Friday, September 28, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Huron River flora/fauna walk

The other day we spent some time in the lovely park by the Argo canoe livery and Argo dam.  This park is often bustling with canoe rental customers, but since it is after Labor Day, the rental facility is only open on weekends--and we had the park to ourselves.

Bright red berries that I'm guessing are poisonous--
nice fungus
You can get to the parking area from Longshore Drive, and if you're there around breakfast or lunch time, stop at the nearby Northside Grill.  This is one of our favorite breakfast restaurants-- and if you go during the week, you can avoid the wait.  The staff is very friendly and efficient, and the food is good quality American diner food.   We recommend the BLT and the oat pancakes-- as well as the breakfast egg sandwiches if you're really hungry!

Praying mantis-- found on the bridge crossing
the river on Broadway

Elderberries, perhaps?
I'm not sure what any of these berries are-- if anyone knows, please leave a comment!  I have eaten wild raspberries and strawberries because they are easy to identify, but am a total chicken to try anything without an expert identification.

Railroad bridge by the Argo dam 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Osher Lifelong Learning

As summer winds down and fall is in the air, I start missing the beginning of the school year.  One of the best parts of living in Ann Arbor, is being surrounded by many opportunities to learn, without the pressure of grades and papers.  

The organization with some of the most interesting offerings is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, affiliated with the University here in Ann Arbor.  

I especially like their charter:
"Non-credit educational programs specifically developed for seasoned adults who are aged 50 and older; university connection and university support; robust volunteer leadership and sound organizational structure; and a diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating courses."

Seasoned adults.  Yes!!  (You must be over 50 to join.)

After attending their kick-off meeting and poring over the catalog of classes, I have decided to sign up for the following:
  • Popes of Baroque Rome and Architecture
  • Enriching your Life:  End of Life Decisions
  • Stroll through Ann Arbor's Old West Side
  • Monday Art
  • Our Food Supply:  A Complicated Story
This doesn't even scratch the surface of the excellent offerings for this year!  There are offerings in the evening, morning lecture series, local travel destinations, current events, fine arts, literature, personal improvement, sciences, and social sciences.  Interested in learning more?  Check out the offerings at

And there is another real benefit to attending classes here:  the opportunity to make some new friends.  Check out this article on loneliness and friendships on the website lifegoesstrong and see if this could be you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Dam to dam walk: September

Barton pond on a sunny day

It's finally not so hot and humid, so the other day we decided to do the dam to dam walk.  We started at the Barton dam-- and walked toward Ann Arbor, and the Argo dam, and then back again.

Even if you don't have time to do the walk, this is a fun place to visit and bring the kids.  (If you look in the water below the dam, you can see some HUGE carp!)

Very still Huron River

It's easy to park in the Barton Nature area parking lot (off of Huron River Drive, a couple of miles east of Maple)-- where you have easy access to Barton dam, and the path.

Lily pads (watch for dragon flies, frogs and turtles!)

Nice view over Barton pond
Path for this walk
This walk comes in under 5 miles (4.69 miles in 1:35 hours) if you don't take the extra steps to get into Kerrytown, (if you don't need that latte from Sweetwaters or the tour of Treasure Mart).

Black-eyed-susan time!

Crossing the tracks
Fun in kayaks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Dominick's

I admit it-- as much as I hate to drink out of Mason jars, I can't stay away from Dominick's when the kids start returning to the U.  The other day we stopped in at dinner time, and ended up sharing a picnic table in the back yard with some newly arrived MBA candidates.  It was kind of fun listening to them talk about their goals and the corporations that they want to work for after graduation.

It was even more fun knowing that I didn't have to worry about my career any more-- or the 6 figure student loans that they are anticipating.

Is Domino's Pizza named after Dominick's?  Read about the history here.

We liked the selection of beer, and Dominick's is famous for sangria-- but I must also give a testimonial for the "Constant Buzz".  If you like strawberries, you'll love it.  However bring friends when you order it, as it only comes in a 50 oz size-- (and you'll also need a designated driver).

Important note:  Dominick's is not open on Sunday, after 10 PM or December through February-- so don't miss the window!