The towns of Washtenaw County are varied and unique. Sure, Ann Arbor – with its international name recognition – commands attention; but this doesn’t mean the others are any less charming or interesting, nor does it indicate that they are any less worthy of a visit.
Ypsilanti, for instance, is an edgier, smaller college town (home to Eastern Michigan University) that’s character is informed by its robust history. Rich with economic and cultural diversity, and full of beloved, unique local businesses, Ypsilanti has become a haven for artistic, eclectic entrepreneurs and artists looking to put their ideas out into the world.
Chelsea and Dexter, meanwhile, each have a tight-knit, small community and a walkable downtown packed with great restaurants and local shops, as well as a dynamic art scene that includes a professional theater (Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre and the Encore Musical Theatre Company, respectively). Plus, area parks in both towns offer visitors and locals alike plenty of opportunity to slow down and take in the region’s natural beauty.
Manchester is more purely natural, with bird watchers and barn quilt seekers alike drawn to its idyllic wide-open spaces. Milan mixes its agricultural heritage together with both a famous, long-established car racing dragway and a classic downtown that happens to house some of the region’s most exciting and promising new businesses.
And finally, Saline, with its deep ties to Celtic culture, and the addition of lauded restaurants like Salt Springs Brewery (housed in a gorgeous 118-year- old church), has lately become a destination for foodies looking for something more off the beaten path.
So when looking to Washtenaw County, make sure you don’t discount these towns as mere supporting players. Take time to explore the gifts each has to offer.