Clarkston – Michigan

Small Town – Huge Spirit

The Village of Clarkston, Independence Township, exemplifies the charm and graciousness of another era.  Words like quaint, charming, old-fashioned and picturesque came to mind on my first drive down Clarkston’s Main Street. I was attracted by Rudy’s market and decided to stop and get some refreshments. I was fortunate to get a parking space close to the market. Parking is limited on Main Street but upon closer inspection, I could see the nearby parking lots.

The first time I entered Rudy’s I was warmly greeted by the owner and his staff. They could not have been more attentive and helpful; they even asked me my name and made me feel right at home.  The array of prime meats and fresh fish was very impressive. The deli offered a variety of salads, sandwiches and pizza as well as tabbouleh, grape leaves and kibbi. The sandwiches were listed on chalkboards behind the counter. I was delighted to see and enjoy a turkey sandwich for under $5.00. There was even a family of Mallard ducks waiting for me outside the market when I left. They apparently waddled their way over from a nearby pond.

I have been back to Rudy’s many times since that first visit and have experienced the same service and graciousness as I did on the first visit. They still remember my name to this day. 

As I left Rudy’s, I decided to walk the rest of the business district, just two blocks long.  I was intrigued by what I saw. There were picturesque shops, a bakery and restaurants alongside real estate offices and a bank. Everyone I encountered on my walk was very friendly. I stopped to check out the bakery and decided to rest on the bench on the sidewalk. A couple came out of the bakery with treats for the Mallard ducks and sat down beside me. It was very apparent that they had a great love for the city and the surrounding area. They had grown up nearby and encouraged me to drive just a bit north of town to savor the beauty and charm of the historic homes that dotted both sides of the street. I could see the ponds directly behind these gracious old homes. It was apparent that the residents had a deep love for the city and had the desire to keep the Village of Clarkston and the surrounding area, a place worth coming to.

I have since witnessed a strong sense of community. On Friday evenings during July, there are free concerts in Depot Park, directly behind the business district. People of all age groups arrive with their lawn chairs to enjoy the music.

There are parades, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, for the celebration of Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day. The Clarkston Farmer’s Market is held in Depot Park every Sat. during July and August. One of the “Can’t Miss” events is the Taste of Clarkston where vendors from the various restaurants in Clarkston, offer samples of their specialties. Main Street becomes pedestrian only for this event and the crowd is enormous. Free parking is available at several locations.  There is also an Art-in-the-Park event that attracts a large crowd in June. A Holiday Lights parade is held every year in early December and includes a tree lighting ceremony. Volunteers also decorate the streets with garlands and lights. This is a very welcoming sight.

These events, created and sponsored by businesses, various civic and private organizations together with the efforts of countless volunteers, have earned the support of the local residents which has helped foster a strong sense of community, a sense of home and a sense of well-being.

 Check out what’s happening in Clarkston here:

Village of Clarkston – Events

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