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Monday, November 30, 2009

Grand Trunk Pub

This building, dating back to the 1800's, used to be the ticket office for the Grand Trunk Railroad in Detroit. For years it was called Foran's Irish Pub. Now it has reverted back to the GT: Grand Trunk Pub with the original hardwood floors and 25 foot vaulted ceilings. Very cool place with locally brewed beers on tap and yes, they serve Vernor's (Michigan accounts for 80% of its sales) and Faygo pop (HQ still in Detroit)! We thought their pear cider was wonderful, too. It's located on Woodward, near Campus Martius.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Lady of the Rosary in Detroit

When driving on I-94 in Detroit everyone notices this brightly shining statue on top of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish on Woodward. She's a welcome sign to our city. The sandstone edifice dates back to 1893.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Milano Bakery on Russell

If you're looking for breakfast in Detroit, we love Milano's Bakery and Café on the corner of Mack and Russell. It's got a warm comfy feel--very bright and airy--and the food is outstanding. Perfect place to plop down before you head into Eastern Market to do your Saturday morning shopping.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday!!

Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Don't forget the red kettle people. Evidently there were complaints from customers of a Macomb County store about the bell ringing. That didn't stop this Salvation Army volunteer from doing her job! Try to share your blessing with others.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trotting in Detroit

Happy Turkey Day! Will you be downtown Detroit this morning participating or watching all the crazy people in the Fifth Third Turkey Trot? It's a 5k run/walk and they give out prizes for the best costumes. Or perhaps you'll be watching America's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Many people line Woodward Avenue for this annual event (our 83rd!)....or do you watch it via TV in the comfort of your home? Count your blessings on Thanksgiving Day everyone! The sun is shining!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dearborn's Shatila Bakery

Shatila Bakery is located in Dearborn on Warren Avenue, just west of Schaefer and their pastries are divine. We have tried almost everything in this counter. Our favorites are the baba au rhum, the creme caramel, the fruit tarts, the opera cake, the mousse-filled chocolate tea cups and the eclairs. They are open until 11pm!! We walked in here one night at 9:30pm and it was packed wall-to-wall. They are obviously doing something right.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fisher Mansion in Detroit

The Fisher Mansion on Lenox in Detroit was built in the Spanish Mission style in the 1920's. It was a famous auto baron home built for Lawrence "King" Fisher and they spared no expense constructing it. They give tours Friday through Sunday. Today it is the center for the Bhaktivedanta a.k.a. Hare Krishna. Doreen and I were able to sit down with them in their café called Govinda's and have a wonderful vegetarian lunch and delightful conversation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving in Sterling Heights

The Thanksgiving Buffet at the Best Western Sterling Inn is a feast for the eyes as well as the tummies. They have been perfecting this for more than 20 years on the SW corner of Van Dyke and 15 Mile Rd. Seatings begin at noon and run through 5pm. It's a great alternative for those who neither want to cook nor do the dishes! More info here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

St Nativity of the Virgin Mary

You can't help but notice this Macedonian Orthodox church on 19 Mile and Ryan especially if the sun is shining! The domes and the crosses light up like they are wired for electricity. St Nativity of the Virgin Mary opened its doors in November of 2000. Architectually, it is pretty awesome. It serves one of the the largest Macedonian populations in the US.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ice Skating at Campus Martius downtown Detroit

The tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season was well attended last night in almost balmy weather! They placed the huge evergreen on top of the water fountain which is still spewing water. Pretty awesome. There were tons of ice skaters on hand for the seasonal opening of the outdoor rink and marching bands and choral groups to get everybody on their feet. Now, all we need is some snow.......NOT!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Somerset Mall in Troy

Somerset Mall on Big Beaver Road is all decked out for the holidays. You have to love the sheer phenomenal scale of two malls on the north and south side of a 10 lane divided highway that is connected by an overhead glassed in passage with moving walkways! We love to go here just to stroll and admire the displays. Can't resist a tour through Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma and the Tea Shop and oh yes, the Apple store!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beaujolais Nouveau

Always the third Thursday in November, Michigan gets in on the act of celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wine of the 2009 season, too! This photo was taken at Pic-a-Nut in Warren on Chicago Road which is part of the Champane Wine Cellars. Cass Gorkiewicz is providing the mood with Edith Piaf songs on his accordion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great American Smoke Out Day

Tomorrow is the Great American Smoke Out Day. We took this butt graveyard picture back in July at a rest stop on I-75. Just do it! For the Michigan guide to all its smoke-free restaurants, click here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DTE Energy Fountain Detroit

The headquarters for DTE Energy and their 10,000+ employees is in Detroit. Their fountains are beautifully illuminated at night. They transformed the asphalt lots in their surrounding area into parks and fountains and created a wonderful green space!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Traffic Jam and Snug

Most Detroiters know they can get good comfort food at Traffic Jam and Snug, which has been honing its reputation since 1965 near the Wayne State Campus. Top's on our list is Carlotta Chocolatta Ice Cream Cheesecake and their homemade bread. TJS was also Michigan's first brew pub! They are a smoke-free restaurant....and they have a balcony from which you can peer into the kitchen and watch the action. Cool!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sweetest Heart of Mary

Wasn't yesterday the most beautiful mid-November day in Michigan? 66 degrees and gorgeous blue skies. It was a blessing for Brian and Shelayne who were married at the historical church of Sweetest Heart of Mary in Detroit. Built for the Polish immigrants back in 1893, it stands rather majestically on Canfield and Russell. David Carle cranked out some beautiful music on the the Austin pipe organ. We could not help but admire the unique altar of hand-carved white wood. Then after the ceremony the three bells in the north tower (St Mary, St Joseph and St Barbara) rang out jubilantly. Bóg Zapłać That's Polish for God bless you!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Hurlbut Memorial Gate in Detroit

This unusual, elegant gate is located in front of the Waterworks Park on Jefferson in Detroit. It's named after Chauncy Hurlburt who served as city water commissioner and donated the funds to build this Beaux-Arts classical gateway in 1894. Structures like this are one great reason to take a ride up Jefferson Avenue and back again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

D'Amato's in Royal Oak

One of our favorite Italian bistros is in Royal Oak by the railroad tracks....on the corner of Sherman and Lafayette. Along with the usual pastas and pizzas they have some very unique and delicious culinary creations as well as great wines to choose from. The back room is less noisy and less smoky (when will Michigan ban public smoking??)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rochester Knitting Mill

What a cool historical building in downtown Rochester on Water St (east of Main)! Today we know it as the Rochester Mills Beer Company and we tried to go to dinner there Saturday night but it was an hour and a half's a neat place with live music on weekends.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

Driving east on Jefferson Avenue from Detroit, water is visible for most of the trip. The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club is a landmark by water or land. It was started by 25 men in 1914 who wanted to pursue their interests in ice boating and sailing on Lake St. Clair. The clubhouse bell tower stands 187 feet tall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Edmund Fitzgerald Bell, White Fish

The ship Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, near Whitefish Point in the UP. At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society on July 4, 1995 and is now displayed in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum next to the Whitefish Point Light Station. It is a memorial to her lost crew. We get goosebumps walking through this museum listening to Gordon Lightfoot's ballad about the night this ship was lost. You can listen to it here. It's an eerie and unique place you simply must visit in Michigan!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunrise on Lake St. Clair

Good morning! The Great Lakes State regales us over and over with some fantastic sunrises! Lake St. Clair is the setting for this picturesque view from Doreen's camera.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kensington Church in Troy

Kensington Church in Troy is one of Michigan's mega Christian churches (thousands of people attend on a weekly basis). We call it a high energy, relevant, welcoming place. WE caught these munchkins on stage on a recent Saturday service. They run one or two mission trips a month to places like Peru, Kenya, South Africa, India, Ecuador, etc. Treasure Island is their wonderful children's program. They have great stuff, too, for middle schoolers, teens and yes, adults. The main campus is at John R and 19 Mile (Square Lake Rd) with lots of little campuses in the area as well as Salt Lake City and a new one starting soon in Orlando.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Elk Herd in Gaylord

If you are in or around Gaylord, you must check out the fascinating elk herd behind the Elk Lodge (where else?) maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. The Pigeon River Country State Forest and surrounding land is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi River.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Tuba Museum and Restaurant

Come on now, have you ever seen a tuba museum and a restaurant combined? This unique place is located in Okemos with a tuba fountain in the garden. Just a stone's throw from the MSU campus, it's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and they serve micro beers on draft of which Tuba Charlie's is their specialty. More info here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seul Choix Point Light, Gulliver

The Seul Choix Point Light, built in 1895, stands in the Upper Peninsula in Gulliver where there is a harbor of refuge. Seul Choix was named by the French and translates to "Only Choice" as it is the only areas where boats can take refuge along this part of Lake Michigan. The tower is 79 feet tall with a cool 10 sided cast iron lantern. Many people say it is haunted! Strange happenings have been reported including silverware that moves, the strong smell of cigars and the sound of someone climbing the lighthouse steps. Some believe a lighthouse keeper is still at work.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lake Superior Boat Wreck

Doreen saw this boat as she was hiking along Lake Superior near Grand Marais. The evergreens line much of the trail along the waterfront. Walk a few more feet and you will have a totally different perspective. It's just so majestic. The Indians name for this huge fresh water lake is Gitche Gumee. We can't help but chant the "Song of Hiawatha" from Longfellow:
"By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the Shining Big-Sea-Water
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine trees
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water
beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Red, White and Blue Moose of St Ignace

Many local elections are being held today. Don't forget to vote. This moose is a daily reminder of our patriotic duty and he resides in St. Ignace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Superior Dome, Northern Michigan University, Marquette

The Superior Dome of Northern Michigan University houses the Wildcat's football, soccer and track teams. Doreen's brother-in-law, Gary, was project manager for the "Nipple of the North" when it was built in 1991. It stands 14 stories high and encompasses 5.1 acres under its roof. Constructed of 781 Douglas Fir beams and 108.5 miles of fir decking, it has a permanent seating capacity of 8,000, although the building can hold as many as 16,000 people.
It has the ability to withstand 60 pounds per square foot of snow and 80 mile per hour winds. The Superior Dome is also home of the United States Olympic Education Center offices, as well as special training areas for the USOEC’s boxing, weightlifting and wrestling teams. To view what is taking place on the main floor of the Superior Dome, go to the Dome webcam.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Quiet Moment at Indian River

This beautiful sculpture "A Quiet Moment" was created by Canadian artist Timothy P. Smaltz. It stands in the gardens of Cross in the Woods in Indian River. When Suzie and I visited there one Sunday morning, it was quiet and I could almost feel the arms around me, filling me with security, hope and peace. Additional casts of this sculpture are located in Italy and Bethlehem. The artist describes his sculptures as visual prayers and creates works to glorify Christ. Learn more here. There are many beatuiful sculptures at the National Shrine of Cross in the Woods.