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Travel Logs May 2016

Compulsive Traveler

Ten Reasons People Love to Visit Ann Arbor, Michigan

By Sandra Scott

World War II buffs and airplane lovers will literally take to the air at this museum. Wannabe aviators will be in seventh heaven with a flight on one of the museum’s vintage planes such as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain that was the principal transport used by the Allies in World War II.

Ann Arbor makes the short list in many categories: the happiest city in America; best place for singles, retirees, college students, and foodies; plus, according to Frommer’s and other publications, it is one of the best vacation spots in the United States. There is something to tickle the fancy of all visitors.

  1. Sports: The University of Michigan is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.  Best known is their football team which plays in the “Big House” that is the largest stadium in the U. S.  There is more for sport enthusiasts besides cheering as a Wolverine for the University’s many male and female sports teams, among them golf, biking, kayaking, and skating.
  2. Museums: The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology houses a collection of 100,000 objects from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Near East. The Museum of Natural History has exhibits on geology; they are justly proud of their newest acquisition – a recently unearthed mammoth. Check out President Ford’s baby book at the Gerald Ford Library. The Hands-On science museum may be designed for the younger set but adults will also enjoy it.
  3. Art: Art is everywhere.  Wander the campus stopping to ponder Maya Lin’s unique grassy “Wave Field.” It is just one of many installations scattered around the campus. The University of Michigan’s Art Museum has a 19,000-collection including “Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii.” Visit the many small galleries in the city center.
  4. Performing Arts: The classic-looking Hill Auditorium is celebrated for its perfect acoustics. Professional theatrical productions take place at The Purple Rose, founded by Ann Arbor’s own, Jeff Daniels, the acclaimed actor, director and playwright. Enjoy live music at The Ark featuring a different artist each night.
  5. Artisans: The city is home to many world class artisans including Feng Jiang, one of the violin makers. Every Thursday there is a free tour of the Motawi Tileworks. Visiting fabric artist Mary Underwood is more than learning about her craft and appreciating her work as she often shares stories about the unique places she visited in search of the best wools.
  6. Yankee Air Museum: World War II buffs and airplane lovers will literally take to the air at this museum. Wannabe aviators will be in seventh heaven with a flight on one of the museum’s vintage planes such as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain that was the principal transport used by the Allies in World War II.
  7. Culinary: Take a culinary trip around the world without leaving Ann Arbor. At Ayse’s Turkish Café it’s difficult to choose between Pepper Lamb Dolmas, and Spicy Lamb Kebab.  Dine at the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant where it is said that people who eat from the same plate and break bread together will create a bond of lasting friendship. Get a taste of the Far East dining at the Slurping Turtle. Amadeus features Hungarian and other Central European dishes. Don’t miss the biannual “Taste of Ann Arbor” events.
  8. Nature: Ann Arbor is nicknamed the “Tree Town,” stemming from the dense forestation of its residential and park areas. Nature lovers should visit the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where the Conservatory has plants from three major climate zones. The Nichols Arboretum has peony and lilac gardens along with an extensive collection of native and exotic trees and shrubs.
  9. Seasonal: There is always something special going on in Ann Arbor from Ark’s Annual Folk Festival in January to FestiFools in the spring, to a multitude of art and music events during the summer, to KindleFest, the outdoor holiday market in December.
  10. Uniquely Ann Arbor: Look down to discover the Fairy Doors, miniature replicas of the doors to some of the businesses in Ann Arbor. Take note of the historic sign in front of the Art Museum detailing the speech given by John F. Kennedy that led to the formation of the Peace Corp.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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