In truth it's just a street, but Shady Lane is also a remarkable neighborhood. The entrance off Packard is guarded by a towering, lush, magnificent willow--a glorious tree so overpowering that from a distance the whole street seems to be filled with willows, though in fact there's only one.
Shady Lane looks like a dark path into the woods of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale as it enters a small wooded area, curves around to form a cul-de-sac, and then exits, a perfect, unbroken circle of asphalt. There is no concrete here, not even sidewalks, and the houses fit themselves in among the trees, rather than the trees making way for the houses. The street itself is barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other, let alone park, but it's perfect for walking or biking.
The houses are small--most appear to be well under 1,000 square feet--modest and cottage-like. The landscaping is similarly homey. This cul-de-sac has never left the era when it was okay to leave tricycles and yard tools on the lawn, when old barrels and tubs were used as planters because they were available rather than stylish, when homemaking activities like canning, crafting, and car-washing were done in the front yard. The unpretentious cheeriness includes features such as an aged Bonneville with a roped-down hood, a yard filled with plastic planters, and outdoor tables still covered with the remains of past meals. The opulent greenery makes the street feel almost luxurious, like a cluster of upscale summer vacation rentals. Put this neighborhood near the shore of Lake Michigan, and people would line up to rent these cottages.