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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn

The Henry Ford in Dearborn is a spectacular place--a world class museum-- that we return to again and again.  Every out-of-state visitor has to come to here.  It is a national historic landmark that began as Henry Ford's personal collection. Today, it houses such jaw-dropping artifacts as the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated, the car Kennedy was driving in when he was shot, the bus in which Rosa Parks made her protest heard round the world (and they even let you sit in her seat and hear her own words) and an original authentic 1946 diner restored to perfection. Then there are the magnificent displays of locomotive engines and airplanes and power grids as well as a special exhibit on the fascinating George Washington Carver. We love visiting in the wintertime, because it is less crowded.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

All Saints Polish National Catholic Church

All Saints Polish National Catholic Church in Sterling Heights was blessed and dedicated on September 12, 1992. It is a small, simple, yet beautiful church. The church has an 80 year history beginning in Hamtramck before moving to Macomb County. The ideals of the PNCC are "Truth, Work and Struggle". If you happen by on a day when the parishioners are selling homemade potato-cheese pierogi for $7.00 a dozen, you are in for a real treat!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Powers Diner in Port Huron

Longing for the “Olden Days”?  You'll find them on Military Street at the Powers Diner.  This darling eatery is decorated in red, white and black in a 50's motif.  A hamburger stand from 1937 built by Dale Powers and his three brothers, they served mini burgers, bean soup, pies and drinks. There have been a couple of owners since Dale Powers died in a plane crash at the age of 45.  Today’s owners are Kathy and Phill Syzak who rebuilt the 70 year old diner in 2003 to its current retro look. Their cooking is homemade  and you can get breakfast anytime.  The bean soup and sliders are still on the menu but today the sliders are gourmet!  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hankuk Oriental Foods in Clinton Township

Hankuk Oriental Foods & Restaurant is a treat for lovers of Korean food. There is a tiny restaurant hidden next to their Asian food market on Gratiot around 14 1/2 Mile Road. The food is authentic Korean. We enjoyed the NakJi-Bokum (stir fried octopus) and KimChi-Chigae ( Kimchi with pork bukum). We usually will take away the handmade mandoo (dumplings) on our way out to enjoy at home at a later date!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thomas Edison Depot Museum in Port Huron

Michigan has been blessed with many inventors, entrepreneurs and innovators including Thomas Alva Edison who grew up along the shores of Lake Huron after relocating from his birthplace in Ohio. We visited the Thomas Edison Depot Museum right under the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. There is a baggage railroad car attached to the museum set up with a recreation of the mobile printing press he used to publish his first newspaper, the first to ever be printed on a moving train.  He did this at age 12.  Our favorite display is Tom working the telegraph.  Remember our Mt. Clemens Depot post?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Raven Cafe in Port Huron

The Raven Café in downtown Port Huron provides an atmosphere similar to those found in New York City's Greenwich Village. A raven hangs over the door to welcome you to this unique restaurant in an historic building. The interior design includes books, stained glass, lots of wood accents, tiffany lighting and many cozy areas to enjoy live music, great food, beer, wine and cocktails along with expresso and specialty coffees and teas. You must visit this cultural mecca when in the Port Huron area--right on Military Street close to the Black River here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ellsworth's Front Porch Café

The Front Porch Café in Ellsworth, south of Traverse City, has a volunteer staff and a priceless menu--people pay what they can afford.  The idea for this darling non-profit community restaurant germinated in the head of Bob Felton, outreach director for a local church.  They offer affordable home-cooked meals made with local products like the fresh eggs from the farm down the street. It is open Monday-Saturday from 7am until 2pm for breakfast and lunch. Thank you fellow traveler, bon vivant and Michigan aficionado, Mary-France Oudin who enjoyed a delicious meal here yesterday with her family.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Blue Water YMCA in Port Huron

Port Huron's beautiful YMCA is right off the St. Clair River which you can see while swimming in the pool inside. Using the exercise equipment on the upper level you overlook the pool and river! Founded in 1886, the Blue Water YMCA has served as the region's single largest provider of health, wellness, fitness, childcare and non-school related physical education. All programs celebrate the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility and guests are welcome for a small fee.  This Marshall Fredericks' sculpture is dedicated to all members, staff, volunteers and benefactors whose commitment has contributed to the success of the YMCA. We've featured this Michigan artist's works here and here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cathedral of St Paul's in Detroit

The Episcopalian Cathedral of St Paul's is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Established in 1824 in the Detroit area, it was the first protestant church in Michigan, before it even became a state! The architect, Ralph Cram, studied the gothic style in France and built the cathedral using medieval construction techniques (no steel!). The imposing structure, loaded with indigenous pewabic tile, stands on the corner of Woodward and Warren Avenue and is a very active congregation. They offer breakfast on Sunday mornings for everyone. Jeremy Tarrant is the outstanding organist who also leads the renowned Men and Boys choir.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quay Street Brewing Company in Port Huron

Quay rhymes with sway.  We discovered a gem in Port Huron's Quay Brewery that we will definitely return to! From the left, we tasted a delicious Michigan Cream Ale, the Quay Street Wheat and the Raspberry Wheat ($1 each for 5 ounce samplers). We also leaped out of our seats for their incredibly luscious root beer made on the premises. They also have an awesome deck overlooking the Black River, and all thumbs up for their delicious vittles of which we tried the homemade bean soup, a tuna sandwich, their fish and chips and potato salad like Mom makes! Sydney was our great server and Andy gave us probably the best and most informative brewery tour we have ever been on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The BOB in Grand Rapids

It's called the, meaning the Big Old Building in downtown Grand Rapids. This multi-use warehouse is huge (70,000 sq ft), over 100 years old with a cool catwalk up on the 4th floor. Abounding in nightlife with various bars, pubs and restaurants, there's something for everyone. Tonight's Friday Night Live at $19.95 per person includes a 3 course dinner and comedy show.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mudgie's in Detroit's Corktown

This famous Mudgie sandwich is delicious!  This Corktown artisan deli with free wifi is a favorite in Detroit.   The homemade soups are fantastic and you can find gluten free sandwiches there as well.  Mudgie's will be in their current location on Porter Street until they move to larger digs on Library Street downtown in late April or May of this year.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Moran Street in Detroit

On Moran street in Detroit, just south of the Davison on the east side of I-75 are located several homes that artists bought with the purpose of letting out their creative abilities.  They are featured here in Juxtapoz an art magazine out of San Francisco who helped fund this project.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chelsea's Teddy Bear Factory

The Teddy Bear Company in Chelsea is a one of a kind store where you can watch the bears being made through the glass windows. They have embroidery machines right there that put names on their shirts as fast as you can buy them.  The flag representation in the back won a Guinness World Record for being the largest mosaic in the world (46 square feet) made of teddy bears (360 of them). And it's always fun to have your photo taken with the big grizzly ;}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sanders Chocolates say Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from Sanders Chocolates, a Detroit institution since 1875. Their candy shops are all over the Detroit metro area.  We went to the one on 9 Mile in Eastpointe this weekend to load up on sweets for our loved ones. We saw their traditional bumpy cakes and they even have bumpy cake ice cream and lots of hot fudge for the toppings. Their original factory was on Woodward at Gratiot.  They were bought out by Morley's Candy in 2002 and they retain the name Sanders that we all know.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Motor City VAlentines for Veterans Concert

The Motor City VAlentines for Veterans Concert at Detroit Masonic Temple Theater on February 12th is one of 17 concerts nationwide celebrating the appreciation of our Veterans during Valentines Week. Battle Creek's concert will be held on the February 14, 2011 and will featured American Idol Finalist Matt Giraud. In Detroit, vets were treated to Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Review along with guest appearances by Senator Carl Levin, Governor Rick Snyder, and Congressman Dingell. Thank you Veterans and a very happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Abraham Lincoln the surveyor

At the Michigan Museum of Surveying in Lansing you will be greeted by this sculpture of President Abraham Lincoln who was a surveyor. The unique museum (the only one of its kind in our state) shares the story of the surveying and mapping of Michigan and the history of surveying going all the way back to Mesopotamia. Those pyramids could not have been built without the knowledge of surveyors! It is located on Museum Drive next to the Ransom Olds Museum and the Impression 5 Science Center. John Madden from Lansing's Examiner, wrote a cool article about it here. Happy 202nd birthday, Abraham Lincoln!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Whiting Auditorium in Flint

Flint's Whiting Auditorium brings in outstanding acts from around the country.  Tonight, Jim Brickman sings while performing on the piano. Playing the piano since he was 5, he has earned six gold/platinum albums.  He is also the featured performer on a Hawaii cruise August 6-13th. Flint native Dee Dee Bridgewater is performing Feb 20th. She's a Grammy award winner who sings in the style of Billie Holiday and has also done songs in French by Edith Piaf.  The 2000+ seat auditorium is named after an early auto pioneer, James Whiting and has been restored to its original glory.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zehnder's in Frankenmuth

It's a long-standing tradition in the Detroit area to trek up to Frankenmuth for some delicious all-you-can-eat chicken dinners at Zehnder's or the Bavarian Inn across the street. This little German village pulls in three million visitors annually and has been voted in as the best day trip in Michigan. William and Emilie Zehnder sold their 80 acre farm and began Zehnder's in 1929 serving 312 guests on Mother's Day for $1.00 each. They've come a long way, baby! Anybody for potato pancakes? Michigan cherry strudel? Old-fashioned noodle soup? Vidalia onion soup au gratin? Hot chicken sandwich served with mashed potatoes and gravy? Zehnder's cheese spread and liver pâté?  All are wonderful creations of Chef John Zehnder.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hazen S Pingree

When driving through Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit, you can't help but notice this statue of Hazen S Pingree.  Did you ever wonder who he was? Born in Maine, he fought in the Civil War and then moved to Michigan and worked as a cobbler (shoemaker for you young readers). His sales eventually grossed over a million dollars a year! He was elected mayor of Detroit in 1889, promising to end corruption in city paving and sewer contracts and the school board. He was known throughout the country for initiating the "potato patch plan" of using vacant lots for local vegetable gardens to help feed the poor. He became governor of our state in 1897, and he is the guy credited with the 8-hour work day. He was "The Idol of the People" like it says on the statue above.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Celery Flats in Portage

In the town of Portage, south of Kalamazoo, lies an interesting historical area called Celery Flats. Much like the Troy Historical Corners, people have worked hard to preserve their heritage and move their beautiful buildings with stories behind them to one particular area. Above is the grain elevator, the oldest commercial structure still standing in Portage. It was moved here in 1990.  Below is the one room school house which dates back to 1856. There is an interpretive center which tells us everything we want to know about the important celery crop in this area! You can bring your snowshoes and hike the beautiful walking trails this winter. The 100 year old barn turned into Hayloft Theatre holds cultural events in the summertime.

Monday, February 7, 2011

McGeady's Town Pub in Monroe

McGeady's has been around so long that even General Custer frequented the place! We were told he had his last drink here before heading out to his infamous last stand. We thoroughly enjoyed the rustic Irish surroundings and the friendly waitstaff and yes!--they serve Michigan local brews. Located on Monroe Street, they offer three levels for gatherings, parties and a dance floor as well as homemade soups, hamburgers and sandwiches, steaks and pasta, too. The hand-painted mural up above highlights the historical buildings downtown and of course, the statue of Custer, which we've mentioned before here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kalamazoo's Cathedral Church of St Augustine

St Augustine's is celebrating 155 years in Kalamazoo which began its existence in 1856, the same year that Abraham Lincoln spoke in nearby Bronson Park!  The small wooden church of 1856 was replaced by a larger brick edifice in 1869, followed by expansions that included a new rectory, school, convent, Borgess Hospital and then the present cathedral which was completed in 1951. It miraculously survived a tornado that slammed into it in 1980 and continues to serve 110,000 parishioners in the surrounding nine counties.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak

Mark Ridley's in Royal Oak brings in some of the best comedians from around the country.  Tim Allen and Dave Coulier started --where else? --here at the Comedy Club which has been dishing out hilarious laughter since 1979. We recently saw Ken Rogerson who had just returned from entertaining the US troops in Afghanistan.  He was excellent.  Ben Kostatin and Martez Jackson also performed that night.  Showtimes are typically Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Call and ask them about the special for the week of your birthday. There are some great acts coming up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gem Theatre in Detroit

We love the intimacy of the Gem Theatre. Along with the Century Club next door, these two early 1900's historical playhouses were saved from the wrecking ball and moved in 1997 almost 2000 feet to make way for Comerica Park which looms behind them. We've enjoyed many a long-running play here like Escanaba in da Moonlight, Forever Plaid, Menopause and Forbidden Broadway. Performances of the comedy Till Death Do Us Part just began this week and will show through March 6. Excellent dining is available too before the play at the Century Grille.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Traverse City's French restaurant, Amical

Amical is a yummy French bistro sitting on West Grand Traverse Bay in the downtown area of Traverse City. It's been going strong since 1994 and open seven days a week! It's name means "friendly" in French and we certainly felt comfortable here. Tables are elbow to elbow the French way and it is pretty crowded in season. The display of food viewable in the glass case up front will immediately start you salivating.  Our meal was spot on fantastic.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit

The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (IIMD) was founded in 1919 by a group of YWCA volunteers who sought to help immigrants. It is now a United Way organization. It aims to serve immigrants and people who are interested in expressing their own ethnic heritage and learning about culture of other nations. Visit the International Doll Collection (over 35,000 dolls in ethnic dress) on the first floor and the international café on the lower level. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fort de Buade in St Ignace

There are many cool things to discover in St Ignace just the other side of mighty Mackinac Bridge.  The museum, Fort de Buade, on State Street downtown refers to the fort built in St Ignace by the French in 1681 to protect the fur-trading business. Today it is filled with interesting artifacts that depict the history and relics of that time. The collection above belonged to the last chief in the area: Santiago. He passed away at the age of 100 in the early 1900's. Culled from his log home in the UP it is a fascinating look into the Indian life melded with that of the White man.