A new stop for Labor Day Weekend: Michigan!

A new stop for Labor Day Weekend: Michigan!

I’ve spent the past couple of Labor Day weekends visiting Washington, D.C. for the National Book Festival. (Really wonderful, free event, that I highly recommend going to if you ever have an opportunity!) This year, though, I decided to head a new direction- West- and visit Michigan!

Though I’ve technically been to Michigan before, it was for all of 15 minutes last summer when I was on a road trip with my family. I’ve ticked it off my list of states, but haven’t seen more than one street and a “Welcome to Michigan” sign. My uncle works some times in Ann Arbor, and I’ve heard from him and others that it’s a cute town. Well, I love cute towns, so figured I’d visit and see for myself!

I actually stayed about 15 minutes outside of Ann Arbor, in Ypsilanti. Ypsi itself is, well, fairly dead, at least for someone like me who is used to big cities. Despite that, there are a few things to do that I enjoyed, such as the museum at the Ypsilanti Historical Society, the calm and picturesque Riverside Park (great for a walk, and for picture taking!), and fresh food from Harvest Kitchen (curry chicken salad for the win!).

Riverside Park
Riverside Park

I spent the bulk of my full day in Michigan visiting The Henry Ford (museum) in Dearborn. Wow! This museum is great. Though it’s named for Henry Ford, the museum is not about him– it’s all about inventions and technology and innovation, and it is done well. My particular favorite exhibit was about the history of airplanes, followed by a really captivating exhibit surrounding photographer John Margolies. But I also learned about steam-engine trains, the Dymaxion House, and designing furniture. I also went to a great Imax movie about the advances that air travel has provided our world. And there was plenty that I missed out on due to time constraints- there is a whole campus to tour, including a historic village, and the Ford factory! There really is something at The Henry Ford for everyone. I highly recommend visiting when you have the chance. It is worth the trip!

Squeezing into a 1927-sized airplane at The Henry Ford.
Squeezing into a tiny 1927-sized airplane at The Henry Ford.

Finally, I made it to Ann Arbor for dinner. It was bustling! The atmosphere was I’d hoped Ypsilanti would be like (and there is a university in Ypsi – Eastern Michigan University). The campus was right in the middle of everything, and was surrounded on most sides with a shops and restaurants. There was a huge variety of food available, and most of the restaurants were in my budget, since Ann Arbor is a college town! I stopped for a light but delicious dinner at Knight’s Steakhouse (wedge salad, sweet potato fries, and a beer). Then I walked quickly onto the actual campus to check it out. It’s pretty! If I’d had more time, I would have loved to check it out more, but I’m glad I actually made it to Ann Arbor, since that’s where I said I was visiting in Michigan in the first place!

Sculpture outside the campus art museum.
Sculpture outside the campus art museum.

It was refreshing and fun to travel in a new direction this weekend. I can’t wait to make it back to Michigan in the future to explore the area some more. It’s a perfect, affordable, quiet weekend getaway- and only 4 hours away from Pittsburgh!

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