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Ann Arbor's Byways and Lanes Lead to Hidden Gems

Apr 15, 2008
Groups visiting the city of Detroit and Ann Arbor area in pursuit if business or pleasure, discover a short distance from the big-city attractions and entertainment await wonderful small towns with their own unique treasures. A leisurely drive along a winding two-lane country road in any direction can lead to old barns, horse ranches, antique shops, cider mills, u-pick farms and other joys of country living.

Home of America's first prepared baking mix, Jiffy Mix, Chelsea has drawn thousands of visitors over the years to view this historic facility. In 1930, Mabel White Holmes created Jiffy Baking Mixes. The Holmes family has been milling flour in Chelsea for more than 120 years. Exclusive tours of the Chelsea Milling Company reveal the inner workings of this facility and groups are sent home with a souvenir.

Afterward, groups may visit the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory, located in downtown Chelsea, in the historic Clock Tower complex. One of the largest suppliers of licensed collegiate merchandise and a major supplier to the US Armed Forces, the company features a factory tour and store.

Chelsea is also home of The Purple Rose Theater, a popular regional playhouse founded by actor Jeff Daniels. The theater, restaurants and shopping make the historic downtown area a popular entertainment destination. Advanced group tickets are available through the Purple Rose Theater for any date during the theater season.

Dexter boasts Michigan's oldest continuously running cider mill. Cited by "Hour Detroit" magazine as one of the 101 places to visit in the greater Metropolitan area, the cider mill makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago. Dexter's Cider Mill also offers fresh apples, bakery goods and more.

Surrounding Dexter, the Huron Clinton Metropark system features three park areas for hiking, cross-country skiing, golf and family outings. Also located in the park, the Spring Valley Trout Farm welcomes visitors who come by to drop a line at this spring-fed fish farm.

The Raisin River winds its way through the quaint town of Manchester and brings beautiful fall color to the area. Within the four-block area of the Village's Main Street, five State Historic Site Markers have been placed - preserving the village's 19th-century ambiance.

Folks come here to taste the bounty of the Sharon Mills Winery and Alber's Orchard, or to experience the timeless Manchester Blacksmith Shop. And for nearly 40 years, visitors have wandered the roads to Manchester to savor the taste of the Chicken Broil each July.

A stop on the Ford Heritage Trail, Milan has a rich history in the development of Ford's cottage industries. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors enjoy touring the Hack House Museum, as well as unique neighborhood shops.

Visitors arriving in Saline from the east are welcomed by the stately presence of the Davenport-Curtiss Mansion built in 1870 by one of the town's early entrepreneurs. Other elegant examples of Post Revolutionary, Victorian and Classic American homes can be found on North Ann Arbor, Monroe, and Henry Streets.

Named after natural salt springs that were found in this area, Saline is home to several antique stores and the well-known Ann Arbor Antiques Market. Buyers and sellers from around the United States attend the monthly Ann Arbor Antiques Market at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, located three miles north of downtown Saline. Over 350 dealers bring their wares to this show which is known for its quality antiques and select collectibles.

With duck racing, world-renowned jazz artists, a dry land regatta, train racing, and lumberjacks (and that's just in one weekend), Ypsilanti is not your average Midwestern town.

Nestled amongst the shops at Ypsilanti's Depot Town Area, the Automotive Heritage Museum is home to the world's last Hudson Dealer and original Hudson dealer memorabilia, along with a collection of vintage vehicles. A rich array of historic architecture was approved as a Historic District and Ypsilanti has worked with pride to protect and enjoy its heritage. The historical walking tour takes visitors on a journey to the past.

Summertime adventure doesn't get any better than at the Rolling Hills County Park. The county park is home to giant water slides, wave pools, children's play area, frisbee golf and more. During the winter, there's cross-country skiing, toboggan runs and ice skating.
For groups wishing to explore Michigan's southeast countryside, Checker Sedan Group Transportation features a fleet of three different vehicle types to accommodate charter groups of any size. The fleet includes 56-passenger deluxe motor coaches, 27-passenger mid-buses, and 11-passenger Vanterras.
About the Author
Checker Sedan provides limousine Detroit service from the Detroit Metro Airport servicing the Detroit Metro region. Detroit travel has never been easier with limousine Detroit service.
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