Thursday, May 31, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Peony garden at the Arb 2012

One morning on Memorial Day weekend, we decided to go see the peonies at Nichols Arboretum.  By now the flowers are past their prime, but the Arb is always worth a visit, 4 seasons of the year.
*****Update!  The peonies are still in bloom, and  the Peony Festival runs through June 5.  
On Saturday June 2, between 10 AM and 4:30, is the celebration for the 90th anniversary of the peony garden, with live music and a preview of Shakespeare in the Arb (see below).

First the peony garden:  There are 27 beds, and about 800 bushes.  This is the largest collection of antique and heirloom peonies in North America.  The garden was donated to the Arb in 1922, with a gift from Dr. W. E. Upjohn, (of the Upjohn Corporation in Kalamazoo), who was an 1875 graduate of the University of Michigan medical school.

Be sure and attend Shakespeare in the Arb to see The Merry Wives of Windsor, on June 7-10, 14-17, and 21-24.  Show starts at 6:30, and tickets are $15/adult for members, and $17/senior for nonmembers.  This event draws thousands of people into the Arb, so it's a great time to become a member, and take advantage of the early box office opening at 5:00.  Or volunteer, and see the show for free!

See you there!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Happy hour! at Melange

Time for a new happy hour destination!  

This time we decided to try a restaurant that we had seen before, but had never tried:  Melange.  I admit I had gazed down their stairway next to the Ark several times, but had never ventured downstairs-- due to lack of time, or other plans

After leaving the hustle and bustle of Main Street, we descended into a quiet and cool oasis. We got a peek of a very nice dining room, that is separated from the bar by a beautiful glass-walled wine cellar.  So far, so good!

Reminding ourselves that we were there for happy hour, we decided to belly up to the bar.  And what a bar it is!  2 very nice glasses of half-price wine look especially inviting on gorgeous lighted rock.

The atmosphere was jolly, as there was a going away work party going on at the other end of the bar, and we had a great conversation about our former work lives-- and how much we are enjoying retirement!

Melange describes their food as being an American metropolitan interpretation of European and Asian cuisines-- so we ordered samosas and calamari, with a side of edamame, all at half price.  Everything was very good-- but I have to admit that later I read the reviews, and I now have some remorse that we didn't try the duck nachos. But we know how to fix that....  

Check out the happy hour specials and times here-- Service from our bartender was very accommodating (he made sure that all of our orders were in prior to happy hour going away), and the food and wine was great.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Monahan's Seafood Market

Whenever we travel, we always seek out the food markets where the locals shop.  Sometimes we have remorse because there are items that we can't buy, but we still enjoy seeing the tiny neighborhood shops and markets in our foreign destinations-- and would love to have them at home.

I can't remember the first time we discovered Monahan's Seafood Market, (they've been around for 30 years now, so it was probably near the beginning)-- but once we did, we knew this was our fish market.

Saveur magazine named them "the fish market we wish were next door", and we are delighted to have them here in Kerrytown!

Here are some of the things I like best about Monahan's:

  • Instant gratification:  order lunch at the counter and sit at one of the little paper-covered tables and enjoy!  My favorites?  clam chowder, lobster roll and salmon burgers
  • They will fillet anything, and if you're not sure how to prepare something, they have lots of expert advice and recipes.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Buy a couple of their gourmet take-home meals, have a glass of wine, and enjoy yourself.
  • The Friday Fish Report!  Always helps when you have NO ideas on what to make for dinner.  Sign up-- it's cool.

Monahan's.  Yet another reason I love Ann Arbor.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Fairy Door Walk

Great poppies sighted during our walk
It was such beautiful weather on Sunday morning, that we decided to do the official Fairy Door walk in Ann Arbor, that was hosted by the Washtenaw Wanderers Walking Club.  There are 2 versions-- the 5K and 10K versions, and since it was cool and sunny, we decided to go for the 10K.

Michigan Theater double fairy doors
 on bottom left-- very cute!

Three hours and 7 1/2 miles later, we crossed the finish line-- (actually, checking back into the Teahaus, where we started).

This may have been the world's slowest 10K, but we did see most of the doors and the fairy village, as well as adding to our collection of odd Ann Arbor trivia.

My prize for best executed fairy door!
Guess where it is!

I've probably driven by this "village" 1000 times,
and never have noticed it before-- 
check it out at the corner of 4th and William.

One of our favorite parts of this walk was watching the many little fairies, in fancy dress, skipping from door to door with their families in the stroller brigade-- A very cute pre-schooler was leaving pennies at the fairy doors, and told me (very seriously) that the fairies like presents a lot-- especially pennies! 

All in all, a fun Saturday morning in Ann Arbor!