Friday, September 12, 2014

Try Manchester for a fall color drive

Downtown Manchester
      Manchester is a quintessential small, southern Michigan town that offers fall color tours, an apple cider mill and an old fashioned Sunday drive to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Detroit/Ann Arbor urban core, and all without driving to northern Michigan.
     There are plenty of hardwoods, maple and oak that display their colors during the autumn season. The town offers restaurants and small shops.
     The drive is part of the fun. Manchester is about an hour west of metro Detroit and is on M 52 just south of I-94, so it's a quick trip, but if you want to take your time, take US 12 (Michigan Avenue), starting in Ypsilanti, which takes you through the countryside and through Saline, which is worth a stop, too. US 12 is the old road to Chicago, and runs through southern Michigan and is dotted with small towns.
     One option would be to drive a loop, taking US 12 west from Ypsilanti to M 52, see the town, and then head north on 52 to Chelsea and pick up I-94 for the ride home. Chelsea is another town worth a stop, and is home to the Common Grill, a full menu restaurant
     The River Raisin runs through the village of Manchester, which has about 2,000 resident.  The river attracted the first settlers in the 1830s, who built water powered mills, sparking the growth of the town.
Alber Orchard and Cider Mill 
     In the fall, the big attraction is Alber Orchard
and Cider Mill, 13011 Bethel Church Rd., 734-428-9310. Admission is free for some attraction. There's a corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, and an animal area. There is a small charge for hay rides. The orchard is a bit difficult to find, its about 2.5 miles east off M 52. For a good map, go to their website,

Eating out

     There are several restaurants in Manchester that range from sandwich shops to pizza joints. If you're looking to do an old fashion Sunday drive, try stopping at Habb's Restaurant, 18 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, The menu of basic American food is refreshing in these days of gimmicks and ethnic foods. The price are moderate. The place traces its roots back to the 1870s, and the decor is a bit time worn, but has a class feel.

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