Thursday, September 04, 2008

an insider's guide

(Thanks for all the comments on the previous 2 posts - and keep them coming if you have any other ideas! I'm stewing over tactics right now, and will let you all know how things go.)

Today, I'd like to introduce you to the place we call home - a small town that claims just over 7000 residents. There's a lovely little downtown area comprised of four "city" blocks that surround the county courthouse (pictured). We were first settled in the 1840s and incorporated as a city in 1865 (using the term "we" rather loosely here).
Without this insider's guide, I'm sure you'd be pretty much at a loss as to how to spend your time taking in the sights... fear not. I'm here to lend a hand.

Favorite places to eat:
Breakfast: The Depot - a fabulous little diner in what used to be the train depot. The pancakes are the size of your head, so only order one. (I'm partial to peach & blueberry, my hubby likes him a good peanut-butter-banana pancake). He's also had his favorite omelette combination listed on the marker board as a "Special."

Lunch/Dinner: Baja Grille - located right downtown. Yummy food in a family-owned diner with just a touch of edge... at least for a small town. I'm partial to the sandwich wraps and the nachos, personally.

Treats: Turtle Tom's Ice Cream is right downtown (can you tell now why Mark and I often enjoy walking downtown for entertainment - even if it is a 2-mile round trip?). Great hand-dipped ice cream (I love Muddy Sneakers!) and other treats (we're partial to chocolate malts and red raspberry slushes).

Favorite Places to Hang Out:
Bestseller's: A little coffeeshop/bookstore located downtown. The hours are a little restrictive (I think they might close by about 7:00 or 8:00pm, and only recently opened at all on Sundays) - but it's a great place to sit.

Biggby Coffee: Just this spring, we went big-time with a coffee chain! (Not a big chain, and many of you probably won't recognize the name...) The building used to be a bank, so there's still a vault door and the drivethrough has been put to good use. Another nice place to escape for a bit with a book.

Rayner Park: A little local park with a fabulous castle-like playground (can't wait until Hazel is big enough to enjoy it!), lots of picnic tables and open fields, sand volleyball court, softball diamond... and a great view of the 4th of July fireworks.

Kean's Store: Just celebrated its 80th anniversary - this store has almost everything: toys, baby clothes, cards, kitchen stuff, fabric/patterns/yarn, knick-knacks and other kitschy items, and an old-fashioned candy counter. It's best for me to leave my wallet in the car, though.

Favorite Events:
Pretty much any parade - and we do it up right for 4th of July, Memorial Day, the day after Thanksgiving (Santa makes an appearance)... it's good stuff. Lots of tractors and fire trucks and school busses - and you're guaranteed to run into just about everyone you know.

The Mason 5K - run every year on the first Friday of May - LOTS of people turn up for this event. Serious runners right down through the stroller-pushing crowd (that's me!). Proceeds go to the schools.

Bulldog football games - once again, you're pretty much guaranteed to see almost the whole town turn out in their Bulldog gear (and yes, we do have a little t-shirt for Hazel). Junk food, lots of friends - oh, and a little football too. What's not to love?

Really - it's just a good place to live. Walking around downtown is always fun (except in the dead of winter), I can't go to the grocery store without running into someone I know, and we feel safe leaving our doors unlocked when we walk around the neighborhood.

If you're ever in mid-Michigan, give me a call!

2 thoughts:

Chris said...

ahh I miss that place!

Great job with the Insider's Guide. You didn't miss anything, mostly because there isn't ANYTHING else to mention :)

..............lauren michelle.............. said...

hey gorgeous! I got your message yesterday, and I DO HAVE OPEN DAYS FOR US TIME!!

I'll give you a ring tomorrow morning after my appointment.