Ann Arbor Fairy DoorsPosted by Ali on March 05 at 12:17 pm
At Lima Beads we love being in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. We love the quirks and artsiness — the things that make us different. Apparently, so do our neighbors, the friendly neighborhood fairies. No I’m not crazy, the stress of Lima Beads hasn’t done me in, but rather brought back a bit of that childhood creativity and the ability to see…beyond
Ann Arbor hasn’t lost its imagination, having welcomed with open eyes and storefronts our resident fairies – The Urban Fairies.
Throughout Ann Arbor’s downtown, children and adults alike can spot miniature doors. These doors are built into the front of buildings, the sides of bookshelves, and even business entry doors. Even Google, upon moving into downtown Ann Arbor last year, installed a fairy door at their office. A local “non-certified fairyologist”, Jonathan B. Wright and his children first “discovered” a fairy door in their west side home in 1993. Since the fairies (and local children) liked it so much, the word spread and fairies began taking up residence at local shops and businesses all over downtown.
From what we have been able to tell, there are at least 9 urban fairy doors near The Lima Loft. So Rachel and I went on off in search of some of the closest ones – Sweetwaters Café, Red Shoes, Ann Arbor District Library (in the Fairy Tales/Folklore section), The Ark, and my favorite, Peaceable Kingdom. Most of the doors are at ground level and feel like they are exclusively for the children. This seems like a sign or a metaphor from the faires – that as we grow up and our imagination fades, we are less likely to see them as a child does, non-judging and full of wonder and excitement. You can see various items, including change, gummi bears, notes, and other candy on the front steps of the fairy doors. Children often leave these items in an effort to entice the fairies out to play!
Mr. Wright wanted to know more about what people saw or felt when they visited the fairies. He has placed journals at several of the locations so that people, mainly children, can draw or write about their experience.
He has translated quite a few of these sightings in his book Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors. He also maintains a website dedicated to these urban dwellers – www.urban-fairies.com. There are doors leading to more information on the fairies, including mythology & history, observations and frequently asked questions. You can even ask him questions and he will try to give expert answers.
Does your town have Fairy Doors? Let us know in the comments!