Ann Arbor.

‘This is Cicely. She & Roslyn founded the town 97 years ago. Rumor & innuendo notwithstanding, they were just good friends.’

I’ve (only somewhat jokingly) become convinced that Ann Arbor, Michigan must have served as inspiration for Joshua Brand & John Falsey when they created that off-beat fictional town that is Cicely, Alaska. ¹

Consider the following parallels:

  • Bears, plaid, hunting rifles & cold winters. [‘Nuff said, really, but if you insist on more … ]
  • An apparently endless selection of brews on tap, artery-clogging diners & strong coffee. ²
  • Elements of magical realism (in the guise of fairy doors) & gorgeous trails.
  • Oh yeah, & I hear they have some lakes.

I quite like visiting Ann Arbor. You can rent a bicycle or just stroll downtown & enjoy the following (many of which are pictured here):

  • Bubblegum Alley: It’s exactly what you think it is. The petrified gum walls were painted hot pink when I stopped by. One afternoon alone, I found a fire-breather, a violinist & a saxophonist performing in the entrance. Not at the same time, unfortunately.
  • Zingerman’s Deli: ‘Cheeses, deliciously made for you & me / flavours like provolone & brie / each with its own ethnicity / wonderful cheeses … ’
  • 826: Dave Eggers’ not-for-profit brainchild, promoting literacy.
  • Nickel’s Arcade: Houses Arcadian Antiques & tobacconist Maison Edwards, amongst many other fine establishments.
  • The Chop House: A hyper-attentive wait-staff that Maurice Minnifield himself would appreciate.

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If you click on the inset images, you’ll get much larger versions.

¹ Talkeetna, Alaska is probably closer to the truth.
² Note to self: This also works for Twin Peaks.
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