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The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the entirety of Southeast Michigan are famous destinations for paddle and water sports. This is thanks in large part to the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and easily accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan.

So, if you want to try your hand at kayaking or canoeing, this is a great place to start. Keep reading to find out where you can rent or buy the necessities, where you can sign up for programs, classes and guided trips, and where you can go to paddle both on the river and off.

 

 

Where to Go

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for kayakers is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for kayaking, it’s not the only place where you can practice your paddling!

 

Huron River Water Trail

As we mentioned, the Huron River is a huge kayaking attraction through Southeast Michigan. It winds through some of our favorite communities and is one of only 18 designated National Water Trails. The river trail sees more than 100,000 visitors every year who paddle, float and fish along the water. The 104-mile river offers 32 access sites, an all-abilities access point in Gallup Park and more accessible access points planned.

 

Waterloo State Recreation Area

The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area encompasses 20,000 acres. Home to 11 inland lakes, visitors can paddle in several different surroundings. Overnight campers can rent paddle boats at Sugarloaf Campground and all visitors can rent at the Portage Campground. For more information regarding park activities, click here.

 

Independence Lake County Park

Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your own kayak across the water, or rent paddle boats and rowboats on site.

 

Kensington Metropark

Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout the 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas, and the 1,200-acre Kent Lake. Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available at the boat rental building near Maple Beach; you can get more information here.

 

Seven Lakes State Park

An hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park is made up of farmland, rolling hills, forested land and 230 acres of water. During the summer months, you can rent or bring your own rowboats, canoes and paddle boats. Near the swim beach, you’ll find a boat launch, a concession stand for snacks, restrooms and changing courts as well as horseshoes, volleyball and playground equipment.

 

 

What You Need

There’s more to kayaking than just the kayak. Especially if you’re a beginner, there are a few safety items you may want to look into and maybe even a fun accessory or two! If you’re wondering where to start, we suggest stopping by any one of these local facilities or businesses. There, you’ll find local experts, rentals and more.

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Argo Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Ann Arbor operates two rental facilities: Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. Here, they maintain and offer hundreds of boats available on a first come, first served basis. They also offer guided river trips, still water paddle excursions, river programs, festivals, camps for kids, and an annual canoe and kayak auction. Whether you need a boat, need to ask a question, or want expert guidance on the water, start here.

 

Adventure Leadership Rental Center

Adventure Leadership Rental Center is a University of Michigan facility that rents outdoor and recreational equipment to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. To see their operating hours, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI is a great place to ask questions about local recreation and buy your own equipment. They also offer regular classes and trainings in recreation topics, from the How to Pack a Backpack Workshop to Kayaking Basics and everything in between.

 

Dunham’s Sports

Dunham’s Sports is the Midwest’s largest sporting goods chain. When they opened in 1937, they were just a small bait and tackle shop in West Bloomfield. Today, they have 230 stores, including one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti. Their available equipment includes kayaks, canoes, boats, life vests and more.

 

Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is the go-to sporting goods store for gently used, lower-priced sports and recreation equipment. The Ann Arbor store is located at Westgate Shopping Center.

 

 

How to Learn

Paddle sports can be dangerous in some cases, and learning the ropes through classes, workshops or guided trips is always a good idea before you take off alone. If you want to practice with an expert or take a class on the basics, keep reading!

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

In addition to boat rentals, Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery offer great places to learn through guided river trips. In addition to these seasonally available daily trips, their calendar includes special classes and camps in kayaking, fishing and stand up paddleboarding. To see their programs, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI hosts regular classes in several outdoor and recreation topics. That calendar often includes workshops like free Kayaking Basics, free Women’s Kayaking Basics, and even SUP Basics. To see the calendar, click here.

 

Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Located at Delhi Metropark, Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery is open seasonally and offers some of the best, guided river trips on one of the most scenic stretches of the Huron River. Their lineup includes tubing and kayaking trips between one and four hours and new Guided Glow Paddle trips, which take place at night in kayaks equipped with color-changing LED lights. To learn more, click here.

 

Tecumseh Paddling Company

Located right on the water in Tecumseh, this family-run paddling company offers guided river trips on River Raisin—one of the world’s most crooked rivers—and paddle practice and excursions on Globe Mill and Standish Ponds. Paddle the Ponds is an especially good option for beginners and kids! For more information, check out the website here.

 

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental have four locations to make traveling the Huron River easy and convenient. Their main location is at Proud Lake State Recreation Area with others at Island Lake State Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark and Newburgh Lake in Livonia. Their team offers a variety of trips ranging from one-hour, self-return trips to multi-day journeys with transportation back to the canoe rental. To learn more, click here.

 

 

Do you have any tips?

If you love paddling in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend May 2019

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

In our Ann Arbor area communities, April showers bring May festivals. Though summer doesn’t officially start until June, our cities and towns are already celebrating the warmer weather with outdoor events, including car shows, art walks, fairs, fundraisers, 5Ks and river days.

We rounded up the can’t-miss events happening this May so you can take part in all the fun—from indoor film screenings to outdoor community cleanup days. Read more about them below, find links to tickets and registration where necessary, and get ready for a fun-filled month!

 

Jump ahead:

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

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Arts + Culture 

 

Cinetopia Film Festival | Ann Arbor   

May 10 – 19, various times | Various locations

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Specially curated for the community of Southeast Michigan, Cinetopia features the best feature-length dramas, comedies and documentaries shown at the world’s best film festivals, including SXSW, Sundance and more. Outside of screenings, special pre- and post-film events include presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers and stars. The Ann Arbor venues are the Michigan Theater, State Theater and The U-M Hatcher Library with various other events happening in Detroit and the surrounding area. You can see all the ticket and pass info here.

 

Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival | Ann Arbor

May 10 – 15, various times | Michigan Theater

An Ann Arbor tradition for nearly two decades, the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival is teaming up with Cinetopia Film Festival in 2019. The special program explores the global Jewish experience through the art of filmmaking and you can see all the featured films here.

 

Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival | Ypsilanti  

May 18 – 19, various times | Riverside Park

Now in its 32nd year, this car show celebrates all variations of Volkswagens. If you have a vehicle to display, you can pay $15 at the gate, but spectators can enter for just $5 on the day of the festival. Don’t miss the Slow Speed Slalom on Saturday!

 

Westside Art Hop | Ann Arbor

May 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Old West Side

Westside Art Hop is presented as Michigan’s quirkiest Art Walk. The twice-yearly event showcases high-quality arts and crafts for sale to the public in a festive atmosphere. While exploring the Old West Side, you can peruse artwork, meet the artists and perhaps even find a new piece for your home!

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Ann Arbor Bloom Fest | Ann Arbor

May 11, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Hosted by Main Street Area Association in Downtown Ann Arbor, Bloom Fest is a celebration of spring with our local businesses. Nearly all day on Saturday, you can enjoy special sales, events, deals, treats and more. To see all the offerings, click here.

 

Meals on Heels | Ypsilanti  

May 16, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace

Meals on Heels is a fundraising event hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. On Thursday evening in Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace, guests can enjoy a glamorous, Gatsby-themed evening celebrating the style of the 1920s while showcasing the flavors and colors of spring in Ypsilanti. Enjoy plenty of local food, drinks and music as accompaniment, plus live demonstrations like cocktail mixing, cooking and floral arranging. You can learn more and get tickets here.

 

Community Cleanup Day | Ypsilanti

May 18, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Various locations

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Previously called Ypsilanti Proud, this annual event began as a class project by the 1995 graduating class of Leadership Ypsilanti. Now celebrating its 24th year, the event fosters community pride and encourages local business growth through simple beautification projects. Join more than 500 volunteers on May 18th and help clean up litter, paint and plant flowers. For more information on locations and projects, click here.

 

Water Lantern Festival | Milan

May 18, 5 – 10 p.m. | Milan Beach

This family-friendly event in Milan invites guests to enjoy tasty food trucks, live music and the beautiful sight of hundreds of floating, illuminated lanterns floating on the water at Milan Beach. Your ticket comes with a floating lantern and a marker so you can write your own inspiring message before placing it on the water. For tickets and more information, click here.

 

Huron River Day | Ann Arbor

May 19, 12 – 4 p.m. | Gallup Park

Huron River Day May 2018 events in Ann Arbor, Michigan things to do

Huron River Day is an afternoon full of free, family-friendly river activities at Gallup Park. Attractions will include live music, a butterfly house from the Michigan Native Butterfly Farm, an antique and classic boat show, water activities with the University of Michigan Natural History Museum, live animals from the Leslie Science & Nature Center, and so much more!

 

Milan Fair | Milan

May 30 – June 1, various times | Wilson Park

In 2019, Milan Fair highlights include a carnival, a parade, an artisan market, fireworks, kids’ activities, and an entertainment tent that features live music, dancing, food and adult beverages. In total, the three-day festival includes 18 spectacular events in Wilson Park with something fun for everyone in the family.

 

 

Sports

 

The Color Run | Ypsilanti

May 11, 8 a.m. | Riverside Park  

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

The Color Run is coming to Riverside Park on May 11th. This wildly happy and fun event includes an untimed 5K run. At each kilometer mark, runners are doused from head to toe in a different colored powder so you can cross the finish line completely tie-dyed. To register, click here.

 

Suburban Chevrolet Ann Arbor Goddess Run | Dexter

May 12, 8:30 a.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark

This Mother’s Day event includes fun pre-race warmups, a 5K course, a one-mile fun run and a 200-meter dash for kids. As a celebration of all the women in our community, you can run individually or run as a couple in the Mother-Daughter category, or invite your grandma to run in the Three Generations of Women category! Get all the details and registration info here.

 

Walk and Wag | Ypsilanti

May 18, 8 a.m. | Rolling Hills Park

Hosted by Humane Society of Huron Valley, this fundraising event assists in the rescue and care of the most vulnerable animals in our community. Bring your family and your pup on race day to enjoy a 5K run or a one-mile walk, as well as games and fun for everyone!

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Ypsi Food Fight | Ypsilanti

May 18, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace

A fundraiser to benefit Growing Hope, Ypsi Food Fight brings together six local restaurants, five judges and hundreds of guests (that’s you!). The restaurants will battle it out in a friendly, foodie, high-energy competition and all guests get to sample the dishes and vote for their favorite. To get your tickets, click here.

 

Camp Bacon | Dexter

May 31, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Zingerman's Camp Bacon 2019

Photo courtesy of Emma Boonstra via Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

As one of Southeast Michigan’s favorite annual events, Camp Bacon brings together food lovers, historians and community members for an entire week of fun and bacon. The main event, Camp Bacon, is scheduled for May 31st from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. However, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is hosting several other events throughout the week at various venues, including the Camp Bacon Film Festival on May 29th, the 10th Annual Bacon Ball on May 30th, and the Camp Bacon Street Fair on June 2nd. For more information and the full schedule, click here.

 

 

Happy May!

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16 Easter Events and Egg Hunts in the Ann Arbor Area 2019

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

This year, Easter falls on April 21st, but our Ann Arbor area communities are celebrating long before. Beginning April 13th, you’ll find plenty more opportunities to meet the bunny and hunt for eggs.

Keep reading to start planning your family-friendly fun in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and Plymouth. And we mean the whole family as some of these events are open to your dogs, too!

 

 

Easter Bunny Photo Time | Ann Arbor

March 22 – April 20 | Briarwood Mall

Briarwood Mall is hosting the Easter Bunny for nearly an entire month before Easter. Kids are welcome to meet him and snap commemorative photos. For the full schedule, click here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at West Side UMC | Ann Arbor

April 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Ann Arbor West Side United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Free and open to everyone, West Side UMC is hosting an Easter egg hunt on the grounds of their church on April 13th. Children through 5th grade are welcome to hunt for eggs and stick around for games, crafts and storytime.

 

Easter Bunny Photos at The Pet Emporium | Ann Arbor

April 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | The Pet Emporium

The Pet Emporium is hosting a kid and pet-friendly event where all ages and all types of pets can meet the Easter Bunny and get photos taken. Photo sheets cost $15 and all profits support Greyhound Expressions. For more information, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Fur Ball Egg Hunt | Ypsilanti

April 14, 2 – 4 p.m. | Fur Ball Society

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Local dog daycare and pet sitting service, Fur Ball Society is hosting the Fur Ball Egg Hunt for dogs on April 14th. The event will feature a large fenced area where dogs can find plastic eggs filled with prizes. Make sure to stick around to snap a photo with the Easter Bunny! To get your tickets, click here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza at Woodside | Plymouth

April 14, 5 – 7 p.m. | Woodside Bible Church

Woodside Bible Church in Plymouth is hosting a free evening of Easter fun complete with an egg hunt, crafts, food, games and more. The event is open to the entire community so bring the whole family along!

 

Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny | Ann Arbor

April 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Briarwood Mall

Your human kids can meet the Easter Bunny at Briarwood Mall through April 20th, but your dog only has one more chance on April 14th! Bring your pet between 6 and 7:30 p.m. to get your festive photos.

 

Passover and Easter Storytime Tasting | Ann Arbor

April 19, 10:30 – 11 a.m. | Zingerman’s Upstairs Next Door

The Zingerman’s Just for Younger Kids tasting series invites kids between the ages of 2 and 5 to hear a story and learn to taste like an expert. And this special event will have a festive twist—kids’ admission costs $10 and parents attend for free! You can reserve your spot here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza | Dexter

April 20, 10 a.m. | Community Park

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Dexter is hosting their beloved Easter Eggstravaganza for the 9th year in a row on April 20th. Attractions include live bunnies, egg scrambles, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting and more. You can purchase tickets in advance at a discount, or on-site for $3 per child and $5 for two or more children. For more details, click here.

 

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.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Vineyard Church | Ann Arbor

April 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m. | Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor

The annual egg hunt at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor is a favorite local Easter event. Free and open to all, this year’s event will begin with breakfast at 10 a.m. followed by an egg hunt, inflatables, pony rides, face painting and a petting zoo. For event updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Spring Bunny Tea | Ann Arbor

April 20, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Eat More Tea

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring Bunny Tea is an event hosted by Eat More Tea and designed specifically for kids. For $12 per person, you can enjoy an afternoon tea complete with light refreshments. Reservations are required and you can make yours by leaving a message at (734) 882-2787. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Dragon Egg Workshop at Unicorn Feed & Supply | Ypsilanti

April 20, 2 – 4 p.m. | Unicorn Feed & Supply

Unicorn Feed & Supply is celebrating Easter weekend with dragon eggs instead of chicken eggs. At this drop-in workshop, you’re invited to create your very own magical dragon egg guided by local artist Amy Balzer-Pemberton. Open to all ages, this event costs $12 and you can get more information on the Facebook event page here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Stony Creek United Methodist Church | Ypsilanti

April 21, 11: 30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Stony Creek United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

On Easter Sunday, Stony Creek United Methodist Church is hosting an egg hunt immediately after church service. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

The Village Conference Center Easter Brunch | Chelsea

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Village Conference Center

The Village Conference Center at Comfort Inn is hosting an Easter brunch on Sunday morning complete with a chef-attended omelet and waffle station, gourmet macaroni and cheese, applewood smoked ham, and more. Reservations cost $25 per adult, $21 per senior, $13 for kids aged 6 to 12 years, and children 5 years and younger are admitted for free. Make your reservations by calling (734) 433-8000.

 

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club Easter Sunday Brunch | Ann Arbor

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club is hosting an Easter brunch open to members and non-members. A few of the breakfast attractions include an omelet station, a crepe station, a seafood bar and a carving station. You can see the full menu and get price details here.

 

Paesano Easter Brunch Buffet | Ann Arbor

April 21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Paesano

Paesano is an award-winning Ann Arbor restaurant famous for its Italian-inspired meals and their impressive wine list. On Easter Sunday, you can join them for a special Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but reservations are required. Call (734) 971-0484 to make yours.

 

 

Happy Easter!

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What to Do in Ann Arbor in the Spring

what to do in spring in Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring sees the last of our bitter cold days and welcomes the warm, summer sun back to Ann Arbor. Through the transition, our community celebrates with huge annual events, blooming gardens, bountiful harvests, and plenty of outdoor adventure.

To help you make the most of the season, we created a guide to spring activities in Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities. From the hyper-local community gardens and farmers market events of Ann Arbor to the wilds of Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea, here’s everything you need to do this spring. Enjoy!

 

1. Attend a seasonal event.

Zingerman's Camp Bacon 2019

Photo courtesy of Emma Boonstra via Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Though community events don’t ever stop here in the Ann Arbor area, they certainly increase during the warmer months. Spring brings us some of our most beloved happenings, like FOOLmoon and FestiFools, Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival, Cinetopia Film Festival, Camp Bacon, Ypsilanti Proud, and so many more.

On the Reinhart blog, we post monthly event guides so you can stay up-to-date on our community’s most exciting events. First, check out The 11 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend April 2019. Follow us on the blog here or on our Facebook page here for our upcoming May and June guides, too!

 

2. Visit a community garden.

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Spring is planting season, and here in the Ann Arbor area, you don’t have to have an at-home garden to celebrate. In fact, Project Grow operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park! To learn more about community gardens in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter, check out our list of Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area. Our guide includes garden plots you can rent and grow yourself, as well as community gardens maintained for charitable and educational purposes.

 

3. Go to the dog park.

As snow melts and we get sneak peeks of summer weather, there might be no one else who is as excited as your dog. Your pups are free to play and explore outdoors without snow or cold and in some regional dog parks, they can even play in the water! To help you and your four-legged family members explore the area, we rounded up The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped. It includes details on local spots like Brighton Recreation Area where your dog can play on one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches, Mill Pond Dog Park which is the only local park that offers off-leash water access, and Swift Run Dog Park right here in Ann Arbor — at ten acres, it’s the largest dog park in the city!

 

4. Shop the farmers market.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Here in Ann Arbor, you can shop the Ann Arbor Farmers Market year-round on Saturdays. But beginning in May, market hours get longer and you can shop two days a week—Wednesday and Saturday. Monthly Food Truck Rallies return in May, too! These community events bring together some of Michigan’s best food trucks once a month from May through October for a full evening of fun in Kerrytown. For complete details, hours and dates on this year’s market, click here.

 

5. Sign up for a CSA program.

In addition to local farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture—or CSA programs—are an excellent way to get local meat, veggies, fruit and/or eggs directly from a local farmer. These programs invite people of the community (like you!) to invest in a local farm for the season and those paying members get to enjoy the annual harvest however abundant it may be. Typically, you pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the season. Then, you get to be a part of the farm community and enjoy a portion of the harvest every week.

Since Southeast Michigan has been built largely upon our agricultural history, our community boasts several thriving, local and family-run farms, and many of these farms offer CSA programs! A few of our favorites include Tantré Farm, Community Farm of Ann Arbor, Raindance Organic Farm and Sunseed Farm.

 

6. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include eleven outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Together, they provide trails, lawns and stunning gardens—especially stunning during full bloom in the spring.

 

7. Kayak the Huron River.

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities have developed along the banks of the Huron River amid countless lakes and ponds suitable for paddle sports. So, whether you want a challenging route down the river or a peaceful float atop a lake, you’ll find the perfect setting right here.

Some of the best places to get on the river can be found in Argo Park and Gallup Park, which are connected by the Huron River and home to the Argo Canoe Livery and the Gallup Park Canoe Livery, respectively. Through these facilities, you can embark on guided adventures, rent equipment and even attend river-themed events like the Huron River Day Festival, which happens every May!

 

8. Explore our city parks.

The City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains 159 parks and 15 park facilities offering everything from hands-on experiences at Cobblestone Farm to swim lessons at Fuller Park Outdoor Pool. On the long list of activities available throughout these outdoor areas, you’ll find disc golf courses at Bandemer and Mary Beth Doyle, a dirt bike course at Bandemer, more than ten acres of off-leash dog area, an outdoor skate park at Veterans Memorial Park, soccer and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and so much more.

To see the full list of parks and activities, click here.

 

9. Head to Waterloo Recreation Area.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,500 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor near Chelsea. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf on an 18-hole course, and even ride horses. There are 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone, and Horse ‘N Around Stables offers guided trail rides and riding lessons.

Together, Pinckney Recreation Area and Waterloo Recreation Area offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and they’re connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail.

 

10. Grab a spot on the patio.

Our Ann Arbor community certainly loves being outdoors—whether we’re lounging in a park, exploring a nearby trail or simply enjoying a meal under the sun. And there are plenty of places to do all three. When you’re looking for a meal and a patio, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor. Our guide includes local businesses like Bill’s Beer Garden, a beer garden and community gathering space that’s open seasonally from March through October, and Dominick’s, a local legend famous for potent sangria, Italian-inspired eats and outdoor seating.

 

Happy Spring!

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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

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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 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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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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Where to See Santa in the Ann Arbor Area this Holiday Season

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

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!

 

Briarwood Mall | Ann Arbor

100 Briarwood Cir | November 16 – December 24 | Event info

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.

 

Three Cedars Farm | Northville

7897 Six Mile Rd | November 23 – December 16 | Event info

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 | Clinton  

301 W Bartlett St | December 3 – 4 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

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!

 

Saline Rec Center | Saline

1866 Woodland Dr E | December 6 | Event info

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.

 

Maybury Farm | Northville  

50165 Eight Mile Rd | December 8 – 9 and 15 – 16 | Event info

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.

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

8801 N Territorial Rd | December 9 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

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.

 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens | Ann Arbor

1800 N Dixboro Rd | December 15 | Event info

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.

 

Kensington Hotel | Ann Arbor

3500 S State St | December 15 | Event info

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.

 

Polo Fields Country Club | Ann Arbor

5200 Polo Fields Dr | December 16 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

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.

 

Kerrytown Market & Shops | Ann Arbor

407 N 5th Ave | December 22 | Event info

In Kerrytown, you can visit Santa for free from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 22nd! They’re also hosting a Food Gatherers Can Drive so bring a can of food to donate, too.

 

Happy holidays!  

If you know of a place in the Ann Arbor area where we can see Santa, let us know in the comments below.

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25+ Holiday Events in the Ann Arbor Area 2018

Ann Arbor Michigan holiday Christmas events 2018

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!

 

Holiday Art Shop | Ann Arbor

November 16 – December 31 | Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor Art Center Holiday Gift Shop Christmas events 2018

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

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.

 

Tree Lighting Festival | Ann Arbor

November 25, 5 – 6 p.m. | Kerrytown Market & Shops

Kerrytown kicks off the holiday season with the Tree Lighting Festival each year. Join them in the courtyard for caroling, lights and candle luminaries, and RSVP to the event on Facebook for updates.

 

Tree Lighting Ceremony | Saline

November 27, 6 – 7 p.m. | KeyBank

The holidays in Saline begin November 27th right downtown in front of KeyBank. Additional fun includes tree decorating, hot cocoa, cookies and holiday sing-a-longs!

 

Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies 2018 | Ann Arbor

November 28 – December 24 | Zingerman’s Bakehouse

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.

Other holiday-themed events with Zingerman’s includes Holiday Sweet Breads, Buche de Noel and Ari’s Greatest Hits Of 2018, and all of these have multiple dates and classes.

 

Hometown Holiday | Chelsea

November 30 – December 1 | Various locations  

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.

 

Kerrytown KindleFest | Ann Arbor

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!

 

Moonlight Madness | Ann Arbor

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.

 

Midnight Madness | Ann Arbor

November 30, 7 – 9 p.m. | Main Street Ann Arbor

Midnight Madness Main Street Ann Arbor holiday Christmas events 2018

Photo courtesy of Main Street Area Association

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.

 

Christmas in the Village | Manchester

November 30 – December 1 | Downtown Manchester  

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.

 

A Manor Christmas at Concordia University | Ann Arbor  

November 30 – December 2 | Concordia University

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!

 

The Elves and the Schumachers | Ann Arbor

November 30 – December 30 | Theatre NOVA

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.

 

The 22nd Annual Holiday Home Tour & Taste of Ypsilanti | Ypsilanti

December 1, 5 – 11 p.m. | Various locations  

Ypsilanti Home Tour holiday Christmas events 2018

Image courtesy of Just Curious, LLC via Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels

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!

 

The 43rd Annual Christmas Parade | Saline

December 1, 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Saline

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!

 

Ebird & Friends Holiday Show | Ann Arbor

December 6 – 8 | The Ark

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.

 

Big Little Holiday Party | Ypsilanti

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.

 

Holiday Hustle | Dexter

December 8, 4 p.m. | Monument Park  

Holiday Hustle 5k holiday Christmas events 2018

Photo courtesy of Robert Bowden Photography via RF Events – Holiday Hustle 5K & 1 Mile

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.

For more events, all year long, check out the RF Events race calendar.

 

Treasure Trail to Santa | Saline

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!

 

Santa Central | Dexter

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 Holiday Market | Ypsilanti

December 8 – 9 | Riverside Arts Center

DIYpsi holiday craft fair Christmas events 2018 Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Heather Nash Photography via DIYpsi; art by Diosa de la Luna

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!

 

The Weepies Holiday Acoustic Duo | Ann Arbor

December 10, 8 p.m. | The Ark

It’s been several years since The Weepies played in Ann Arbor, and they’re returning this holiday season for a festive acoustic show a The Ark! Get more details and buy your tickets here.

 

Holiday Pops | Ann Arbor

December 14, 8 – 10 p.m. | Hill Auditorium

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!

 

The Nutcracker | Ann Arbor

December 15, 6:30 p.m. | Michigan Theater

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.

 

The Bolshoi Theater Live in HD: The Nutcracker | Ann Arbor

December 23, 2 p.m. | Michigan Theater

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.

 

Happy holidays!

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