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I'm moving to southwestern Michigan. Some questions.

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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 03:39 PM
Original message
I'm moving to southwestern Michigan. Some questions.
Hi everybody. I'm moving to southwestern Michigan, the Kalamazoo area, from central New York. I've looked up basic things like who my congressperson in the 6th district is (Republican, yuck) and who my assemblyperson is (another Repub, yuck). I also know about your close governor and senate races, so I plan on registering right away to vote in November. Anything else I should know?

On non-political issues: What's fun to do around there? Does anyone know if there is anywhere to hike or bike in the area? What about sports bars or restaurants? I'm hoping that there's a place with a satellite dish that can show any NFL game. :-) At first, I'm not going to have much leisure time, but eventually I hope to. :-)

Thanks, in advance, for any responses. I hope I get to know you all. :-)
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well the South West part of the State is red
there's should be lots of country for hiking. You'll be near Battle Creek home of the cereal. Jackson isn't too far.. huge prison over that way.. what else? Lake Michigan should be close. Of course there are restaurants and clubs although I couldn't give you any names, I live in South East Michigan and don;t got over to that part of the state too often.
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1gobluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. The Allegan area has some beautiful lakes and hills
Edited on Fri Sep-01-06 04:14 PM by 1gobluedem
It's close to Kalamazoo and is quite rural. I'm sure there is good hiking around there. And you're only an hour from Lake Michigan with its wonderful beaches, Warren Dunes, etc.

Welcome to Michigan! I'm in blue, blue, blue Ann Arbor -- sorry you're having to move to a red area.

On edit, here is a link to the Kalamazoo area from the Michigan tourism website:

http://www.michigan.org/travel/city/index.asp?city=G319...
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Thank you for the info and link!
:hi:
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thanks for the reply!
:hi:
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SharonRB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. Welcome to Michigan, GOPBasher
I'm in SE Michigan, so don't know much about the Kalamazoo area. Nice to have another "blue" voter on that side of the state, though. We need as many as we can get. Hope to see you here often.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Thanks!
Hope to see you too. :hi:
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. I work in the Kal. area. There are many things to do...
Both Kal. and G.R. have biking trails. There is a nature center in Kal. that is very pleasant. Western Michigan University hosts countless concerts, plays, art exhibits, sports games. Lakes? Go 20 miles in any direction and you'll find lakes to fish, boat, or just plain swim in. Beach stroll? From Kal. most people head toward South Haven. In Allegan and Kent counties people tend to frequent Holland State Park or Grand Haven State Park. Kal. has a nice Art museum, the usual movie theaters.

If you're looking school districts, you'd be wise to check out the Kalamazoo Promise (see web page for Kalamazoo schools).

Eateries? Plenty in any direction. Your co-workers can fill you in.

Policially Kalamazoo is not nearly as "Scamway" like as G.R., Holland etc. Both satellite and charter cable is available.

Welcome to Michigan!
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Thanks for the info!
:hi:
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
9. Welcome to Michigan!
I'm from the SE section of the state. For the most part the whole state is a beauty. I think you'll like it here!
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Good to know!
Thanks for the reply. :hi:
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. Just remember to check your basement and garage for pods
... before going to sleep at night. :evilgrin:

Welcome to the Wolverine State! :hi: Go Blue!

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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Thanks for the welcome!
Out of curiosity, what are pods?

:hi:
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-03-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Rent this CLASSIC movie ...
... and learn about the "pod people." (It's a very common part of our cultural lexicon.)



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auntAgonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
12. welcome to Michigan!!
I'm in Jackson and happy to have another DU'er close by.

:hi:

aA
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Thanks for the welcome!
Hello! :hi:
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-05-06 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
16. Bell's Beer



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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. Is that a local beer I should try? I've never heard of it. n/t
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. Yep - it is a great local brewery
that has grown much bigger over the last 10 years or so, but we used to drive out there (in the mid 90's) from Ann Arbor just to go to the brewery. They bottle their beer too and have a pretty wide distribution these days (all over the midwest and I'm sure some places further away now), but it is still brewed near K'zoo.

If you are a beer drinker, I recommend getting a Bell's Oberon on tap somewhere soon - it's a seasonal summer beer so it won't be around much longer...and it sure is tasty with a twist of orange

I love their Porter and the Kalamazoo Stout, and if you like strong, hoppy ales I recommend the Two Hearted Ale. Yummy!

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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-08-06 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. Cool, I'll have to check it out. n/t
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-06-06 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
17. I went to WMU/grew up in Grand Rapids
I live in Detroit (Warren), now.

Kalamazoo is a really nice town. It's politics are mixed-when I was there (82-86), there were actually a few libertarians on the city council.

Bilbo's pizza is the best in town. There's one by campus and one in Portage out by the mall. All my other favorite places are long gone, like Galley Subs and Maggies. And the Knollwood Tavern, which was a bar that was virtually on campus.

Lake Michigan is only a short drive away. There are good beaches in South Haven and in St. Joseph. They make a lot of wine in Paw Paw and the wine festival is this weekend (I drove through the area on Sunday, as my sister lives in St. Joe). Grand Rapids is a half hour away and there is a lot to do there, too. Especially shopping-K-Zoo doesn't have everything that GR does.

What's nice about Kalamazoo is that there really aren't any bad neighborhoods. There are two that are iffy-the area north of downtown near the railroad tracks and the area on Portage Street where the adult bookstores are located. You can walk around most neighborhoods safely, even around campus.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #17
21. Thanks noonwitch!
Thanks for the info. I'm happy there are good beaches around and that Kalamazoo is nice. :-)
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Susang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-12-06 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #17
29. I was at WMU from '83-'87
Ever go to the theater? You might have seen me. ;-)
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jeanarrett Donating Member (813 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #17
35. Galley Subs!
Wow! Haven't thought of them in a lonnnnnggggg time. The original Galley Sub Shop was in Big Rapids, Michigan, from whence I hail. John, can't remember his last name now, was the owner. Wonder what happened to them. Do you think it was the same sub shop? They were definitely the best.
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Scout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
18. i don't have anything useful to add to others' posts....
except Welcome! Michigan is a beautiful state, top to bottom and east to west. You need to check a map, and learn where the spot on your hand is that matches the location of K-zoo! Every Michigander knows to use the back of their left hand as a state map to describe location.

When you've been here a while, take a trip north across the bridge to da UP and take a tour there, it is gorgeous country.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I use the palm of my right hand.
Why hasn't someone marketed Michigan Mittens with maps on them??
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Scout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. I've seen oven mitts with Michigan maps, but no mittens.
Hey, I'd wear the mittens if someone made them. I don't care for gloves... I like mittens, and togetherness.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. Thanks for the welcome!
I can already point out Kalamazoo on my hand! I'll have to try that trip you talked about. :-)
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-07-06 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
24. Welcome to Michigan!
I'm in SE Michigan, but the whole state is pretty. You might want to check out Saugatuck on the west coast. It has a lively arts scene, a large gay population, and is smack dab in the middle of Dutch Reform & Amway country (which I find rather amusing).
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-08-06 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. Thanks for the welcome!
Saugatuck sounds like a nice town. I'll have to check it out sometime. :-)
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sonroadera Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-11-06 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
28. Kalamazoo had a cool bar called Club Soda that
I used to go to see bands play. Does it still exist? I never hear anyone talk about it anymore.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #28
34. I'll look for it. n/t
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #28
36. Club Soda just went out of business this month!
Never frequented the place, but it was a popular night spot with many.
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mformichigan Donating Member (4 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
30. I'm from Kalamazoo
There are tons of places to bike and hike. We have so many! The city of Portage has wonderful bike paths. The Kal-Haven trail is great. The Kalamazoo Nature Center is a wonderful place to hike or walk. Plenty of parks, lakes, and little off the map things to do. Sports Bars Restaurants, depends on your flavor, you have Wayside, Burdick's, BW 3's, Main St. Pub, North 11 (awesome martini bar!!!!), All your chain restaurants, Carrabas, Fridays, Applebee's, Starbucks (of course), Cheeseburger in Paradise, etc. etc., You can get HDTV digital cable here with DVR service, I have it. Kalamazoo is a very liberal county surrounded by conservative areas. There are 4 colleges in town, so when school's in there is alot going on. It's all dems here. I can get you hooked up with the party here if you'd like. Where are you working? Pfizer of Stryker? or are you a student at Western? You can send me a message if you want and I can give you some more info.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Thanks for all the info.
I'll get in touch with you sometime. Thanks again!
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douginmarshall Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 01:41 AM
Response to Original message
31. Active Democratic Party
Kalamazoo has a very active party. There is a State Senate Race that will need your support. Representative Sandy Lipsey 60 HD is term limited and running for a Republican held state Senate seat. This is one we must have if we are going to control the Senate. Go to his web site http://www.lipseyforsenate.com /

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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. Thanks for the info. n/t
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
37. Welcome to Kalamazoo!
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 09:06 PM by KzooDem
Welcome to our fair city, GOPBasher.

As others have mentioned, Kalamazoo is a pretty decent place to live if you have to live in a medium-sized, Midwestern college town. I wouldn't say Kalamazoo is very liberal as was mentioned above. That being said, I don't think it's very conservative, either. There are sizable camps of both conservative and liberal mindsets, which keeps things fairly balanced. Were it not for the local colleges (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, plus Kalamazoo Community College) it might be a lot more conservative. There is a very strong streak of conservative, Christian politics in the area, but like I said, they are kept in check by the liberal camp.

I would say more than anything else, Kalamazoo has a thriving arts community. We have a pretty decent symphony, an art museum, a very VERY strongly supported civic theatre program, a few independent theatre troupes (Whole Art Theatre, Actors & Playwrights Initiative, and The New Vic).
One Friday a month there is an Art Hop where artists display their works in local venues and businesses in the downtown area.

I think the biggest plus Kalamazoo has going for it, however, is its downtown area. In an era where the downtown area of cities of similar size are dying, Kalamazoo's downtown has experienced a real renaissance in the the past 5 - 8 years. There have been several high-end loft condos built in older buildings downtown, the Radisson Hotel just underwent a major renovation, and they just built a brand-new 14 screen multiplex smack dab in the middle of downtown. That's virtually unheard of in medium sized cities.

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in Kalamazoo, too. Who needs the national chains? There are lots of independent spots to enjoy. Among my favorites:

The Corner Bar (corner of Vine & Mills) - An old bowling alley from the 1920s turned into a bar/restaurant. Decorated in vintage beer marketing memorabilia, it's somewhat of a dive with a pretty good beer selection and really, really good bar food. Their ribs are as good as any I have had in Kansas City.

Food Dance Cafe (Michigan Avenue & Portage, downtown)- Primarily a breakfast place, but also serving lunch & dinner. Ecclectic, sophisticated place that serves locally grown and produced food. Quality is what this place is known for. A little on the pricey side but very worth it.

Martini's (Westnedge Avenue at Village St.) Independent Italian place - everything is homemade. EVERYTHING. The best pizzas, calzones and antipasti salads this side of Rome. Their sandwiches are superb as well, especially their Cuban pork sandwich.

MacKenzies Bakery (Harrison Street at Ransom St.) and Sarkozy's Bakery (N. Burdick Street at Kalamazoo Ave.) - Who needs Panera with these places in town?? Sarkozy's has been around for eons and their breads are great. MacKenzies has been around for eons as a traditional bakery, but in the last 5 to 8 years has come into its own with its expertise now solidly entrenched in artisinal breads. Both places are superb and my partner and I frequent them both on a weekly basis.

Water Street Coffee Joint - Kalamazoo Avenue at Water Street - Move over Starbuck's. This independent coffee house puts Starbucks to shame with it's ecclectic coolness. Excellent coffees to choose from, not to mention out-of-this-world baked goods.

These are just a few of my favorite things about Kalamazoo. Feel free to PM me if you want any additional information. I can point you in the direction of reputable lawyers, realtors, mechanics, etc...

Once again, WELCOME!
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mformichigan Donating Member (4 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Ditto
Martini's is the best ! Best Pizza in town hands down !

I am liking the add-on to the building. Parking is bad, but worth it for the food. Food Dance is good too.
I like Bruno's Pizza on Campus, it's an old joint hangout but the recipe hasn't changed and neither has the decor in over 30 years!!!
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erinlough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-26-06 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
39. Come south young person!
I live about an hour south of Kzoo and we have lots to do. St. Joseph is beautiful with lots of festivals and art shows any weekend of the summer. The cal-haven trail is a walking/biking trail that starts in South Haven and travels for miles with pristine wilderness that you can walk or bike. Saugatuck is great in the summer, many boats and places to shop and eat. You can come about one and a half hours down to New Buffalo which has become a Chicago summer spot and is repleat with gambling, lakefront, great fun and art. You can pick apples and berries from our farms down here, attend wine fests, apple fests, etc. I love Michigan.

WELCOME!!!!!
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-26-06 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
40. Get ready to be asked numerous times what Church you attend.
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