Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.
Located on the eastern side of the University of Michigan Central Campus, the Nicholas Arboretum is a 123-acre park designed in 1907 by O. C. Simonds. He was an American landscape designer who was born near Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was known as a defender of trying to maintain the native American landscape.
O. C. Simonds designed the Arboretum utilizing a unique approach. He used the steep glacial topography as a natural way to display the collections and garden areas. This creates an environment within the Arb with many serene places to discover. There are both exotic and native trees, shrubs, and glens all laid out in a naturalistic manner. The areas can all be explored on the nearly 3.5 miles of trails that crisscross in the Arb. Please note, only foot traffic is allowed in the arboretum. Before visiting, the Arb staff recommends exploring their website under the "Things to Do" tab. There is a helpful option to see what is currently in bloom in the gardens during all four seasons.
One of the Arb's most notable attractions is its peony garden, which is a culturally important flower across many Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Korea. The flowers are so beloved among nature lovers and flower enthusiasts that people flock to the garden when the Arb's peonies begin to bloom. This typically occurs in late April. Due to its affiliation with the University of Michigan, The Arb also offers many special events and talks from interns regarding conservation, sustainability, and ecological restoration. Topics include everything from how to be successful in social media to using garden time and journaling to improve mental health. The Nicholas Arboretum is open from sunrise to sunset and is free to the public.
Cover photo via Flickr by F.D. Richards. (CC BY-SA 2.0)