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Albion offers something for everyone

Published in the Battle Creek Enquirer

The small towns of Michigan need all of us to find reasons to visit and help their local economies with our tourist dollars. Albion, between Marshall and Jackson on Interstate 94 is another one of this state’s unique small towns, boasting 8,616 resident at the last census.

Like so many small cities, it has struggled to stay afloat with the changing economy. It’s a plucky place striving mightily to rebuild its downtown, offering a blend of the old and the new.

Since the first English-speaking resident arrived at the confluence of the north and south branches of the Kalamazoo River, it’s had the nickname of The Forks. It is also know as the home of Albion College with a student population of about 1,750.

One such place is both new and old. Bring a date or the whole family and check out the newly refurbished theatre. It was Christmas Day in 1929 when local businessman George Bohm opened a 1,100-seat theatre at this location. After being shuttered for many years, it has been brought back to its previous glory with sea creatures and mermaids dancing on its walls in bright colors and seats for 300-400. When its not showing films, it can be used for other theatre or music performances.

The Bohm is offering limited movies Thursday through Sunday with a both a kid friendly offering and something for the adults at a later time. Adult theatergoers can choose a grown-up beverage while the usual fare of popcorn and soda is also available. This weekend you can see Dracula Untold, or The Boxtrolls. The theatre has graced Michigan Avenue for almost 85 years and was recently brought back to life by dedicated group of volunteers.

If it is a romantic weekend you are considering, check out the Heritage Bed & Breakfast. It is a lovely brick and yellow Georgian Revival home, built in 1912. With four rooms to choose from, you can pick The Jocelyn Suite with a two person Jacuzzi. I would probably pick the Dysinger Room because of its original club footed bathtub. With the change of seasons, a good long soak is always a wonderful way to relax. Their breakfasts are not to be missed either with entrees like asparagus and egg casserole and a bottomless cup of coffee.

A brisk walk around the Albion College campus is a good idea before making your way to Cascarelli’s, a dining fixture in town since 1909. Robert Cascarelli came to Albion to open a fruit store on the far north end of Albion and his legacy is still serving tasty, fresh food every day. On our recent visit, my husband had a specialty burger, The Big Ben, while I enjoyed a chicken, spinach and feta calzone or folded pizza. We started, of course, with their famous house roasted redskin peanuts — still the tastiest bargain at $2 a tray. Salads, pizza, sandwiches draw in a local crowd every night. The night we were there, burgers were being offered for a bargain $2 with fries an extra buck.

If you decide to bring the children, make sure you stop at the Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum. Interactive and hands on exhibits make learning fun for little and big kids, and their parents too. The 4th Thursday of every month, the museum is open free of charge. On November 20, Albion Public Schools will sponsor the free visit. Normal admission is $6.50, Tuesday through Saturday.

Albion offers a good time to everyone, regardless of your age. Plan a visit to support another one of Michigan’s wonderful small towns.

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