Now, this is quite embarrassing to admit so please don’t ridicule me, but before this outing I hadn’t been to Ann Arbor since the mid to late 70’s. My uncle went to the University of Michigan and I swear he must’ve been one of the first people to study computer science. I went with my mom and grandma to visit him and we took the train from the Michigan Central Station in Detroit to Ann Arbor. I remember the grand train station in its glory days but the only thing I remember about Ann Arbor was that my uncle had hanging beads for a door and a waterbed. It was the 70’s after all.
So, we went to Ann Arbor for the day and I can safely say that both the husband and I are smitten with the city. We wandered the downtown area, the U of M campus, and went on a hunt for fairy doors.
What are fairy doors, you ask? Well, they are tiny magical doors just the right size for fairies. (Notice the pennies in the pictures to give you an idea of their size.)
The Fairy Doors started appearing in Ann Arbor in the mid 90’s, first at a residential property and then at different shops in the downtown area. Now, we know that the fairies built the doors (wink, wink) but the first person to find the doors was Jonathan Wright. The fairies must really like this man because they choose his house to build their first door.
These doors give the fairies their own access to many places. Some of the doors also have windows where you can see inside the fairy domiciles, but no one has actually spotted a fairy. I imagine them running from fairy door to fairy door under the cover of darkness.
The doors now adorn many shops and businesses in Ann Arbor, including The Ark, the Google offices, and Sweetwaters Cafe. It was a fun little quest to walk around the city looking upward and downward for these miniature doors.
We found the door at The Ark first, not only is there a door, but also a tiny ticket window just for the fairies. We then found the door at the Selo/Shevel Gallery and the door and many windows at Peaceable Kingdom. We didn’t find the fairy door at Sweetwaters, but that is because we didn’t go inside. I have heard fabulous things about Sweetwaters and am kicking myself that we didn’t stop in.
So, next time you’re in Ann Arbor keep your eyes peeled for these doors. You can follow this map of the fairy doors or explore on your own.