Experience a little bit of magic and whimsical fun the next time you visit Ann Arbor. The city is famous for a series of miniature doors created on the exteriors of several cafes, storefronts and businesses in Downtown and the surrounding area. The first fairy door was “discovered” in a baseboard in the home of Jonathan and Kathleen Wright in 1993. While renovating the over 100-year-old home, Jonathan installed the door for his young daughters, another one in the fireplace and two in the kitchen. Jonathan, a certified fairyologist, has created a website about the doors – urban-fairies.com – and has also written a children’s book entitled Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?
Beginning in 2005, fairy doors began popping up all around Ann Arbor and quickly acquired a cult following. The first appeared at Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea. (Jonathan is believed to be behind the installation of the secret tiny doors). Some are located at Found Gallery, Michigan Theatre, Mott Hospital, The Ark, Ann Arbor Library, Nicole’s Books, Jefferson Market and Ann Arbor Framing Co. The fairy door at Red Shoes is a replica of the store’s entrance, and inside Red Shoes is a small green door similar to those found inside the building. There is even a Goblin Door, a “sinister” version of the fairy doors. The Goblin Door is a little taller than the other doors and is located between The Ark and Seyfried Jewelers on S. Main Street.
Families from all over visit Ann Arbor in search of the fanciful portals. Children leave gifts in the hopes that real fairies will receive them. Some presents left at the doors include pennies and nickels, drawings, tiny packages, candies and shiny rocks. To see a fairy door tour map, visit urban-fairies.com. ♦