Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nichols Arboretum: Memorial Day Weekend

Tree peony blossom
 It's a perfect weekend for a walk-- sunny and cool.  And one of the best places for a walk, is Nichols Arboretum.

Peony garden with huge buds!

The peony garden won't be blossoming for another couple of weeks, but the tree peonies and azaleas are in full bloom in the entryway off of Washington Heights.  (Turn left off of Observatory at one of my favorite buildings:  The Observatory Lodge).

And don't forget your camera!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gandy Dancer

The other night I had a lovely dinner with one of my good friends at the Gandy Dancer.  The food was very nicely done and presented, the service was great.

I've always liked Muer restaurants, and this one is particularly special,  due to its home in our beautifully restored 1886 Michigan Central Depot train station.

We dined inside, but the outside tables are now available if it's not too hot (or the pollen count isn't too brutal....).

The bar is a great spot to have a drink, and check out this Happy Hour menu!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Can't get enough of those blossoms!

Yesterday I went to the last Margaret Waterman Celebrity Lecture of the year, and on the way in, I couldn't resist shooting a few pictures outside the Michigan League building.  The lecture was very interesting, and lunch was great-- 
Next year's series include Queen Elizabeth's former press secretary and an FBI profiler, as well as two others.  There is a limit to the number of tickets available, so if you are interested, you might want to join now.  Here is the link to more info.

And thanks to my friend Carol Burton for suggesting these locations to see more breathtakingly beautiful flowering trees!
* Magnolias in the front yards at West Huron St. between the YMCA and the Dexter/Jackson split.  
*  Magenta clouds of naturalized redbuds at Geddes, Hickman, Vreeland, and Gale Rd. block.  
* Awixa's crabapples--
* Crabapples at Veteran's Park (my favorite!)  It seems the older trees blossom last sometimes, and look like the grand finale.

Any other areas you like to look at blossoms?  Let us know with a comment!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The perfect spring walk.

Now is the perfect time to go for a walk in Ann Arbor.  The trees are in full bloom, and the weather is cool and sunny.

Need some inspiration?

Here is a beautiful description of a walk in Gallup Park by my friend, Zibby Oneal, accompanied by a few photos from yours truly.

These early Spring days it’s a pleasure to walk beside the river in Gallup Park.  We did that last Saturday and counted seven swans on the river and a few dozen baby geese on the banks, fluffy yellow fledglings, tentatively eyeing the water.  

Red wing blackbirds occupy a thicket not far off the path beside the river.  They nest there and are quick to dive at walkers who come to close to their hatchlings, expressing their displeasure with raucous screeches.  

Blossoming trout lillies
Last Saturday a number of high school crews were racing, their silvery shells speeding through the water as the crews bent to their oars.  Along the banks, gathered in brightly-colored huddles, their supporters cheered and whistled as they passed.  

My favorite cherry tree in Nichols Arboretum
This year, 17 turtles-- compare with last year's turtle count 
In the playgrounds, graying grandfathers were pushing swings, standing to catch small, squealing children as they hurtled off slides.  Couples in jeans and t-shirts strolled with arms around each other.  

Skate-boarders went gliding by couples who had stopped to admire the trees that were just beginning to venture leaves.  Parents pushed strollers and baby carriages.  Small boys meandered slurping melting ice cream.

On benches along the riverbank, old couples sat, faces upturned to the sun.  Dogs strained forward on leashes.  From far off came the sound of an approaching train.  People turned, waiting to see it pass by.  

And pass by it did as the rowers strained towards the finish line, as the spectators cheered, as a couple in Levis bent their heads together and the new Spring sunlight fell like honey on their hair.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Satchel's BBQ

Smokers on Washtenaw, overlooking Whole Foods
We recently found ourselves on Washtenaw at lunch time, and decided to try Satchel's,  a BBQ restaurant that came highly recommended.  Now I have to admit that we are BBQ snobs-- and once went to Memphis claiming it was for the music, but it really was all about the ribs....

Cozy dining area
BBQ served correctly:  with dry rub, and your choice of sauce on the side
We also have a home smoker, and tend to haul it out for family dinners.  We have been known to smoke whitefish,  chicken wings and several forms of pork in the same day.  That said, we were really hungry, and the smokers smelled very good, so we decided to give it a go.

Bottom line:  The food was very good, and we will be back!  The sandwiches are very reasonably priced-- this is a great alternative to fast food chains.

Open every day from 11AM to 9 PM
Smoked chicken sandwich with a side of potato salad:  $6