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Living in Chelsea, MI: Small city, big heart

April 20, 2020


Three image collage. Image on left is of clock towner in Chelsea. Image on top right is art sculpture in Chelsea. Picture on bottom right is of theater in Chelsea.

Chelsea, MI, is a small city with a big heart. The population of 5,474 people fits comfortably in about 4 square miles, 16 miles west of Ann Arbor. Not all that long ago, this city was a village. Living in Chelsea still feels that way, a place where you’re not a stranger for long.

Things to do in Chelsea 

Walk around Downtown Chelsea and you’ll see shops, restaurants, and businesses that are locally owned and one-of-a-kind. If you want coffee, you don’t head to Starbucks for a venti, but pop in at Zou Zou’s Cafe & Coffee Bar. Maybe you grab a freshly baked cinnamon roll or croissant—or linger there for a palate-pleasing meal. If you want a quick lunch, you head to Mike’s Deli, where they might even ask, “The usual?”

The downtown shops and services cater to simple pleasures. Reading a book, strumming a guitar, riding a bike, knitting, sewing, gardening, or yoga—they’re all embraced in the small city of Chelsea. 

Healthy eating is not just a trend in Chelsea. It’s a commitment. Here, you’ll find food co-ops that bring together the freshest produce from nearby farms, a farmers market, and farm stands—and they all maintain a loyal following. 

You can’t visit Chelsea without learning about 2 local favorites: Chelsea Milling Company and the Purple Rose Theatre.

Having begun as a flour mill in 1901, the first one is better known as “Jiffy Mix”, that little blue box in the baking supplies aisle of just about every grocery store in the country. From muffins, brownies, and cakes to biscuits, pancakes, and crusts (pizza and pie), Jiffy Mixes have been around for almost a century. The plant currently ships out 1.6 million boxes of baking mixes a day. Jiffy Mix remains a family business since the very beginning, taking pride in the fact that it has never had an employee lay-off in its entire history, The one-hour plant tour is a must, and it’s available as a virtual tour right now, in case you want a taste of the real thing.

The Purple Rose Theatre represents a source of pride for Chelseans. Founded by hometown boy and acclaimed actor, Jeff Daniels, the theatre presents performances year-round. Jeff himself performed on the stage there, following a record-setting run, playing Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Leading Actor.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeff committed to personally match every donation to the theatre company to support the city’s beloved cultural institution.

The Chelsea schools are another source of local pride. Kids get a great start on their future here, with experienced teachers and a challenging curriculum. Chelsea High School earned the College Success Award from GreatSchools, having demonstrated a 94% graduation rate and SAT scores that are far above the state average

For all these reasons—and more—Chelsea earned an “A” from Niche.com, which also ranked it among the Best Places to Live in Michigan

Come home to Chelsea

Another really good reason to live in Chelsea, MI, is that you can have this friendly, familiar, and fun hometown and still have easy access to the urban experiences in Ann Arbor. You can get to the city in 20 minutes, to cheer on the Wolverines or enjoy any of the many things to do in Ann Arbor.

As a local homebuilder, Norfolk Homes knows that Chelsea offers a unique lifestyle. We chose a scenic location here to build Westchester Farms, a community of single-family homes only a mile from Downtown Chelsea. We’ve just begun Phase II, offering 35 homesites, including some cul-de-sac lots. 

Our curated collection of floor plans range from 1,600 to nearly 3,000 square feet. Take your pick of ranch-style or 2-story homes, blending the details of Craftsman and Modern Farmhouse architectural styles. Further customize your home by choosing details like cabinets and countertops when you visit our design studio.

These Norfolk homes are priced from the low $300,000s, and you have low township property taxes, too. 

With virtual tours and appointments, you can move forward right now to join the Westchester Farms community. Browse the floor plans and take a 3-D virtual tour of any homes that interest you. Be sure to check out our move-in ready new homes for sale in Chelsea’s Westchester Farms. Then, reach out to us to keep the momentum going!


It was great meeting with the two of you the other day. We had a blast picking out our options and are really excited to move forward on our home.

Byran & Rebecca