Rochester Hills is a town of 70,000 people. It's small and it's cozy; it's like any other town, yet it's special. There's so much to explore in this town, and there's so much beauty. You always see pictures of pretty city parks and interesting landscapes and hear stories of the eccentric, yet aesthetic local stores in hipster cities. But it's something else entirely to say you live in a city where all of this exists, especially when you wouldn't expect it. There are just some things that every person who grew up in your hometown always knows, like a little piece of ourselves that we get to share with only so many people. And if you've lived here for long enough, you'll know exactly what I mean no matter what I say about our town. So, without further ado,10 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well:
1. Downtown Rochester's Christmas Lights
It's a beautiful moment driving down Main Street on a December night when the lights are up, with Christmas music blasting through your car and the heat turned up to the max. Just makes you crave a hot chocolate and your snuggliest snow boots because you know, you know, winter is on its way. *Cue Michigan's evil laugh*
2. The Trails
Of course, we can't wait for winter to be over, so we can hit the serene trails of Rochester Hills, like the Clinton River Trail that lets you walk right alongside our mighty river, and the Paint Creek Trail (that disappointingly doesn't actually have paint waiting for us at every bend). Whether it's biking or running or walking with your dogs, the trails are just perfect. The best part about them is that you'll never be bored. Hundreds of side paths through the brush take you to the most surprising and picture perfect spots on the river, but we know never to forget bug spray when we venture off the paved path.
3. The Borden Park 4th of July Fireworks
There is just something irresistible about the magic of fireworks, and even more so when we're celebrating America. It makes it worth it to brave the long wait in our cars, the long walk to the park, the insanely busy Festival (I mean come on, it's packed like sardines, and please don't sit in the walkways!), the bugs, the screaming (but absolutely adorable) little kids, the guilt of air and noise pollution, the endless snapchats on EVERYONE'S story...
We may not own our Costco in Rochester Hills, but you can be damn sure we have a membership to one, if not all three, in the area. Where else are we gonna get our lunch of free samples and berry smoothies?
Psh, who needs GPS when you learned how to drive in the construction-riddled streets of Rochester Hills? We are the masters of finding alternate routes, all thanks to the constant road closures of construction season. Oh, did I mention construction season lasts year-round and that it's a never-ending project? Seriously, between nearly all the roads being temporarily rerouted to only one-way traffic and the unpredictability of which roads are going to be closed next, you can forget about getting anywhere on time for the rest of the summer. Ahh, but we'll never be rid of our beloved potholes either way.
A little slice of Europe in our own backyard. The Village is your ultimate high-end outdoor shopping spot. With it's fountains and beautiful store fronts, you feel like a super-classy shopper even if you'd rather be hitting up Coldstone across the street in your sweatpants. Even if shopping isn't your thing, The Village is a picture-perfect spot. We've all had our fair share of photo shoots with the statues of the bears; don't pretend otherwise.
7. Rochester Hills Public Library
It didn't matter who you were as a kid; if you lived in Rochester Hills, you visited the library. The big stuffed animals in the kids section and the giant fish tank are unforgettable memories that every kid has of the library. Not to mention the ice cream socials. And of course, finally getting to walk up the stairs to the big kid's section, that was a rite of passage for us all. Once you'd get up there, though, you'd realize that it was just full of students studying at the tables and adults perusing actual books with titles too difficult to pronounce let alone understand, and then we couldn't wait to get back downstairs. Huh, that's still true.
8. The Municipal Park
Follow the trail from the library and you'll end up in one of the most beautiful municipal parks in Michigan. The park has THREE play structures, each more fun than the last, a walking path that follows a beautiful river, and a pond complete with the cutest ducks. It must be an unwritten rule that all the schools in the area come to this pond for their prom pictures when the weather's nice. The ducks just love it.
Madonna's Childhood Home in Rochester Hills
Yes, that's right, Rochester Hills was home to Madonna. Madonna came from these very roots, went to our own Adams High, and for this reason, we love her. She didn't mean it when she said she hated growing up here. Right, Madonna? Well, I guess you just have to get into the groove to appreciate this city. (Bad pun.)
10. Yates Cider Mill
We love our Cider Mill. And yes, it actually is water powered. Yates is the place to be in the fall, with delicious cider and donuts, a petting zoo, and the river walk. The line can be long, but it's so worth it. Especially when the weather is just right, just chilly enough to pull on jeans and a favorite sweatshirt, grab a jug of cider and walk down the river walk next to beautifully colored fall trees.
11. Deer and Bunnies Galore!
Last, but not least, we love our wild animal friends! Deer and bunnies are a natural sighting here, as are these deer crossing signs. We've all experienced the magic of seeing a majestic family of deer or an adorable bundle of bunnies in our backyards. It's not as bad as you would think, the little buggers are just too darn cute. Until you get on the road. We've been up close and personal with the "deer in headlights" saying. Just remember, don't veer for deer!