6 Ways to Explore the Real Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti has become a vibrant arts hotspot around an ever-growing foodie scene. Their rich history is waiting to be discovered in every historic building and park setting. Interested in learning more? The Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau shares six new things to discover in Ypsilanti. 

1. Eat the eats Ypsilanti takes pride in fostering the visions and dreams of local restaurant owners. From fine dining to the more casual,  the city has a passion for bringing folks together over a juicy burger, a fresh salad or a special dessert. Our chefs are unassuming, fully committing themselves to the power of a delicious meal.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 2. See the parks After indulging at the local restaurants, visit one of the many parks in Ypsilanti to walk off those calories. Riverside Park is a favorite amongst locals as it lies along the banks of the Huron River. Take the three-pointed bridge, called the tridge, from Riverside Park to Frog Island where you’ll find a historic, outdoor amphitheater and a vintage running track. Have a passion for bicycling? The Border-to-Border Trail, which links the entire county from Ford Lake to the city of Dexter.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 3. Drink the drinks Beer and coffee are the name of the game in Ypsilanti. Breweries, tap houses and artisanal coffee shops line the streets of this up-and-coming city. It’s not about the light beers or corporate lattes in Ypsilanti. Every sip is considered. Every drink is a craft.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 4. Learn the history Ypsilanti’s history is rich, vibrant, and relevant when you consider it is home to four museums a dedicated group of local historians and historical architecture.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

5. Pick some apples The fall season is the perfect time for Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard in Ypsilanti Township. Families can go apple picking, select that perfect pumpkin, enjoy  a hayride and get lost in the corn mazes. The open air and endless activities are best if followed by warm cider and sugar donuts.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 6. Discover Eastern Michigan University Whether you’re exploring student and faculty galleries, enjoying a production at the campus theatre or taking a stroll through the walkable campus – Eastern Michigan University is home to many exciting activities. Football, basketball and volleyball games are full of team spirit and held in beautiful facilities. Buildings throughout campus create a beautiful juxtaposition of historic and modern architecture.

Make daily discoveries about Ypsilanti by following Ypsi Real on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.You’ll find photos, videos, and blogs about this historic, yet ever-evolving city in Southeast Michigan!

What do you plan to check out in Ypsilanti this autumn?

20 Things to Look for at Michigan Farmers Markets this Summer

Exploring farmers markets around the state is a wonderful summer activity. Guest blogger Samantha Collins, Communications and Events Manager for the Michigan Farmers Market Association, shares what you don’t want to miss.

Farmer’s Stand, Onsted, MI

With over 300 farmers markets in the state, Michigan boasts a vibrant summer market season from May through October with a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and artisan goods. Each community that hosts a farmers market is unique and offers a different yet memorable experience for shoppers.

1. Fresh Seasonal Fruits: Summer months bring a large variety of fresh fruits to the market including strawberries, sweet cherries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries and melons.

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

Strawberries at the Holland Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

2. Fresh Seasonal Veggies: Vegetables are a wonderful addition to daily meals. Farmers market staples include a wide variety of leafy greens, tomatoes and peppers. You may even find more exotic varieties such as Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant and heirloom varieties.  

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

3. Wine Sampling and Sales: Shoppers age 21 and over can now sample and purchase wine at farmers markets.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Wine Samples & Sales, Dearborn Farmers and Artist Market. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

4. Farmers Markets at the Capitol: Each year 60 farmers and artisans from across Michigan travel to the States’ Capitol Building in Lansing to participate in three farmers markets held throughout the summer on Thursday July 30, August 27 and September 24. These unique events bring more than 22,000 people to the Capitol lawn! 

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Farmers Market at the Capitol. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

5. Fresh Meat & Fish

6. Cooking Demonstrations: Whether you are an experienced cook or not yet able to boil water, you can pick up a few quick tips and ideas on how to incorporate fresh seasonal produce from the farmers market into your diet through a cooking demonstration.

7. Food Sampling: Samples are plentiful at Michigan farmers markets and can be a great way to try a new product or a new flavor of one of your favorite treats.

8. Wild Foraged Mushrooms: Enjoy an assortment of wild mushrooms picked by certified foragers.

9. Food Trucks: Food trucks have become a hot commodity at farmers markets, known for sourcing their food locally and offering many great options.  

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

The Purple Carrot Food Truck. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

10. Accessibility: Over 150 farmers markets in Michigan accept SNAP Bridge Cards, making Michigan a national leader in accepting food assistance at farmers markets.

11. Live Music

12.  Cheese & Eggs

13.  Artisan & Handmade Goods: Many farmers markets host a wide variety of vendors who make their items by hand using ingredients grown and produced in Michigan.

14. Kid Events & Games: Kids and families can enjoy festivals and events at farmers markets all summer long! From exploring the market through a scavenger hunt to crafts and nutrition education activities.

15.  Baked Goods

16. Fresh Cut Flowers

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Cut Flowers at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

17. Potted Plants

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Boyne City Farmers Market Potted Plants. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

18. Physical Fitness Activities: Physical activity goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating, and that’s why the farmers market is a great place to attend a pop up yoga class, walking group and other physical fitness activities.

19. Entrepreneurs & Start Up Businesses: Farmers markets are places for start up businesses and entrepreneurs to test new products and business ideas – a great place to try something new!

20. Pet Treats: More and more vendors are popping up with homemade treats for pets!

Be sure to let us know about your farmers market shopping experience this summer by using the hashtag #farmersmarketsmi along with #puremichigan. What is your favorite Pure Michigan find at farmer markets?

Samantha Collins headshotSamantha Collins is the Communications and Events Manager for the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association. She specializes in social media management, content curating, and creative communication strategy. Samantha is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is a 2010 graduate of Northern Michigan University. In her spare time she enjoys being on Lake Medora which is located in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, fishing, photography, reading, writing and gardening.


Experience Asian Culture When You Go Global in the Great Lakes Bay

Imagine sampling exotic foods in the Far East, dancing amidst the sights of Spain, or savoring every decadent morsel of Italy. (Sounds nice, right?) Before you sigh over the price tag of a global jaunt, or fret about language barriers, take note: The Great Lakes Bay Region is the perfect place to experience culture from around the globe without ever leaving Pure Michigan!

Japanese Cultural Center 2

Go Global: Asian Style

Hello: Konnichiwa, Japanese; Ni Hao, Chinese; Xin Chào, Vietnamese; Wàt Dee, Thai

Blended within our Michigan towns are rich, cultural nods from Japanese, Chinese, Thai and many other Asian cultures – fused with opportunities to taste, explore and experience another world when you Go Great Lakes Bay!

Take Tea, Traditionally

Step through the handcrafted bamboo gates of Saginaw’s Japanese Cultural Center, and prepare to be immersed in serenity and tradition. Amidst stone lanterns and weeping cherry trees, discover the Awa SaginawAn Tea House, constructed in 1985 as a collaborative effort between Saginaw and its sister city Tokushima, Japan.

Japanese Gardens1. The gardens and tea house are open April – October, Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 4 p.m. The 3-acre Japanese Gardens may be enjoyed for free.

2. Tea & Tour: Explore the tea house with a trained docent (teacher), learn the storied creation of the sukiya (rustic) structure with Japanese hand tools and enjoy green tea and sweets, traditionally and beautifully presented, for just $3 during business hours.

3. Traditional Tea Ceremony (Chanoyu): Witness celebrants in traditional kimono perform the 400-year-old ritual of serving tea at 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Take photos, ask questions and enjoy tea and sweets for $8.

Japanese Cultural Center 3

Go Global Bonus: Try your hand at Japanese calligraphy at the annual Japan Festival, 1 – 4 p.m., September 13, 2015. Taste sushi, witness Japanese performing arts and cultural demonstrations and maybe even play a traditional Japanese game or two! Entrance to the festival is free.

Try Tai Chi

An ancient Chinese form of martial arts, Tai Chi is practiced for its health-giving and spiritual benefits – one hour of tai chi burns more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing!

1. The word Tai translates to “big” or “great”; Chi, “ultimate energy”. It is non-competitive, deliberately slow-paced exercise.

2. Experience “Tai Chi at The Crow”, led by Jim Bush, at Saginaw’s The White Crow Conservatory of Music. Wear comfortable clothes; drop-in fee is $5.

Sample Asian Fare

Dine in, take out, or test your culinary skills at home – but certainly taste the Orient. Options are vast to enjoy authentic Asian, Asian-American and Asian fusion fare right in our region!

Spring Roll1. Visit Pasong’s Café in Saginaw for locally-famous spring rolls served with made-     fresh-daily sweet and sour sauce, a bowl of life-changing Pho (soup of Vietnamese origin) or Pad Thai, and Thai Tea, a creamy, orange beverage served cold. Interested in discussing foods, flavors, and culture? Owner Tina Saycosie, originally from None Khô, Savannakhet, Laos, is a living wealth of information, worth a listen.

2. Asian Noodle in Bay City specializes in Filipino food, and also offers dishes with Singaporean, Korean, Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese influences. Soup of the day varies, but Tinolang Manok, a fragrant soup with ginger, vegetables, green papaya, is popular, and locals rave about the Halo-Halo dessert.

3. Head to Basil Thai Bistro in Midland to sample authentic, northern Thai cuisine. Be prepared to enjoy your meal served family style, and don’t leave without trying the Som Tum (papaya salad) stirred with pickled crab in a lime fish sauce.

Pad Thai

Go Global Bonus: Peruse Pinterest for Asian recipes, and head to Saginaw’s Asian Market to stock up on oriental food items, spices, drinks (and perhaps green tea or purple yam-flavored ice cream for dessert)!

Explore the Arts

This Summer, enjoy unique opportunities to further explore Asian culture thanks to community collaboration between the Saginaw Art Museum, Japanese Cultural Center and Saginaw Valley State University.

1. “Preserving and Persevering: A Japanese Community Collaboration”, June 11 – July 11. Behold a collection of 14 Japanese wood cuts and elegant, authentic Japanese quilts (on loan from the Japanese Cultural Center) on display at the Saginaw Art Museum.

2. “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams”, May 22 – August 29, an exhibit at SVSU’s Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum featuring fifty photographs by Ansel Adams of the Japanese American relocation camp in Manzanar, Cali., during World War II.

Want to take your global experience even further?  Follow us at the Go Great Blog for more posts in the “Go Global in the Great Lakes Bay” series and discover opportunities to experience far-off lands, close to home.

Jen Wainwright is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Michigan. She specializes in marketing communications copy, feature articles and compelling content/blog posts. Jen enjoys experiencing multicultural opportunities in the Great Lakes Bay Region with her family, camping and laughing. You can find her at www.jenwainwright.com.