Search This Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

St. Stanilaus in Bay City

In the second half of the 19th century many Polish refugees escaped Prussian domination and settled in the Bay City Area. In 1890 St. Stanislaus in Bay City was built. The artwork and stained glass through out the church is exquisite. The Our Lady of Czestochowa, sometimes called the Black Madonna, has been associated with Poland for the past 600 years. Hours can be spent on this impeccable property studying windows, paintings, icons, statues, flower gardens and more.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Custer's Centennial in Monroe

Monroe is celebrating the 100th birthday of the unveiling of their General George A. Custer statue this year! We were able to stand and admire him under sunny blue skies this past weekend. Monroe is a beautiful old-timey town with the Raisin River flowing through it and pedestrian bridges to meander over. They also have lots of quaint shops and an Irish pub called McGeady's where supposedly George had his last drink before heading out to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stoney Creek Nature Center

We love the Stony Creek Nature Center which has fantastic glass walls bringing the outside nature inside. THis Shelby Township Metro Park has great puzzles and hands on play for learning about things you can possibly see when you walk the wonderful wooded trails crossing over ponds, rivers and streams. To enhance your enjoyment of the trails, try their snowshoe rental!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cabela's in Dundee

Michigan is the great outdoors, and the store Cabela's personifies this selling hunting, fishing and outdoor gear in Dundee since 2000. It has a massive 225,000 sq ft showroom with an aquarium, waterfalls and animals displayed in their natural habitat. There's also snack and fudge shops and a furniture department. We've never seen so much camouflage in one place.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carleton's Calder Dairy Farm

If you are city slickers, you need a place like the Calder Dairy Farm to help you appreciate the vigors and contrasts of farming life. Imagine the look on children's faces when that rooster 5 feet away starts crowing. The goats were roaming free and trying to eat Doreen's coat. They have a viewing room where you can watch the cows being milked and they sell their farm products here.....we especially like the ice cream! Tucked away in Carleton, it's family run and owned since 1946. They use recycled bottles, have home delivery and do not use growth hormones in their products! We like getting back to nature.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Covered Bridge in Frankenmuth

It's beautiful and serene and it's called the Holz Brucke which means covered bridge in German. This community of Frankenmuth is pretty unique, having been founded by franconians (from the Bavarian area in Germany) way back in 1845. The 200+ foot long bridge all made of wood was built in a style reminiscent of those built back in the 1800's. It consists of oak, pine and douglas fir and it's topped with cedar shingles and yes, you can drive across it! The annual Snowfest is held this year beginning January 27th and runs through February 1. Don't forget to drive across the bridge!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monroe's Vietnam War Memorial

This stark living memorial is dedicated to the men and women of Monroe County who served in the Vietnam War. The pink and black granite marker honors all 55 men killed in action and the one still MIA from this area. The park is named for Captain Norman (Rusty) W. Heck, Jr. who was the first to be killed in the war on Dec 8, 1964. The Huey helicopter was added later, serving multiple missions in Vietnam where it received 6 bullet holes that were repaired while it was there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Central Methodist in Detroit

Central Methodist stands on the corner of Woodward and Adams downtown. Known as the "Peace and Justice" church, their members were instrumental in banning executions way back in the 1830's, as hangings took place in the commons adjacent to their place of worship. In fact, this area became the first English-speaking territory to abolish the death penalty. A leader in the civil rights movement, Dr Martin Luther King Jr had spoken many time from their pulpit. Today, the Rev Jesse Jackson is speaking, as part of their bicentennial celebration.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Robert Burns Music Festival

The worldwide celebration of Robert Burn's birthday takes place the end of January. His actual birthday was January 25th, 1759 in bonny old Scotland. Michigan gets in on the festivities tonight in Bath, near Lansing, at the Eagle Eye Golf and Country Club where there's a big shindig complete with the Glen Erin bagpipe band, highland dancers and the obligatory haggis for good eating, the yummy picture you see above. You haven't lived until you've partaken of it! Get out your kilts and practice your Scottish brogue, saying My love's like a red red rose

Friday, January 22, 2010

State Theatre - Bay City

The historic State Theatre in Bay City was built in 1908 during the lumbering boom. It was designed by C. Howard Crane to resemble a Mayan Temple. Once known as the Bijou, it was one of the many vaudeville and burlesque houses in town. Today you can see movies, comedy, concerts and hear lectures. Check their schedule here. Tonight's Grand Rapid's band Pop Evil is sold out, but there's an Irish celtic band coming and tomorrow night is the Concert for Hope 2 featuring Josh Ramses Band at 7pm.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dundee's Splash Universe

Doreen found this indoor water park right across from Cabela's and close to the outlet malls in Monroe. The hotel has themed guest rooms while the water park has a lazy river, lil' squirt pool and twisting water slides. See the 500 gallon Splash Bucket pouring out? They keep this kids' heaven at 84 degrees. A lovely, less expensive alternative to Florida, the only thing missing is the sunshine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Keweenaw Brewery in Houghton

Our car makes a beeline for breweries and we found a great one in Houghton in Michigan Tech territory.  We subsequently hit several restaurants in the northernmost county of Keweenaw in our state and noticed that they all serve the craft brews from this brewery although there are others in the area! Whitney was very helpful in teaching us about all the brews.  Our favorites were the IPA and the Amber.  They also serve that delicious 1919 root beer :}. A beautiful huge hand-painted mural decorates their back patio depicting the unique lift bridge in Houghton and they have an awesome fireplace in the round in the next room.  Pretty stunning decor for a UP brewery.

Walking in Detroit's Winter Wonderland

There are so many wonderful things to see and places to visit in downtown Detroit. You can put together your own tour like this Washington, DC couple did or visit Inside Detroit to arrange for a public tour. You'll find there are 126 bars just steps away from People Mover taking their Discover the Real Detroit Bar Tour. And, you can walk Jefferson to Greektown, catching Ford Field, Comerica Park and back to Campus Martius in 90 minutes while learning so much of the history of Detroit. Don't let the wet wintry weather deter you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

North American International Auto Show

There's been a car show in Detroit, the Motor City, since 1907 when it was held in a Beer Garden. Having grown to international status it is now entering its 21st year in 2010 as the North American International Auto Show at our downtown Cobo Hall (celebrating its 50th year at Cobo). Among the most prestigious car shows in the world, it runs through Jan 24th. Auto manufacturers from around the globe display their latest products and the newest technologies. This Mustang is assembled in Flat Rock. Isn't she breathtaking? Here's more info.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Charles Wright Museum - Detroit

The Charles Wright Museum of African American History is a wonderful museum to experience. It is open Tuesday through Sunday and is located in the cultural district. From the wonderful atrium to the permanent and current exhibits, there is always something to learn from displays on archeology, art, history and culture. The exhibits take you through various times in African American history. Visit and find the references to Martin Luther King.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue Nuns Go Green

The IHM Motherhouse was built in 1932 in Monroe. The initials refer to the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The building's renovation in 2006 earned the coveted LEED Certification. We had a fabulous tour this month where we learned about the order, the campus, geo-thermal heating and cooling, organic gardening, native woodland, green burials, the labyrinth, water conservation and more. Many thanks to our wonderful docent Sr. Suzanne Sattler. The nuns here used to wear the traditional blue habits, which the media cleverly transformed into "Blue Nuns Go Green".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

AntiFreeze Blues at the Magic Bag

The Magic Bag concert hall/nightclub is known for its Brew & View nights and its live performances. This weekend features their 16th annual antifreeze blues festival. Located in Ferndale since 1921 north of Nine Mile along that famous Woodward strip, you can't miss it. Detroit's own Thornetta Davis appears tonight. Check them out here. The movie nights are $2. January 21st is Where the Wild Things Are and Jan 27 is Men Who Stare at Goats, both 2009 flicks will be up for Oscars.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Show time!

With 30 screens including an Imax, the AMC 30 movie theater in Sterling Heights has been a perennial favorite since it opened 10 years ago. With the Oscars coming up March 7, these next two cold winter months make movie-going a favorite activity of Michiganders. If you go to the show before noon, tickets are only $5 with free refills on popcorn, too! The AMC Forum 30 also features some classical live METropolitan opera. Tomorrow there's a showing of Bizet's Carmen in high definition and January 27th is Strauss' Der Rosenkavier.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grand Rapids ArtPrize

These Haitian girls drawn by Joanna Eden were part of Grand Rapids' ArtPrize this past fall. Over 5,000 artists compete and their works grace the entire city. Billed as the world's largest art prize (they give away a half million dollars in monetary awards), it is truly phenomenal. Mark your calendars for Sept 22-Oct 10, 2010!

We all look at the images of devastation in Haiti since the earthquake on Tuesday and our hearts go out to all the families. We wish to convey our deep sympathies to people who have lost loved ones and we urge anyone who is able to help out in this tragic occurrence through donations which can be made on-line to the Red Cross or to PIH (Partners in Health).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Culinary Delights in St Joseph

Bored? Want to learn something new? How about a cooking class at Perennial Accents in St. Joseph. The home and garden shop has been operating as a family business since 1995. This month learn to prepare duck confit and all the trimmings on the 17th or Pizza's and Calzones on the 24th with a guest chef from the area. Pair them with a local Tabor Hill wine and we're talking divine! See our earlier post

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Better Made Potato Chips - Detroit

Better Made Potato Chips started making their great snack food in Detroit in 1930. They use over 50 million pounds of potatoes each year. You can take a tour of the plant on Gratiot or take the on line tour here. We had to stop for the Rainbows um good! Better Made has been sending their chips to our troops in Iraq and apparently they are well appreciated because they have received letters of gratitude from our American soldiers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chocolate and Wine tasting!

Michigan wines and chocolates are paired together for an inexpensive tasting at the Funships Chocolates and More in Frankenmuth. Our knowledgeable sommelier, Andrea, told us that during the warmer months the tastings are done on an intimate cruise ship on the Cass River. Can't wait to return this summer. When you go, ask Andrea for her Pear-Honey wine dessert recipe --fantastic!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Father Solanus Casey in Detroit

Solanus Casey was a Capuchin monk ordained in 1904. He spent most of his life in Detroit serving his people as he was always willing to listen to anyone, anytime, day or night. Many attributed favors to his prayers. His body is entombed at St Bonaventure on Mt Elliot upon which people often leave handwritten prayers. They have healing services in the chapel Wednesdays and the 4th Sunday at 2pm.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Almar Orchard and Cidery in Flushing

The little town of Flushing, just west of Flint, is home to a farm that produces fruits, veggies and livestock. They make their own cider and the fermented kind as well. The pigs on the farm are fed apples which gives their meat a distinctly different and delicious taste, too. We bought the organic cider (both kinds) and the organic pork. You can get your cider in a growler (Scott is filling our jug here) and then when you come back with your empty container, refill it at a reduced price. Can't beat that. They are open to the public with hayrides and a petting farm. More info here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Clouds over Lake St. Clair

The snow clouds are rolling in from the west and 7-14 inches of snow are predicted by the Farmer's Almanac for January 8-11th. A wonderful time to put on a sweater, read a good book by the fire with hot cocoa on hand or get out and snowshoe. Click here to check on the predictions for snow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Get out and skate!

The ice is frozen on Lake St. Clair and ready for skating! It is thrilling to hear the ice shift and creek. For those of you not quite brave enough to skate outdoors, check here for the entire listing of indoor arenas in Michigan. The opportunities we have to skate year round in our state is impressive.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feast of the Kings

Today is the feast of the three kings--those Magi who came to honor the Christ Child at his birth. These Russian figurines are part of a nativity scene at Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store with 320,000 square feet of retail space located in Frankenmuth and open 361 days a year. "Little Bavaria" gets 3 million tourists a year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Walking with the Deer

Walking through Metro Beach Park on the first day of 2010, we spotted a couple of deer who, of course, already spotted us. The park is open until 8pm every night this winter. It's a great time to buy the season pass for the Huron Clinton Park System which includes 13 different parks. At Metro Beach you have Lake St. Clair, some great hiking trails, a nature center and in the summer, a great pool, golf, a marina and so much more...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tony's at Birch Run

It's an experience you'll likely not ever forget, eating at Tony's. When you order a club sandwich like the one pictured here or a BLT, it comes with a pound of bacon and thick Texas style toast. We watched the cook stab this one with a knife to hold it together! The omelette consists of 12 eggs for starters. Don't even think of ordering a banana split....unless you're sharing with about 8-10 others. Our waitress Amy was great. Tony's is just off I-75 at Birch Run on the west side of the expressway.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Doll Museum at Indian River

Back in 1945 Sally Rogalski began dressing dolls in traditional nun habits to preserve a little bit of history of the Catholic Church. In 1964 she donated her collection to the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. Since then the collection has grown to over 525 dolls and 20 mannequins representing over 217 religious orders of priests, sisters and brothers. You have to see it to believe it. Doreen noticed a couple of Barbies and Kens that joined a religious order.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Michigan Wildlife

There are many reasons why people love living in Michigan and our abundant wildlife is one of them! Our approaching car did not faze these mallards along the Cass River in Frankenmuth yesterday. When they realized we had no food, they wished us a Happy New Year and waddled back whence they came!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stoney Creek Cross-Country Skiing

There is a beautiful park in Macomb County called Stony Creek. In the winter time, everyone takes advantage of their cross country skiing trails. There are over 4,000 acres in the park surrounding the lake. This is a subtle hint that we should all make a resolution to get more exercise!! Wishing you a happy and fulfilling 2010!