A Love Letter to Lansing  By

A Love Letter to Lansing

We wanted to put the spotlight on smaller college towns in America where the quality of life is high. These smaller spots on the map tend to offer big city advantages thanks to the cultural and cosmopolitan influx created by universities (such as theater, concerts, & public lectures) minus big city inconveniences (like high property prices, traffic, & pollution).

A Realtor for over 25 years, Elinor Holbrook truly loves the Lansing area. She has shared her insights with us as a guest blogger for Sabbatical Homes. You can contact Elinor through her website.

How do I love Lansing? Let me count the ways….

Small town atmosphere and Big City life. Here is a sense of place for everybody and great amenities within a short drive. I love the resort town feel in the summer when the students leave for home, and love it again when the students return with their energy, noise, and YOUTH. This year the mopeds are everywhere like hornets, close your eyes and you would swear you are in Rome.

Lansing has a Poet Laureate!! How many towns in America can say that?

Michigan State University!! MSU is the driving force for teaching, intellectual enterprise and sports nicely juxtaposed on one of the largest and most beautiful campuses in the nation. Whether you go to the poetry

MSU Broad Museum

MSU Broad Museum

readings at the MSU Poetry Center or submerse in the big crowds at the football games; or spend your afternoons at the Broad Art Museum; you can find your sweet spot and hang out. Enjoy an afternoon picnic on the Red Cedar in the summer day and watch the kayakers paddle by. Go to a baseball game at the Ball Park in downtown Lansing.

The MSU Wharton Center brings New York productions at our doorstep. Music any night of the week- MSU Symphony, Lansing Symphony, opera, jazz, classical, rock and roll or the blues! The Rolling Stones came to Spartan Stadium and I was there!! Love and appreciation for great music spills over into local bars and restaurants.
East Lansing bills itself as the City of the Arts. And indeed, East Lansing and the whole greater Lansing area is a case study in cultural immersion. We have two jazz festivals, a Blues festival, a major Art Festival, a Folk Music Festival, a dragon boat race, a Beer Festival, two film festivals, Indie films at local theatres, etc. etc. The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art is a glittering jewel designed by Zaha Hadid right at the entrance to MSU. On campus, there is the Fairchild Theatre for opera and live theatre productions. Small art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants stud the Old Town area and make it a wonderful place to visit especially when there’s a weekend festival.

Related: A Love Letter to Athens, GA

The Michigan Capitol shines at the end of the Michigan Avenue corridor from East Lansing to Lansing. There is our history embodied in a cherished public building right next to the Michigan History Museum and the confluence of the Grand and the Red Cedar Rivers. Civic life is important here. People know their legislators and have a sense of public duty. There is good support for schools, libraries, the zoo, Lansing Community College, parks, bike trails and everything that makes a community a great place to live.
Where else can you choose to live as you please? There are luxury apartments, contemporary condos, lovely old Tudor or Colonial homes with small urban plots, sprawling green suburbs with yards big enough for touch football, beautiful villages with quaint four corners surrounded by lush farming country. Frank Lloyd Wright spent some time here and left his mark with his design and his influence on the plentiful mid-century ranches. Any lifestyle you choose is a short drive to malls, grocery stores, parks and a COUNTY BEACH at Lake Lansing Park.

Cooley Gardens

Cooley Gardens

I haven’t mentioned the cohesive neighborhoods, where families feel sheltered and loved and children grow up with neighbors and playmates. This is a place where your voice matters and you can make an impact by getting involved with community life at any level. I’ve been there and done that to my great satisfaction.

Lansing Orchestra

Lansing Orchestra

I’ve lived in East Lansing and worked as a real estate broker for many years. My husband, now deceased, and I raised our children here and watched them go into the world, marry and give us five grandchildren. At the moment, I am an Arts Commissioner on the East Lansing Arts Commission; involved in raising funds for the MSU Department of Theatre Endowment Fund, and the Greater Lansing Center for the Arts Placemaking Summit Planning Committee. I can say with great delight that I am never bored.

I love Lansing and wear my heart on my sleeve,


Elinor M. Holbrook

Associate Broker, Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood

Lansing Ambassador