Good morning! The highlights of our weekend all happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan, so that is exactly what this post is going to cover.
Ann Arbor is located a little over an hour south of us. Any time I hear someone talk about the city, it concerns at least one of two things: The Big House (the University of Michigan Stadium) and the food!
Scott had been through the city a couple of times for events, but neither of us have been able to to stick around long enough to try out one of the many well-known restaurants on Main Street. I’m so glad we got to this time!
University of Michigan Football Game
Scott and I returned home from our respective commitments just around lunch time Saturday. We changed and drove over to our friend Alex’s to all ride over to Ann Arbor together.
Both Alex (Alex’s boyfriend) and Scott had been to a U of M football game before, but this was Alex (girl) and I’s first time visiting The Big House!
The four of us pulled up about a half an hour before game time and walked towards the entrance to meet the rest of our group. Alex (boy) is a big U of M fan, so he had been here before and knew exactly where to go.
We would have tried to get there sooner to tailgate, but everyone was worried it would be too cold and rainy to be outside longer than necessary. We got pretty close to the stadium and paid to park at a private residence a couple of streets away.
As we walked up, we noted that we weren’t alone in the idea of showing up right on time. There were very few tailgate parties going on, which was a bit of a bummer. We’ve heard that U of M tailgates can be just as fun as the games. Maybe next time!
We met a couple of friends (Nichole‘s parents!) by the main entrance, and the boys checked out the retail store while the girls found the restrooms. I came out to the sight of an adorable maize and blue hat Scott bought for me. Twenty brownie points for him.
Without much time to spare, we made our way up to our seats and found the Joseys. Thank you so much for the tickets, you guys!
It was great to be able to experience my first U of M football game with such die hard fans. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I had heard that the sold out games get crazy. The stadium holds close to 110,000 people, so I can only imagine how loud and exciting it gets when the seats are completely sold out!
We sat down with about twenty minutes on the clock and as we were waiting for things to kick off I realized how long it had been since my last football game. I’m pretty sure the last time I sat in the stands to watch football was in 2008 when the University of South Florida played the University of Central Florida at the Bright House Networks Stadium, which only seats about 43,500.
(Fun fact: I attended both of those schools!)
I absolutely loved dancing for USF and remember how exciting it was to stand on the Raymond James Stadium field. That’s also the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is the largest stadium I have ever been to attend a football game with less than a 66,000 person capacity.
Needless to say, the atmosphere in this stadium seemed HUGE. I loved it!
It’s a shame that the Wolverines haven’t been doing as well this season. Their 3-4 record, along with rainy temperatures in the 30s definitely affected the attendance of the game. Even so, the stands looked packed to me and totaled over 101,000!
I honestly expected it to be way colder than it was. I did my best to layer up and used Scott as a human heat generator slash recliner for the majority of the game. That did the trick. Twenty more brownie points!
It started raining during the fourth quarter, but lucky for us, our tickets sat us directly under an overhang. It really could have been a lot worse!
I had a great time, however, I did get teased by a few Ohio State friends after posting this picture on Instagram. They are U of M’s biggest rival, along with the inner-state battle with MSU, of course. As a Florida native, I have to play the neutral card here. Dress me up and take me to a football game and I’ll be cheering. I’m pretty easy to roll with y’all.
My OSU friends will appreciate this one. During halftime, the marching band played a video segment of OSU’s movie themed halftime for their ode to Jurrasic Park (which starts at the 5:17 mark.) The performance ended with a Pirates of the Caribbean battle between OSU and U of M, and of course, they made the Michigan boat sink. (<- The whole show is really impressive!)
To retaliate, the U of M band made the dinosaur and had a meteor destroy it, followed by a re-birth of U of M. That was a fun video (starting at the 9:20 mark) to send to a few certain somebodies.
Michigan didn’t end up pulling a W, but they put up a good fight. Surrounded by a sea of maize and blue, I picked up on the school chants, and Scott, Alex and I fit in in no time. It was a fun experience!
After the game, we walked back to the car and sat in traffic on Main Street for at least thirty minutes. We knew there were plenty of options to grab dinner, so we took some time looking up where to go.
Anywhere looked good, but we decided on good ‘ol Jolly Pumpkin.
Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery
While reading articles about the food in Ann Arbor, Alex stumbled upon the 23 Reasons Ann Arbor is the Best Food in All The Land via Buzzfeed. Number one is the truffle fries at Jolly Pumpkin. Done.
We put our names in and sat down at our table thirty minutes later. Since Jolly Pumpkin is also known for their brews, we had a round of them. I ordered a cider (obviously) and the table shared not one, but two orders of truffle fries.
They are every bit of dreamy I was hoping them to be. Alex kept describing them like McDonald’s fries (the only kind she will eat), and I just kept shaking my head in disappointment. The only way these are anywhere close to McDonald’s fries is if you started from scratch, cooked them with truffle oil and dressed them up in fancy tuxedos with a rosemary aioli sauce as the bow tie… (i.e. not similar at all). They were so good!
Everything else we ordered was also delicious. The restaurant had a hippie eclectic feel, and those types of places always create the best menus.
I ordered the Grilled Chicken with Brie sandwich (it had apricot jam!), and it came with a Market salad with super fresh greens and a side of pickled zucchini.
While I was plenty satisfied, I saved enough room to split the vegan chocolate cake and dark chocolate coconut ice cream with Alex.
The boys (afraid of anything with the word “vegan” in the title) split the pumpkin whoopie pie, which was also fantastic. (Yes, I stole a bite!)
We only got to spend a handful of hours in the city of Ann Arbor, but all four of us kept talking about how we want to return soon. I would revisit Jolly Pumpkin again just to try something new, and there were also a list of other places we need to get to first.
Until next time, Ann Arbor!
Questions of the Morning
• Is there any city two hours or less away from where you live that you have been wanting to check out? What’s stopping you?
• What’s one highlight from your weekend?
Other than returning to Ann Arbor, Scott and I really want to make a trip up to Mackinac Island, although that is close to 5 hours away. We also need to get to the Upper Peninsula one of these days… most likely when it warms up in the summer time!