Sending off the second

The Drop-offDuring this past Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Ypsilanti, MI. I wish it was a recreational visit, but Lisa and I went there to send our second off to college at Eastern Michigan University.

(By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Ypsilanti as I was until this past April, it’s about 25 minutes west of Detroit and 10 minutes east of Ann Arbor – the home of the University of Michigan)

Overall, the drop-off went well, but it made for a busy weekend. In our quest to round-up all the supplies that we didn’t take with us or couldn’t fit in Brad’s luggage, I discovered the location of nearly every Target and Wal-mart within a 10 mile radius of Ypsilanti. I even got to check out a couple of Big Lots store locations too!

Here are a few photos from the weekend, a couple of thoughts about the area, and a couple of places worth checking out that aren’t a Target or Wal-mart.

The Eastern Michigan campus is a beautiful campus. It’s among the nicest I’ve visited and has a great mix of both old and new buildings. It’s also self-contained, doesn’t have any major city streets running through it, and has a number of grassy open areas spread about the campus. When we first visited in April, the grass was dormant, and the trees had yet to show their leaves due to the extended winter snows in the upper Midwest. This time around, the grass was a lush green, and the trees were covered in leaves. It was quite a site coming from the brown, drought-stricken surroundings in Southern California. Below are a couple of pictures of various portions of the campus.

Eastern Michigan University Recreation Center and Field House

A view looking towards campus from the student center. Lisa and I were jealous that the water is so plentiful that they can shoot it into the air!

EMU Student Center

The EMU student center – it’s one of the newer buildings on campus.

Starkweather Hall - Eastern Michigan University

On the other hand, Starkweather Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus dating back to 1896. It has been designated a Michigan Historic Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ypsilanti Water Tower

The famous Ypsilanti water tower can be spotted from various areas around campus.

Eastern Michigan University

Following the school’s colors, there’s plenty of greenery around campus, at least in the summer. I’m sure these same paths will turn white at some point later this year, or early next.

Here are a couple of general thoughts that I had while visiting:

  • The Ypsilanti area which surrounds Eastern Michigan University reminded both Lisa and me of the areas we grew up in the suburbs around Pittsburgh, only flatter. It’s a nice area, but you can see areas where the decline of the auto industry has taken its toll – much like the decline of the steel industry affected the suburbs of Pittsburgh.
  • It was greener than both of us expected, but that was probably because of how brown things are in CA from the drought right now. It certainly was refreshing, and beautiful.
  • The weather was typical late August, better known as “the dog days of summer”. It was on the warmer side in the eighties, and the humidity felt like it was about the same on a percentage basis. It certainly made for muggy conditions, and it sparked an afternoon thunderstorm/rain shower Saturday evening. It was a welcome sight and brought with it some relief from the humidity.
  • Brad will be in for a bit of shock in a month or so when the weather patterns start to turn. I suspect that it will begin to cool substantially during the second half of September into October, which means that snow won’t be far behind.

There were also a couple of places that I particularly enjoyed during our visit:

  • Red Hawk Bar and Grill – 316 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI
    Beezy's cafe - Ypsilanti, MIRed Hawk is a small restaurant adjacent to the University of Michigan campus on State Street. We stopped by Friday evening for dinner after exploring the U of M campus. I was told by our waitress that the burgers were one of their specialties, and mine didn’t disappoint. All of us enjoyed our meal, and it was reasonably priced.
  • Beezy’s Cafe – 20 N. Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI
    Before leaving town to catch our flight, Lisa and I stopped at Beezy’s in downtown Ypsilanti. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we came away impressed. Beezy’s can be hard to find as it’s just off one of the main streets in town, but it’s worth looking for. Our sandwiches were outstanding, and the service is helpful and friendly. As with Red Hawk, it’s very reasonably priced given the quality of the food and the portions. Of the places we ate over the weekend, Beezy’s was our favorite.

This trip was our second college drop-off in as many years. Even though they say the first is the hardest, the second wasn’t any easier. We still have two more to go, and I don’t expect them to be any easier than our first two.

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