Hey, everybody! Spent the weekend in your town and tried to get to some of the suburbs that were mentioned as nice. And now I'm a little nervous about the potential move if my husband takes the job.
Pros: People were very friendly. They were helpful and willing to tell us what areas they thought were best (same ones that were mentioned by TA members). And the Fairfield Inn (great price) was wonderful. We usually go for Marriott brands when we can because they're all non-smoking. This one also included a yummy breakfast. However, the pool area was very heavily chlorinated, or at least it smelled that way. But I'll leave that as a pro since we know all the germs were definitely being exterminated! Really liked the area northeast of Ann Arbor. I don't know the name of that area, but there were housing plans there that were nice. I'll get the names wrong, but I think Foxfire was one and there were others. We took our little one to Jump City. That was awesome! We've been other places that are similar, but Jump City had the biggest structures we'd ever seen. Very fun for her ... and also very cheap! Six bucks for an hour and a half is too low, but don't tell the owners!
Cons: We looked at Ypsi first and were scared off by the number of cash advance places and "interesting" (read: suspicious-looking) people loitering around the area. We did look at Depot Town and it was nice. Maybe there is a nicer part that we missed? Second, we went to a mall (Briarwood, I think) and were told by people there that that was the only mall. Didn't feel well once I heard that. (smile) I guess I'm just used to having lots of choices as far as shopping. Are there outlets that we missed, or is there really only one mall? Third, gas prices are crazy! At least 20 cents over what we pay, and in some areas, more. Other cities we looked at were Chelsea and Dexter. I should have known there was going to be trouble when a lady told us (excitedly, I might add) that Dexter had its own A&W! They are nice towns, and I thought the shopping area of Chelsea was pretty and quaint, but there are train tracks galore. Hopefully there are just some plans we missed that aren't so close to train traffic. Or maybe those tracks aren't even in use anymore? Lastly, we made a reservation at Real Seafood for dinner. We thought having reservations would be best since we weren't sure how busy restaurants get there. Sadly, we didn't get to eat there because our waiter took a very long time just to bring one drink (for our three year old). When I asked what kind of beverages they had for kids, he said the same ones everybody else has. So I told him we were from out of town and didn't know what they offered. And he said juice. So I ordered apple juice, and he said they didn't have it. So then I had to ask what kind of juice they had and ordered orange. When he did come back to the table 15 minutes later, he tried to blow it off saying, oh, I finally made it back. He hadn't even taken our order yet! In actuality, I'm glad his poor service gave us a clue about what would happen if we stayed, so we told him we were leaving. The restaurant was so overbooked (apparently) that he didn't even mind and didn't ask why.
Diversity was somewhat hit or miss. The customers at Jump City and the mall were very diverse, but everyone we saw in Chelsea and Dexter was white (and obviously everybody wasn't sitting on their porches when we drove through, but there was a fair amount of people doing yard work). Northeast AA did appear to be somewhat diverse. As I said before, we are looking for a middle class, racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood. We'll just have to find out where that is.
Well, those are some of my thoughts on AA. Loved seeing the campus - much of it is beautiful! Law Quad especially. The stores downtown reminded me of our Shadyside area of Pittsburgh, nice upscale shops. Would like to know where the Walmart and Target are hiding if anyone wants to fill me in : ) We still are keeping an open mind about AA, but would really need to spend more time there, I think, to learn more about it. Thanks again for all your info., everybody. Wish we could have gotten to Zingerman's, but we wanted the seafood instead. (Ended up ordering takeout from Olive Garden - delish as always!) Hope to hear from AAers soon!