Ann Arbor; Kerrytown, Kosmo, Barton Dam

5 Aug

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Ann Arbor is one of those cities where you never run out of things to see and do. We took a drive out on Sunday, but didn’t have a lot of time to spend in town. It was already near lunchtime so we went directly to the Historic Kerrytown District. Kerrytown Market & Shops has a lot to offer; one large building divided up into many individual spaces. It’s fun to ramble the hallways and check out the shops; There’s a lovely antique shop on the second level, vintage items are laid out in eye-catching displays, many have been re-purposed. A children’s toy store bustles with activity, items arranged in the window draw in kids of all ages, and you can smell the spice store even before you see it! The lower level is all about food; a seafood market offers the freshest fish and homemade chowder, if you’re really hungry have a seat at the counter and enjoy a meal. An oil & vinegar shop allows you to sample both in flavors you have never dreamed of, I wonder if they would mind if next time I brought a nice baguette for dipping.The wine shop stocks a great variety of bottles and the prices won’t give you sticker-shock.  Sparrow market encompasses a large area that sells fresh produce, gourmet and organic goods.The market area is a bit cramped, which to me makes it all the more interesting; when you are inspecting the shelves be sure and scan from the top, all the way to the floor. The bakery always has something tempting in their showcase, if you see a Whoopie Pie, buy it!  

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Enough shopping, time to eat. We like to have a seat on one of the colorful stools along the stainless steel counter at Kosmo. That way we can eat and do some people watching at the same time. This tiny Korean-inspired spot is always busy, with low prices and good food it’s easy to see why. The menu is located on the wall behind the counter, colorful hand-drawn graphics and descriptions help you decide. After you place your order scope out the cool muraled ceiling, and wait for your order to arrive via the robot’s mouth…….really. Our favorite is the Bi Bim Bap; served in a large metal bowl over rice, you choose the vegetables. We like the zucchini, mushrooms, daikon and tofu, and true to form it is topped off with a fried egg. As soon as it arrives I like to take the serving spoon and break up the egg, warm yellow yolk coats the brown rice and veggies. It is served with their own Korean hot sauce, thick and red this sauce has a bit of a sweet side to it. For a side you have to try the Twigim; fresh vegetables such as onions, green beans, sweet and white potatoes cut into chunks. battered and deep fried, think tempura with a kick. The batter is light and crispy, be careful it arrives hot. They make a sauce for this too, also on the sweet side, people can’t seem to get enough of it, soft drinks are served in cans. We find the wait staff very friendly, and the atmosphere fun.

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When we are in the A2 area a trip down Huron River Drive is mandatory. The road runs along the Huron River, mimicking its curves. There is a bit of elevation change here and many exquisite homes take advantage of it; perched up high they have an incredible view. There is no shortage of parks and trails, the river provides the perfect natural environment. We stopped in at the Barton Nature Area to have a look at the dam. Originally constructed in 1913 as a hydroelectric dam, at nearly 35 feet high, it is extremely impressive. We parked the car and walked the short trail to the dam, a stairway leads you to the top where you can overlook Barton Pond. What a sight; Splendid homes line the perimeter of the pond, benches allow you to relax and enjoy the view. There is a metal walkway that bridges the dam, it’s kind of a spooky feeling to be standing at the top looking through the open metal grating as thousands of gallons of water rush beneath you. It was another hot day and the mist off the waterfalls was refreshing. The dam still produces hydroelectric power today and generates 4.2 million kWh a year. A great piece of historic engineering worth a visit!

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