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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Schoolcraft Community College in Livonia

Schoolcraft College in Livonia has a wonderful restaurant called the American Harvest.  There are eight chefs who teach here, leading their students in all aspects of the culinary arts from using the freshest ingredients to table presentation. Master Chef Kevin Gawronski, C.M.C. was on hand overseeing his staff during our visit. We enjoyed the food, the service and the ambiance as well as the Mexican shrimp cocktail, empanadas, salad with an apple cider dressing, and a pumpkin mousse chocolate cake dessert. Reservations required. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Biking Clinton River Spillway Trail in Mt Clemens

The Clinton River Spillway Trail in Mt Clemens affords many delightful views along the path. This was taken from Shadyside Park downtown near Gratiot. Hard to believe these tranquil spots exist right in the middle of a busy city. It's almost time to put the bikes away for the winter....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Comerica Park's singing hotdog vendor: Charly

Baseball's finale, the world series is wrapping up, and we thought it appropriate to say farewell for the season by showing one of our favorite things at Comerica Park: Charlie Marcuse the singing hot dog vendor!  Located on the third base side, you cannot miss his operatic tones. This Detroit icon has been belting out hot dog lines for over 10 years.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moomer's Ice Cream in Traverse City

Ice scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!  Moomer's was voted the best in the country on Good Morning America.  Sitting on their deck you can watch the cows from which they get the milk to make their fabulous frozen creation. It is located a few miles west of Traverse City out in the country. You can partake in their Halloween adventure in their store this week which highlights children's author Greg Pugh's fictional character. He wrote the book Moomer's Ice Cream Tamed Bigfoot!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

L Mawby Sparkling Wines in Suttons Bay

Suttons Bay has been home to the L Mawby Winery for over 30 years.  They specialize in the sparkling variety and use the traditional methode champenoise. The view from their tasting patio is heavenly as well as their wines, their whitefish pâté and their herbed goat cheese. Since last year, they've been bottling a brand called Detroit. Among the 30 wineries in the Traverse City area, we love this one.  If you like the bubbly, they are the best.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Naubinway Snowmobile Museum

Naubinway is about an hour west of Mackinac Bridge in the UP, overlooking Lake Michigan. They have a unique snowmobile museum, the only one of its kind in our state which makes it totally worth a visit. Every vintage brand is pretty much represented. Some are hanging from the ceiling. Did you know they even made them in pint size for little children? The people who own the museum and maintain it are very personal and, of course, have a passion for preserving this little niche of history. It is open year round 11am to 5pm, every day 'cept Tuesday. Don't you know that snow showers are predicted in the UP this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Le Boutique in Howell

Le Boutique in Howell is a darling resale shop on Grand River in a lovely historic building. The lavender fields of Provence mural gives the store a warm hospitable touch. All items on display are artistically pleasing to the eye. We can find some cool stuff here for reasonable prices as we recycle, reduce and reuse.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Milliken State Park in Detroit

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is a 21-acre green oasis in the heart of Detroit providing opportunities for picnics, walks, and shore fishing along the Detroit River. There is a wetland area and trails that hook up to the Riverwalk and a replica lighthouse of the one in Tawas Point on Lake Huron. Established in 2004, this is Michigan's 97th state park and the only one set in an urban area. There are over 50 spots for boats to tie up, right next to Chene Park.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Forty-Five North Winery in Lake Leelanau

This lovely winery is aptly known as 45 North because it is located halfway twixt the equator and the north pole, hence the moniker Latitude with Attitude. They make an outstanding rosé of which their 2008 vintage earned an incredible 90 points. Fall is a great time to visit the vineyards in the Traverse City area. This one is located not to far from Sutton's Bay where they had the Fall Finale Art Walk last night along with wine tastings from the peninsula. Wasn't the moon just beautiful?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Deer Lake

If you haven't been out and about to see all the gorgeous color in our state the past two weeks then you are just too busy!!  This is Deer Lake in Boyne Falls at its most radiant best.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Traverse Bay Golf Club

Michigan reigns supreme in golf and color at this time of year! This is the Little Traverse Bay Golf Club near Harbor Springs. The rolling terrain offers a challenge for most. But you can't beat the views. The well-attended restaurant offers non-golfer fare like escargots, rack of lamb and perch.  They will close for the season on October 23rd, so get out those clubs just one more time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Red Jacket Brewing Company in Calumet

Welcome to the smallest microbrewery in Michigan --the Red Jacket Brewing Company in Calumet.  Their charming little 1905 building, called the Michigan House, also offers lodging.  We asked for a sampler tray and the waitress informed us that they only make two beers at a time and that they were out of one and would we like to try the oatmeal stout?  We tried it and heartily recommend it. Their hotel consists of two apartments that have been historically restored and offer wifi.  When the gorgeously renovated Calumet Theatre down the street has plays or shows, these are the prime rooms in town. See our post on the Calumet Theatre here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vitosha Guest Haus of Ann Arbor

Reeking ambiance--those are the kinds of places we like to stay in, and there are a plethora of bed and breakfasts in Michigan that fit this bill! We so enjoyed our girls weekend away at Vitosha's in Ann Arbor. It's almost 100 years old, but carefully maintained and filled with delightful art objects and antiques like a Holtkamp pipe organ or these Isle of Lewis chess pieces all set up inviting us to play. Transported in time to a different era, hostess Kei served us a wonderful tea on beautiful china. All their rooms are ensuite and of course, they have the obligatory wifi.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Berkley Front

The Berkley Beer Front is a new discovery for us! How is it that visiting friends from DC tell us about this secret little beer garden?  What fun. They have an incredible selection of beers from around the world and their prices in such a modest building are quite reasonable. Local beers from Bells, Arcadia, New Holland, Founders, Shorts and Arbor Brewing proudly on tap. ;}  Don't forget to check out the jukebox. They have bands, music, dj's upstairs at night which makes it a pretty popular place. We hear they serve Gluhwein when the snows come. We will return.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Detroit's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Woodward south of the Davison freeway is considered the mother church in Detroit as it is the home of the archdiocese.  It is located adjacent to the historic Boston-Edison district's beautiful mansions and has been registered as a national historic landmark for almost 30 years. On display is the chair especially constructed for Pope John Paul II when he came in 1987 and visited guests in this place of worship.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Germack Pistachio Company in Detroit

You cannot resist the smells wafting from Russell St and Chrysler Dr, the southwest anchor of Eastern Market in Detroit where Germack, America's oldest pistachio roaster company stands. It's not just the pistachios we go for, but the cashews and mixed nuts as well as other delectable sundry treats! They even have your classic peanuts in the shell packaged to promote whichever Detroit team you are currently rooting for.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fenton's French Laundry

Who would name a lovely little restaurant French Laundry? Well, it's so different you do remember it and we found out that in the 1940's it was indeed, a place that cleaned clothes, hence the name! Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's just a delightful and totally unpretentious treat.  They serve Orangina pop and offer a great selection of wines.  They have some funny names for sandwiches like Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Fenton, C'est Grace and No John I'm not Cheezing on You ;}  Manager, Lindsay, has a cute French Laundry blog! We do not think you could be disappointed here.  Oh, and if you are looking for the bathroom, it is labeled WC.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sandcastles Children's Museum in Ludington

Having munchkins use their imaginations is what Ludington's Sandcastles Children's Museum is all about.   Housed in the big blue building downtown, kids can work at the ice cream shop, the grocery store, on the USS Badger playship, in a bank or on a farm.  They can actually milk a cow and get into costume and perform on stage.   With these fabulous hands-on learning experiences, don't we wish were kids again!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Manistique's Red Lighthouse and Pier

The Manistique River empties into Lake Michigan here in the UP. Long ago, the logging industry would use the river for transporting all the cut trees. The lighthouse dates back to 1916, which means it's approaching its centennial anniversary! If the weather is nice, like it was on this morning, you can hike out the pier to this majestic light and watch the seagulls hovering overhead. Pretty awesome.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grand Rapids' Green Well Gastro Pub

This delightful pub was oozing charm and the food exceeded our expectations. We had a great time with our server, Darrell, who seems to love his job. We will definitely return. The restaurant was packed. They offer great wines, intriguing dishes and they do their best to be green, as in ecologically sensitive. It overlooks a beautiful garden near the farmer's market in Grand Rapids and the Frank Lloyd Wright House. We say two thumbs up.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Columbus Day

Being Columbus Day, we are featuring the statue of Christopher downtown on Jefferson close to Hart Plaza. Created by Italian sculptor, Augusto Rivalta, it was dedicated exactly 100 years ago today. It was the Italians of Detroit who spearheaded this project to honor the discoverer of America. It used to stand on Washington Boulevard at Grand Circus Park. After it was restored it was moved to its present location in 1987.  Funny thing is though, the time capsule that was placed in the pedestal for its dedication in 1910 was not there when they opened her up.  Oops.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island

Affectionately known as The Little Stone Church, this Union Congregational church is just down the street from the Grand Hotel and a very popular spot for weddings. The last service of 2010 will be held here at 10:30am today. It will batten down the hatches for the winter and then reopen again May 22. It was built in 1904 of stones found on the island. The Reverand Vincent Carroll, a retired Navy Chaplain, has been pastor of its 85 members since '04.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cook's Farm Dairy in Ortonville

Cook's Farm Dairy in Ortonville is a wonderful place to take the family.  It is great to see the excitement of the kids approaching the numerous cows that make the milk that becomes the wonderful ice cream.    We tasted the coconut-almond-chocolate that was just heavenly and the delicious black cherry.  The photo is no illusion as the cones are huge!  There are special events in the fall centered around Halloween.  Hope you get the chance to meet Farmer Cook.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hermansville and the IXL Museum

There's a little town in the UP called Hermansville near Menominee whose claim to fame is their very cool IXL Museum. IXL became known throughout the country for developing the tongue-in-groove flooring from hardwoods like maple and birch.  They supplied the flooring for the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, the lodges in Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. They were the largest producer of hardwood flooring in the nation. C.J.L. Meyer founded the town in the late 1800's (named after his son, Herman) and set up the sawmill there that cut the trees into planks and then they got creative and invented the tongue-in-groove flooring. It's a darling little museum and certainly worth a visit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

N'Namdi Center of Contemporary Art- Detroit

Consider attending the Grand Opening of this wonderful art center Ocotber 9, 2010. The N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art is located in the Sugar Hills Arts District on Forest Avenue, east of Woodward and was created by George N'Namdi as a nonprofit dedicated to enlightenment through the arts. N'Namdi is a leading art dealer and has 30 years experience as a gallery owner. The Center has four exhibition spaces, indoor and outdoor performance areas, an outdoor sculpture garden, a movement/yoga center and a vegetarian restaurant. We found the gallery pleasing to all of our senses.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chihuly Exhibit in Grand Rapids

Don't miss the outstanding Chihuly exhibit at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.  They just extended the show until October 31st.  These gorgeous glass creations are artistically placed throughout the park both indoors and outdoors. This piece has to be at least 20 feet tall. Chihuly, the king of glass sculpture, turns 70 years old next year and we are blessed to have his artwork displayed in our state--and Meijer Gardens is the perfect venue to highlight his Alice in Wonderlandlike creations!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

45th Parallel near Alba

Haven't you always wanted to stop at the 45th parallel sign and get out of the car to say "I've stood half way between the north pole and the equator"! It's a pretty unique geographical distinction! This one was taken on Highway 131 near Alba which is west of Gaylord.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Surf's up in Grand Haven

The waves were shockingly huge recently at Grand Haven. So much so, the surfers were out! The Grand Haven State Park campground is right behind us where campers can really hear the surf pounding and have a glorious view of the big lake. Although the skies were cloudy and the weather was cool, there were lots of people in their caravans and motorhomes. There are only a few range lights in Michigan.  In Grand Haven, these are actually two lighthouses.  While boating, when the lights are lined up, you know you are on course for the harbor. The waves were crashing over the pier.  Not a good time to be walking out there!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hoegh: the pet casket factory in Gladstone

Hoegh is pronounced "hoig". Michigan has a lot of firsts, but we sure did not know about this one --the world's largest pet casket factory? They offer tours of their factory where you can see how they make 8 different sizes of caskets out of molded, durable plastic in various styles. They ship them all over the US from this plant in Gladstone, near Escanaba. We have found many unique places using Hunts' Mapguide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula which we highly recommend!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Prize in Grand Rapids

It just gets bigger and better every year--Art Prize that is, in Grand Rapids.  It is billed as the biggest and most lucrative art competition in the world.  Is it any wonder that 1,700 artists are here from all over the world to compete?  The top prize is a quarter of a million dollars.  Second prize is a mere $100,000.  There are venues displaying these unique creations all over town--restaurants, hotels, museums of course, as well as bars, nightclubs, stores and more--even the B.O.B.--the Big Old Building which is behind Steam Pig in the photo.  It's just so totally wild and crazy!  It started September 22 and runs through October 10th. Join the fun.  Vote for your favorites.  It's the voters who decide who wins!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quincy Mine Tour in Hancock

The Quincy Mine was opened 164 years ago!  We had a great opportunity to tour this real copper mine in Hancock. Would you believe it is 92 levels deep? It is a national historic landmark district now. When it stopped producing in 1945, it had the world's deepest shaft, about 1 3/4 miles down.  The tour takes you down to level seven and guides inform tourists about the different techniques and equipment like this widowmaker on the right. Quite a few miners died using it. You can buy copper souvenirs in the gift shop. Tours are offered spring, summer and fall.