Nostalgic Football Weekend

Emily Tennyson, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, cheers on her alma mater during a football-weekend trip with her husband.

As a proud Michigan alum, I love to visit nearby Ann Arbor, especially now that I don’t have to take exams. My husband, a fellow Wolverine, also enjoys trips to his alma mater, especially for sporting events. While I’m a (fairly) devoted Wolverine, Ann Arbor caters to my more artsy side. I opt out of the game and use the time to explore the eclectic shops and art galleries.

When planning our last-minute weekend getaway, I knew that on-campus lodging would be overbooked and spendy due to the game, so I moved to Plan B. On State Street, the Comfort Inn & Suites offers a Michigan Travel Ideas discount; free Internet, a pool and breakfast sweetened the deal.

Once on campus, I explore old haunts. First, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, I examine Tiffany architectural glass from a demolished early-20th-century Fifth Avenue mansion in Manhattan. Next on the list—cheese shopping at Zingerman’s and a Sister Hazel sub packed with provolone cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and sub sauce at Pizza Bob’s, a favorite college hangout. My husband, meanwhile, bonds with 100,000 new friends in the Big House. After a Michigan win (thank you, Brady Hoke!) the whole city beams.

Alfresco dining at the elegant and contemporary Logan, a tiny storefront bistro on Washington, seems like a great way to celebrate and avoid the college swarm. A toast for the Michigan football victory with our glasses of Viognier starts off the meal. The pan-seared grouper is amazing, but the chocolate mousse dessert is my favorite. Post dinner, we cruise past ivy-covered dorms, throngs of happy coeds and campus bars blaring the Michigan Fight Song. I hum along and throw in a fist pump for good measure, even though my college days are long gone. Deep sigh. Was I ever really 18?

Back at the Comfort Inn, it’s time for a dip in the pool and some relaxation in the hot tub. When we get to our room, my husband turns on the 46-inch flat-screen TV and finds yet another football game. I cozy up in the king-size bed with a book.

The next morning, we head to the sunny breakfast room for our complimentary meal—fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, bagels and make-your-own waffles. After eating, it is time to check out and bring our fun weekend trip to a close. Our short trip almost makes us feel like college students again. I sigh as the car pulls away and realize that we definitely don’t come here often enough.

Emily Tennyson, devoted University of Michigan alum, relishes any time spent at her alma mater and appreciates a good getaway.

Eclectic Explorations

Claudia Capos, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, takes a visit to Ann Arbor, home to the bustling University of Michigan campus. Upscale shops, old-fashioned bookstores, restaurants, brewpubs and galleries make this college town a must-visit for everyone.

Photo credit: Johnny Quirin

Nickels Arcade

My self-guided tour begins in the heart of the State Street district, linking downtown with the University of Michigan campus. I pass half a dozen coffee and ice cream shops on my way to Nickels Arcade, which offers high-end shopping amid the surrounding college paraphernalia. The two-story, block-long corridor, fashioned after Paris’ elegant glass-roofed shopping arcades, houses boutiques. One of my faves, the Caravan Shop specializes in imported gifts, including Russian matryoshka dolls and German nutcrackers.

Six blocks west (on William or Liberty streets), visitors explore the Main Street shopping district, with not only three brewpubs but also at least four bookstores, galleries and gift shops.

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