11 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well

11 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well

Rochester Hills, Michigan, where we're "innovative by nature" in one of the best hometowns in the world.

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...

4. Costco

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?

5. Construction

The Oakland Press

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.

6. Shopping

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

The City of Rochester Hills

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.

9. Madonna

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!

Cover Image Credit: Julianna Blankenship

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Dear World

I'm Ready To Be The Change

Dear World,

I wonder what goes through your mind. You’re scared of what you’ve become. You don’t know what to expect tomorrow but I don't either. Every day I need a suit of armor to save myself from what I could never guess. The suit of armor has molded itself to my skin and I have become so numb and desensitized.

Dear World, was this your way of protecting me? Because I don’t think it worked. Growing up, a thousand people, a thousand messages, telling me who to be, what to believe, how to act. This suit of armor you made for me can’t stop everything.

It’s not easy growing up. I have seen marriages split, friends disappear, wars started. I have seen people killed. I have seen homes destroyed.

But somehow, through it all, you have shown me that love is the answer. Maybe that is what the suit of armor you gave me is made out of. Love. Maybe you were protecting me with love.

Dear World, I’m ready to be the change. You’ve showed me that I am strong enough, I am able enough. All I need is to live my life the way I am supposed to. I realize that now you are made up of love. How many people can live with you and still feel alone? Still long for hope?

I am the voice of the people who cannot speak for themselves. I am the light in the darkness. I am the world. The world is me. We are love.

Dear World.

Cover Image Credit: Ajay Joseph

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To The Person At USC Who Called Me A 'Stupid Monkey'

You didn't put your name on your flyers, but I want you to hear my message too.



These are the words that somebody at the University of South Carolina were met with on their first day of classes, which also happened to be the after Martin Luther King Day. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time explaining why these phases are offensive, nor am I going to go into detail about my opinions on racism and using derogatory phrases to describe groups of people. If you don’t understand why racism is wrong, based on everything you’ve ever learned about it up until this point, I want to get personal with you and try to bring about that understanding.

I would like to write an open letter to whoever posted these flyers on our campus and to anyone who may feel the same way as that person. For your understanding, I will be substituting the words “African-American” with the phrase “stupid monkey” (since the word monkey to describe those of African-American descent has been used so often recently).

* * *

To Whom It May Concern:

I want to start by introducing myself. My name is Madison Hilliard and I am a student at the University of South Carolina. I am of mixed race. My beautiful mother is white and my equally beautiful father is a stupid monkey. I was raised in a mixed family household so my two older brothers, my older sister, and my father’s entire family is filled with many stupid monkeys. Family matters; but, you obviously know this because those who come from families of stupid monkeys matter to you so much that you needed to post it for all to see.

You care about stupid monkeys a lot; it seems like you have thought about them in depth recently. You went out of your way to try and hurt stupid monkeys and everyone else with family, loved ones, and acquaintances who are stupid monkeys by using such strong language.

If you cannot tell by now, your words don’t bother me; your hate does. I don’t know who taught you hate but you were taught it in the capacity of racism. Hate outdates racism and any other offensive derogatory names you want to call my family, my friends, and myself.

I’m sure you’ve been told that racism is wrong, a lesson of which you ignored, but I am here to tell you that hate is what is really wrong. I want to offer you my compassion, to show my love for you as a human, rather than showing you the same hate that you have shown me and everyone else offended by your words.

I want to point out how we are similar. I am a student at the University of South Carolina too. I am here to learn and hopefully have a degree someday too. Like you, I also feel as if I should be able to voice my opinions to everyone. I’m human just like you!

The difference between us is that I want to spread a message of love not hate. I’m so sure that love is right that I’m willing to put my name on this article. You seem slightly unsure, considering you have not identified yourself or taken credit for your words.

In truth, I would rather be called a stupid monkey and a dumb black ass than hateful any day. I refuse to give your words any power, just as anyone else who loves all the black monkeys in their lives should too.

SEE ALSO: A University Of Alabama Student Is Under Fire For Using The N-Word On Her Finsta

So here I am, posting my opinion on you and your choices, for the entire university and world to see. Your racist remarks are a direct byproduct of your mentality to hate. I used your words in replacement for mine because your hate offended me, not your words (which I know you were hoping would hurt me and everyone else a lot). In conclusion, I hope you find a love like my family and friends of all races have taught me.

In hopes that anyone reading this has learned anything and not understood what I am saying:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." — Martin Luther King Jr.
Cover Image Credit: USC / Instagram

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