I was excited about our trip to Michigan earlier this month for a few reasons. First, one of my very best friends was getting married and I was IN the wedding. Second, I was getting to see some great friends and family. And third, I’ve never been to Michigan. Going to new places always excites me! I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know too much about Michigan besides what I’ve seen from the Pure Michigan ads that have been all over TV and magazines lately. I found the state to be just as beautiful as shown in the advertisements. The weather was wonderful, moderate and dry, which was perfect for a few outdoor runs (y’all know I love to run when traveling!).
Our first stop was to visit my cousin Lisa and her family in Franklin, Michigan. Franklin is one of the cutest and quaintest little towns and I absolutely adored our time there. Alex and I arrived in the afternoon and walked into “downtown” Franklin with Lisa and her kids. We picked up lunch at Market Basket, a locally owned specialty grocery store with freshly made food and bakery items. Alex and I split a Reuben (the house specialty) and an Oreo cupcake and thoroughly enjoyed both. After lunch, we popped into some of the local shops and saw the Franklin Cider Mill, which was unfortunately not open for the season yet. My cousin raved about the freshly pressed cider and apple donuts at the Cider Mill. If you’re in the area between Labor Day and the first weekend after Thanksgiving, please let me know how it is!
Before leaving Franklin, Alex and I stopped at Farm House Coffee and Ice Cream for a coffee and breakfast sandwich. The coffee is fair trade and organic and I especially loved the shop because it offers milk alternatives like almond milk and soy milk. Farm House also has ice cream made by Guernsey Farms, a popular local dairy. Unfortunately it was a little early, but the ice cream looked delicious and creamy!
The next afternoon, we drove to Ann Arbor, excited for the wedding festivities to begin. We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn, which I definitely recommend if you are visiting Ann Arbor. The location is quite convenient to the school and city, the rooms are comfortable, and the amenities are great. A full breakfast is offered for $9.95, but if you have Hilton Gold status, you can get breakfast for free. The wedding and rehearsal dinner were held at the Ann Arbor City Club and Campus Inn, respectively. If you are just visiting, there might not be a reason to visit these venues (unless you want to stay at the Campus Inn), but I wanted to mention them because they were both great for the weekend’s events.
Our first night in Ann Arbor, the bride and groom held a welcome happy hour at Ashley’s, one of Ann Arbor’s best loved bars. During the evening, a girl asked me why our group was there and told me it was her very favorite bar when she attended The University of Michigan. I took that as a great sign! It’s definitely a dive bar feel, but has a fantastic beer selection that includes plenty local options for a craft beer loving gal like me.
No visit to Ann Arbor is complete without stopping at the famous Zingerman’s for a sandwich (see Zingerman’s Deli here). If you want the authentic experience, you have to get a Reuben. Although the sandwich seems pricey at $17, it is big enough for two to share and is definitely worth it. When you visit Zingerman’s, make sure you plan for some time to walk around the specialty grocery store. They have great quality items like olive oil and pasta imported from Italy and even jamón ibérico from Spain. Also, save your appetite for a homemade gelato at Zingerman’s Creamery. They have very interesting flavors and you will not be disappointed!
You’ll also want to walk around the beautiful University of Michigan campus when you visit Ann Arbor. I ran through campus and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the architecture. I would recommend starting your walk/run at the Michigan Union (the university’s student center) so you can pick up a map and orient yourself. It’s also a great place to get information about the history of the school, as well as current information. Of course, the Big House is a highlight for any college football fan. We didn’t have time to do a tour, but you can find information to book one here. (Note: Tours are only available during the week and must be scheduled in advance.)
On our last night in Ann Arbor, Alex and I picked up some gifts at The Cherry Republic, a retailer of cherry creations based out of Northern Michigan. They will let you sample almost anything in the store, from cherry salsa to cherry barbeque sauce to cherry sangria. Everything I tried was delicious! And the best part is, they will ship gift boxes anywhere in the US for only $7! Next, we had local beers at the Arbor Brewing Company which has been a local institution since its inception in 1995, before having dinner at Isalita. Isalita is a Mexican tapas restaurant in a trendy part of Ann Arbor. The margaritas are perfectly made just as they should be with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Alex and I shared guacamole, duck flautas, and the hangar steak tacos. We loved everything, but the steak tacos definitely stole the show. Served make-it-yourself style, the steak comes with pickled onions, crispy chiles, and salsa verde. AH-mazing, for sure! To top off a perfect last day in Ann Arbor, Alex and I ran into Meryl Davis on the walk to Zingerman’s for gelato. For someone as obsessed with the Olympics as me, seeing an Ann Arbor (and American!) celebrity was quite a highlight!
During the weekend, we also took a short side trip to Chelsea, Michigan to visit some friends who had recently gotten married. Chelsea is a quaint and historic town that is home to Jiffy Mix at Chelsea Milling, as well as the Chelsea Teddy Bear Co. You can schedule tours of each factory, but we didn’t have the time. Instead, we met our friends at the Chelsea Alehouse, which has been offering local craft beers since 2012. Chelsea Alehouse would be the perfect place to stop for a drink after an afternoon spent walking around Chelsea. The historic downtown is lovely and filled with historic architecture and great shopping. My favorite store was The Potting Shed, which has a collection of gift items and women’s accessories and clothing.
Before we recap, I will leave you with a few highlights from my friend’s wedding weekend! Next up on the blog: 24 hours in Orlando and our surprise vacation to Aruba! Can’t wait to share all of the details!
Market Basket, 32654 Franklin Rd, Franklin, MI 48025
Farm House, 32644 Franklin Rd, Franklin, MI 48025
Franklin Cider Mill, 7450 Franklin Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
Zingerman’s, 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
Isalita, 341 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Ashley’s, 338 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Chelsea Ale House, 420 N Main St #100, Chelsea, MI 48118
Hilton Garden Inn, 1401 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48108
Chelsea Teddy Bear Co., 400 N Main St, Chelsea, MI 48118
Jiffy, 201 W North St, Chelsea, MI 48118
The Potting Shed, 112 W Middle St #100, Chelsea, MI 48118
Cherry Republic, 223 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104