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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moose Drop at Van Riper State Park

The pride of the city of Champion is the 1044 acre Van Riper State Park located on Lake Michigamme about a half hour west of Marquette. We learned from their informative moose kiosk in the park that they used helicopters for moose drops to repopulate the UP. They also showed us what a moose hoof print looks like as well as its droppings.  They have free wifi at the modern campground, lots of super trails to hike with views of the Peshekee River. The park stays open all year.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Niles Historical Train Depot

Michigan has preserved some incredible train depots and the one in Niles is a gem. The painting above displayed in the station, by Michigander Janet Seaman, depicts the station as it would have appeared in the 1893. It was a major stop on the way to Chicago and became known as the "Garden City" due to the lovely flowerbeds and greenhouse supported by the Michigan Central Railroad. We snapped this shot last summer showing that the trains still carry people to Benton Harbor and beyond. We featured a great model of this station at the Fernwood Railway Garden a couple of years ago. Can you see the similarities?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Tiger Club at Comerica Park in Detroit

If you ever get the opportunity, grab the chance to experience the Tiger Club with a humdinger of a view over the ballpark. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is baseball all the way. It's reserved for members (like season ticket holders) and their guests. It is also rented out for private parties at non-game times, which is how we got in and what a memorable trip through Tiger Town we had! Detroit opens in New York this Thursday. Root for our beloved cats!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lafayette or American? Detroit's Coney Dogs

No visit to Detroit is complete without eating a coney dog from either Lafayette or American which sit side-by-side sandwiched between Lafayette and Michigan Avenue, a stone's throw from Campus Martius. Smothered in chili sauce, covered in onions and slathered with mustard--that's the way most people eat them. Opened as one by the Greek (of course) Keros brothers in 1917, they soon split due to differences of opinion. Lafayette is still owned by the Keros descendants.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Lady of the Rosary- Detroit

Our Lady of the Rosary can be found on the corner of Woodward and I94. Our Lady is a restored gold statue sitting on the top of the St. Michael Bell tower which was purchased from Beaux Arts in Paris in 1906. Her face is beautiful. The inside of the church was once very ornate with statues, murals and such. Today it is very plain and functional for multipurpose use by the community although the gorgeous etched glass windows from Germany remain. The church was originally owned by St. Joseph's Memorial Episcopal Church before it was sold to Holy Rosary in 1907 for less than $20,000 which included the organ. It was the Ford Piquette Factory that brought people to the area.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Children's Museum - Detroit

The Children's Museum has settled into its new location on Second Avenue and Silver Bullet has returned! This sculpture also graced the front lawn of the old museum when it was located on Kirby. The museum houses over 100,000 artifacts and it has a planetarium. It was formerly owned by Detroit Public Schools until the Detroit Science Center took it over in 2009 and reopened in June 2010. Tomorrow is a special Science Fiction Weekend Saturday. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday each week. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wintergarden Tavern

If you are a Friday fish fry person you must try Wintergarden Tavern in Chesterfield Township. They serve an all you can eat for under $10. This eatery is as cute on the outside as it is on the inside. Service was quick and friendly and the fish was truly tasty.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monroe County Labor History Museum - Monroe

It is the mission of the Monroe County Labor Museum to provide a facility open to the public for the purpose of the following:
1. Preservation and display of local, regional and national labor history for present and future generations to view.
2. Provide a venue for a youth outreach program that educates our youth about labor's past history and present cause.
3. Provide an area for organized labor and the public to gather which will be immersed with labor history.

The museum is currently undergoing renovation, but still has a exhibit on the first floor covering many labor events in Michigan in the last century.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Michigan Sharpshooters -Lansing

This monument was erected on the capital lawn in 1915 to commemorate the 1st Michigan Sharpshooter Regiment that was organized during the winter of 1862 and 1863 in Kalamazoo. The total enrollment had been 981 men and officers. The Civil War left the regiment with only 365 of those men to be mustered out at the end of the war. 113 Officers and men died on wounds of war, 41 died as POW's, 109 died of disease, 353 were discharged due to disability following wounds of war.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perry & Clara McAdow Mansion - Detroit

The McAdow Mansion is currently being used by the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Detroit as offices and meeting rooms. The elaborate Victorian mansion was built in 1891. The McAdows earned their fortune in the gold mines of Montana and lived in this mansion from 1891 to 1897. This home has beautiful paneling, plasterwork, frescos and stained glass like the samples above. The window on the right is called "Shedding Tears", although rumor says tears were shed for a lost child, there is no record of this event.

Monday, March 21, 2011

St. Louis Historical Society

The St. Louis Historical Society in located the small town of St. Louis with a population of around 5000 people. Their claim to fame is being in the geographical middle of mitten. Its beginnings date back to the 1850's and when lumbering was their main industry until when drilling a well, it was found the water to have magnetic properties and a bath house was built that did not close until 1961! The historical museum is located in the old Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad station and displays items from the early life of St. Louis in flour mills, tanneries, sawmills and household items. In the 1880's there were seven hotels in St. Louis to accommodate travelers between Grand Rapids and Saginaw. Recently, the Society purchased the log cabin, moved it to across the street from the museum and are busy with restoration. Museum is open on Thursday afternoons.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Unitarian Universalist Church - Detroit

The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit resulted from the merger in 1934 of two separate liberal faiths, both that had arrived in the city in the early 1800's. The church building at Cass and Forest was designed by the architectural firm of Donaldson and Meier in the Neo-Gothic style with exposed timber trusses and beams. The walls are made trimmed with Indiana limestone. The Skinner organ was brought in from Boston in 1916 and had redwood wooden pipes from California, producing wonderful sounds.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ferndale's Pinwheel Bakery

Sunday is Macaron Day in New York City and in Paris. Over a dozen bakeries in NYC are giving them away for free.  Did you know they were the "new cupcake"? These tasty little pastel morsels that burst with flavor in your mouth have been the latest rage in the Big Apple and for years in the City of Light. Fortunately, we have the Pinwheel Bakery on Nine Mile in Ferndale that makes these delicious treats and sells them for half the price of NY or France. We bought one of every flavor and our favorites are the rose pistachio and the lemon! Pinwheel is closed Sunday and Monday--that's why we are letting you know today!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Common Grill of Chelsea

Chelsea is a small town but well renowned. The Common Grill restaurant looks and feels and tastes like big city. They specialize in seafood and do it extremely well. Couple that with the Purple Rose Theatre around the corner and the Jiffy Mix plant tours and lots of little shops to poke in and out of, well, we call Chelsea a weekend destination!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day from Utica's Shamrock

Everyone is Irish on St Patty's Day and The Shamrock Pub in Utica, which has been there 76 years, is geared up to help everyone celebrate with the obligatory green beer and an adjacent huge tent to accommodate the super abundance of revelers. Erin Go Bragh, Baby! --that's our American spelling of the Gaelic Ireland forever ;} The Irish music was blaring and the green beers were $2.50 each last night. This exposed brick pub features several Michigan beers and wines as well as outstanding burgers and chicken wings. It's time to put on your leprechaun outfits.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn

Henry Ford's 100th birthday was in 1963. To celebrate that event the Ford Foundation granted 3 million dollars for the building of a library and the Ford Motor Company gave 15 acres of land on Michigan Avenue for the construction of the facility. It was finally dedicated in 1969. One of our favorite Michigan artists, Marshall Fredericks, sculpted Henry Ford's image in bronze which you see above mounted on a marble pedestal. The Rotunda Gallery inside the library displays various pieces of art. There is a 3-dimensional map of the US that was originally shown in the Ford Pavilion during the World's Fair in New York in 1964. The artist who designed it, Glen Michaels, also created the twisting staircase that connects all three floors in the library and the tapestry.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit

The Bonstelle Theatre on Woodward is part of the Wayne State Campus undergraduate drama program.  They put on several plays a year in this 1200 seat historic venue. It was built in 1902 by Albert Kahn in the Beaux Arts style and was originally the Temple Beth-El. We have seen many delightful performances here including Cathy Rigby flying across the stage as Peter Pan.  Coming up in April is The Full Monty.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Corktown Races in Detroit

It was a sea of green up and down Michigan Avenue Sunday afternoon for the 5K walk/run that began at the old train station in Corktown. Gaelic prizes were awarded to the participants wearing best costumes. It's been a fun tradition downtown for 29 years--followed by the annual St Patrick's Day Parade at 2pm.  It was a great time despite the cloudy skies and coolish temps!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grosse Pointe Academy Chapel

The Grosse Pointe Academy Chapel overlooks Lake St Clair. Built in 1899, it is a beautiful example of French gothic architecture and has received national historic designation. It sits on a peaceful little 20 acre campus in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Famous Hamburger Grill and Cafe, Dearborn

Famous Hamburger is a restaurant that represents the the classic American Dream.  The Hider family of Dearborn opened Famous Hamburger over 35 years ago in the Dearborn area after immigrating from Lebanon.  They use halal meat and offer many different burgers like the salmon, the swiss, the lo carb, and the inferno.  We tried the Famous Burger with two 1/3 pound beef patties, fried egg, cheese, lettuce and tomato.  We washed it down with a blackberry shake.   Yummy!   

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grand Pacific Railroad Museum, New Baltimore

The Grand Pacific Railroad Museum is in a building that  was once a sought after vacation destination in the late 1800's when New Baltimore was known as "Ashley".  A plush getaway that eventually went out of business, it became a private residence and is now home to the New Baltimore Historical Society with period exhibits complete with mannequins.  We heard rumors that it is haunted, but no ghosts appeared when we visited. It's open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fordson High School in Dearborn

This gorgeous Fordson High School was constructed in the late 1920's and was the first American School to cost over a million dollars to build with an actual cost of 2.2 million.   It's exterior is constructed of granite and Briar Hill sandstone trim.  The tower was patterned after the Lawyers Club at University of Michigan with Byzantine cupolas.   It contains a dumb waiter that was once used to move books between the floors.  During the Korean conflict plans were created to use it as a watch tower, but the school board cancelled it.   The inside holds much beauty as well with statues, busts, beautiful wood paneling, and artwork.   Alumni include notable scholars, politicians, actors, athletes, authors, and businessmen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Handguns Hunters' Museum and Hall of Fame, Mt. Clemens

This unique museum was founded in 1983 by Mr. Larry Kelly, being in the forefront of the relatively little known sport of handgun hunting. The museum is located in the
Mag-na-port International, Inc. building. It is the only repository of trophy-quality game taken by handgun hunters. Included in the collection are many specimens that are listed in the Safari Club International Record Book like the Southern Impala and Chobe Bushbuck. The trophies are fascinating.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday at Sweetheart Bakery

It's Paczki Day and we celebrate Mardi Gras all around Michigan.  Get your delectable little custard or jelly filled paczkis at the Sweetheart Bakery in Harper Woods, Macomb or Warren. They will be selling massive quantities. Flavors are raspberry, custard, strawberry, lemon, blueberry, apple and prune.  They also whipped up a mouth-watering chocolate mousse version--to die for--and proudly served by Cathy above. Providing Detroit with the best paczkis since 1963, today everyone indulges in at least one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ford Homes Historic District, Dearborn

The Ford Historic Home District contains some really beautiful homes. Although there are only six different styles (A-F) each looks unique.  We were surprised to learn that this development had nothing to do with cars but with equipment and tractors.  Henry Ford  started production of tractors in 1915 to help the American farmer.  He employed 400 men who had to rent homes in Detroit at the high rate of $75.00 per month and ride the crowded street car to get to work.   In 1919 construction of high quality homes began by Dearborn Realty and Construction Company whose major shareholders were Clara Ford and Edsel Ford.  250 homes were constructed in 1919 and 1920.  Pictured are a couple of models that originally sold for for about $9000 in 1919.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn

Beautiful Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn is celebrating its 175th anniversary as a catholic community on Michigan Avenue with a thriving school. The building itself dates back to 1929 when they laid the cornerstone a few months before the stock market crash. Their cemetery is the oldest active cemetery in metro Detroit. They are also celebrating March is Reading Month with the theme "Find Your Heart in a Book" where we are urged to recall those books that have left an impression on our lives and touched our hearts.  We can name a few!  Can you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thomas Edison Inn of Port Huron

Thomas Edison Inn lies in the shadow of the Blue Water Bridge overlooking our neighboring country Canada and the St Clair River.  This lovely inn has beautiful views from their Hunt Room Lounge and their Ivy Dining Room. You can also watch those freighters glide by from your hotel rooms. Lots of banquet space and a cute gift shop make this a choice spot to stay.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Miller's Bar in Dearborn

With over a quarter of a million people voting, Miller's Bar on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn has claimed the number one spot in metro Detroit for the all-American hamburger. We had to go check it out.  This little unassuming place was packed wall to wall and Shirley, our server, was a stitch.  When we asked her what beer was on tap, she responded with attitude, "Miller"! The burgers were delicious, but we have to confess a huge surprise in finding out they were served sans plate--just on a piece of paper. Another shocker was--no bill! You just go up to the counter and tell the cashier what you ordered. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Short's Brewery in Bellaire

Tucked away in Michigan's snowbelt is a great brew pub called Short's. It's on the main drag in Bellaire located in a 100 year old former hardware store.  We loved the atmosphere, the vittles, the friendly service and especially the beer.  They serve great sampler trays in a unique paddle contraption. We give it all high marks and their pub food is superb--do try their stuffed portabella mushroom caps. Their website is chock full of information and very up-to-date.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Huron Lightship in Port Huron

The Huron Lightship was retired from active service in 1970. Lucky for us, this last lightship of the Great Lakes is now a museum.  It acts as a floating lighthouse anchored in areas where it is too deep, expensive or impractical to construct a lighthouse.  See the light is displayed at the top of the mast?   The locals called her "Old B.O." because of the sound her fog horn made.  Built in 1920, she was moved in 1935 to Lake Huron to guide ships  just north of the Blue Water Bridge where she stayed until she retired.  Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989, you can find her in Pine Grove Park and open for tours beginning April 15. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn

The Automotive Hall of Fame began with a group of men meeting as early as 1939 to create an organization that would perpetuate the memories of the early automotive pioneers as well as contemporary leaders in the industry. It started in Washington, DC then moved to Midland, MI and then to Dearborn in 1997.  This museum, adjacent to the Henry Ford, is so well done.  The displays are interesting and make the inductees lives come alive.  The first woman honored was Alice Ramsey, who with 3 other women left NYC and drove 41 days, used 11 tires and put 3800 miles on the Maxwell touring car to arrive in San FranciscoAlice had inspired countless women to pursue automotive related goals and dreams. Pictured in the center is Mercedes after whom her doting father, Karl Benz, named a car.