A few weeks ago, I made a trip to Romeo, Michigan not knowing what to expect. What I found was that Romeo is a hub of history, with establishments that date all the way back to the 19th century and beyond. The city’s downtown, in particular, is beautiful and full of delightful places to stop and explore! Here’s what happened during my visit.
I started my day at the Romeo Trailside Park. As the name implies, it’s a park right off the Macomb Orchard Trail. It has open space to run around, as well as some seating. While there, I met a nice couple who helpfully directed me to what is called the Four Corners, where 32 Mile and Main Street intersect. After parking in front of Main’s Treat Coffeehouse, I made my way down a narrow walkway that led behind the shops and towards the Village Park. It’s a shaded area with benches, tables, and a nice-sized gazebo. There, a woman and her daughter were more than happy to tell me about the area, and directed me towards the church.
Entering the First Congregational Church, I met Pastor Kim, who relayed to me all kinds of amazing things about the institution. Established in 1828, the church has a rich and long history of acceptance and innovation. “It has always been at the forefront of society,” Pastor Kim told me. But the building could no longer sustain the congregation, as it is old and deteriorating. Because of this, the congregation is going to move locations. In honor of this move and the church’s 193rd anniversary, they will be hosting a 4-Day Celebration starting August 16, with a picnic and outdoor activities. Pastor Kim also told me that during the festivities they will be unveiling their time capsule from the 1800s. No one knows what’s inside, so the reveal will surely be a treat!
After touring the church, I made my way across the street to the Kezar Library. It’s home to the Romeo Observer, a newspaper that was created in the 1800s but sadly ended its publication in 2015. The library also houses every Romeo High School yearbook, as well as the Romeo Monday Club collection. Many of the collections that can be found here are open and available to the public. However, it’s best to call ahead before arriving to peruse through them.
After experiencing the wonderful hospitality of the library, I found myself in the Starkweather Arts Center. As the name suggests, Helen Starkweather, a beloved teacher and artist of the Romeo school system in the 1900s, donated the building. Inside, you can find exhibits and even local artwork that showcases the remarkable talent of Romeo’s citizens.
Eventually, I took a stroll down South Main Street to visit some of the local shops. For lunch, I went to Thee Office Pub, where I ate a delicious burger! For some refreshments, I headed across the street to La Mexicana and bought a large bottle of jarritos, a brand of soft drink founded in Mexico. I then made my way into Romeo Gold Studios, an establishment recommended to me by a nice woman who waited on me during lunch. Inside, I was greeted by Megan, a worker who told me all about the business. Created in 2019, Romeo Gold Studios acts as a recording studio, an instrument store and even a music school. Megan allowed me to sit in on one of her singing lessons with her co-worker, Alexa. It was amazing to witness the cultivation of talent, and the experience made me nostalgic for when I used to be involved in musicals! Before I left, I was told that the studio’s house band will be having their first performance on September 5, during the 2021 Peach Festival.
After touring downtown Romeo, I made a stop at the Romeo Community Center where they host events and have all kinds of information about places and services in the Romeo-Bruce-Washington area. Adjacent to the building, is a playground for children, called Kiwanis Club Park.
I ended my day in Washington, where I treated myself to Frontier Town’s Ice Cream Parlor, a place recommended by a few of the locals in Romeo. You can find more about my trip there in the National Ice Cream Day blog!
From my excursion through Romeo, I have found that the people are kind, the businesses are welcoming, and the city’s history is long-standing. I would definitely love to come back, possibly for the Peach Festival! My travels mostly consisted of Romeo’s downtown area, so I’m sure that I missed a few things. What other cool places are there left to explore?
Rachel Dearing is an intern for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.