There’s no way Ann Arbor or Detroit are considered “northern Michigan” by native Michigan-ders (-ites? -nees?), but I sure as heck sang along to this Kid Rock classic like they are during my recent trip these two cities.
A close friend of mine, Chelsea, recently moved to Ann Arbor for a job opportunity at the University of Michigan. Shortly after her move she encouraged me to visit, assuring me the drive was only three hours from Columbus. Three hours? How could that be? I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life, and I always assumed Ann Arbor and Detroit were super close to Canada. Or at least much further north than they actually are. (What is geography, even?)
As you can see from this handy dandy map, they are nearly in Canada, but they’re just across the pond from Ohio. (The pond being Lake Erie.) Lake Erie is connected to Lake St. Clair via the Detroit River (which I saw around hour 47 of my trip, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
Another fun fact? Detroit is only one of two American cities that sits directly north of a Canadian city. (That factoid found here.)
Once I Google-map’d the drive to confirm the trip’s length, we settled on a weekend for my visit–August 18-21. For those of you reading this for travel inspiration, I’d recommend going at this time of year. It was temperate, not humid, and downtown Ann Arbor was mellow since school doesn’t start until after Labor Day.
Now that we’ve gotten that background and geography lesson out of the way, we can get to the good stuff!
72 Hours in Michigan: Part 1
I made the drive to Ann Arbor. It was boring and flat, which made it the perfect time to listen and sing along to some of my mix CDs from high school and college. (Lyla by Oasis is a great road trip jam, by the way.) I passed several pro-life billboards, which made me wonder exactly where I was in the U.S. I also suspect there’s some sort of black hole, perhaps somewhere around Findlay, OH, that accelerates the rate at which you arrive in Ann Arbor. Because I still can’t wrap my head around how it only takes three hours to get there.
Chelsea and I attended NashBash at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in the Kerrytown district. (Nashville–I can’t escape it!) NashBash is an annual country music festival that features performances by Nashville songwriters and local musicians. It’s currently in its 10th year, so there’s definitely a lot of love for the south in this city. Of course there was BBQ, provided by \aut\ BAR, in addition to Salvadorian fare, pizza, ice cream, and donuts. Wolverine State Brewing Company Beer had four of their beers on tap. We tried the Cereza Rey–a cherry cream stout lager. I’m not usually a beer drinker, but the cherry cream flavor made this is light and refreshing lager to imbibe.
And what would our first NashBash be without wearing coordinating, Nashville-inspired outfits?
After we finished our beer, we took a stroll around Kerrytown. There were brick roads and beautiful, historical homes a-plenty. Just a few minutes up the street from the farmers market is Zingerman’s–a deli recognized for its super long, super stuffed sandwich menu. And President Obama ate there. (TLDR: He tried the roast beef sandwich.) Another interesting fact? They host Camp Bacon–a five-day long series of events and seminars that celebrates America’s favorite section of the food pyramid. Sign me up!
We went inside Zingerman’s main shop, where we were assured by a friendly employee that we could sample anything, no matter how inconvenient. We smiled politely and snagged a bread sample as we made our way toward the back of the store to check out the deli.We opted not to eat there, but it wasn’t for lack of choices.
We also checked out the cafe, conveniently located next door (and, conveniently, called the Next Door Cafe and Coffee House). The cafe had an equally extensive coffee and dessert selection. We tried samples of the jasmine truffle. I love floral-inspired sweets–I will eat anything lavender flavored–so it was a yummy little before-dinner treat.
As the sun was setting, our bellies growling like wolverines (see what I did there?), we walked to downtown Ann Arbor in search of food. It’s about a five minute walk there from the farmers market. We walked from restaurant-to-restaurant, looking at the menus posted outside, in search of dinner inspiration. With Nashville on the mind, we settled on Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery.
drink//falls flirtation (moscato/bourbon cocktail)
appetizer//thyme and cheddar buttermilk biscuit (I recommend trying them with butter, of course)
main course//side salad, triple mac-and-cheese (from their menu: smoked cheddar, gouda, Wisconsin aged cheddar and toasted breadcrumb crust with pulled chicken with mustard bbq sauce. A must try for mac-and-cheese lovers, like me.)
total cost (+tip)//$32
rating//4.5/5 (good atmosphere, great BBQ and American fare with quality/gourmet ingredients, unique cocktail menu, service could have been a bit more attentive)
Travel tip: Food and drinks prices in Ann Arbor are definitely above the median. Viewing several menus, many main dishes were in the $15-$20 range. Keep this in mind as you plan your food budget for this city.
Sleep and free time. Speaking of sleep, here’s a picture of me pretending to sleep from ten years ago. (I swear I’ve got a picture for everything.)
Check out Part 2 tomorrow to see what shenanigans we got into hours 24-36! (And when I say shenanigans, I really mean shenanigans.)