Earlier this month, I spent a little over a week in Michigan with a day in Canada. Duncan visits family there and asked if I wanted to come this year. Of course! We stayed with his dad, Dan, who was incredibly accomdating. I’d met him previously, but it was nice getting to know him as well as Duncan’s brother, Griffin. There’s a sense of humor that runs in his family I think. After a layover in Denver, we arrived in Detroit early Saturday morning, went back to Dan’s house, and slept for a bit. That evening, we spent some time seeing Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor has these little fairy doors scattered around the city. We only saw one, but they seemed pretty interesting to me.
You can read about them at Wikipedia’s Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor. If I went back, I’d spend more time looking for the others. We spent some time walking around the University of Michigan, which was pretty cool. I saw Tau Beta Pi’s Bent and had to get a picture with it! Ann Arbor had a really cool downtown area and was a great city overall. The weather was nice too; it was the first time I had ever been that far north or east, so it was quite a bit different. The day we landed, the high was about 15 degrees lower than Irvine’s low.
On Sunday we left for the cottage. We spent a lot of time visiting cities near it, eating, taking in the sights, and playing board games. I like how quickly Dan and Griffin learned our inside jokes. Oh, Loaded Questions’ “Duncan questions.” There’s another picture of the cottage at the top of this post.
I know this isn’t a fantastic shot or anything, but it was cool seeing so much of the night sky there. The cottage was right on the lake, so it seemed like a beautiful spot for some yoga. Thanks for the photo, Griffin! It was really amazing seeing the changing colors of the trees too even if they weren’t fully changing yet. I felt like every day I’d be amazed all over again. One of the highlights (yeah, it was a highlight!) was learning to skip stones on the lake. Simple, yet fun.
We visited Mackinac Island after driving to the Upper Peninsula, which was pretty cool. It was a fort used in the Revolutionary War (among other wars). It seemed surreal to be thinking about the Revolutionary War.
Cars weren’t allowed on the island, but there were plenty of horses. Oh, and there was fudge. I bought two pounds of fudge to take home. Unfortunately, most of it’s gone by now.
Every fort needs some cannons.
Did you know that this region has black squirrels? Black squirrels!
The island had plenty of trees.
Here’s a shot of me while I was there. Thanks, Duncan.
Birds totally bore me at zoos, but I learned that I like taking photographs of them. This guy really wanted our fudge.
During our mini-vacation to the cottage, we also visited this lighthouse.
It was just a tad foggy but very beautiful.
After returning to Ann Arbor, we met with Jackie and Kenneth. I know I should have visited sooner, but at least I did eventually!
We all went out to eat at the Jolly Pumpkin, which was amazing, except I ate way too much pizza. It was really wonderful talking with Jackie and Kenneth again. I’m glad it just felt like old times. It’s funny how many nights I spent talking with Jackie back in college. It makes me all nostalgic!
Duncan and I had to represent Robot House by doing the robot in front of Robot Supply and Repair.
We also saw a ton of cool street art!
On Thursday, Griffin got us lost in the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. I thought we might have to live there when the elevators wouldn’t let us back out.
What’s with Detroit and secret places? We walked all around Slows BBQ before realizing this was the door.
At the John K. King Used and Rare Books store, I bought a book called The World of Odysseus. I’m excited to read it!
That night we had White Castle for dinner. Um, you know how frozen White Castle food sucks? The fast food joint is actually pretty tasty! Granted I felt sick the next day (as I was told I might), but I’ve already found myself craving it again.
It was time to head to Canada on Friday! I hadn’t left the country before this and was super excited. Even if Canada isn’t that culturally different, it was still thrilling. I rented a car, and we started by going to Niagara Falls.
See, I guess I like birds now.
I was surprised that it wasn’t louder. It was breathtaking though. Give California some of that water, jerks. Here’s me and Duncan courtesy of a friendly stranger. Duncan had been to the US side before and said the view was much better from the Canadian side.
Before driving to Toronto, I had some coffee and a Canadian Maple donut from Tim Horton’s. I had to be cliche. It was good, and there really are a ton of Tim Horton’s in Canada.
Toronto doesn’t make a big deal about this, but apparently Dr. Mario lives there. Amazing. We had dinner and drinks at The Lockhart, a bar inspired by Harry Potter. The food was good, and the cocktails were amazing. I had The Captain Picard, “(2oz)Earl Grey Infused (Bombay) Gin, Agave, Lime, Tonic,” and a Cafe Moscow, “(3oz)Espresso infused Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua, Agave, Choc. Sprinkles (opt.), Coffee Bitters.”
The next day we spent most of the day looking for sights from Scott Pilgrim, although we also went to the University of Toronto and a few other places.
Sonic Boom is a record store at which Scott Pilgrim shops. It was pretty cool, and I bought a shirt.
Here’s the library at which Scott sees Ramona rollerblade up the counter.
This park was used in the movie, although there was a lot of post-production done on the scene.
While not super recognizable, the house with the bit of blue was used at Scott Pilgrim’s place in the film.
Casa Loma was where Lucas Lee was filming in Scott Pilgrim.
Think I could do a grindy thingy on that rail? Scott Pilgrim and friends eat at Pizza Pizza, and now I do too. Not bad.
Pizza Pizza also served poutine, which killed two birds with one stone.
Lee’s Palace is where Sex Bob-omb opens for The Clash at Demonhead. We didn’t go inside, but it sure had an awesome exterior!
Here’s one final shot for the vacation, me standing outside Lee’s Palace.
It was such a great trip! I wish I could have done more, but honestly, we really packed a lot into the vacation.
I have plenty more of my photographs posted on Flickr, and I’ll have more up on social media too. Thanks to everybody who made the trip great – Duncan, Dan, Griffin, Jackie, Kenneth, and a lot of others!