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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween in Royal Oak

If we were to nominate a home for best Halloween decorations, it would have to be the one in Royal Oak on Hampton. It is animated and lit with corpses popping out of caskets, a gigantic spider dropping from a tree, a frightful electrocution, a huge human-like bat creature zooming down from above, a fenced in graveyard, a castle and a guillotine.  Not for small children or the faint of heart, but all in fun, it's totally ghoulish.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Downtown Clawson Trick-or-Treasure

The streets were swarming with the little costumed tykes yesterday for downtown Clawson's annual Trick-or-Treasure.  From noon to 3pm, each business that participated hung out their decorated scarecrow. It was a precious site with crossing guards strategically placed to halt traffic on 14 Mile Road for the goblins and princesses, pirates and ladybugs.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Welcome to the Motor City

The Uniroyal Tire on I-94 is the iconic symbol of Detroit as we zoom by on our way to or from the airport. It has been there in Allen Park since 1965. Prior to its installation on the expressway, the 8-story structure was used as a ferris wheel for the New York State Fair.  If you look closely, you'll see a giant nail stuck in the top, representing the self-sealing leaks of Uniroyal.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rochester Train Depot

We had the wonderful privilege of taking downtown Rochester's walking tour, led by Rod Wilson. He carries a binder with him to show you what the seemingly modern buildings used to look like --as in the photo above.  This historic train depot was built in the 1800's. Now beautifully restored, it is the home of a gift boutique called Catching Fireflies. It is packed full of delightful things and one can pass a lot of time here. Kudos to the Rochester-Avon Historical Society for all you do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blais in Three Oaks

This lovely nineteenth century train station was preserved and restored in the city of Three Oaks and is now used as a beautiful antique store. Only open on the weekends, Keek and Bill Bielby are the designer/gaffer/owners of Blais who bill their shop as rustic chic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dementia Haunted House in Rochester Hills

Rated the #1 Haunted House in the area, late October is the perfect time to catch Dementia at the Hampton Golf Club in Rochester Hills. If thrills and chills are what you are seeking, here you'll find psychotic inmates running around trying to scare you. Fridays between 5pm and disk, children are just $6 and parents are free. Dress like a zombie and get $1 off admission.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

R Hirt Jr Co at Eastern Market

Old world charm exudes from R Hirt Jr Co at Eastern Market in downtown Detroit.  Many people never leave the first floor with its fabulous displays of imports from around the world, but if you go up the back stairs, there are floors to explore with lots of handmade goods of wicker, baskets and assorted treasures. Perhaps the greatest draw at Hirt's is their cheese. They have an unbelievable stock from all over the world.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elbo Room in Saugatuck

There are many great restaurants in Saugatuck to choose from. We were very happy with the unassuming little Elbo Room on the Kalamazoo River which is open for breakfast and lunch only. With lots of unique choices for breakfast, we opted for the outstanding eggs benedict with crab, fresh steamed asparagus and a divine hollandaise sauce. If crab is not your thing, there are four other eggs benedict to choose from. You can't beat the scenery with tables adjacent to the river. The Elbo Room is open all year long.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Farmer's Restaurant in Detroit

If you are seeking a great breakfast or lunch spot, Farmer's Restaurant on Market Street downtown is ever popular. Yes, there is often a line out the door, especially on Saturdays when thousands of people descend on the sheds of Eastern Market. The corned beef hash and eggs are big enough for 2 (or 4) and the reuben sandwiches vie for the best in Detroit.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Veterans Bridge Bay City

In Bay City, it's always fascinating to watch the Veterans Bridge open up for freighter traffic. It has been in operation since 1957. Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Transportation power washed the dirt, trash and bird poop from Vets Bridge to make it nice and beautiful again. This photo was taken from the multi-level outdoor deck of Kingfish restaurant, located on Water Street's historic "Hell's Half Mile". It's a popular place with live entertainment on the weekends and a great place to sit back and catch a sunset. Thanks for the photo, John.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Detroit zoo new carrousel ride

Our Detroit Zoo has a brand new custom-designed carousel ride complete with music. Some young children might find it a little intimidating at first, but she is a beauty. All the animals--horses, snakes, rabbits, sea lions, a peacock and even a T-Rex-- were hand-carved and carefully painted. Rides are just $2 a person.  It will be open through October and then close down until mid-April. Thanks, Adia, for posing! Photo credit: Sara Rokicki

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saugatuck Duck

We rode the amphibious Harbor Duck in Saugatuck this summer.  It was a hoot.  You start out on land and take a tour of the area then dive into the water and check out the sights by boat.  Pretty awesome adventure on a 30 foot World War II vessel. This time of year, it only runs on the weekends.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Matt Knio Pâtisserie

OK, we have a weakness for French pastries.  Who doesn't? We found a little goldmine of them in Hamtramck of all places.  Matt Knio, the little Frenchman down there, has a pastry factory on Trowbridge. We've been indulging in pain au chocolat, croissants aux amandes, religieuses (the little nun pastries), Paris-Brest, flan and fruit tarts. He's also got a stand at Eastern Market on Saturdays. We vote Matt Knio's as the best pastries in Michigan!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michigan Apple Trail

Have you seen the various artistically painted supersized apples around the Detroit area?  They are part of Michigan's Apple Trail.  Individually decorated by various artists, they celebrate our great apple harvest and our wonderful local produce. You can see them at the following farmers' markets: Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Dearborn, Eastside, Eastern Market, Eastern Market Tuesday, Farmington, Flint, Franklin, Garden City, Lake Orion, Milford, Northwest Detroit, Novi, Rochester, Royal Oak, Wayne State and Wyandotte. The two above represent Eastern Market. All the images and voting tallies are on-line. The results were made known at the big Apple Gala Event last weekend in Eastern Market's Shed 3 where all the giant pieces of fruit were auctioned off.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chelio's Rooftop bar in Detroit

This is a salute to our Detroit Tigers, who gave us so much optimism and boosted the image of our city all year long. It was a great year and a great run. We look forward to opening day, April 5th at Comerica Park. Prior to the game, we enjoy the bird's eye view of the park from Chelio's on Grand Circus Park. They even have bleachers set up on the rooftop to accommodate large groups.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rodin's Thinker at Adrian College

Adrian College, a liberal institution long affiliated with the Methodist church, sits on 100 acres 90 miles southwest of Detroit. They recently celebrated their 150th anniversary. Richard Kibbe, a 1993 graduate of Adrian College, donated a life size reproduction of the Thinker by the 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It stands in the central garden of the campus. Perhaps its presence inspires students to ponder life?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse

The Haunted Lighthouse Weekend up at Tawas Point is today and tomorrow. What a great opportunity to tour this 70 foot tall structure that has been operational since 1877. The Keeper's House has been restored and is used as a gift shop. Accommodations are available in the renovated home for a week at a time if you will volunteer your time to instruct people about the lighthouse and guide them on tours. Campers are encouraged to decorate their sites on a Halloween theme this weekend prior to the Monster Bash Dance.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Redford Street Art

We found this creepy, scary street art on Grand River at Lahser and thought it fit the season leading up to Halloween. We did not know who the artist is, but it is stuff like this that makes a neighborhood interesting. Three cheers for urban creativity.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lafayette Greens in Detroit

Compuware planted a new urban area in downtown Detroit called Lafayette Greens. It is a gorgeus garden with beautiful raised beds and wonderful seating to relax and enjoy the beauty. Food grown there will go to Gleaners Food Bank. The yield in one summer month was over 900,000 pounds of food. It has really improved the look of the neighborhood. Great job, farm manager Gwen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Redford Theatre Organ

The Redford Theatre opened in 1928 in which the Motor City Theatre Organ Society has an awesome original 3 manual, 10 rank Barton theatre pipe organ. The evening show begins at 8:30 pm preceded by a 30 minute mini-concert starting at 7:30pm. Coming up October 21-22 is Munster Dragula featuring a live appearance by Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster in the film and tv series. Tickets are $5.00.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wick Park Restrooms in Saugatuck

Somebody in Saugatuck is very creative.  We loved the impressionistic pointillism mural on the public restrooms in Wick Park adjacent to the chain ferry. It was inspired by George Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte which is in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dainava in Manchester

There are many scenic, idyllic areas of our state. Dainava is a retreat center located in Manchester, south and west of Ann Arbor. It began as a camp for Lithuanian children. What a wonderful are with over 200 acres of land to hike, a small lake for fishing and swimming and at this time of year, the colors are at their glorious peak. The White House offers dormitory style accommodations, kitchen facilities and a large room for eating and gatherings with a fireplace. Language classes in Lithuanian are offered at all levels.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

McMahon's Mustard in Macomb

Are there any mustard lovers out there? Have you tried McMahon's yet? It is made in Macomb and we love the refreshingly different, slightly sweet taste.  We can attest to the fat that they go great with stadium hotdogs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Uncle John's Cidery in St John's

Our favorite hard cider in the state has to be Uncle John's from the cidery on Highway 127 just north of Lansing in St Johns. Their flavors are all delicious--apple cider, pear cider and especially apple cherry cider. They make a popular non-alcoholic cider as well to go with homemade donuts, pies and breads. Their gift shop sells wines produced on the farm as well as preserves and various souvenirs.  Don't forget a wagon ride to top it all off.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fleming Farms Maple Syrup in South Haven

We had the opportunity to meet Samuel Fleming himself of Fleming Farms in South Haven.  They produce some of the most divine maple Syrup that Michigan has to offer. You will find them at the Holland Farmer's Market, Saugatuck's and, of course, South Haven's.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Masonic Temple in Detroit

It looms large on Csss Avenue and Temple in Detroit. The biggest Masonic Temple in the world has been here since 1926. It's massive theatre seats 4000+ and there are other venues within--a chapel, a cathedral and ballrooms-- which hold thousands more. Last weekend the Detroit Derby Girls battled it out on their rollerblades in the Masonic. The Inferno Hairshow is this Sunday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gleaners Food Bank in Detroit

Fresh bread, baked that morning is what you get from Gleaners Food Bank, set up down at Eastern Market. One of the oldest food banks in the US, this organization's mission is to turn surplus food into tons of healthy meals for the hungry. They distributed over 30 million pounds of food last year to soup kitchens and shelters in Southeastern Michigan. Find their wares in Shed 2 and share a smile.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Zingerman's Cheese Shop

Zingerman's in Ann Arbor has a second location where they made the most marvelous cheeses.  We recently tried their mozzarella and when you slice it up, serve with tomatoes and chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil, it will make your taste buds tingle.  Don't want to make the trek out to Ann Arbor? They have a booth set up at Eastern Market in Detroit!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cost Plus Wine Shop at Eastern Market

This little row of 19th century buildings at Eastern Market is a very familiar site. Every business is unique and has a story. Take the time to explore and enjoy. Cost Plus Wines on the far south is an iconic anchor.  Even Doogie Howser a.k.a. Neil Patrick Harris, commented on what a great selection they have. Besides a marvelous and varied selection of beer and wine, you might get a chance to meet the Irish guy from Cork who started it all, Tim McCarthy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mary's Pie Shop

Mary's Pie Shop makes us drool.  Here she is with her rhubarb specialty and it is to die for. Located in Lexington, her little store is only open Thursday through Sunday in the afternoon. This is a special after dinner treat.  Make a production of it! Bring along your picnicware, go to the lake, spread the checkered tablecloth on the picnic table, sit down with your family and rejoice over the pie and the view and one another's company. Amen.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wheeler's Restaurant in Standish

Wheeler's Restaurant in Standish--where the Great Up North begins-- is unique and full of friendly locals and lots of good food. At 75 years and still going strong, the atmosphere is convivial. Popular with local rural folk, it is indeed crowded on the weekends. Depot Days in Standish are being held this Saturday, October first in the historical train station welcome center. There will be lots of live music, a baking contest, farmer's market, carnival rides and a chili cook-off.