I lived in Ann Arbor a total of eight years, two of those at University of Michigan completing my Master degree in horn. I’d been looking forward to spending a few days with my friend Dean, whom I’d always known as a music theorist but had moved over to the Women’s Studies faculty at the University of Michigan.
I drove into Ann Arbor late Tuesday afternoon and down the familiar streets – I couldn’t resist turning onto Fountain Street to see where I lived for several years. Still even the same color!
Dean had recently bought a fantastic old three-story Victorian house on Washington Street in Ann Arbor. She’d been renovating it and had just moved in a few days before my arrival. I turned onto Washington street and parked in front of her house. I heard rumbles of thunder quickly approaching as she answered the door, looking the same as she had 20 years ago but with a super cute short haircut. I received the grand tour of her house and its impeccably tasteful renovations. One of the most fascinating features were her screened skylights that open remotely – and then automatically close at the first drop of rain! The kitchen was stunning, with a gorgeous marble slab island and matching countertop. During the tour, I was introduced to her two kitties, Phoebe and Millie. Well….let me rephrase. I met Phoebe in the flesh (uh, fur) and was introduced to the lump under the covers of Dean’s bed – Millie apparently. The poor thing was having a difficult time with the move to the new house. Although I was convinced that my overwhelming kitty magnetism would draw her out and win her over, she resisted.
After the tour and introductions (and a pretty fierce thunderstorm), we walked to the downtown area in search of dinner. I was shocked to see the Blind Pig still standing, and bummed to see that Del Rio’s (a great burger/bar spot) had gone away. However, just a bit further down Washington Street we saw an inviting spot, the Ann Arbor Brewing Company. We walked in and took a seat. I looked over the beers and selected a very interesting porter. It was indeed very smoky.
After a delicious dinner – I had a tasty burger on a pretzel bun and sweet potato fries – we set off on a little walk through her neighborhood. The weather was perfect – warm but with a lovely breeze. We talked and talked while we walked to our destination. Dean was catsitting for her friend Erik, so we stopped by and I was treated to another kitty fix, this time courtesy of Sebastian, a handsome and very friendly cat.
Wednesday morning we hung around the house. The cable/internet serviceman was there so we relaxed while he did his work. Well, I relaxed while Dean made me some strong French Press coffee and a lovely breakfast.
Later that afternoon we headed to the neighboring town of Dexter to Dean’s old house to pack up some remaining items and do some cleaning. After that we made our way to the old Bill Knapps where Zingerman’s had opened a great sit down restaurant, Zingerman’s Roadhouse. It was only Wednesday night but the place was PACKED! I chose the fried chicken while Dean opted for a lovely beet salad and some yummy sweet potato fries. The chicken was out of this world.
Thursday morning Dean had some things to attend to around the house, so I offered to tackle the yardwork. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I find it very gratifying. It was sunny but cool and not at all humid. I mowed the fairly long grass, and then took out the weedeater and went to town on the edging of the sidewalks and all along the side and back of the house. Finally, I brought out a broom and dustpan and tidied up my mess. I was pretty proud of my work and Dean was ecstatic! Our chores completed, Dean made us a tasty light lunch with ingredients taken from her garden.
After one more stop to the Dexter house for some final packing up, we braved the hoards of students returning to town and stopped in The Jolly Pumpkin for dinner. (It’s actually more spooky than jolly!). Anyway, it was a fun place, and I had a delicious chocolate stout and you guessed it, a burger!
The next morning Dean made sure that I was well-fed before I hit the road. Fresh green beans from her garden, potatoes, greens, and eggs made up a spectacular frittata.