Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jet's Pizza in Sterling Heights

It all started in Sterling Heights 33 years ago and now it is the 17th largest pizza franchise in the US. Yes, we are talking Jet's Pizza --deep dish delicious and crispy on the outside. With over 200 stores in 13 different states, we think they are worthy of this blog.  And we eat this yummy Michigan made 'za regularly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

If you tell someone you've been to Alpena, usually the first thing they ask you is, "Have you visited the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center"? This 20,000 square foot museum is the pride and joy of the city. When you walk in, it is eerily lit, like an underwater exploration. It is an awesome adventure of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and you don't even have to get wet in their high definition theater. You learn about hundreds of boats lying at the bottom Lake Huron in the area called "Shipwreck Alley" and see artifacts from many of the doomed sailing vessels. During winter hours, they are open every day except Sunday 10-5pm. And, the admission is free.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gim Ling in St Clair Shores

A laughing Buddha greets you as you walk into Gim Ling Modern Asian Restaurant in St Clair Shores. The dining room is tastefully decorated and the lovely artwork in the nooks and crannies enhances the whole experience.  But, on to the food which we found superb. We recommend the hot and sour soup and the shrimp egg foo young. Many plates are garnished with beautiful edible flowers. We will definitely return to this charming eatery on Harper.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The DIA's Inside/Out

Curiouser and curiouser we become when the art in our museum suddenly appears in our communities. We found this reproduction of François Millet's Reading the Story of Oenome on a shed at Eastern Market. This year the DTE Energy Foundation has helped fund the Inside/Outside project put on by the DIA. There are 80 pieces of art in Detroit and surrounding communities like Holly, Milford, Macomb, Warren, Franklin, Birmingham, Armada, Lake Orion, Oxford and Belleville. The DIA encourages viewers to post photos of the reproductions on their Flickr group and to geocache with the art. Each community that participates gets a free day at the museum. How many have you seen? You have until the end of November enjoy the current crop, but new ones will be installed in April.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Whitcomb Tower in St Joseph

The Whitcomb Tower building is a structure that Saint Joseph is very proud of. It used to be the Hotel Whitcomb, but has been refashioned as a retirement center.  Built in 1927, it is located on a high bluff overlooking the beaches of Lake Michigan. The unique distinctive square tower with its copper-covered dome is an icon of the city. It has been used as a retirement home now for 50 years.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday --shop from home at

Today is Black Friday and many stores have been open since 9pm last night.  An alternative to fighting the crowds is to do your shopping on the computer. is offering 20% off today only.  Congratulations to our just incredible player, Justin Verlander, who won not only the AL Cy Young but the MVP as well.  We could not be prouder. Who's your Tiger? 132 days until opening day, April 5 at Comerica Park. Woot! Woot!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lisa Jarrell's Expressions of Earth in Fowlerville

Love and gratitude is what Thanksgiving is all about and Lisa Jarrell's works embody that message. This artist from Fowlerville creates jewelry, notecards and art pieces that are filled with hearts and words of wisdom in mixed-media.  Her creations are available at State of Mind Gallery in Northville which features dozens of cool Michigan artists. You can see more at Lisa's website called Expressions of Earth. She will create original artwork from your ideas as well. May you be blessed this Thanksgiving......enjoy your family, friends, turkey and GO LIONS!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St Clair Shores' Ardmore Café

The Ardmore Café recently began serving dinner in addition to lunch.   The food was great as was the service and ambiance.  The building was one of the early farm homes in St. Clair Shores.  During prohabition it served as a brothel and drink place.  Every room in the building is filled with charm including a great gift boutique, a clothing corner and a pastry shop!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Urban Attic in St Clair Shores

Meet Jennifer Flynn--the owner and curator for the Urban Attic in St Clair Shores. This delightful store offers a second life for unique treasures and vintage finds as well as many beautiful creations by Michigan artists. Be sure to check out the handbags made from old novels and the button bracelets. Jennifer's shop is in Suite One of Ardmore Park Place on Little Mack.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Deer Hunting in Raber

Raber is a tiny little town in the UP with a population of 670 people on the St Mary's River. It is known for its great fishing hole on Raber Bay where anglers seek out herring, smelt and walleye. They also have a penchant for Detroit Lions football! In November it is home to the deer hunters. Thanks for the photos, Monty.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shrine Chapel: Our Lady of Orchard Lake

A unique chapel lies at the heart of Orchard Lake Schools. Referred to as Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake, it will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. The main doors are rectangles of thick stained glass which, on a sunny day, form beautiful reflections on the floor.  The life sized carved statues behind the altar represent Christ and the apostles. The seating capacity is 750 people.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grayling's Buck Pole at Skip's Sports Shop

This may seem kind of geeky, queasy or gruesome to some people, but it is the heart of Michigan. Hunters proudly display their catch on the buck pole at Skip's Sports Shop in Grayling in mid November, the beginning of deer hunting season. Skip's has been doing this for over 50 years and Camp Grayling Conservation Club offers prizes for the youngest hunter, the first buck of the day, the largest, etc. Hats off to the hunters and here's to some good venison eating. Thanks for the photo, Linda Black, Grayling resident.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Hideout Bar in Clawson

Clawson's little dive sports bar is the Hideout on 14 Mile Road where you can get a burger, fries and a beer for $6. The brick pizza oven they are installing will make it even more alluring.  The glowing green neon makes it easy to spot. We hear tell it's a hangout, too, for former Red Wing, Darren McCarty.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trattoria Stella in Traverse City's Village

Up on the hill in Traverse City is a large complex that used to be the psychiatric hospital. Run by the state, it first opened in 1885. The mental ward closed in 1989, but the buildings were saved from being razed and have been beautifully renovated. It is now known as "The Village". There are condos, an art center, grocery stores and the lovely Trattoria Stella, an Italian bistro run by Chef Myles. This wonderful basement eatery serves heavenly food in an historic cozy atmosphere.  We loved it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rouge Rouge Watershed

The River Rouge Watershed (over 450 square miles) is an extensive network of rivers and tributaries that runs through southeastern Michigan. It used to be massively polluted, but huge clean-up efforts in the 1990's have worked miraculous wonders.  It covers a huge urban area and very little of the pollution is industrial. For 25 years the Friends of the River Rouge (or FOTR) have been promoting its restoration and educating the public to step up and protect.  The fifth annual kayak tour was in September when 45 watercraft were plying the Rouge and promoting a healthy river system.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ray's Ice Cream in Royal Oak

Ray's Ice Cream in Royal Oak has been dishing out their homemade frozen scoops since 1958. The family run business on Coolidge just north of Normandy is a beacon for ice cream lovers. With 50 different flavors to choose from, you're sure to be able to indulge in a favorite or two. You have to love their 50's décor as well with their curvy formica counters and red bar stools. They've even preserved the music from that era. We give it 5 stars because they even stay open seven days a week until 9pm all year long!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Clinton River Trail in Oakland County

Graced with another sunshiny, gorgeous Saturday in November, we hit the Clinton River Trail in Oakland County. This 16 mile beautifully maintained path is for joggers, bikers, hikers and anybody who wants to use their own human power to propel themselves out in nature. We picked up the trail in downtown Rochester, but it also runs through Sylvan Lake, Pontiac and Auburn Hills.  It connects to the Paint Creek Trail and the Macomb Orchard Trail which together provide one of the most well connected networks in the country.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marian Grotto in Orchard Lake Village

We never cease to be amazed at the variety and beauty of what can be found in Michigan. Overlooking beautiful Orchard Lake is a unique structure called the Marian Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which is visited by an estimated 25,000 people a year. It is on the campus of St Mary's Preparatory School and the Orchard Lake Campus of Madonna University. In 1941 Josephine Rzeppa, a Detroit business woman, donated $5000 which was used to build the shrine in just 31 days using tufa rock from Blue Hole, Ohio.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ciccone Vineyard in Suttons Bay

Many wineries are thriving in the Leelanau Peninsula with the waters of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay tempering the climate.  They prevent early blossoming and hold off the first frost and then the heavy snows protect the vines all winter long.  The Ciccone Vineyard in Suttons Bay is a fun place to tour.  Even in November, they are open Thursday through Sunday for tastings and tours. Tony Ciccone, the owner, is the father of the singer, Madonna, hence some of their wines have been so labeled. They have several gold and silver medal winners.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day in MSU Camo

Totally classy and unique--that's what happening on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier today, honoring our US military.  Docked in San Diego for Veterans' Day the huge ship will feature North Carolina vs the MSU basketball team dressed in camo for their season opener on 11-11-11. How cool is that? President Obama will be in attendance. Forgive us for featuring something outside of our state today, but it does showcase a Michigan team we love.  Root for the underdogs (North Carolina is rated #1). Go Green! Photo credits go to MSU Basketball site.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunset in Caseville

Normally, they call the eastern coast of Michigan the sunrise side of the state, but there are sections, like in Caseville at the tip of the thumb, where you can see the most beautiful sunsets. The population is less than 1000, but it swells big time int he summer when hordes of tourists pack the city, especially for the cheeseburger festival in mid-August. It is also the Perch Capital of Michigan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Edmund Fitzgerald at Whitefish Point

On November 10, 1975 the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald went down in Lake Superior, shocking us all. The "Big Fitz" sunk during a huge storm on the lake that generated 35 foot waves. Thirty-six years later, this poignant make-shift memorable in the sand up at Whitefish Point helps us remember the event, the 29 lives that were lost and serves as a reminder of how fragile life is. Thanks, Rolf, for the photo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Betty Arnold, photographer

Photographer, Betty Arnold, lives in Brighton and loves to take photos. Animals are her specialty. With her super long lens, she passionately captures these little critters in their natural surroundings. Her work is awesome.  You can see what she produces at her own website Doodlebug Gallery and also at the gallery in Milford called Aubergine.  Her photos are framed and also turned into beautiful coasters and notecards.

Monday, November 7, 2011

West Bloomfield Public Library

When only five libraries nationwide are chosen as recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service a year, we have an insatiable curiosity to go check them out. West Bloomfield's was selected in 2010 for this award given out at the White House by Michele Obama. What an honor!  We found the library to be gorgeous and very inviting. The huge animals hanging over the children's area invite the mucnkins to come closer.  Reading is a critical skill.  Communities who support, promote and prioritize their libraries realize this. Congratulations, West Bloomfield.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Waterford's Dodge #4 State Park

When weather like this hits in November, you have to forego football games and get out to take it all in. Dodge #4 State Park in Waterford was sublime yesterday. We saw hikers and dogs, picnickers, boaters, bikers, fishermen and lots of photographers.  In 1922 the Dodge Brothers Corporation donated 139 acres for use as a park.  With its mile of sidewalks and paths on Cass Lake, it's a beauty.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Liberty Park Dome in Sterling Heights

On Mound Road north of 14 Mile in Sterling Heights is a hugely popular sports complex called Liberty Park. There are basketball and volleyball courts, 11 lighted softball fields and, of course, the DugOut Bar and Grill which churns out their own pizza. Here we've posted a photo of the Detroit Extreme Flag Football League which plays in the Sports Dome during the winter.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Donkey at the DIA

There are so many incredible treasures in our Detroit Institute of Arts that habitual visits are a necessity to be always discovering new ones. We bet many visitors have passed by this bronze donkey on the second floor without giving it much of a thought, but he is the one piece of art that everyone is invited to touch. And it is probably precisely this reason that we love him so much.  Look how worn he is--kind of like the velveteen rabbit whose fur was rubbed off from loving it too much. Created by German artist, Renee Sintenis, in 1927, it is actually a good example of how masterpieces slowly erode under human hands.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Juan Miguel's in Clinton Township

If you are in eastern Macomb County, you ought to try Juan Miguel's on Hall Road.  The flaming flautas are fantastic as well as their margaritas! The nacho appetizers were great, too.  Ask for Adam. He was our wonderful server.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Los Galanes celebrates Day of the Dead

For the full flavor of the Day of the Dead celebrations, everyone heads to Mexicantown, in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge. Los Galanes, right on Bagley by the I-75 service drive, is known for its fiestas and fun. They serve great margaritas and we have heard some live mariachi bands really crank it out here on the weekends. Check out the dance floor/night club up on the second floor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Dead at Xochi's in MexicanTown

Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead on Nov 1-2 and we love to join in the festivities, too. There's a store in MexicanTown called Xochi's that sells Day of the Dead skeletons and even has an authentic ofrenda --or altar--set up in their back room complete with the traditional marigold flowers and candles. These particular days really do celebrate life and honor those loved ones in our families who have passed on.