Tucked between Washtenaw and Packard, the Pittsfield neighborhood has a small community feel that anyone could call home, which is why I decided to do just that.

Driving through the winding streets of the neighborhood, Pittsfield Elementary is at the geographical center. It’s only fitting, as it is the heart of the neighborhood. And, for me, the heart of my career: I’m a kindergarten teacher there. Every weekday, the area comes alive as students and families walk and bike to the school. But the activity doesn’t end with the school day. After hours, the playground becomes the central community park where people play basketball, soccer, and walk their dogs.

Pittsfield is the smallest elementary school in Ann Arbor Public Schools, with around 250 students. The size is Pittsfield’s greatest strength. Students have access to all of the resources of AAPS, with a personalized feel. Our nurturing and diverse community of peers and teachers makes sure that each student’s academic and social needs are met. Students go on to study at nearby Scarlett Middle School, and then on to Huron High, both of which offer the highly regarded International Baccalaureate programs. 

Surrounding the elementary school are the Pittsfield Village condominiums, the place I bought my first home, in 2017. Built as rentals during WWII, they originally  housed a mix of professionals, students, and war-plant workers. 

Today, these cozy 1- and 2-bedroom condos are full of vintage character and a close knit feel. Just as I’d fallen in love with Pittsfield Elementary, I fell in love with this community. Vibrant colors, beautiful landscaping, and large rolling green spaces are a welcoming spot for walks, backyard concerts, and gatherings. 

And there is no shortage of activities. In the summer, families gather at the Forestbrooke Pool, which offers open swim hours, various swim classes, and even hosts a diving team! Each year they host a “Swim*A*Thon” fundraiser where members collectively swim 100 miles to raise money for the pool. I’ve never been brave enough to join, but I have watched courageous neighbors swimming laps.

Local businesses are nearby on either side of the village, with recent arrivals Bagel Fragel on Washtenaw and DJ’s Bakery on Packard making the neighborhood (arguably) the most delicious place to grab breakfast in Ann Arbor. 

I’ve since moved, but not far. My husband Blaine and I married in 2020, and bought a home in the Mitchell neighborhood, right across Packard from my original digs. I still teach at the school, so I still get to enjoy (almost) everything Pittsfield has to offer.

—Eleni Kastanis