriate way of their own choosing, whether it’s through homegrown food, education, system design, community outreach or something else. To stay up-to-date on Cooperative events, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

 

Happy growing!

If we missed your favorite community garden, tell us about it in the comments below.

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The 11 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend April 2019

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Good news, Ann Arbor. Spring is officially here! To welcome the new season, our community is hosting Earth Day celebrations, seasonal expositions and some of our favorite annual events (looking at you, FoolMoon!).

We rounded up the essential events happening throughout the Ann Arbor area this month, so you can celebrate Easter, Earth Day and more. Enjoy!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Michigan State University Science Festival | Various locations

April 5 – 20, various times | Various locations

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan State University is hosting a science festival during the month of April with events on campus in East Lansing and all around the state. Here in the Ann Arbor area, you can join in the educational fun at events at Sherzer Observatory on the Eastern Michigan University campus, at Yankee Air Museum, and even in Detroit. To see the full schedule of events, click here.

 

Cabaret 2019: An Evening to Remember | Ann Arbor

April 13, 6:30 p.m. | North Campus Research Complex, Building 18

On Saturday, April 13th, the UMS Ambassadors, UMS Board Chair and UMS Cabaret founder Sarah Nicoli are celebrating with an evening of food, fun and show tunes provided by University of Michigan musical theater students and alumni. The best part is all proceeds support UMS K-12 Education programming! For tickets, click here.

 

Spring Fiber Expo | Ann Arbor

April 13 – 14, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Once during the spring and again during the fall, the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds are filled with fiber products of all kinds. Come by to shop, learn and meet makers of wool, linen and cotton crafts, see real alpacas and more! Children 12 years and under are admitted for free, while adults pay just $4 cash for one day or $6 for two.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

FOOLmoon | Ann Arbor

April 5, 7 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown

FoolMoon and FestiFools Things to do in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2018

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stanton via WonderFool Productions

Considered one of the community’s favorite annual events, FoolMoon is the nighttime kick-off event to a very foolish weekend hosted by Wonderfool Productions. This year, the celebration is taking place in Kerrytown at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but it will still have all the dancing, laughing and luminaries we’ve come to love. Other attractions include interactive installations, laser shows, live performances, DJs and a beer tent. You can even make your own luminary at several workshops in advance. For details, follow the Wonderfool Productions team on Facebook here.

 

FestiFools | Ann Arbor

April 7, 4 – 5 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

FestiFools is Wonderfool Productions’ daytime event of foolishness and art. The enormous public art spectacular showcases creations made by members of the community and U-M students. You can make your own puppet or come down to Main Street to watch the procession of colorful, bizarre, human-powered paper-mâché creations for an entire hour of fun!

 

SpringFest | Saline

April 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:40 p.m. | Saline Recreation Center

Saline Recreation’s SpringFest is a family-friendly event packed with spring and Easter-themed fun. During the event, you can join in the egg hunt with your own basket, have lunch with Mr. Bunny, meander the Hippity Hop Trail, and dive in the leisure pool for the Egg Dive. For full event details, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival | Ann Arbor

April 28, 12 – 4 p.m. | Leslie Science & Nature Center

The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is an annual celebration hosted by the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival Planning Committee, a coalition of local environmental nonprofits and agencies, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. At this free, family-friendly event, guests can enjoy displays from 40 local organizations, live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, live entertainment and much more.

 

 

Sports

 

Earth Day 5K | Ann Arbor

April 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Lillie Park South

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Pittsfield Township is celebrating Earth Day with their first ever Earth Day 5K. Open to all ages and skill levels, the course will wind through Lille Park, and you can register here.

 

Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery | Ypsilanti

April 28, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Dawn Farm

This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. There will also be a Farm Fun 5K Run/Walk, and a celebratory lunch will be provided after the races. Family members not participating are asked to register for the $5 lunch only option so there is enough food for everyone. You can register for all the options online here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

HopCat Ann Arbor Beer Dinner | Ann Arbor 

April 23, 7 – 10 p.m.HopCat

HopCat Ann Arbor is teaming up with California’s Lagunitas Brewing Co. for an epic beer pairing dinner this April. The event will feature five beers and four courses made with locally sourced ingredients in the HopCat kitchen.

 

Two James Spirit Dinner at rel-ish | Ann Arbor

April 26, 7 – 10 p.m. | rel-ish

The local restaurant inside The Kensington Hotel, rel-ish, is celebrating on April 26th with a specially paired, five-course dinner. Two James Spirits is the first licensed distillery in the city of Detroit since Prohibition, and their contributions to the event include artisanal gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and absinthe. For full menu details and tickets, click here.

 

 

Happy April!

Want to submit your next event for our monthly guide? Send us an email at ReinhartPR@booj.com.

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The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan offer some of the best and largest parks in the state as well as lakes, river access, hiking trails, biking opportunities and more. But when you’re looking for off-leash opportunities for your dog, it can be tough to navigate the rules, permit requirements and available areas.

To help, we rounded up the Ann Arbor area’s best dog parks available to both residents and non-residents. We also included links to important rules and permit information where necessary.

Keep reading to find your dog’s new favorite play area and be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Doggy Dip at Rolling Hills Water Park! It happens every year around Labor Day and you can get more information here.

 

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Get directions | On-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Though not an off-leash area, Brighton Recreation Area offers one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches. Available on a section of shoreline at Chilson Pond, dogs are welcome to play in the water but must be on leash and under control at all times. For more information on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources pet policy, click here.

 

Broadway Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Located in one of Ann Arbor’s best community parks, the off-leash dog play area at Broadway Park is nestled along the Huron River with a designed area for small and large dogs. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Cady Street Dog Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The Northville park system currently includes two dog parks. The Cady Street Dog Park offers 0.7 acre of fenced-in play area behind the Northville Art House and has open hours every day of the week. A dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required before you and your dog can be admitted. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Canton Dog Park | Canton

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Available year-round to dog park members, Canton Dog Park offers six acres of fenced-in, outdoor space for dogs to run and play off-leash. The park’s separated sections are reserved for dogs under 20 pounds and dogs over 20 pounds so large and small pups can play safely, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. For membership information, click here.

 

Lyon Oaks Dog Park | Wixom

Get directions | Off-leash

Available year-round from sunrise to sunset, the Lyon Oaks Dog Park offers 13 acres of fenced play area, a separated small dog area, benches, shelter and picnic tables. All licensed dogs are welcome, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. To learn more about all the dog parks managed by Oakland County, click here.

 

Marv Gans Community Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The second of Northville’s dog parks, the off-leash play area at Marv Gans Community Park offers four acres of room to roam. The park also has its own parking lot for easy access. Before you and your dog can be admitted, a dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Mill Pond Dog Park | Saline

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Boasting a whopping 54 acres total, Mill Pond Park is the largest community park in Saline. In addition to boat launches, sports fields and walking trails, visitors are welcome to enjoy the Mill Pond Dog Park. Covering one acre, it’s the only local park that offers off-leash water access, so water-loving dogs will definitely have fun!

 

Novi Dog Park | Novi

Get directions | Off-leash

Located behind the Novi Ice Arena, Novi Dog Park offers three acres of off-leash fun with a separate area for small and timid dogs which covers 3/4 of an acre. The remaining one and a half acres are available to all other dogs. To enter the park, you’ll need to take the dog park quiz and be approved for a membership; for more information, click here.

 

Olson Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

One of three dog parks managed by the City of Ann Arbor, the dog run at Olson Park is conveniently located next to the parking lot. The fenced area is just one of the attractions in the 54-acre park. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Paw Run Recreation Area | Dexter

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Paw Run Recreation Area is a private, 18-acre dog park in Dexter. Located on quiet, private property, the park boasts nearly one mile of mowed trails, a play area with a pond, an agility yard, a secure double-gated entry system, seating for humans and water for both humans and dogs. For information on the required temperament test and the various types of memberships and passes available, click here.

 

Swift Run Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Swift Run Dog Park is jointly managed by The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. Located at the northeast corner of the Swift Run landfill, the off-leash area covers ten acres making it the largest in the city. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Where do you take your dog?

If you have a favorite place to take your dog in the Ann Arbor area, tell us about it in the comments below!

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13 Ann Arbor Area Classes Where You Can Learn A New Skill

Cocktail mixology classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities have been built by local business, hands-on creation and artistic expression, and our local organizations and businesses are continuing that tradition every week with classes covering every imaginable topic.

From casual, drop-in events to intense, week-long workshops, these organizations, roasters, bakers, actors, studios, fly fishers and farmers are spreading the wealth through education. And we rounded up the best and most fun options in the area. Keep reading to find out where you can learn how to properly brew a coffee, bake a soft pretzel, knit a scarf, tie a fly, paint a picture, meditate, improvise, develop software, mix a cocktail and so much more.   

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Art Center dates in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Depending on how deep you want to delve, you can choose a class that lasts just a few hours, a full day or four weeks. To see upcoming topics and classes, click here.  

 

Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

The Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness works to create workshops, retreats and events that cultivate awareness and mindfulness through meditation. Through their programs, you can dive into a full-scale retreat or simply drop-in for a sample. These weekly drop-in meditation sessions are open to anyone interested in practicing mindfulness meditation and they’re available in several different area communities, including Ann Arbor, Saline and Ypsilanti. For more information on drop-in classes, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre acting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Lisa Gavan | Gavan Photo via Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

This nonprofit, community theatre program provides opportunities for people in our community to participate in theatre and learn new acting skills. In addition to putting together shows for the public, they support artists and creatives by giving them a place to practice and enhance their talents. Classes and workshops through the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre are available in topics like improv, choreography, stage management, sound design and more, and they cover several different age groups.

 

Flipside Art Studio

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

The team at Flipside Art Studio takes a casual and fun approach to art instruction based on the belief that art should be transformative and freeing, rather than strict and formal. Through their programs and programs with Dexter Public Schools and Ann Arbor Rec and Ed, they offer classes, events, camps and workshops for kids. But their team also hosts weekly adult art classes both during the day and in the evening. To stay up-to-date on the most recent offerings, check out the website here.

 

Hyperion Coffee Co.

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

Hyperion Coffee Labs classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Hyperion Coffee Co.

Undoubtedly one of the region’s best coffee roasters, Hyperion Coffee Co. shares experiences and knowledge of coffee through Hyperion Labs. These fun and informative classes explore different aspects of coffee whether that’s developing your palate, the fundamentals of cupping or the science of water chemistry. With plenty of tastes along the way, you’ll also get to take home coffee at the end of the lab!

 

Maker Works

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Maker Works art classes in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Maker Works

Founded in 2011, Maker Works is a huge, 14,000-square-foot workshop that is entirely focused on making things. When you purchase a membership or a day pass, the workshop is wide open for hands-on learning, practice and creation, but their team also offers one-time classes for specialized instruction in several topics. Covering craft, wood, metal, electronics, jewelry, software and more, Maker Works can provide you the skills and the tools needed to both learn and excel at nearly anything. Safety checkout classes are required before using some tools; check tool pages online to see which ones. And you can stop by for a free tour whenever Maker Works is open! 

 

Pointless School of Improv

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Run through Ann Arbor’s delicious and entertaining Pointless Brewery & Theatre, Pointless School of Improv makes learning and practicing improv even more fun than it already sounds. Their intense curriculum isn’t made up of casual, drop-in classes. Available in two terms per year, the classes take place over the course of eight weeks and are designed to be taken in order, with the skills from one class forming the foundation for the next.

But in addition to these courses, they also offer single-session workshops that focus on specific aspects and they host showcases where you can come, see and support the students work before you dive in head first. For more information and dates, check out the website here.

 

Schultz Outfitters

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

Ypsilanti’s headquarters for all things fishing and outdoors, this locally owned and operated fly shop sells equipment, organizes guided trips, hosts destination travel excursions and offers classes in fly fishing, skills and tying. Their basic classes are available on a weekly basis and take place inside Schultz Outfitters or at Sidetrack Bar & Grill depending on your experience level. Each week, they host three classes; they do require pre-registration and both classes at Sidetrack include pre-packaged material kits. For more information, click here. And follow the team on Facebook to learn more about upcoming classes.

 

Spun

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Spun knitting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Spun

Spun is a local, family-owned yarn shop in Kerrytown where you can shop yarn and tools, learn at scheduled classes and ask questions at free, drop-in sessions. Their free social knitting and crochet sessions occur four different times per week and they host Ask-a-Knitter throughout the week, too. Regularly scheduled classes are more hands-on and intensive, covering topics like beginning crochet, crochet for knitters, introduction to lace and more. To see the full calendar, click here.

 

Tammy’s Tastings

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Tammy’s Tastings is a local, Ann Arbor business dedicated to building unique food and drink experiences. In addition to custom workshops, corporate events and private classes, Tammy and her team host regularly scheduled events that cover everything from chocolate tasting to mixology and cocktail history. To see the upcoming event schedule, click here.

 

White Lotus Farms

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution, specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses, and soothing botanicals. Their varied experience and knowledge on the farm, in the bakery, in the creamery and with botanicals makes their classes some of the most fun in the region. Topics include cheese making, croissant baking, food pairing and more. To see the schedule and register for your favorite topic, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Zingerman's Bakehouse cooking classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you will be able to learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in categories like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. To see the full schedule and reserve your spot online, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Zingerman’s Coffee Company is a wholesale roaster supplying cafes, restaurants and businesses all over the region, but they also offer their own coffees at the Zingerman’s Coffee Bar at Zingerman’s Southside Producers row. Here, you can enjoy the coffee shop, taste craft coffee and learn the ins and outs of tasting, preparing and roasting coffee beans. The team’s special events cover topics like cupping, brewing methods and even Yerba Mate tea.

 

Already learned something?

If you have a favorite class in Ann Arbor, tell us about it in the comments below!

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The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor

Music venues, events record stores in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor is a book town, a college town, a quirky town, an artsy town and a music town all rolled into one. And that collection of cultures and characters makes our hometown one of the best places to explore the arts.

Music lovers can do that through live shows at local venues, visiting indie record stores, and attending annual, music-centered events. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, keep reading to find the best places and occasions for all three!

 

Jump ahead to find the best:

Venues | Record stores | Annual events

 

Venues

 

Kerrytown Concert House

Kerrytown Concert House music venues in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kerrytown Concert House

An intimate 110 seat venue, Kerrytown Concert House is a nonprofit organization focused on community engagement and providing audiences with fine art, from live music to gallery exhibitions. Inside their historic home-turned-venue, you can attend affordable events in various genres; check out the event calendar here.

 

The Blind Pig

The Blind Pig is the locals’ choice for live music almost every night of the week. This quirky bar and music venue hosts everything from punk and folk to comedy and karaoke. Check out the calendar online here and you can buy your tickets in advance if needed.  

 

The Ark

The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music and has been since it was founded in 1965 by four area churches. Today, the venue offers over 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.

 

Michigan Theater

The historic Michigan Theater was founded in 1928, then the Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball. Today, the theater is home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. Check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here.

 

The B-Side

The B-Side began back in 1999 in the original location of local Ann Arbor organization Neutral Zone. As the program grew, they moved up the street to 310 E. Washington and increased their audience capacity to over 400. Today, the all-ages concert venue hosts everything from touring hip-hop acts to teen hardcore bands to local folk singers, and every show is booked and promoted by teens through Neutral Zone. You can learn more about Neutral Zone in 23 Local Charities in the Ann Arbor Area and How You Can Help.

 

Johnny’s Speakeasy

Johnny’s Speakeasy calls itself one of the worst kept secrets in Ann Arbor. The small, intimate venue hosts a range of genres and just a limited number of house concerts each year. To stay up-to-date on this year’s shows, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

University Musical Society  

A program of the University of Michigan, UMS has been around since 1879 and offers more than 60 performances each year. Today, they host events throughout the year in six different theaters and venues: Hill Auditorium, Rackham Auditorium, Power Center, Michigan Theater, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. To get information on their current season, click here.

 

Ziggy’s

Located just minutes from Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti, Ziggy’s is a downtown music venue, bar, coffeehouse and arcade. Hosting a range of local acts alongside small, touring artists, you can attend fundraisers, music shows, parties and so much more. Follow the team on Facebook here to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

 

 

Record stores

 

Wazoo Records

Record stores in Ann Arbor Michigan

Wazoo is Ann Arbor’s headquarters for both new releases and old collections. Their inventory of new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, VHS and cassette tapes are displayed in an organized and tidy way that makes shopping fun for record diggers and casual music lovers alike.

 

Encore Records

Encore Records buys and sells various types of records, tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, sheet music, books on music and musicians, and memorabilia. If you’re selling, you can come in without an appointment during buying hours which are available every day of the week. To shop, you can come in and enjoy the curated collection of both new and used merchandise. To preview their inventory and shop online, click here.

 

Underground Sounds

Underground Sounds began as That Total Age in 1993 in Ypsilanti. Then, they became Vinyl Joe’s Coffee & Records in 1995 before moving to Downtown Ann Arbor and becoming Underground Sounds in 2001. They specialize in new release vinyl and compact discs and sell them below list price. You can preview their inventory and shop online here.

 

 

Annual events

 

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Ann Arbor Folk Fest music events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Andrew Rogers via The Ark

Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, began in 1977 and is now one of Ann Arbor’s most anticipated events. Over the course of two days, Hill Auditorium hosts the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov, Rufus Wainwright, Haley Heynderickx, Brandi Carlile and more. Tickets are available for single nights and both nights, and you can get more information here.  

 

Edgefest

Edgefest began in 1997 as a single day event and has grown into a four-day festival that includes collaborations and educational outreach. Hosted by Kerrytown Concert House, the event is focused on avant-garde jazz and creative new music performed by artists from the United States and around the globe.

 

Sonic Lunch

Sonic Lunch Ann Arbor Michigan music events

Photo courtesy of Leisa Thompson Photography via Sonic Lunch

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets Ann Arbor every summer. The free, outdoor concerts take place at the corner of Liberty and Division in Downtown Ann Arbor every Thursday during the season from 12 to 1:30 p.m. For more information on this year’s series, click here.  

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival

In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. Continuing the tradition, the festival takes place every August at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds. Today, the festival is celebrated as North America’s first electric blues festival and the team is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019. To get information on this year’s event, click here.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival

This weekend festival began over three decades ago in Chelsea and has grown to be one of the best summer events in the region. Over two days and three nights, you can experience live music, an indie art market, kids’ entertainment, a classic car show and more in historic Downtown Chelsea.

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival

Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The event features multiple different bands each day, including special guests! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground. And you can learn more here.

 

 

Do you love local music?  

Tell us all about your favorite venues, events, music memories and local bands in the comments below.

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The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor

coffee roasters in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Michigan

If you’re not from Ann Arbor, you may be wondering how our hometown consistently lands on coffee rankings with famous coffee cities like Portland, San Francisco and Berkeley. In Apartment Guide’s 2019 ranking, The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America, they measured the number of coffee businesses per resident, from the coffee shops to the roasteries themselves. And Ann Arbor ranks on the list with much larger cities all over the country.

If you’ve spent any time in Ann Arbor, you’ve probably sampled some of those roasteries and shops yourself. So we’re guessing you get it. Our city loves coffee.

Today, we’re rounding up the roasters that have put our region on the map. They’re roasting in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Milan, and many are selling online, too, so you can get your favorite coffees delivered right to your door.

 

Coffee Express Roasting Company

Based in Plymouth | Facebook  

Coffee Express was one of the first businesses outside of New York and San Francisco to focus on craft coffee. In 1982, founder Tom Isaia and his team started what is now an impressive roast-to-order system. They select the most distinctive Arabica coffees from around the world, then roast them fresh and distribute to food markets, specialty shops and coffee houses throughout the region. You can’t order online, but keep an eye out for Coffee Express while you’re shopping at your favorite grocery stores! 

 

Cross Street Coffee

Based in Ypsilanti | Facebook

Cross Street Coffee coffee roasters in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cross Street Coffee

In early 2017, Ypsilanti’s Ugly Mug Coffee changed its name to Cross Street Coffee and upgraded their building, but they’re still roasting and serving the coffee we’ve come to love. Inside the full-service shop and roastery, you can get those coffees brewed fresh and you can purchase bags of beans to take home. Each one is filled with freshly roasted coffee made in small batches.

 

Cultivate Coffee & Tap House

Based in Ypsilanti | Facebook | Shop online

Coffee Roasters in Ypsilanti Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cultivate Coffee & Tap House

This coffee bar and tap house is a favorite in Ypsilanti for coffee, craft beer and community events. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” their motto matches their atmosphere. And their team is committed to investment in causes they believe in! Since 2015, they’ve volunteered thousands of hours, donated hundreds of pounds of produce and given more than $100,000 to local organizations. Stop in at Cultivate to meet the team and taste coffees roasted by their thoughtful and creative roaster, Jess Harmon.

 

Hyperion Coffee Co.

Based in Ypsilanti | Facebook | Shop online

Hyperion Coffee Co coffee roasters in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Michigan

Photo courtesy of Dakota Smith via Hyperion Coffee Co.

Hyperion Coffee can be found freshly brewed in many of our favorite coffee shops in Ann Arbor and around the state, but they’re headquartered right here in Ypsi. When you visit the shop and roastery, you can taste this craft coffee right where it was roasted, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn everything from espresso extraction to cupping. Check out the educational Hyperion Labs here.

 

Mighty Good Coffee

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook | Shop online

Every Mighty Good coffee starts with beans from select farms, mills and co-ops. Then, the beans are roasted in small batches and packaged to preserve freshness. Whether you’re picking up a bag from the grocery store or stopping in at the coffee shops downtown, near campus, in Arbor Hills or inside The Jefferson Market, you’re guaranteed a fresh cup of coffee that is both sustainable and empowering (for you and for the community!). Check out the team’s philosophy, mission and story here.

 

Milan Coffee Works

Based in Milan | Facebook | Shop online

Milan Coffee Works has been an area favorite for years and is still considered one of the best local roasters in the region. At their headquarters—a charming, bright and welcoming coffee shop in Milan—they roast coffees in small batches from light roast to dark roast and everything in between. While you’re there, we also recommend tasting their homemade chai!

 

RoosRoast Coffee

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook | Shop online

RoosRoast coffee roasters in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Michigan

Photo courtesy of RoosRoast Coffee

RoosRoast is hands down one of the best coffee roasters in Michigan and word of this has reached as far as Portland, San Francisco and Manhattan. With their Loring Smart Roaster, they use 80% less energy than similar roasters and still create outstanding coffees (have you tasted Lobster Butter Love?) that have led to titles including the best coffee shop in Washtenaw County, the number one coffee shop in Southeast Michigan and more.

 

Stovetop Roasters

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook | Shop online

Stovetop coffee roasters in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Michigan

Photo courtesy of Stovetop Roasters

From the charming doodles that adorn both their bags and their shops to their award-winning (and locally famous) baristas, you can always tell just how much love goes into the coffee and the atmosphere at Stovetop Roasters. Theirs is a team of friendly locals who don’t take themselves too seriously. And that results in some outstanding coffee. You can taste it for yourself in the Stovetop Coffee Roasters Lab & Roastery in Ann Arbor, or swing by Stovetop Coffee Roasters Cafe in Grand Rapids.

 

Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook | Shop online

Zingerman’s Coffee Co. is a wholesale roaster supplying cafes, restaurants and businesses all over the region, but they also offer their own coffees at the Zingerman’s Coffee Bar at Zingerman’s Southside Producers row. Located alongside Zingerman’s Creamery, Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Candy Factory, you can get all the best in one convenient spot. And if you’re not in town, you can still shop Zingerman’s Coffee Company online through Zingerman’s Mail Order.

 

Need more coffee?  

Check out The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area to track down your new favorite.

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The 12 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend March 2019

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

March brings us our first signs of spring, school breaks and St. Patrick’s Day, so naturally, the month’s events offer kid-friendly happenings, festive races and spring-inspired festivities. That’s all in addition to some of our favorite annual events, like the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show and Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Keep reading to find out what events are happening in our communities this month. Register where necessary, and get ready for a fun and festive March!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

Arts + Culture

 

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2019 | Ann Arbor

March 1, 7 p.m. | Michigan Theater

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

The Fly Fishing Film Tour travels the country each year in an effort to promote the sport and support local fly shops. You can purchase $18 tickets online, but if you get yours at Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti, you get a $3 discount and a portion of that purchase helps support the conservation work that keeps fisheries intact, healthy and available for us all to enjoy. In past years, the tour has raised over $500,000!

 

Youth Art Month | Ann Arbor

March 1 – 30 | Downtown Ann Arbor

Youth Art Month is an annual celebration designed to emphasize the value of art education for our youth. It allows us all—locals, business owners, galleries—an opportunity to connect our community with our youth’s creativity and to illustrate the importance of fostering artistry and innovation. Organized by the Main Street Area Association, the celebration includes several food and drink deals, educational workshops and special events in topics including the art of pizza, coloring, painting and even sailboat making. For all the details on specials and events, click here.

 

2019 Michigan Playwrights Festival | Ann Arbor  

March 6 – 10, 8 – 11 p.m. | Theatre NOVA

Theatre NOVA in downtown Ann Arbor has over 75 years of experience selecting new plays, and the Michigan Playwrights Festival celebrates that history and awards local writers. After selecting the winning submissions, you can enjoy staged readings of the winning plays, and some of those go on to become full-length plays for future seasons. For updates on the stage events, follow the team on Facebook.

 

Saline Craft Show | Saline

March 16, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Saline Middle School

One of the top shows in Michigan, the Saline Craft Show is hosting two events in 2019. Don’t miss the first one this March! Benefitting both the craft show customers and the school community, students get the chance to take on leadership roles and show off their talents.

 

The Music of Harry Potter | Ann Arbor

March 16 – 17, various times | Michigan Theater

Michigan Theatre and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra are once again hosting a Harry Potter musical event this March! On Saturday evening, the show begins at 8 p.m. with a photo scavenger hunt, encounters with a live owl and cocktails from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Or, buy your tickets for Sunday’s family matinee to enjoy a 4 p.m. show and pre-concert activities beginning at 2:30 p.m. featuring an instrument petting zoo, a photo scavenger hunt, live Hedwig, an owl post writing station and more. You can get more details here.

 

Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show | Ann Arbor

March 16 – 17, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

For the 29th year, this home and garden show is connecting guests with builders, suppliers, designers and tradespeople while inspiring all home improvement endeavors. This year’s event features 150 exhibitors in both interior and exterior work, so there’s plenty to learn over two days! Adult admission of $5 can be paid in cash at the door and children under 12 are admitted for free.

 

Ann Arbor Film Festival | Ann Arbor

March 26 – 31, various times | Michigan Theater

One of Ann Arbor’s most important annual events, the Ann Arbor Film Festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries highlighting all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction and performance-based works. Founded by George Manupelli in 1963, the festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on tickets and special events.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Old Time Maple Sugar Festival | Chelsea

March 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Hosted by the Waterloo Natural History Association, the Old Time Maple Sugar Festival celebrates the coming of spring and the tapping of maple trees. The event begins with a short film on the process of making maple syrup, continues with a guided walk, and antique syrup making equipment will be on display from the Waterloo Farm Museum.

 

 

Sports

 

Shamrocks & Shenanigans | Ann Arbor  

March 10, 9:45 a.m. | Conor O’Neill’s

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Robert Bowden Photography via RF Events – Shamrocks & Shenanigans

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K and Kids’ K winds through downtown Ann Arbor and benefits Save A Heart, an organization that raises funds to benefit patients and their families at the Michigan Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. You can get registration info here.

 

Waterloo G & G | Chelsea

March 16, 10 a.m. | Waterloo State Recreation Area

This epic bike race offers three options: a rugged, two-loop 100K course, a powerful 50K course and a 10-mile, non-competitive ride. Registration benefits the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and includes a post-race party presented by Short’s Brewing Company. For more information, click here.

 

Probility Ann Arbor Marathon | Ann Arbor  

March 24, 7:30 a.m. | Michigan Stadium

Whether you’re walking your first 5K or running your tenth marathon, this Epic Races event offers something for everyone. Beginning just outside of The Big House, each course winds through downtown Ann Arbor and through the University of Michigan campus. The longer races also traverse stretches of the Huron River, Gallup Park and Nichols Arboretum before returning to downtown. Get all the details and choose your distance here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Pie & Mash Pop-Up Shop | Dexter

March 3 – April 7, 4:30 – 7 p.m. | Cornman Farms

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Sarah Fennel via Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Owner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, Kieron Hales hails from England, and he’s bringing the culture and food of his homeland to the farm throughout March. Every Sunday from March 3rd through April 7th, join the team for a traditional English Pie & Mash shop pop-up. Food will include savory handmade pies with mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies and Chef Kieron’s creamy and indulgent Devon Fudge, a recipe from his hometown. To see all the menus and learn more, click here.

 

 

Happy March!

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Your Ultimate Guide to Dexter, Michigan

outdoor recreation in Dexter Michigan

Founded in 1824, Dexter has been built by Washtenaw County’s farm and agricultural heritage. Today, the community offers attractions that celebrate that history as well as a thriving village center. As the unofficial gateway to the area’s lakes and Metroparks, you’ll discover plenty of places to gather, refuel and rest—and you’ll find some of our favorites on this guide.

Keep reading to find out where you need to go, what you need to see, what you can do and which annual events should be on your calendar.

 

Jump ahead:

The Essential Eateries | Things to Do | Outdoor Recreation | Annual Events

 

 

The Essential Eateries

 

The Dexter Bakery

8101 Main St | Facebook

The Dexter Bakery best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Dexter Bakery

The home of mouth-watering jelly donuts, Instagram-worthy cupcakes, towering cakes, fluffy soft pretzels and freshly baked breads, The Dexter Bakery is a must-visit near Ann Arbor. In 2018, they were even named the Sweetest Bakery in Michigan through the Sweetest Bakery in America Contest! And they’ve been serving their treats in downtown Dexter for more than 100 years.

 

Hotel Hickman Chuckwagon BBQ

8050 Main St | Facebook

Located on Main Street and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this local spot offers authentic chuckwagon cooking and cowboy culture. From full slabs of baby back ribs to BBQ pulled pork served Hotel Hickman baked buns, this is downhome cooking you’ll want to eat every day.

 

Dexter Riverview Cafe

8124 Main St | Facebook

One of the community’s beloved breakfast and lunch spots, Dexter Riverview Cafe is a locally owned and operated eatery. Their menu features fresh, homemade oatmeal, homemade biscuits and gravy, pita sandwiches, coneys, and more.  

 

The Fillmore Bar & Grill

7954 Ann Arbor St | Facebook

The Fillmore Bar and Grill Dexter Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Fillmore Bar & Grill

Located in a historic, former farmhouse in downtown Dexter, The Fillmore Bar & Grill is one of the newest additions to the dining scene in town. Inside their relaxed, cozy home, you can enjoy meals made from scratch using only fresh, house-made and locally sourced ingredients. And the drink menu includes craft beer and craft cocktails!

 

Joe and Rosie Coffee and Tea

8074 Main St | Facebook

This cafe, bakery and coffee shop is a Dexter original. They use organic and fair-trade products to create delicious sandwiches, hot soups and cravable pastries like freshly baked scones, vegan muffins, and tea biscuits you can pair with loose leaf teas.

 

Sushi Time

7050 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd Suite 100 | Facebook

A true hidden gem in the Ann Arbor area, Sushi Time is a family-owned business serving some of our favorite sushi and Asian fusion meals. Check out their enormous menu online here.

 

Chela’s

7065 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd | Facebook

Chela’s serves up authentic Mexican food from two locations: one in Dexter and one in Ann Arbor. Their huge menu of tasty dishes includes classics like barbacoa, al pastor and carne asada alongside vegetarian options and creative fusions.

 

 

Things to Do

 

Mindo Chocolate Makers

11061 Trinkle Rd | Facebook

Mindo chocolate Dexter Michigan

Photo courtesy of Anne Savage Photography via Mindo Chocolate Makers

Using only the highest quality ingredients, sourced directly from family farms in Ecuador, Mindo Chocolate Makers crafts true bean to bar chocolate. And while they’re crafting those delectable bars, they’re supporting local economies in chocolate-growing communities and promoting sustainable practices. Want to take a class or a tour? Click here.

 

The Encore Musical Theatre Company

3126 Broad St | Facebook

The Encore Musical Theatre Company puts together some of the best live shows in the Ann Arbor area. Typically, their calendar year includes six productions of both classics and new shows. To learn about their kid-friendly summer program, click here.

 

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

2319 Bishop Cir E | Facebook

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In the Dexter brewery and tasting room, you can taste their sour beers, celebrate new releases, attend special events and more. The Dexter location is also a full-service restaurant, so if you get hungry, you can snag something from the locally sourced and sustainable menu. 

 

Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

8540 Island Lake Rd | Facebook

Located on 42 acres, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms is surrounded in all directions by flowers, vegetation and jaw-dropping landscape. As both a working farm and an elegant event venue, the space features an exhibition kitchen for events and culinary classes, a chef’s garden, a classic farmhouse, a four-season barn and a stunning tent pavilion. Led by Executive Chef and Owner Kieron Hales, the foods and the hospitality services are born from his experience in Michelin star kitchens and time spent living and cooking in 27 different countries. If you want to visit, check out their event calendar here which includes a monthly pancake pop-up.

 

Dexter Area Historical Society

3443 Inverness St + 8311 Island Lake Road | Facebook

The Dexter Area Historical Society is a nonprofit organization which works to preserve the history of the Dexter area. They do this through their two properties—the Dexter Area Museum and Gordon Hall—where they host public tours, educational opportunities and some of our favorite annual events.

 

Dexter Cider Mill

3685 Central St | Facebook

Open seasonally, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, hand picked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100-years-old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on-site.

 

Dexter Blueberry Farm

11024 Beach Rd | Facebook

Open seasonally from mid-July through August, Dexter Blueberry Farm is a local farm where you can pick your own fresh blueberries. And that tradition began all the way back in the early 1970s when the first field was planted.

 

Berry Hill Farm

12835 N Territorial Rd | Facebook

Berry Hill Farm has been growing raspberries since 1985. Today, you can pick your own raspberries and blackberries during harvest season from mid-July through October.

 

 

Outdoor Recreation

 

Dexter-Huron Metropark

Get directions

outdoor recreation in Dexter Michigan

This 120-acre park is located on the east side of Dexter along the Huron River. Heavily wooded and filled with wildflowers during the spring, the open space offers shady picnic areas, swings, slides, a softball diamond, fishing and convenient places to launch your canoe on the river.

 

Hudson Mills Metropark

Get directions

The setting for some of our favorite events throughout the year, Hudson Mills Metropark covers 1,536 acres and features some of the Huron River’s most picturesque scenery. Activities throughout the year include disc golf on two, 24-hole courses, golfing on the 6,560-yard, par-71 course, cross-country skiing, playing field and court games, camping, fishing, canoeing and so much more.

 

Mill Creek Park

Get directions

Mill Creek Park in downtown Dexter has a north side and a south side located on each side of Main Street. In Mill Creek Park North, you can explore 2.15 acres via the pedestrian path, over the pedestrian bridge and along the scenic Mill Creek which flows northeast into the Huron River.

 

Border-to-Border Trail

Get directions

Developed in partnership with Huron River Greenway, the Border-to-Border Trail is a non-motorized pathway that connects cities, parks, neighborhoods and trails throughout Washtenaw County. Eventually, the trail will span 70 total miles. And a section of those miles already connects downtown Dexter directly to the Metroparks system.

 

 

Annual Events

 

The Memorial Day Parade

May

Memorial Day Parade Dexter Michigan

Dexter’s Memorial Day Parade is hosted each year by Rotary Club of Dexter on Memorial Day. For more information on this year’s event, check out their website here.

 

Gordon Hall Days

June

Hosted by the Dexter Area Historical Society, Gordon Hall Days is an exciting and historic community event that features barn raising demonstrations, an antique market, tours of Gordon Hall, arts and crafts, kid-friendly games, animal demonstrations, afternoon tea inside Gordon Hall, the Dexter History Walk, a car show, food and live music. For information on this year’s event, click here.

 

Dexter Daze

August

For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment. This event is put together each year by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival

August

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the three-day exhibit in Monument Park.

 

Dexter Summer Concerts

Summer

Every Friday during the summer, the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce hosts this summer series in the Monument Park Gazebo. The free shows start with the Dexter Community Orchestra, continue with other local bands, and include other live performances.

 

Apple Daze Festival

October

Apple Daze Festival Dexter Michigan

The Dexter Lions Club sponsors Apple Daze in celebration of Michigan’s most famous product: apples! In Monument Park during harvest season, the event includes hayrides, apple pie eating contests, a classic car show, games for kids, cider, doughnuts and candy apples, craft booths, and more.

 

Downtown Halloween Treats

October

On the day of Halloween, you can find Main Street businesses open for trick or treaters all day. Then, the holiday culminates in a kid-friendly party in Monument Park during the afternoon—all hosted by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce

 

The Kroger A2 Turkey Trot

November

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Greg Sadler Photography via Epic Races

Epic Races celebrates Thanksgiving with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark. This running and walking event features three different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, and a quick mile fun run.

 

Dexter After Dark

December

An event hosted by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce, Dexter After Dark invites local businesses to stay open late and shoppers can enjoy special sales, giveaways, prizes and more to kick off the holiday season.

 

Holiday Hustle

December

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! A portion from each registration is donated to local charities and race day participants can bring non-perishable food items to receive free raffle tickets.

 

 

Did you fall in love with Dexter?

If you want to find your permanent home in Dexter, Michigan, click here to see homes for sale in the area.

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Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped

Ann Arbor independent bookstores

In 1971, Borders Books began as a small, used bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. Over the years, the hometown operation outgrew several new storefronts until it landed in its grand, two-story building on Liberty and Maynard Streets. It soon became both the largest retail business in downtown Ann Arbor and the first book superstore as it spread across the globe.

But as many book lovers know Borders locations everywhere closed their doors in 2011—including our hometown headquarters. And the book superstore wasn’t the only one suffering; online sales and larger corporations crippled independent bookstores all over the country.

But in 2013, despite losing Borders and other beloved shops, our little book-loving community saw the opening of two new independent bookstores. And today, Ann Arbor is celebrated as one of the last remaining towns where independent bookstores are alive and well.

We rounded up the local storefronts and businesses where you can help support independent bookstores. And while you’re shopping, you may also find your new favorite book, a cozy atmosphere and a local community of book lovers just like you.

Bookbound

1729 Plymouth Rd | Facebook

Co-founder Peter Blackshear worked at Ann Arbor’s Borders for nearly two decades. When it closed for good, he and his wife decided to pursue their dream of opening their own community bookstore, and since our book-loving community offered the perfect setting, they opened Bookbound right here in 2013. Today, they’re a favorite in town offering new releases and bestsellers alongside classics and nonfiction, children’s books, bargain books, gifts, special orders and more.

 

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room

114 S Main St | Facebook

Crazy Wisdom has been locally owned and independent since 1982, and they’re still going strong today as Ann Arbor’s headquarters for books on specialized topics like holistic health, psychology, Buddhism, spiritual development, consciousness and more. With over 200 book categories total, an inventory of other goods, and a tea room where you can enjoy a full English tea, you’ll find plenty of excuses to hang out in this cozy downtown shop.

 

The Dawn Treader Book Shop

514 E Liberty St | Facebook

Dawn Treader Book Shop Ann Arbor independent bookstores

Photo courtesy of The Dawn Treader Book Shop

This local bookshop has been selling used and rare books for twenty-two years in Ann Arbor. Over the years, they transformed from a tiny basement store into a huge storefront offering more than 70,000 titles. And though they specialize in rare and antiquarian collections, shoppers can find everything from recent paperback releases to incunabula that dates all the way back to the 1500s.

 

Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library Book Shop

343 S 5th Ave | Facebook

The Friends of the Ann Arbor Public Library was formed in 1953 and has since been the driving force for expansion of the Ann Arbor District Library and its programs. In 1954, they hosted their first fundraiser selling books, records, picture frames, baked goods and flowers, and they raised $348. Today, their shop brings in more than $100,000 per year to aid the library. You can shop the book shop at the Downtown Library and find thousands of gently used titles sold at prices as low as 50 cents.

 

Literati Bookstore

124 E Washington St | Facebook

Literati Ann Arbor independent bookstores

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

When Borders closed its doors all over the country, Hilary and Mike Gustafson were inspired to move back to their home state and open Literati Bookstore as a book-lovers haven in downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, they set out an old typewriter and invited anyone and everyone to type a note on it. Over the years, they accumulated thousands of love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, “Notes From A Public Typewriter” compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more. In addition to their public typewriter, their huge inventory of books and their friendly staff, they have a full-service coffee shop upstairs!

 

Motte & Bailey Booksellers

212 N 4th Ave | Facebook

Motte & Bailey is a type of medieval Norman castle and the name of this local bookstore was chosen to reflect the team’s interest in books that concern all the various aspects of history. They opened their original storefront in 2000, moved into their current one in 2006, and have become notable in town for their huge inventory of books, their history-focused reading groups, and their great book deals. Speaking of which, you can take advantage of the “buy three and get a deal” offer every day. For more information, check out the website here.

 

Nicola’s Books

2513 Jackson Ave | Facebook

Nicola's Books Ann Arbor independent bookstores

Photo courtesy of Nicola’s Books

Nicola’s is a bookstore for everyone with everything and every title you could dream of. That’s because this premier independent bookstore specializes in book searches—especially if your dream book is out of print or hard to find. In addition to this unique skill, they also offer an inventory of bestsellers, new releases, classics, children’s book and more.

 

Our Lady of Grace Bookstore

24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive | Facebook

This locally-owned, specialized bookstore focuses on traditional and current Catholic books, Bibles, gifts, inspirational art and media. From Roman Catholic study books to uplifting DVDs and even special-occasion gifts for baptism, first communion and confirmation, their staff and inventory can help you regarding all your faith-based needs.

 

Vault of Midnight

219 S Main St | Facebook

Vault of Midnight Ann Arbor independent bookstores

Photo courtesy of Chase Stanton via Vault of Midnight

As the headquarters of comic book lore in Michigan, Vault of Midnight has three locations: their flagship store in Ann Arbor which opened in 1996, their second in Grand Rapids and a third in Detroit. Inside and online, you can get access to comic book subscription services, special orders, the book of the month, special events, education, merchandise and so much more.

 

West Side Book Shop

113 W Liberty St

Originally opened in 1975, West Side Book Shop has been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America since 1980. As such, the shop specializes in antiquarian material with a strong focus on adventure and exploration. Stop in to fuel your own adventure and you may stumble upon a rare find or a modern first edition.

 

Looking for more books?  

You can find more local businesses, like Aunt Agatha’s and Garrett Scott, Bookseller, operating online where they offer online inventory and other book services.

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The Best Places to Eat Dinner in Ann Arbor Without a Reservation

Ann Arbor dinner no reservations

So, you’re planning a dinner date, a family outing, or a friendly dinner and you forgot to make a reservation? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of options for dining in Ann Arbor.

We rounded up the local Ann Arbor restaurants that either don’t accept or don’t require reservations which means, yes, some of these restaurants won’t have a wait. But remember, walk-in only doesn’t mean walk-in right away. Some of the walk-in only spots may have a wait; if you’re worried, it’s always a good idea to call ahead. We’ve provided phone numbers, too, to make it easy for you.

 

Arbor Brewing Company

114 E Washington St | Facebook | (734) 213-1393

When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. Today, their two locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have become beloved destinations for craft beer and inspired food. The Ann Arbor brewpub offers a pub-inspired menu with everything from hand breaded chicken fingers to smoked trout and even a vegan burger!

 

Biercamp

1643 S State St | Facebook | (734) 995-2437

Biercamp Ann Arbor dinner no reservations

Photo courtesy of Biercamp

Everything at Biercamp is made by hand in small batches using unique ingredients and family recipes. And all the meats come from farms where animals are raised humanely with no antibiotics, hormones, growth promoting drugs or artificial ingredients. And as a craft brewery, the same care and attention is applied to their beer program. In the combination shop, taproom and beer garden, you can taste their small-batch craft beers which are also made in-house and by hand.

 

Cantina Taqueria + Bar

1140 S University Ave | Facebook | (734) 222-3715

From their casual dining room perched above South University, Cantina serves bold tacos made from quality ingredients alongside tequilas, whiskeys and craft margaritas. With a menu of both meaty and vegetarian options, it’s the perfect location for everyone to come together and enjoy carnitas tacos, potato tacos, black bean tacos and more!

 

Earthen Jar

311 S 5th Ave | Facebook | (734) 327-9464

If you’re looking for a place to dine without a reservation, a buffet is going to be a good bet, and choosing Earthen Jar would be one of your best decisions of the day. The vegetarian and mostly vegan buffet is the first and only kosher restaurant in Ann Arbor. They offer a hot buffet, cold buffet and dessert buffet all packed with delicious Indian food.

 

El Harissa Market Cafe

1516 N Maple Rd | Facebook | (734) 585-0686

The name El Harissa comes from Harissa, a spicy and flavorful chili pepper paste that has injected its explosive flavor into dishes from throughout the Mediterranean region. Using this inspiration, the team at this Ann Arbor café produces unique North African and Mediterranean cuisine that includes everything from meat entrees to gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

 

Frita Batidos

117 W Washington St | Facebook | (734) 761-2882

At Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction because the frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. And a batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). That’s what we call a perfect pairing!

 

Good Time Charley’s

1140 S University Ave | Facebook | (734) 668-8411

Good Time Charley's Ann Arbor dinner no reservations

Photo courtesy of Good Time Charley’s

Good Time Charley’s opened its doors in 1979, the first U-M student walked in, and the rest is history. The sports bar and restaurant is located right across the street from the university and is a great choice to watch Wolverine games, to enjoy a casual dinner, to meet with friends or to grab a beer at the bar. Whichever one you’re choosing today, we recommend starting your visit with an order of Pepperoni Styx.

 

Haymaker Public House

203 E Washington St | Facebook | (734) 997-5399

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, Haymaker is a favorite sports bar and restaurant amongst locals, students, visitors and people around all of Southeast Michigan. Their pub offers board games, trivia, handcrafted beverages, 24 different beers on draft and a menu of classic comfort food that includes Brisket & Waffle Poutine. Yum!

 

HopCat

311 Maynard St | Facebook | (734) 436-2875

HopCat began back in 2008 in Grand Rapids and later opened their Ann Arbor location which has now been serving beer, food and fun for more than three years. Through those years, they’ve offered their famous lineup of 100 craft beers on tap and a semi-psychedelic setting that perfectly fits the atmosphere of A2. With items like Vladimir Poutine, Five Pepper Beef Chili, The Grand Royale, and an entire section dedicated to stuffed burgers, the food menu is worth a visit even if you’re not there for the beer.

 

Isalita

341 E Liberty St | Facebook | (734) 213-7400

From the same team behind MANI Osteria and Mikette Bistro & Bar, Isalita is our hometown’s very own cantina. The menu is inspired by the street stall food found in open-air markets throughout Mexico and the hospitality is designed in true mi casa es su casa spirit.

On normal days, they don’t accept reservations for groups smaller than five, but they do offer a 20-minute call ahead guest list. For more information on their reservation policy, click here.

 

The Lunch Room Diner & Canteen

407 N 5th Ave | Facebook | (734) 224-8859

The Lunch Room is the original location from the foodie team that has become a favorite here in Ann Arbor. Because only plant-based foods are served here, you never have to worry about the presence of meat, dairy, eggs, honey or anything processed with animal products. Additionally, many ingredients are also organic and non-GMO and nearly every item is made from scratch.

 

MANI Osteria

341 E Liberty St | Facebook | (734) 769-6700

This downtown restaurant is named for two things: the word “mani”, which means “hands” or “handmade” in Italian and the classic Italian osteria, an eatery that emphasizes local ingredients, small production wines and hospitality.

On normal days, they don’t accept reservations for groups smaller than five, but they do offer a 20-minute call ahead guest list. For more information on their reservation policy, click here.

 

Rappourt Brew & Chew

2721 Plymouth Rd | Facebook | (734) 929-2430

The family-owned Rappourt offers a communal dining room and a true community atmosphere. Pair that with a gourmet burger, signature tacos, shareable snacks, pub-inspired entrees, and/or chicken wings and you’ll leave happy every time. Additional bonuses include 48 taps of rotating craft beer and delicious vegetarian options!

 

Spencer

113 E Liberty St | Facebook | (734) 369-3979

Spencer Ann Arbor dinner no reservations

Photo courtesy of Spencer

Owned and operated by two food and hospitality experts, Spencer balances the feel of a casual wine bar with craveable, upscale fare made from local ingredients. As a result, the small, daily changing menu is made up of unique shareable plates as well as an impressive lineup of wines, drafts and bottles. Their casual but modern atmosphere is complete with counter service and communal seating, and you can stop in for dinner six nights a week.

 

Tomukun Noodle Bar

505 E Liberty St #200 | Facebook | (734) 995-8668

As Ann Arbor’s favorite noodle bar, Tomukun, serves some of the town’s best ramen, pho, udon, stir-fry and pork buns along with a wide variety of imported Asian beers, sake and soju. Inspired by the comfort foods the owners and chefs grew up with in Asia, you’re sure to be satisfied at the end of every dinner—and you’ll want to come back ASAP!

 

Wolverine State Brewing Co.

2019 W Stadium Blvd | Facebook | (734) 369-2990

This Ann Arbor craft brewery is the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do—from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations. And in the taproom, you can pair that a food menu filled with shareable plates, snacks, famous nachos, salads and craft sandwiches.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Where do you go for dinner when you don’t have time to make a reservation? Let us know in the comments below!

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