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Monday, January 31, 2011

Elwood Bar and Grill in Detroit

Sandwiched in between Ford Field and Comerica Park is a uniquely restored art deco bar called the Elwood. Because it was in the way of the construction of our baseball park, it was moved to its present location on Adams and Brush and everyone's glad they saved this gem. It opened in 1936 on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Woodward from which they got the name El and Wood and put them together. The inside has a beautiful polished long wooden bar.  In the summertime, people crowd around the picnic tables on the patio. From here, it's 56 steps to the ballpark to watch Miguel Cabrera hit a homerun. Only 39 days until they toss out the first ball!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes - Midtown Detroit

Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes has expanded their Woodward location in the Park Shelton building just north of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visit when you are not in a hurry. Only two crêpes are prepared at a time, but they are definitely worth the wait. Recently we enjoyed the Savory Crepe “Sarah” with chèvre cheese, red pepper, mushrooms, spinach and balsamic vinaigrette and for dessert the “Libby”, a sweet crêpe made with peaches, cream cheese and brown sugar named after a very wonderful friend of ours!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ABC Magic Shop - Downtown Mount Clemens

Want to learn how to do magic? Need a cartoon entertainer? Free magic classes are taught every Saturday, at noon for beginners and 3:00 PM for advanced classes at the ABC Magic Shop. Visit and see hundreds of magic items, from card tricks, money magic, juggling and more. It is fun to talk to the magicians as they always have something up their sleeves.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville

The tag line for the Michigan Brewing Company is “Great Lakes, Great Times and Great Beers.”  Need we say more?  The location in Webberville has a brewery pub open seven days a week, a retail store and they offer classes.  As far as beers brewed, Michigan Brewing Co. features BADASS  (which has rumored to increase in popularity due to a Kid Rock influence) and the Celis beer  (which reflects the authenticity and natural flavors that were first used by Pierre Celis in Belgium six decades ago) and of course the MBC Beer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Colony - Clay Township

The Colony Water Tower was built in 1925 as the main water supply for "The Colony on the Ste. Claire", a secluded residential community.  The 136 foot water tower once housed a 60,000 gallon water tank and was constructed to look like a light house.  It did have a light at the top of the tower for some time to aid in water and air navigation.   If was extinguished in 1937 due to its high operating costs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Go Comedy in Ferndale

There is a hilarious improv theatre in Ferndale called Go Comedy where we laughed our heads off recently.  The audience fills out cards prior to the show, and bits and pieces are used through out the performance along with voluntary performers from the crowd.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and highly recommend. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jazz Café and Music Hall in Detroit

Housed in a beautiful Art Deco building a stone's throw from Comerica Park in Detroit is the Music Hall and Jazz Café.  It was originally known as the Wilson Theatre in 1928 because Mathilda Dodge Wilson donated the funds to have it built. Ain't Misbehavin' is on deck for January 30th and Argentine Tango is coming in February 5th with several other events are on their calendar as well. Their café offers complimentary hors d'oeuvres during their happy hour 5-7pm on weekdays.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Red Pepper Deli in Northville

For all you vegetarian, organic, vegan, raw food and/or gluten-free lovers, you need to check out the delicious food at the Red Pepper Deli in Northville on Main Street! We super enjoyed our experience there this past weekend. Opened by passionate food lover Carolyn Simon in 2008, the darling little eatery is dedicated to the promotion of healthy living and creating community.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Plymouth Ice Sulptures

Created for the love of winter (honest!), today is the last day to enjoy the incredible sculptures at the Plymouth Ice Festival. True Michiganders know how to bundle up to enjoy our weather and the live entertainment of music, dueling chainsaw carving shows, the petting farm with live reindeer, pony rides, scavenger hunt and more! Don't you know this event is one of the top ranked festivals in the nation?  Get out your mittens and go!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Morley Candy Company in Clinton Township

The Morley Candy Company uses over a millions pounds of chocolate each year.  Hasn't everyone enjoyed their caramel pecan torties? Tours of the candy factory are given daily on Hall Road in Clinton Township. It started in 1919 as a small shop and restaurant by Ervin and Julia Morley.  They merged with another Detroit icon about 6 years ago: Sanders Chocolates!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Safie Pickles in Chesterfield

One of our faithful readers, Marge, put us on to Safie Pickles in Chesterfield.  They have been canning veggies for over 75 years and can be found in specialty markets in Macomb County like Vince and Joe's, Pete and Frank's, Nino Salvaggio's and Randazzo's. On display you can also see pickled asparagus, beets, beans and peppercini peppers. They are dedicated to "growing local" and using only the freshest ingredients.  You won't find them using preservatives at Safie's. Their 14,000 square foot packing facility is off Gratiot just north of 21 Mile Rd. Chowing down the bread and butter chips and the dill spears right now, we give them two pickles up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

John K. King Used and Rare Books

We love exploring the four cavernous floors of John K King Used and Rare Books in Detroit. Established in 1965, John has over 1,000,000 books in stock. No tour of our city is complete without a stop here. The historical building which houses his collection used to be the Advanced Glove Factory. Behind it stand the former Otis Elevator building which also was taken over by the bookstore and houses his offices and the rare book room in which Richard Gere was filmed for the movie The Double coming out later this year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ferndale: Anita's Kitchen

The chicken schawarma was outstanding at Anita's Kitchen in Fabulous Ferndale on Woodward just south of 9 Mile. The place is so popular that they even enclose their outdoor patio and still fill every table! Friday night, our waiter Brenton was very attentive and personal. This is Lebanese food at its best--think healthy Mediterranean with olive oil, garlic and flavored with lemons.
Stuffed grape leaves anyone?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trickle Creek Alpaca Ranch in Tustin

With a feel of Cashmere yet warmer than sheeps' wool, everyone is getting on the bandwagon for alpaca natural woven winter wear in Michigan.  We found the Trickle Creek Alpaca Ranch goods at the Royal Oak Farmers' Market, but you can also buy their lovely products on line. Check out their hats, socks, scarves, sweaters and gloves. The alpaca ranch is located in Tustin, in between Reed City and Cadillac where owners Terry and Nancy McCreery welcome visitors.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Michigan Sled Dogs in Fraser

The Great Lakes Sports City Arena with its five ice rinks in Fraser is home to our Michigan Sled Dogs where they played in the  Tournament January 8-9. The teams consists of male and female athletes with various disabilities such as spinal cord, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, amputees, etc. Players' ages range from 8 to their mid-forties. Competing against the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins here, they are exciting to watch! Of the 4 games they played, the Sled Dogs won 3 and tied 1.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Battle Creek's First United Methodist Church

The First United Methodist Church in Battle Creek was packed one day back in 1960 when Martin Luther King Jr spoke from their pulpit. The image of John Wesley above, the 18th century minister and founder of Methodism and an early proponent for slaves' rights, radiates over the sanctuary.  This beautiful worship structure dates back to 1908 and has national historic designation. When we visited here, we were impressed how they have harmoniously blended in the old with the new.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Osaka Restaurant Shelby Township

We visited Osaka Restaurant to celebrate a couple of birthdays.   I think every table had a birthday that night  with the traditional Japanese drum and gong starting the birthday song from table to table.   We enjoyed the teppanyaki preparation of the food by our Chef Alex, especially his onion volcano.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snowshoeing in Michigan

With the abundance of snow we have this winter, it's a wonderful time to get out and snowshoe! All the state parks offer trails as well as our gorgeous county parks. With the new light weight and easy-to-put-on snowshoes that exist today, there is really no excuse not to get out and enjoy our beautiful winters. We rented these at Shanty Creek up in Bellaire and had a blast.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Longway Planetarium in Flint

The awesome Longway Planetarium in Flint is the largest in the state. Built in 1958 for $600,000, it went through a huge remodel recently in which they also purchased the new digistar 2 projector (which alone cost more than what the whole building did in '58).  Adults and kids alike delight watching the night time sky and laser shows. This is where you come to see three dimensional sky images and find out what ever happened to Pluto.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Majestic in Detroit

Did you know the Garden Bowl is the oldest active bowling center in the US? It is located in Detroit on Woodward near the Medical Center in the Majestic Theatre complex. The home of "Rock n' Bowl", it's fun to try and bowl in a glow-in-the-dark ambiance or while experiencing disco flashing lights. They have an hourly charge per lane at the Garden Bowl.  Monday night specials are $4 per hour! You can't beat that. Bowling, burgers and brewskis, a perfect winter time activity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sashay to the Sassy Sunflower in Bellaire

There's a bright colorful spot in Bellaire called the Sassy Sunflower in contrast to the deep snows that surround it. You can't help but smile when passing by and inside is just as cheerful as the exterior. A profusion of original artwork by local artist Amy Perrier line the walls.  She takes old window frames, fixes them up and paints some glorious "reverse" scenes from the back.  The outcome is stunning. Turns out, store owner Becky Folker is Amy's sister. Cute.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Knit a Round Yarn Shop in Ann Arbor

The best source for yarn and knitting supplies in Ann Arbor is Knit A Round in the Traver Village Shopping Center. It will be celebrating its 11th anniversary in May. Suzie is wearing a handknit pair of socks as she is typing this purchased by her sister Jan from Knit A Round and knitted for her as a Christmas present.  Life doesn't get any better than this.  There are lots of books and knowledgeable personnel to help you out in your knitting projects.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grossology at the Sloan Museum in Flint

The Sloan Museum in Flint has teamed up with Mott Community College to display Grossology, running through January 16th. We know children love to learn about icky, slimy things which is what the exhibit is all about.  You get the idea by looking at the title of some of the booths: The Burp Man, Vomit Center, Up Your Nose, Gas Attack and Yu Stink (just to name a few)! Using a lot of creativity and colorful imagery, we can learn about body odor and things like why noses run. The entire display is based on Sylvia Branzei's books on the gross things of life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hitting the slopes at Bellaire's Shanty Creek

January and February are supreme snow sport months in Michigan.  Shanty Creek, south of Charlevoix, is one of the finest resorts "up north".  They have had a foot of snow since Thursday night! And is it beautiful. Besides downhill skiing and snowboarding, there is tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing as well as the après ski in the lounge. We've always enjoyed the Summit slopes and lodge, but the larger more thrilling runs are those at Schuss Mountain. You can't beat the prices for the Summit though: $18 a day! The hotel has specials for their rooms at $60 a night. There are hotel rooms and condos with balconies overlooking ski runs and phenomenal vistas.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Flint Institute of Arts

The Flint Institute of Arts, founded in 1928, is a museum full of little gems tucked away in the city's 30-acre cultural center. It is currently showing an exhibition of Picasso prints. Last year, there was a fabulous display of 160 pieces of glasswork by Lino Tagliapietra, the Venetian maestro of glassblowing.  Lino, 76 years old, came from Italy for the party which kicked off the event and gave a lecture on glassblowing. How special is that?  Located one hour north of Detroit, the FIA is a special place to visit with lots of art to discover.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

St Paul's Church, Harsens Island, The Three Kings are almost there..

While exploring Harsens Island, we came across this life size nativity with clothes blowing in the wind in front of St. Paul's Church on Orchid Blvd.   On this day called Epiphany, the Magi were said to have arrived in Bethlehem and presented the Christ Child with gifts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

King's Cake from Le Petit Prince in Birmingham

Le Petit Prince in Birmingham has been providing mouth-watering French pastries more than 25 years. Since the 70's, it has been run by the Didierjeans from southern France. For the January 6th celebration they have been busy making various sizes of King's Cake or Galettes des Rois in honor of the Wise Men who visited Jesus in Bethlehem. Each cake has a surprise in it, some little token. Whoever gets the piece with that charm in it is king for the day, hence the crown.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dragonmead Micro Brewery and Pub in Warren

Dragonmead is a very unassuming pub in Warren that makes totally outstanding beers. We went there last night (Monday) and it was difficult to find a parking spot at 8:30pm. The three male beer aficionados in our group ordered sampler trays and raved endlessly about the taste, the depth and the the variety! They have over 40 different beers on tap and all the awards on the walls to go with them.  Weekends feature live entertainment. Three cheers for the complimentary baskets of pretzels and yummy mustard. They offer typical pub food but, what the hey, they let you bring in your own pizza, sandwiches or whatever! We ordered the sausage tray and it was a peppery delight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Harsens Island

Around the northern coast of Lake St Clair, you can hop a short ferry to Harsens Island from Algonac every day all year long.  We did it to celebrate a new year and to hike along the coastal road called South Channel.  There you can watch the big freighters glide by. They seem unbelievably close! We made a toast to Michigan and to new discoveries at Sans Souci, a laid-back little island restaurant pub. While hiking, we enjoyed viewing the many historical homes with unique architecture, some dating back to the 1800's.  Bed and Breakfasts beg us to return.  The ferry ride back to the mainland unveiled a gorgeous sunset. What a way to start 2011.  And how did you bring in the new year?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Westin Airport Hotel in Romulus

If you have an early morning flight at Detroit Metro Airport, many people option to spend the evening at the Westin Hotel.  It is an amazingly beautiful and refreshing part of the McNamara Terminal with over 400 rooms, spa options, indoor pool, wifi, workout area and a very nice Asian-themed restaurant called Dema's. The hotel features comfy Heavenly beds and plenty of banquet space to hold events in a unique venue.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Whaley House Museum of Flint

The Whaley House in Flint is an 1885 victorian home that has been renovated, decorated for Christmas and is open for its last holiday tours today on January 1st from 1-4pm. Students from Mott Community College have created several gingerbread houses. Mr Whaley was the president of Citizens Bank. He gave the first loan of $2000 to Durant and Dort who went on to form General Motors.  The unique venue is fully furnished and can be rented out for various functions, like pinochle clubs, weddings, cocktail parties, special dinners, etc. It is located just down the street from the cultural center which holds the Flint Institute of Arts, the Longway Planetarium, the Whiting Auditorium and the Sloane Museum.