Saltwater within the MGM Grand Hotel, is an award-winning outstanding restaurant in Detroit. Egyptian-born Celebrity Chef Michael Mina, known by foodies in San Francisco and Las Vegas, developed this one and the Bourbon Steak House in the MGM Grand as well. On the New Year's Eve menu tonight is is his signature caviar appetizer or you might want to go for the five pound Maine lobster entrée! The desserts are masterpieces. This coconut sorbet with lava cake was the finishing touch to a perfect dinner we had here. Wherever you dine tonight, we wish you all a Happy 2011.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Buick Automotive Gallery is contained within the last remaining building of the entire Buick plant in Flint. Amidst antique pumps and a Vernors Wagon are dozens of classic Buicks and Chevrolets including many concept cars. On display is the Hellcat Tank Destroyer which was used in World War II and built by Buick. It is part of the Sloan Museum, but although the Sloan Museum is open on Sundays, this special Buick Gallery is open Monday through Saturday only. Did you know that the founder of Buick, David Buick, was born in Scotland in 1854? He moved to Detroit with his parents as an infant. He and Benjamin Briscoe formed the Buick Motor Company (the oldest American car manufacturer) in 1903 when David was 49 years old. Taking a stroll through the Buick Gallery is like walking back through history.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Meyer May Home in Grand Rapids is the most completely restored Frank Lloyd Wright house in America! Built in 1909 for a well-to-do Grand Rapids businessman, it was Wright's first important architectural project in Michigan. Vacant and having fallen into disrepair, the company Steelcase purchased the home and painstakingly restored it in 1987 after considerable research. Tours of the home are free and they are well worth it. Seeing the sunlight dancing through the stained glass windows or the hollyhocks on the dining room wall as well as his open spaces and minimalist style surely make you appreciate a man who was way ahead of his time. Frank's spirit oozes from its walls.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Honeyflow Farm in Dryden raises bees and sells their own honey and pure natural beeswax candles (with 100 styles to choose from). It is also the largest producer of grapes in Southeast Michigan. People buy them to make their own jelly, juice and wine. Some buy the honey to make mead! We purchased their candles on-line, but they gave us the option of saving shipping by picking it up at the farm. We couldn't resist taking a peek yesterday!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Fox Theatre? How fitting that they performed on the same stage that saw The Supremes! A stone's throw from the Detroit Opera House, it was built in 1928 by the same architect, Charles Howard Crane. At the time, it was the second largest theatre in the world and it had a heck of a run. Mike Ilitch, whose Little Caesar's Headquarters moved here, was its savior in 1987, manning a $12 million dollar renovation. Known as "the Temple of Amusement", it has an opulent 10 story lobby! Restored to its 1920's glory, you have to see it to believe it.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Edgar A Guest, who is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery on Woodward south of 8 Mile. On Christmas Eve, we feature another of his poems today in honor of those serving in our armed forces and the families who await their safe return.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Mount Holly in the city of Holly, off I-75. They call it "Where the north begins". With 13 lifts, 17 ski trails and 100 acres of ski terrain, it's an affordable and fun place for the city dwellers who don't have the time to trek 4 hours north. It's a warm-up, practice area for the big slopes.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Crossroads Village in Flint with its Huckleberry Train are well worth a visit in the summertime, but it is quite special at Christmas. Last night the weather was just perfect, holding at 30 degrees and the snow, of course, put everyone in a great mood as Christmas carols were blaring over the speakers. The train with its lights, wreaths, steam engine and whistle toots totally delighted the crowds. Many passenger cars are able to handle the crowds that want to take a ride on these vintage trains. The Village is part of the Genesee County Parks which has been carefully and strategically adding historical buildings to the site since it opened in 1976. Today there are 30 of them like the toy barn, a cider mill, grist mill, doctor's office, and a 1912 carousel. Costumed carolers add a great deal of fun and there is live entertainment at the Colwell Opera House. You can even mail postcards from the Crossroads Village US Post Office. It is open through December 30th.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Schuler Books and Music, indigenous to our state, are the largest independent bookstores in the nation. We are blessed to have not one, but 5 of them in Michigan. There are three in the Grand Rapids area where it started and one in Lansing and the one pictured above is in Okemos. They are also known for their music. Two weeks ago the Okemos store had a harpist in for everyone's enjoyment. Tonight it is the Lazet Percussion Ensemble at 6:30. It has been owned and operated since 1982 by the book/music loving couple of Cecile and Bill Fehsenfeld. For your reading/listening pleasure, they also offer a gourmet café.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Founders' Brewery right in downtown Grand Rapids really surprised us. We arrived at 5pm on a Saturday and it was wall-to-wall packed. Even the long bar did not have a seat available. Ratebeer.com ranked them as the 4th best brewery in the world. They've won many medals in recent beer competitions and beeradvocate.com has several of their beers listed among their top 100 beers of the world. Obviously they are doing something right! The atmosphere is unpretentious with a huge glass wall separating the restaurant area from the brewing process which encourages public observations and exudes pride of operation. We not only enjoyed their brews, we thought their food was outstanding.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Tanger Outlet Mall in Howell attracts a whopping 3 million visitors a year. We have a German friend, Rolf, who comes frequently for business to the Detroit area. He's a devotee of US shopping and told us this Tanger Mall on Burkhart Road is his favorite. The day we visited, there was even a large local chorus providing entertainment. These 75 or more stores receive goods direct from the factories and prices reflect up to a 70% discount.
Friday, December 17, 2010
A fine example of victorian architecture can be seen in the historical district of Grand Rapids at the Voigt house. A team of volunteers arrives in November to painstakingly decorate for Christmas according to the late 1800's time period. The results are stunning. Hostesses dressed in bygone attire guide visitors through each lovely furnished room breathing life and history into this exquisite home. What a treat. The last tours are this weekend. Dec 20-30 they hold kids camp where the young ones can learn about 100 year old holiday traditions and get into some hands-on baking and craft-making.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A unique tradition called an indoor living nativity has been the focal point of Little Farms Chapel on December weekends for more than 20 years. People come from miles around Grand Rapids to experience it. They leave the larger animals outdoors like the donkeys and the horses. Wandering around the village, you can see people set up in their markets, selling different foods like the fishmonger above. Children work right alongside adults weaving rugs, making baskets, baking bread and selling pottery. A number of beggars in the streets lend authenticity to the Bethlehem village. The local inn had no rooms available. Eventually you follow the light to a chorus of angels and the manger scene we are all familiar with. Kudos to this small Coopersville church who has obviously put in a lot of time and research on this living tableau.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Gerald R Ford Museum in Grand Rapids is a place all Michiganders should visit at some point in their lives. There is lots of history here displayed very attractively. Upon entering, you cannot help but notice the golden colored presidential seal doorknob. Christmas on the Grand is their special exhibit of handmade quilts made by local ladies and uniquely decorated trees sponsored by various local service organizations. The upper floor is devoted to the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford, who grew up and married in Grand Rapids. Everyone can learn something from these exhibits. That Huey helicopter sure brought back memories.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Coopersville is about 15 minutes west of Grand Rapids and it offers families a phenomenal train ride on old-time passenger cars with Santa....and his cute little elves. A story-telling princess reads the classic "Polar Express". Did you know its author, Chris Van Allsburg, is a Grand Rapids native? There are several scheduled Santa rides Dec 18th and 19th. A 1950's locomotive pulls the 4 passenger cars and the caboose all the way to Marne and back. Don't miss out!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Knocked our boots off the Howell Nature Center surely did this past weekend. It was quite astounding to see close to 300 acres of such pristine beauty so near to the metropolitan area. Their mission is education and rehabilitation of wildlife. Those they cannot re-release into the wild, they keep for visitors to enjoy, which is why we saw this bird up close taking a bath in sub-freezing temperatures. Other visible critters include a great horned owl, coyotes, possums, a flying squirrel, an eagle and Santa! Yes, in one of their beautiful lodge buildings overlooking Pleasant Lake, they hold breakfasts with Santa on the weekends. Kids were squealing with delight as they could see the Jolly Old Elf peeking in the windows out on the deck before he made his grand entrance. If that is not enough, they have hayrides with Santa in the evening. Plenty of groups and organizations use this idyllic setting for retreats year-round, as they have enough lodges and housing for over 200. They are selling beautiful Christmas trees daily until they run out. They put them in a machine to shake any snow and loose needles off of them. The gift shop is super cute, too.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Troy Historical Village. Volunteers have cleverly worked over the years to gather all these wonderful buildings in one area. It's like a walk back in time. Pictured here is an 1837 church with stained glass windows over 100 years old. It's a wonderful intimate place for wedding services today! Visitors are encouraged to sit at desks in the Poppleton one-room school house built in 1877. The general store is a recreation of the one that was built in 1832, but demolished almost 50 years ago. Also in the village is a beautiful Greek revival home dating back to 1832, a log cabin from the 1840's and a very cool blacksmith shop filled with memorabilia from a bygone era and much more. Some very knowledgeable docents with a passion for history love to show you around.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We found some delightful tidbits at the Royal Oak Farmers' Market--organic pumpkin scones made by Cheeky Monkeys, out of Goodrich southeast of Flint. A certain someone ate the entire bag and can attest to their addictabillity--which is not a word in our language but should be!! So, we succumbed again when we found those Cheeky Monkeys at the Birmingham Winter Market and bought their mint chocolate chip scones, their cranberry apricot scones, their cranberry almond scones and their ginger scones....they were out of pumpkin. They make great holiday gifts! Warning though--if you open the bag and eat one....you won't be able to resist returning for more.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills will be a treat for you. Through December 30th, they are featuring Cars, Trees and Tradition. Vehicles are grouped according to time periods and the Christmas tree decorations also reflect that era. We were very surprised to see this mid-50's pink and white La Femme. Do these names mean anything to you? --a Hudson Roadster, a Plymouth Prowler, a Nash Sedan? Come relive the past or learn about it viewing all three floors in this beautifully maintained museum.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Royal Oak Historical Museum. The fire station, dating back to 1928, was restored and opened as a museum housing the Royal Oak Historical artifacts about eight months ago. The exhibit opens tonight from 4-8pm, featuring memorabilia from Pearl Harbor Day and World War II. We haven't seen what it entails yet, but we are looking forward to the event. This special show will run until March 19th. Come learn about "the day that will live in infamy".
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Chi-Town Union Station holds the record for the world's longest model train. We saw an engine pulling over 200 cars. Paul Gribbell, the creator of this marvelous display, has them up and running in a mock-up of Chicago from the days when railroads where the kings of transportation. Docents are on-hand to explain the history and the makings of the museum. Doesn't this make for great inspiration about what to put under your Christmas tree. The museum is open daily except Sunday.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Detroit Repertory Theatre, offering four fine productions a year, located on Woodrow Wilson near the Lodge (M-10) Freeway/Davison intersection. It is currently in its 54th season and is known as Michigan's oldest alternative professional theatre. They offer food and beverages during intermission as well as before and after theatre. It's a small intimate place where every seat has a great view. The world premier of Elena Hartwell's A Strange Disappearance of Bees is currently playing through December 26th.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Traveling on the
on the Detroit Princess Riverboat can be a lot of fun no matter what the time of year. Detroit River Holiday cruises are running on the weekends in December with a large bash on New Year's Eve. Originally from Louisiana, the Detroit Princess has been plying our Detroit River offering wonderful cruises, food and entertainment for five years now. The boat can carry over 1500 people and travels at 10 miles per hour.