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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boulevard Market in Tecumseh

We made the trek out to Tecumseh, south of Ann Arbor, because we heard they made some really good artisan cheeses at the Boulevard Market right downtown on Main Street. It's so true. We came home with this fresh chèvre or goat cheese made from the raw milk of local farms that is embued with herbs. The triple creme is kind of like a camembert, but stronger.   John and Erika Aylward have been holding shop here for seven years and their love of Europe shows in their homey store that draws foodies from all around. Another bargain is their own bottled balsamic vinegar--fabulous!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Middle of the Mitten in St. Louis

The mystery was solved back in the 1800's! The geographic middle of the lower peninsula is in St. Louis! This marker is located in Clapp Park. Inquiring minds want to know. St Louis is just north of Alma off of Highway 127. Jim Northrup, who passed away earlier this month, played for the Tigers from 1964-74. He graduated from high school in St Louis. The fifth annual St Louis Blues Festival takes place July 1-2.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shiawassee Arts Center in Owosso

The Shiawassee Arts Center in Owosso sits peacefully on the Shiawassee River.  They showcase local artists and their works.  We came upon this beautiful dish made by Richard L Lahmann who lives in Owosso.  He used to be an engineer.  Can you tell by the linear design?  We saw several pieces we would like to take home.  It's open 6 days a week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron was the first lighthouse built in Michigan. It sits at the lower bowl of Lake Huron where it flows into the St Clair River. Built in 1829, it stands 82 feet tall.  Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, more than any other state in our country. Fort Gratiot was named after General Charles Gratiot, the engineer in charge of its construction. When we took this photo, we were able to climb it, but it is currently closed due to deteriorating infrastructure and we heard it will cost 4 million dollars to fix it up.   If interested in its progress, you can become a friend and help support the restoration. Note: As of May 19, 2012, it is once again open to the public!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

St John's Episcopal Church in Saline

Saline is located in antique country and its darling little church is no exception.  Completed in 1835, St John's Episcopal is the oldest church of that denomination in our state.  All the stained glass windows and the interior beams, which were shaped using axes and hand tools, are original! It's worth a trip to Saline to attend their 9:15am service.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Don Juan's Burial site in Tecumseh

Would you believe that Tecumseh has been listed as one of the top 100 small cities in America? Maybe people rush here to see the burial site of General Custer's horse, Don Juan. It's on Russell Road on the property owned by Brady Sand and Gravel. Actually, we have featured this horse and its rider before, here. If Lexington, KY can give horse farm tours and show the burial sites of their famous horses, why not Michigan?  After Custer's untimely death, the thoroughbred Don Juan was sent back to Tecumseh and used for his stud services.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Croswell Opera House in Adrian

The Croswell Opera House in Adrian is celebrating 145 years. In Michigan, it is the oldest continuously running theatre and therefore listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are open year round and Hairspray is showing tonight and this weekend and Annie in July.  In August, look for Singin' in the Rain and a special --43 summers at the Croswell. They also sponsor --with Adrian Parks and Rec-- the free movies at Island Park in town where people are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets. This weekend, it's Megamind. It is only through the wonderful network of volunteers and supporters that the Croswell continues to thrive.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clinton Inn in Clinton

There is a unique story in Clinton, south of Ann Arbor and located on the Old Saulk Trail, an Indian path that was used between Detroit and Chicago (now US 12). The stagecoaches used to make a couple of trips a day in the 1800's between the two cities, and an overnight stop was frequently used at the Clinton Inn, built in 1830.  The inn, in total disrepair and filled with garbage, was bought by Henry Ford in 1925.  He moved it to Greenfield Village and we know it so well today as the Eagle Tavern. The Clinton Inn in the photo above stands at the main crossroads of town. It was built in 1900 and serves good food and has 10 guest rooms on the second floor. The third floor contains apartments. It's a unique place from which to explore the Irish Hills.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Henry Ford's Mill to Weller's Banquets in Saline

Saline and its river, just south of Ann Arbor, were named after the bubbling salt springs in the area. The village was founded in 1832, establishing a flour mill.  Henry Ford came along in the 1930's and bought the abandoned mill and renovated it, adding water-driven generators.  He then convinced area farmers to start growing soybean crops. Processing them at the mill into oil, Henry used it for plastic car parts and paint. Pretty ingenious, don't you think?  Today, this mill has again been renovated and is used as Weller's Banquets offering an ideal setting for weddings and other special celebrations at this National Historic Landmark.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

St Laurent Brothers Candy in Bay City

Right on the waterfront in Bay City stands the St Laurent Brothers Candy Shop which has been in business since 1904. They specialize in homemade chocolates to die for and peanut butter cups, fresh roasted nuts and lots of inexpensive candy on which little munchkins can spend their allowance. The building itself has been in existence since before the Civil War when it was used as a hotel to house lumberjacks. Thanks for the priceless photo, John!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham

Opened in 1931 as a train station stop in Birmingham between Detroit and Pontiac, this beautiful building was transformed into Norman's Eton Street restaurant in 1984. In this millenium, it is known as the Big Rock Chop House where everyone raves about the steaks, the awesome surroundings and their brewpub. Happy hour is from 3-7pm. Upstairs they have a separate, walled-off cigar room for stogie lovers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Eyes on Design

A special Father's Day event is taking place at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House on Lakeshore Dr in Grosse Pointe Shores. Called Eyes on Design, the estate's 80 acres will feature more than 200 by-invitation-only vehicles selected for their unique avant garde designs.  You can also tour the home itself and the outbuildings like the one pictured above, which is the garage by the Gate Lodge as you enter the property.  Here we can see Edsel Ford's well preserved 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet as well as other historical vehicles. It's a dreamland for dads.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Boston Edison Garden Tour in Detroit

The area of homes encompassing the Boston-Edison subdivision consists of 36 blocks and 900 homes. They are having their annual garden tour today starting at 10am. What a great opportunity to check out the unique architecture dating back to 1905. You meet at Voigt Park on Third Street and Longfellow where they will give you a map and point you in the right direction. Who lived here? Henry Ford, many members of the Fisher family, Fred Sanders, Ty Cobb, Joe Louis and Berry Gordy, among many many others.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Birmingham Movie Theatre

Bravo preservationists for restoring the beautiful Birmingham Theatre that has been there since 1926. The photo on the right is posted on its wall.  Aren't those ancient cars a riot? This is where we went last night to see the incredible documentary Caves of Forgotten Dreams. This venue shows different and interesting films. We give it two thumbs up.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Royal Oak Clay, Glass and Metal Show

Washington Street was the hub of action in Royal this past weekend as more than 100 artists were featured in the Clay, Glass and Metal Show put on by the Chamber of Commerce.  With the beautiful weathr, there were a slew of people checking out the decorative pieces made by Warren Townsend and the glass cup demo'ed by Jimmy and Brittany from Albert Young's studio. Live entertainment and food rounded out the jam-packed weekend. Thanks, Kat, for the photos!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ernie's playing at City Theatre in Detroit

A young girl told us they had attended the play Ernie at City Theatre in Detroit and absolutely loved it.  Ernie Harwell, broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers for decades, is one of the most admired and cherished Detroiters of all time, but he was 92 when he passed away last year. It surprised us that a teenager would know of him or even be interested.  Mitch Albom, journalist, musician and radio broadcaster himself and a resident of Detroit for 26 years, created this play around our beloved announcer which appeals to all ages. What a way to preserve his memory and to teach our youth about character and integrity. All the tickets for tonight and this weekend are sold out.  Better get your tickets while you can! City Theatre opened in 2004.  It's a small intimate auditorium of 500 seats tucked inside Hockeytown --a stone's throw from Comerica Park where this fine statue of Ernie greets fans as they enter the ballpark.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day, Michigan!

June 14th was designated Flag Day back in the era of Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed it in 1916. Today, in Michigan, Romeo is having a Flag Day Celebration with flag waving and patriotic music. In Dearborn, they have their annual burning of tattered US flags. Did you know that the designer of the 50 star flag, Robert Heft, was born in Saginaw? At Birch Run, hundreds gather to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem. There'll be a B-17 flyover in Adrian with a ceremonial flag raising. Celebrations are everywhere! Thanks, Howard Wright III, for the above photo taken in Pontiac.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A footbridge in Owosso

We so admire communities that create beautiful space and little interesting things like a footbridge! This one over the Shiawassee River in 1984 is very beautiful and used by many pedestrians.  They did not have to build it, as there is a main road just a couple hundred feet down the river that crosses it, but it connects the downtown area with a park and it's just cool!  They have a walk on Labor Day weekend that incorporates their precious footbridge.  400 people attended last year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rock of Ages in Battle Creek

Battle Creek is the home of a one-of-a-kind memorial called Rock of Ages. It was created by local resident James Brown from bits and pieces of memorabilia he'd collected over the years like a Remember the Maine plaque and a 250,000 year old rock formation from a cave in Virginia. He would pick up stones from the places he visited like Plymouth Rock, Lincoln's birthplace and  Mt Vernon which are all built into the unique pillar. This structure, completed in the 1930's has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not. It stands in Monument Park with CW Post and Sojourner Truth.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Comerica Park Fireworks

A crowd of 35,000 in Detroit enjoyed the fireworks at Comerica Park last night despite the Tigers losing to Seattle. The display was pretty dramatic, as they hauled out the wagons right in the middle of centerfield to set those pyrotechnics off. The sounds echoed off the downtown buildings magnifying the effects! We loved it and thought the back drop of these famous Tigers of old added to the ambience. All summer long fans are treated to these post-game shows on the weekend night games.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Heritage Park in Corunna

There is a perfect spot for a picnic or reading a book in Corunna. The roar of the Shiawassee River's rushing water adds to the ambiance as well as watching the trout fishermen casting their fly rods. An historic mill from 1843 used to stand on this site. We were pleasantly surprised. The statue honors former educator, coach, superintendent, Ray Dennis who said, "Every kid gets a fair shake at an education". We say "Amen" to that!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

St. John's Marsh Wildlife Area- Clay Township

St John's Marsh is part of the Great Lakes Coastal Marsh ecosystem where water levels fluctuate.  During drier periods it may become pools of very shallow water with mudflats that create water and vegetation conditions that are healthy for the ecosystem. This may become a temporary inconvenience for recreational users.  Paddlers entering the expanse of wetlands can lose themselves—and all their worries—in a watery maze of swaying grasses and aquatic plants. You can see most of the area within two to three hours of casual paddling. Its location is less than an hour northeast of Detroit making it a pleasant escape from the urban grind.  Beware of hunters and coyotes, fox, deer, duck, geese,  heron, and may other birds, amphibians, and snake. For trail map, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vicente's Cuban Cuisine in Detroit

Suavamente.... bésame! Kiss me softly--- those are the first two things you hear on their website with latin music forcing you to move effortlessly. We've been watching Vicente's grow on Library Street tucked behind Woodward and Campus Martius for quite some time now. Friends have been raving about their luscious cuisine. If you are into dancing, this is the place to samba and rumba and merengue to your heart's delight on the weekends. Pictured are some of their tapas or appetizers. ¡Ay chica! Thanks for the pictures, Marge Mandl.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Curwood Festival in Owosso

Let's hear it for the people of Owosso who have preserved the memory of one James Oliver Curwood. He was born in Owosso and became one of the most famous writers of fiction in the 1920's. Specializing in adventure tales, he had this castle built as his writing studio in 1922 overlooking the beautiful Shiawassee River. We thoroughly enjoyed touring the castle, all the memorablia surrounding the author, climbing the turret and even sitting at his desk this past Sunday during the 34th annual Curwood Festival. We learned tons about James, as he wrote many novels which were turned into movies. His most famous was The Bear or L'Ours, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Time to queue it up on Netflix or put the book on hold at your library.  It was a lovely time we spent in Owosso as there were tons of stuff to see and do at the festival.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Carl Lundgren at Waterford's Peacefest

It was a pleasure meeting native Michigander Carl Lundgren and his wife Michele at Waterford's third annual Peacefest this past weekend. Carl is known throughout the country for his colorful and whimsical rock band posters as well as his science fiction and fantasy illustrations. Carl will be exhibiting at the Flint Institute of Arts June 11-12 for their 44th annual art fair. His style is unique and distinctive. His Michigan Rocks poster features bands that are native to our state.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Leonard at Logan in Grand Rapids

We tend to gravitate towards historic bed and breakfast places.  Pictured here is Leonard at Logan --a lovely renovated home in the Heritage Hill area of Grand Rapids. We enjoyed a very comfortable stay here in what is known as the Harry C Leonard home, built in 1914. He was president of the Leonard Refrigerator Company, which used to be the oldest business in Grand Rapids. The rooms are very spacious, loaded with antiques, beds extremely comfortable, free wifi, flat screen tv  and the Green Well Pub is just a short walk away. Also, it's a stone's throw from the beautifully restored Frank Lloyd Wright house called Meyer May.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grosse Pointe Shores' Duck Stamps

The Gate House on Lakeshore Drive which leads up to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate is holding a wonderful exhibit called Art for Nature's Sake. It features the beautiful watercolors, paintings and pen and ink of various ducks that were selected as the year's winners and then made into US postage stamps called the Federal Duck Stamp Program. The mallards pictured here were done by JN "Ding" Darling who was born in Norwood, Michigan. His print was the first one selected for a stamp in 1934. The collection will be displayed through July 4th in the South Cottage which is just to the left of this arched entrance.  The entire Ford estate comprises 80 some acres on Lake St Clair.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fuji Japanese Buffet in Madison Heights

The twenty somethings around us let us know about the Fuji Japanese Buffet in Madison Heights. The profuse use of cherry woods dazzle the eyes when you walk in and the fact that people sit on the floor.  But wait, there are other rooms with table seating, too. Then there is the glorious food --sushi made by lots of chefs, right before your eyes. Wow. It's all you can eat in a very fresh buffet style and open every day of the year. The squid in the bottom photo was a delicious highlight.  The price on the weekends ($20/person for dinner and $14 for lunch) is higher than week nights ($18 and $12 respectively). They also have shabu shabu (we just love to say it!), the Asian hot pot for $10 more.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Walled Lake

The city of Walled Lake has an Historic Lakefront Downtown (the only one in Oakland county). The Walled Lake Amusement Park used to stand on the south end of the lake from 1929 to 1968 when it was torn down. It is a big wide open grassy park now.  We could imagine the townspeople probably did not care for the huge amounts of traffic that the park brought in its heyday.  Now it is just a sleepy, peaceful village of 7000 surrounding a big lake with historic and newer homes and cottages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

Edsel was the only child of Henry and Clara Ford. In the 1920's, he and his wife Eleanor hired Detroit's well known architect, Albert Kahn, to design for them a stately manor on an 80 acre estate situated on Lake St Clair on the eastern fringe of Detroit. They traveled together to England to view different housing styles and decided on the Cotswald cottage look. The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores is indeed a beautiful, elegant home and they raised their four children here. We know them by Henry II, Bensen, Josephine and William.  The aerial view shows the home on the left with its expansive yard leading to the lake.  The peninsula on the right is known as Bird Island and is also open to the public with a well maintained trails.  We saw lots of birds and even a baltimore oriole here last weekend while hiking. Edsel died in the home in 1943. Eleanor lived here until the age of 80 in 1976.  Her greatest gift is what we enjoy today....having the home open to the public so we can walk in their footsteps for a little while.