By nearly any standards, Chelsea Michigan is a small town. We have approximately 5,000 people living here. Our downtown area is 3 blocks long and is usually described as "charming" or "quaint". We have a great school district, practically non-existent crime rates (see Police Blotter post) and lovely parks.
When we moved here from Ann Arbor, I thought it would be like 1950's Mayberry with neighbors flocking over, bringing casseroles and baked goods. I was a bit disappointed and somewhat relieved when that didn't happen. Found out much later that nearly everyone on my block had also moved here within the same year or two.
Despite the small town charm and sense of community, I felt surprisingly isolated as a newcomer. Our friends lived in Ann Arbor, we didn't have kids in the school district yet, and I thought that everyone knew what was going on, except me. Of course, the timing of our move had a lot to do with that. We moved to Chelsea in late July.
One hot Saturday morning in August, while we were still unpacking boxes and getting settled in, I noticed something very peculiar. I called for my husband..."Um... Mike? Why are there people setting up lawn chairs in our front yard?" Despite the weirdness of not knowing why so many people were settling in with chairs, coolers, and blankets, we went on with our day, had lunch and got our baby down for a nap.
Then it got very quiet. Too quiet. All the road traffic had stopped. It's very eerie to hear silence when you are accustomed to living on a busy street.
We had no idea until that afternoon that our house was one of the hottest properties in town for the annual Chelsea Fair Parade! Needless to say, a parade going by your front door will wake a sleeping baby. So, Mike got the baby, and we all went out to watch the festivities. Coming from much larger communities, we didn't know what to make of it. The parade was really fun and exciting and strangely quaint all at the same time.
So having a parade you didn't know about, literally go by your front door, is enough to make a person wonder... How do people share news and events? The paper only comes out once a week... that's not the only thing, is it? How do people learn about stuff going on in this town? On the rock? A big sign at Pierce field? Am I missing something? You could say that day the parade showed up at our front door was what planted the seed for what later became the Things To Do In Chelsea website.
Now every year for the parade, we invite our friends and put our OWN lawn chairs on the lawn extension at 9 a.m.
What was it like when YOU first moved to Chelsea?