City Escape: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Text: Brian Shaney • Photography: Brian Shaney

Enjoy a relaxing ride through small towns and farmland to the northwest before dipping south into the Irish Hills, which got its name from the Irish immigrants who settled there in the 1800s. Some of the best scenery and roads in southeastern and central Michigan are incorporated in the route. May through September is a good time to go. Spectacular fall colors make the ride most gratifying September through October, weather permitting.

Length 

Approximately 184 miles 

Meet-up Spot 

Starbucks, 222 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 

Lunch Stop 

Cascarelli’s of Albion has been dishing out delicious Italian fare since 1909. Find it at 116 S Superior St., Albion, MI, (517) 629-3675.

 

Scenery (3 out of 5) 

Tree-lined two-lane that gives way to quaint villages and rolling countryside. 

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Outside the city, traffic is generally light to moderate. 

Difficulty (2.5 out of 5)

A leisurely ride with limited sight distance, tight curves, and blind corners in some small sections.

Road Conditions (3 out of 5)

Mostly two-lane blacktop (many secondary); conditions vary from good to fair. 

Points of Interest

  1. U.S. 12 Heritage Trail. Connecting southern Michigan’s east and west shores, this historic route runs through the Irish Hills and features several points of interest along the way. www.irishhillsrecreation.com/tour_historic_routes.htm
  2. Rentschler Farm Museum. Four generations of Rentschlers lived and worked on this homestead between 1901 and 1998. Learn about the great change in agriculture and family living that happened in these years. The farm museum is open to the public on Saturdays, May through mid-December. www.salinehistory.org/rentschler-farm-museum
  3. All Clubs Day Vintage Motorcycle Show. This long-running annual event is held in September in the town of Stockbridge and is a can’t-miss for enthusiasts. allclubsdaystockbridge.yolasite.com