Dexter treats residents to a pleasing mix of pastoral beauty, small-town conveniences
Angele Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Boasting nearby lakes and metro parks, Dexter is only a few minutes from downtown Ann Arbor and provides easy access to I-94.
Dexter has preserved its quaint village atmosphere while introducing a number of new and exciting enterprises such as the Encore Musical Theatre Company, which brings New York actors to its stage, and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, an award winning brewery known for its Belgian beer.
This mixture of rural beauty and access to top-notch restaurants, art galleries and shops gives residents and visitors the best of the city and country.
“This is the biggest draw for me,“ explains Donna Dettling, Dexter Village Manager, “Being connected to nature but being right in town where you can get an ice cream and listen to music in the park. There is a huge commitment to quality of life here.”
The population of the village itself is estimated at 3,500 for the 2010 census with an additional 10,000 residents in neighboring Dexter and Webster townships.
Visitors and residents alike have much to do in Dexter, whether they're dropping by landmark establishments such as Dexter Bakery for a pastry or Dexter Cider Mill, the oldest continuously running cider mill in Michigan since it opened in 1866. The downtown farmers market and roadside markets such as Jenny’s Market offer fresh local food as well as seasonal entertainment such as hayrides.
Monument Park in the middle of downtown with its familiar gazebo offers the perfect backdrop for the Friday Night summer concert series, an ice rink in the winter and the annual Dexter Daze craft show. A brand new three-story library opened in March 2009 and is known for its innovative programs for all ages.
Nearby, the Hudson Mills Metro Park offers 1,549 acres of natural beauty as well as bike paths, playgrounds and an 18-hole par 72 golf course. Gordon Hall, a historic building, hosts community events such as craft fairs, antique appraisal shows and an outdoor movie theatre in the summer.
Dexter’s award winning schools are also known for their athletics. The Dexter High School boys cross-country team tied the state record for most consecutive Michigan High School Athletic Association state championship titles with five wins from 2002-2006.
A growing number of restaurants such as North Point Seafood and Steakhouse, Dexter Pub and Terry B’s draw people hungry for interesting meals mixed with live music and other events.
Foggy Bottom and Corner Cup CafÃ© coffee shops are popular hangouts, drawing parents after school drop-off as well as bikers and others looking to settle in for an afternoon in town. Stucchi’s and Dairy Queen bring out families for ice cream as well as sports teams looking for a chance to mingle after the game.
Art galleries such as Artistica and Dexter Picture Frame Company along with gift shops like Christine’s, Dexter Card & Gift Shop and Life is Good provide more reasons to stroll around downtown.
“The Dexter area has been very successful in its model of providing a good mix between both rural and business elements,” says Andy Kudwa, president, Dexter Chamber of Commerce. “You can see that with the Encore Theater and restaurants and other businesses coming here, as well as through our proximity to Ann Arbor. We’re ready to boom as one of the larger growth areas in Washtenaw County over the next 20 years.”