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Ann Arbor Fairy Doors

Posted by Ali on March 05 at 12:17 pm
At The Ark

At The Ark

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.

At Sweetwaters

At Sweetwaters

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.

Red Shoes

Red Shoes

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!

The Ark ticket window

The Ark ticket window

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.

Shh!! The Library

Shh!! The Library

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.

The Door and Fairy Shop at Peaceable Kingdom

The Door and Fairy Shop at Peaceable Kingdom

Does your town have Fairy Doors? Let us know in the comments!

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Atomic Toad
    Atomic Toad says:

    This is so cool! Kalamazoo does not have fairy doors. They should. A friend has a fairy house that he and his son and his mom built at their cabin by Grayling. It’s made of bark and sticks and moss and rocks. They add flowers, nuts, whatever when they’re up there.

  2. LoriEllen
    LoriEllen says:

    Those are so awesome!! I want to make one now!

  3. Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
    Cuban Queen Crazy Chick says:

    OMG I love those! Unfortunately here in Kingston, NY we do not have fairy doors but we should! I am surprised though that Woodstock, NY doesn’t have any!! With all the “new agers” and hippies you would think…

  4. No Photo
    Paula R says:

    Boohoo! Sadly, there are no Fairy Doors in Mesa, AZ…yet!

  5. No Photo
    Paula R says:

    Thank you Ali

  6. Alice P
    Alice P says:

    Nope, none here in my small, rural town in Kansas. Those are adorable! Thanks so much for sharing this story! Alice

  7. No Photo
    Kelly D says:

    Red Shoes does sell fairy doors redshoeshomegoods.com. I visited this last weekend and saw them. Unfortunately I forgot to look for more while I was wondering around town! Thanks for pointing a few of them out!

  8. CAS
    CAS says:

    Nope, no fairies in Hanover, NH. It’s a shame, because everyone needs a little whimsey in their lives. There are “decorated” sheep across the river in VT though, my favorite one is wearing yellow rain boots and sporting a coat of spring flowers.

  9. No Photo
    JoCarol N says:

    These Fairy doors are absolutely adorable! I may have to get one for my Granddaughter room!

  10. No Photo
    JoCarol N says:

    I forgot to add…. I have never seen these anywhere. I live in San Diego.

  11. No Photo
    Virginia V says:

    No place need suffer the absence of fairy doors if you are there. You can be a “fairy facilitator.” (I learned to be a facilitator when I lived in Ann Arbor). Fairies love to have help, just like the rest of us. Offer your help and feel the warm cozyness it brings. It’s easy and fun.

  12. Lore Y
    Lore Y says:

    We don’t have fairy doors in either Philadelphia or the Mainline. Too bad. It would help liven things up a little.
    Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved the miniture displays at the Philadelphia Flower Show!

  13. No Photo
    Luv2bead - Little Chick says:

    They’re cute! Thanks for sharing Ali!

  14. Joan
    Joan says:

    I too thank you for sharing, and yes the fairy doors are adorable…must spread the word around..fairy’s must have doors in the South!!

  15. Ali
    Ali says:

    I can’t wait until Payton is old enough to appreciate the fairy doors . . . one might appear in her room or garden.
    I thought that maybe some folks on Etsy might have fairy doors for sale and I was correct. If you go to Etsy.com and do a search for fairy doors, several great designs appear. From what I can tell they sell anywhere from $20-$40.

    I personally like:
    TaraLinnea.etsy.com
    http://mitzigee.com/html/fairy_doors.html (I found her on Etsy, but her personal site has a ton more)
    fairyrade.etsy.com
    MoldsByQueenocrete.etsy.com
    NothinButWood.etsy.com (under Wee Folk Accessories)
    Kdottie.etsy.com (under Tooth Fairie Doors
    artoflife.etsy.com (under Fairy Doors)
    OnceUponATimeDesign.etsy.com

    Happy fairy searching!

  16. Kitty Chicky Cat
    Kitty Chicky Cat says:

    Ooo! How cool!! I wish it did!!! I absolutely LOVED this kind of thing when I was little! Some of my favorite toys when I was little were called “Fairiwinkles”. They were little fairies with flowers for hair and they lived in lipstick tubes and jewelry boxes and perfume bottles. I love all things little! Everything in miniature! Forget the dolls, give me the fully furnished house. The idea of fairy doors Is soooo cool!!! How fun!

  17. Leslie W Mtn Chick
    Leslie W Mtn Chick says:

    I love this fun subject. I’ve never seen any fairy doors in the North Carolina High Country Mountains, yet….

  18. No Photo
    Dana A says:

    Well we don’t have them here in Oregon either. I have lived in Portland and in Southern Oregon about 45 minutes from the California border and have never seen one in any part of the state. They are adorable and I plan to start facilitating asap!!!Thanks a lot Ali!!!

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  19. Kitty Chicky Cat
    Kitty Chicky Cat says:

    Ok random, I love the new fresh picks feature when you look at a specific bead, ‘see all the picks with this product’!!! I just noticed it, I had been hoping you’d do something like this! Thanks guys! :D

  20. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    We can’t sneak anything past Kitty…

  21. No Photo
    KWB DESIGNS says:

    that is absolutely amazing! I would LOVE to have those in Montreal…
    I’m thinking maybe I’ll hide one when we build the playroom in the basement.
    Thanks for this great story!

  22. Kitty Chicky Cat
    Kitty Chicky Cat says:

    :D

  23. Anita QoG Funny Chick
    Anita QoG Funny Chick says:

    I absolutely LOVE this story!!! I work at the Community Art Center, and there will be fairy doors in Waupaca very SOON!!!! Thank you Ali, This is so wonderful!!! There is a beautiful nursery not far from here, it’s called “Thistledown” its in the country, all by itself, the owners home is right in the middle (beautiful old victorian house) They are known for their fairy gardens, they grow miniture trees & plants in hollowed out stones. Every summer they have the fairy fest. We attend & sell our jewelry, we make special fairy jewelry. Everyone comes as their favorite fairy, or an original fairy of their very own design, it’s wonderful, men, ladies, kids. everyone!!! Theres entertainment & a pagent for the new fairy queen…… I LOVE IT!!!!! So, I think we’ll be able to add a door or two!!!! Thanks again!!!!!

  24. Steph
    Steph says:

    I think they should be everywhere, I still believe in them.

  25. No Photo
    Carilea h says:

    hi love it why should the faeries be left out in the cold, will start the trend here in the uk know loads of people who believe… Cari at pagandream.com

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  26. No Photo
    Jonathan W says:

    Real urban fairy doors should not be bought and sold.

    Not much harm in trying to LURE a fairy with a human made door. (I hope)

    We already have at least one Goblin door in town now.

    The urban fairies seem to have mimicked Human structures an dthe goblins appeared to have mimicked the urban fairies… out of jealousy, I think.

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  27. No Photo
    R foppel says:

    I have one in my house it is so cute but where did it come from?:D

  28. FaeryGoth Chick
    FaeryGoth Chick says:

    Thanks for sharing Ali! I love faeries and all things related :-) No fairy doors in Belgium (in general) as far as I know but I love it!

  29. Chicky Suz aka Susan Z
    Chicky Suz aka Susan Z says:

    No fairy doors in Boston MA…This is so very cool Ali, thanks for sharing!

  30. KWB DESIGNS
    KWB DESIGNS says:

    old topic, I know; however I wanted you to know your story on fairy doors inspired a family project!
    my husband made door, the kids and I decorated it and we stuck in on our front wall.
    We even built a little popsicle stick bridge! It’s so adorable.
    so thank you for your inspirational story! :)

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