Thursday, March 29, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Road trip! to DuMouchelles and Slow's BBQ in Detroit

The other day we went on one of our favorite road trips, to Detroit!  We have several places that we enjoy visiting while there, but on this trip we were on a mission.  We were going to preview a piece of furniture that was up for auction at one of the best auction houses in the midwest:  DuMouchelles Fine Arts Auctioneers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Early spring dam to dam walk

The weather has been so unusually beautiful the last few days, that we decided to do a big walk from the Barton dam, past the Argo dam, into Kerrytown (for a break, and a latte), and then back to the Barton dam.  (Round trip:  5.4 miles, 1:52 without the break)  Check out the free iMapMyWalk app to save your stats.

Even though the landscape is still mainly brown, there are signs of spring everywhere!

Michigan 8 man crew
A couple of years ago, I took the Learn to Row class, offered by the Ann Arbor Rowing Club.  What a great experience!!  Everyone in my group was new to rowing too, and there was a good age range of people in the group.  It is great exercise, and a lot of fun.

If you're looking for a new adventure this summer, I recommend it.

There is one log where turtles love to hang out-- last year there were a couple; this year there are a bumper crop!

If the sun is out, you may be able to see them (from the boardwalk on the northeast side of Argo pond).

Barton dam

Barton Dam was built in 1912-1913 to generate hydroelectric power.  The City of Ann Arbor bought the dam from Detroit Edison in the 1960s, and restarted hydroelectric generation in the 1980s.  Check out ArborWiki for more information.

And enjoy this weather-- quick!  before it's gone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Retired in Ann arbor: Stadium Hardware

Gloves and boots for early gardening
There's nothing like a good old-fashioned hardware store. Remember when you were a kid, and you would go to the hardware store with your dad when you broke a window, or when you were just bored during summer vacation, and tagged along for something to do?

Single screws
Those were the days before the big box stores; where if you needed one screw, you could buy one screw, rather than a package of them.  And, if you weren't sure what you needed, the guys who worked there always did-- and were happy to give free advice.

Nice new clean gardening tools 
And guess what?  That store still exists, here in Ann Arbor.  Stadium Hardware appears to be doing fine-- in fact, they just expanded.  Want to know more? has a nice article here.
Broken handle?  Don't throw it away, replace it.
Cute gift idea for grandkids--
a little Radio-Flyer wagon to pull their toys  $15.99
Stadium Hardware was started about 50 years ago-- when you fixed things when they broke, instead of just replacing them.   Since the world is moving back to the idea of recycle and reuse, I think repair should be added to the list too.

Ladders and wheelbarrows out front

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor Happy hour! at Vinology

Last week we decided to go upscale for our weekly happy hour, so we headed to Vinology.

This is a perfect destination to enjoy your favorite glass of wine, or to try something new-- from their list of 50 wines by the glass, or 100+ wines by the bottle.

If you're not sure what you want, it's also possible to have a wine flight created for you-- or you can try some of the flights that they create.  The next time I am in the mood to splurge, I plan on trying "When dirt tastes good"-- although at $21, it's not in our happy hour budget.
Happy hour ends at 6:00, so we hustled in at 5:50, and announced our plan to take advantage of the special pricing.  We had a very friendly and accommodating waiter, and our choice of nice tables in the bar.  Both the bar and the dining room spaces are very nice-- and the bubble room would be a fantastic space for a party!

Wine by the glass is 1/2 price, and they have an interesting selection.  If you're not a wine drinker, some of the draft beers are $3, but the focus here is on the wine, and they're doing a great job, as illustrated by winning the 2011 Open Table Most Notable Wine List award.

The happy hour food offerings were  sliders and the featured pizza-- both priced at 1/2 off.  As usual, we ordered both, with the intent of splitting them.
A+ sliders, with great condiments
The pizza was also delicious, and was large enough to have been dinner-

Total bill:  under $30 without the tip
Wine  $6.50 and $6
Sliders $7
Pizza $8

Next time we'll probably just do the pizza and wine-- although the salads look fantastic too, and would be a good addition.

This was a great happy hour--  we'll be back!

Want to get notified when there is a new happy hour post?  'Like' our new Facebook page at     (And yes, this still sounds very 8th grade to me.....  LIKE me.....please LIKE me.... so I don't feel like the last kid picked for kickball.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Hill Auditorium

One of the special destinations that can be found here in Ann Arbor, is Hill Auditorium.  It is the largest indoor entertainment venue here, and can seat 3,538 people.  It was named after Arthur Hill, a regent of the university from 1901-1909.  He bequeathed $200,000 to the university for the construction of a venue for lectures and musical performances, and when it opened in 1913, it could hold the entire student body.

Ann Arbor News photo from 1912

Decorated for "The Messiah" 2011
Albert Kahn was the architect, and besides designing the beautiful interior and dignified exterior, he also was chartered with creating a building with perfect acoustics.

Looking at the ceiling, from our seats
Wikipedia reports that Kahn wrote to the pre-eminent designer Hugh Tallant, to see if it would be possible to build an auditorium of that size where every seat could hear.  Tallant responded in the affirmative, and designed an auditorium in the shape of a megaphone, with an oval stage.

Kahn's granddaughter reported that after the building was nearly finished, they tested it out by having her drop a pin on the stage, which he heard from the last seat of the second balcony.

Everyone from the New York Philharmonic to the Grateful Dead has played here.  I remember seeing Bonnie Raitt here in the 1970's, where she and her band were standing on the stage, with much clapping and stomping going on in the audience, and she looked up at the crowd and said, "this place is WAY to classy for me!".

Lucky for us, we have a world-class venue, and there is no dress code enforced.  So jeans?  Sure.  Bonnie Raitt?  Yes!  (May 25).  Enjoy the show!

Photo from the Michigan Daily,
during renovation in 2002

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor road trip! Original Gravity brewing company

Want to know when there is a new post?  'Like' our new page on Facebook

On a recent Saturday, we decided to take a mini-road trip and try out Original Gravity in Milan, Michigan.

I had sampled their beer at a couple of beer festivals, (and always found my way back to their tent), so we decided to visit them at the source.

Only 14 Miles south of Briarwood Mall, in MI-lan (accent on
the first syllable, not like the one in Italy)

The dining room is a cute pub space, and the girls were in love with the sandwich menu--  yum!  vegetarian choices and avocado.
(Have you noticed that the guys never seem to have a problem with a pub menu?)

Lunch is available on Saturday and Sunday, and during the week, they are open from 3PM-- check here for hours.

We really enjoyed ourselves, and will return.

Special event on March 10  4PM-11PM
Raise money for the Red Cross by enjoying beer!

Lots of great prizes, including this awesome bike from Sweet Bike Shop.