Hidden to most, but not to a few is one of Washtenaw county parks best kept secrets; Sharon Mills County park. Not intentionally a secret, but because of it location a little out of the way. Running along the River Raisin in the southwest corner of the county, the former Grist stoned mill was constructed in the mid 1850s, (with the stone still visible on the grounds), then former Henry Ford owned mill used for auto parts production. Later sold, had been a winery, finally purchased by the Washtenaw county parks and turned into one of the counties most charming properties. It is listed as one of the State of Michigan's historical sites.
From Ann Arbor, there are a variety of ways to get there. The most direct would be just to follow Pleasant lake road directly there, and stay on it as it turns into Sharon Hollow Rd. From the North, take I-94 to M-52 to Pleasant Lake. From downtown Ann Arbor,
I discovered it last year sometime. I'm an avid hiker, and had made it a point to discover, or at least know about all the options that I had in the area. The park is really the story of 2 different parks, Sharon Mills park which I described above, and the Sharon Mills park north, which includes a 3.8 mile hiking and mountain biking trail. The trail follows along the River Raisin, wetlands, the Sharonville state gaming area. Some of the scenery is beautiful. Combined both parks, and it's a total of 264 acres. The two sides are separated by Sharon Hollow Rd, with parking and access to each section only a few 100 feet apart. I haven't had an opportunity to explore all of the trails, I've just gone to do work, have lunch, and just get away sometimes.
Aside from the Hiking and Biking, you can canoe, you'll need to bring your own, there isn't anything to rent. Fish, picnic, or just relax are other options. There is ample room for running around, playing games, although there isn't a playground option. Lots of weddings, and celebrations have taken place there. They open the mill up for tours, there is a little museum dedicated to the history of the mill, along with a few large information plaques with the history, wildlife you'd find, how a mill actually works. The race, and channels are all still in place, and flowing with water.
The park has an official caterer, Food Art Catered Affairs, if you are interested in having an event. They handle any reservations, so talk with them about what you're thinking about for your event or wedding. There is a covered pavilion, along with a few in ground charcoal grills and picnic tables. Some of the flowers and gardens out there are quite lovely in the spring and summer, and I completely understand why celebrations are held there.
It's a wonderful little part of the county. The River Raisin is rarely thought of in the county by the average person, since the Huron River is the one that cuts through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. But it is full of it own history, and impact in the area. The park is a little out of the way, but that's part of why I really like it.