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Ann Arbor has Sundance Festival, does your town?

February 1, 2011

Sundance Ann Arbor

A little over two years ago I came to Ann Arbor for the first time to interview at the dental school. I spent two snowy days exploring the area after which I was convinced that this town had enough commotion to keep me happy for the next four years.  Also, I knew I would be busy, if not overwhelmed, by school until I graduated. Therefore, the thought of quiet weekends in what appeared to be a fairly quiet town didn’t make my “cons” list. So, shortly after I received my acceptance, I started planning my big move!

As with any new location, I think it’s easy to dwell on what you miss from your hometown or how it lacks the charm of your undergrad campus that’s held so close to your heart. But with this move, I was convinced to make the most of my new home. When I arrived in August I was eager to start exploring. I began a document of activities, restaurants, events etcetera that I wished to participate in throughout the year and was pleasantly surprised at the length of recommendations I received. Since I’ve been here, it seems that every time I cross something off my list, I add two more activities.

In the past eighteen months I have explored dozens of restaurants, shops, pubs, and museums. I have frequented the Ark to see bands such as Griffin House and Graham Colton. I saw Bob Dylan and Itzhak Perlman at Hill Auditorium, attended the annual Folk Festival, and heard a series of lectures at the Michigan Theater from Kevin Smith, Anthony Bourdain and Frank Warren.  I’ve seen limited release independent films and a special release Sundance Film. I’ve canoed the river, ran 5k’s, played IM sports, ice-skated at Yost Arena and bought season tickets for football and basketball. I’ve been to the comedy club, the farmer’s market and I’ve searched high and low for fairy doors.

Fairy door at Downtown Ann Arbor District Library

Fairy door at Downtown Ann Arbor District Library

I’ve been apple picking, participated in Restaurant Week, explored Top of the Park summer fest, the Art Fair and I’ve perused several auto shows on Main Street. Finally, (although I’m sure I’ve left a few things out) I’ve polka’d at Oktoberfest! Twice!

To me, Ann Arbor has the pleasantries of a small town with the diverse opportunities of a big city and I think it’s a wonderful place to spend these four years. All in all, I’ve had the fortunate experiences to live in the great sky-lined Chicago area, the breathtaking rolling hills and limestone architecture of Bloomington, Indiana and the juniper covered mountains of southwest New Mexico. Now, I couldn’t be happier to add Ann Arbor to the list of beautiful towns that I have lived in and I can’t wait to get through the rest of my list!

Barbara Zickgraff is a D2 who is surviving winter.

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