Sunday, September 29, 2013

Downtown Ann Arbor / Rainy Days and Sundays Don't Get MJ Down

MJ takes to the streets of Ann Arbor to discover what makes it special. It's walkable, it's cosmopolitan for its small size, it's ok to be a little weird here.

Ann Arbor Skyline from the top of the Fourth Ave. Parking Structure
The tower on the left is Burton Tower home of the grand carillon, one of only 23 in the world. It is the world's fourth heaviest, containing 55 bells and weighing a total of 43 tons (a grand carillon has a bourdon bell-the name given to the heaviest bell in a carillon and the one that sounds the hour-that weighs at least six tons and can sound a low G).

Looking the other way you can see in the University of Michigan Stadium (see the big block M) in the distance.

Ann Arbor is the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census recorded the population at 113,934 making it the sixth largest city in Michigan. It was founded in 1824 with one theory stating that it is named after the spouses of the city’s founders and for the stands of trees in the area. The city gained a reputation as a center for left-wing politics as it was a focal point for political activism and served as a hub for the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movement as well as various student movements. It is the home of the University of Michigan, a world-renowned institution of higher learning .

MJ is standing in front of the Ann Arbor District Library 
More than 1.5 million people came through the doors of the Ann Arbor District Library system in 2011-12, and circulation of library materials topped 8.5 million. In 1997, the Library was named “National Library of the Year” by Library Journal, the first library in Michigan to receive the honor.

You will notice that MJ is wearing a backpack, the de rigeur item for wandering Ann Arbor...great for holding all the books you will be getting from the library.

Near the Library in a tiny pocket garden is the Fairy Garden of Village of Ann Arbor

Just MJ's size!

The Beer Depot, good place to stop for some refreshment on the way home.
From the Beer Depot website:  For years the fact that the business was a drive-thru that sold beer and wine kind of made the Beer Depot a landmark. When we took over in 2005, we were no longer ALLOWED to keep the drive thru because Michigan law prevented it. Oddly, it's okay in Michigan to sell beer and wine in a drive-thru, but not if your liquor license allows you to also sell distilled spirits. The building is also an Ann Arbor Historic Building, so there are limitations on remodeling and restoration, so the building you see today is dictated by those guidelines.

Main Street in front of a favorite store of local kids, Peaceable Kingdom.

Peaceable Kingdom's Fairy Door

View inside the Fairy Door

Across the street you can see that most of the buildings are older lending the town some of its charm.

On E. Liberty near the intersection of Main St.

Kilwins Chocolate Shoppe decorated for Halloween.

Looking inside the Robot Repair Shop
From an article on MLIVE: Looking into the Ann Arbor storefront at 115 E. Liberty St., they can see everything from robot “food” and oil to robot hands and build centers. It’s a place that children come for the robots, but stay for the educational experiences.
Yes, educational experiences. Behind a red curtain in the store is a place where thousands of students have come for help with writing.
The store owner, 826michigan, is a volunteer-driven nonprofit serving nearly 2,500 students aged 6-18 with free programs centered around providing one-on-one attention to underserved students in public classrooms, libraries, and 826michigan’s center with their creative and expository writing skills. The robot supply store, which now contributes about $75,000 annually to the nonprofit, was one way to debunk the negative connotation that students may have about asking for help.

Why I love my husband

My husband is happy to walk around Ann Arbor in the rain holding MJ, wearing the backpack loaded with camera and supplies for my project, and holding her while I take pictures.  All done with a laugh. Thanks, Craig.


  1. It is late in i will come back tomoorow to read through your post, and yesterdays!!!! :) but just seeing the pics with avery quick glance...MJ will have a wonderful time with you, and you got into the fun already!! :) How sweet to see you husband with MJ! Special greetings ! Mine here also loved and adored her..but didn't have the courage to be shown on the blog! :) :) take care and enjoy the special MJ-Visit :)

  2. Very interesting tour Doris and Craig (thank you!). The fairy garden was a perfect find and the story about educating the children filled a special place in my heart! Mmm chocolate and beer lol!

  3. You are doing a wonderful job of showing her around. I like that you included history about the places you took her to. Nice that your husband is willing to tote her around. Especially in the rain. Isn't this fun?

  4. AND a Fairy garden....o, i am so jealous, would love to see that in person!!! So interesting to read all your infos! :)

  5. You look like you are having a lot of fun! You have a bunch of cute shops there in Ann Arbor.

  6. My sister did her student teaching in Ann Arbor when I was still in high school so it is fun to see streets she may have walked down. I sent this blog link to her.
    Thanks for Sharing and tell MJ I said hi!!

  7. Hey all, you all are so nice to post all these sweet comments. This evening the whole family took a stroll to the river. Will post those photos when I get more time.
    Love to all,