Ann Arbor love / by Jessica Lee

I took a bus out of Detroit and now I'm in Ann Arbor. You have no idea how in love I am with this town! It is the perfect size of "not too big", "not too small". It's a university town but the restaurant scene is lovely and the boutique stores are full of cute knick knacks. Everyone is young but they don't stumble around drunk like in some other university towns.

I walked from the bus station to the main street and everyone was eating dinner on restaurant patios, waiters were smiling at me, and street performers were singing Swing. Women were wearing summer dresses and holding the hands of their lovers. I passed by several coffee shops I wanted to stay in and everyone in this town was in a good mood. It felt like the perfect start to summer. (Above photo was taken the day after, when it started to rain)

Ann Arbor is such a contrast to Detroit. There is no baggy clothing, nothing is in ruins and I feel like I can be more open. People in this town have money so I don't feel like I have to protect my valuables as much.

Locals tend to be pretty friendly too. I was walking around with my backpack and these two older gentlemen asked if I had eaten dinner yet, as if they were going to take me to dinner or point me in the direction of good eating places.

I started Sunday morning off at the Artisan Market in Kerrytown.

There was nothing really special EXCEPT THAT I MET A WAR VETERAN!

He was selling these homemade candles. He didn't want to talk about the war (for obvious reasons). He had been drafted in Vietnam, and now had retired to making candles and selling them - the simple life.

I told him that he was amazing, we chatted about Ann Arbor (he loves the place), and then I went to explore the rest of Kerrytown.

Kerrytown is fabulous. It's touristy in that all the shops are boutique, selling things that are less mass-produced and more unique - sort of like the Distillery District in Toronto.

Here is Hollanders, a paper shop I really enjoyed.

They had a whole bookbinding section, which was pretty cool as I hadn't really come across book binding back home.

I mean, I've bound a single book in elementary school because someone's mother (a hobbyist) came in and taught the class about book-binding; but if you were to walk about Toronto's art shops, book binding is not as prominent compared to painting or sketching or graffiti.

Fustini's was also really really cool.

Basically it's a store that only sells balsamic vinegar.

But they have ions of flavours. I tried the peach-infused balsamic vinegar, the coconut-infused one...

It was all really good and I know my mom would've loved it if I brought a bottle back, but I'm still in the beginning of my trip so buying heavy things to carry throughout my trip would just be silly. And stressful. The farmer's market in Detroit also had some amazing homemade nut butter, which would have made for an awesome gift as well, but it's generally unwise to buy heavy things to lug around on a backpacking trip.

Another store I really loved was Found, which sells random kitschy things handmade by artists in the area. The business concept was great because it sold small things which were pretty and could be easily taken home by tourists.

These notebooks are made of recycled old book covers!

And here are necklaces made from recycled typewriter keys.

After exploring the rest of Kerrytown, I walked back down to the main street area and headed to the Michigan Theatre.

It's pretty grand for a small town.

It reminded me of the Bloor Cinema back in Toronto (one of my favourite theatres)- which reminds me, I will have to go back to visit the place as I haven't been there since 2010.

Since it was a rainy day and not very suitable for walking, I headed to Lab, a coffee shop/yogurt place on Liberty Street. It had a very neat design.

This is the honey cinnamon latte I had, which by the way is a delightful combination of tastes.

I wasn't expecting to like Ann Arbor so much. The reason I wanted to drop by instead of going straight from Detroit to Chicago was because I had seen the name "Ann Arbor" somewhere on someone's t-shirt. I enjoy exploring new towns. And for another reason I'll reveal in the next post...