Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Won't it be great to go Downtown?
Again, I know that I've got Steam Expo and Canada backed up, but I wanted to share a little piece of my heart here in Ann Arbor.
I practically live in the downtown area of A2. It consists of Main street and some of it's cross-streets right in the heart of the city, and directly next to U of M. It's bustling nearly all of the time (minus early mornings of course. You know, when you'd expect a coffee shop to be open, but isn't?), and is filled with so many great shops and restaurants that it's contributed to my big lack of money. Downtown is where all the artists go, me included, to be inspired and meet people like them. It's a great place to people watch, to write, to draw, and (in the case of Violin Monster), a fantastic place to perform for the masses.
My favourite shop down there is the Chocolate House of Ann Arbor. It serves all kinds of cafe style drinks, many different flavours of ice cream, and has a full assortment of chocolate and chocolate-covered goodies. While I was tutoring, I spent every Monday and Wednesday within the CH's walls, nibbling on delicious chocolate brownies and sipping on caramel blended coffees. I'd sit in the main window and look out at the Seafood Co, M Den and many jewelry shops. It is my favourite place to get some writing done, and even a little tutoring. The music is always great, and never too loud. The decor is simple, never cluttered and with plenty of space to imagine and daydream. All of the baristas are incredibly friendly, and don't mind if I hang around there for hours at a time. Unfortunately the place is usually dead, but occasionally there's a huge wave of patrons (usually with children in tow) who keep the place in business. It's been there for a long, long time (starting as a sandwich shop), and I really hope it's there for another age or two.
I've shamelessly promoted 826 Michigan before, but I can't stress how amazing that place is. Robot supply shop in front, free homework help in the back. Once I get more money I can start sending Miles more robot parts, but until then it's still fun to look around and see what's new in the shop. The homework help is only during the school year, and so I won't be back there until August for volunteering, but the shop stays open all year. It's on Liberty, a perfect spot for a tutoring center. It's not as loud as Main, but still one of the prominent streets and very close to the parking garage on Fourth and William.
My absolute favourite shop in all of Downtown is Vault of Midnight. Owned by the son of one of Crysta's coworkers, it's the local comic and boardgame shop. It is huge and has everything a comic nerd could ever want. The comics are on the main floor with the boardgames in the basement, and everything is open, friendly and blessedly nerdy. I ask to be hired every time I walk in the store, but to no avail. Once you're in a comic book job, you never leave. This always makes me one sad panda. I wish I could go more often and buy more games/comics/plushies/shirts/posters/etc. Everyone in there is exceptionally nice, and more often than not covered in tattoos and piercings. It is my kind of place. Vault is on Main street, just past Liberty. After tutoring I love to just pop in there for a minute or two, just to look around at all the pretties I can't have!
If I've got the money and the friends, The Jolly Pumpkin is a great place to eat and drink. It's atmosphere is very me- dark, stained wood, elaborate wallpaper and pictures all over the walls. It reminds me of being in the hull of a very fancy ship. The food is excellent, and I love their hamburgers. They're so juicy and you can get all kinds of toppings. They have many kinds of drinks, all of which are fabulous. Unfortunately, I've only been there once, but I can't wait to have a job that lets me eat out more often!
Downtown is very near and dear to my heart. It's a huge part of where I live, and when I leave Michigan I think I might miss it most. Southern California is severely lacking a little district like this, and it makes me sad to think that all I have to go back to are Starbucks and Coffee Beans sitting along massive boulevards being completely corporate and expensive. I'll miss my little Downtown full of artists, performers, vegetarians, hippies and parents. For now, I'll spend as much time as I can down in the CH, writing my little heart out and dreaming of the day I'm good enough to perform on the street for change.