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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Detroit Yacht Club

Have you ever visited the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle? It is a beautiful spot for elegant parties. Founded almost 150 years ago, it is one of the oldest and classiest yacht clubs in the nation. The designer of the club, George Mason, also designed the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The current clubhouse dates back to 1922 with an adjacent olympic size swimming pool.  They have about 350 boat slips. You can catch a ride to the yacht club on the Spirit of DYC shuttle which leaves from Kean's Marina on Jefferson on the weekends Memorial weekend through Labor Day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Asylum Inn in South Haven

As far as bed and breakfasts go, we think we have found perhaps the most unusual in Michigan: South Haven's Asylum Inn. Why would anyone want to stay here?  But don't let the name fool you! This 100 year old beautifully restored home used to be a private hospital with an ideal location close to the golden sandy beaches of Lake Michigan and all the downtown activities.  Groups especially love to rent the whole place which has three large floors with three kitchens.  It sleeps 20 people on some luxurious pillowtop beds.  Time is running out to grab a week of summer vacation rental in one of Michigan's hottest resorts!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cupola Bar at Mackinac's Grand Hotel

The Cupola Bar is the pinnacle point of a visit to Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel. From the boat, you see the little rooftop tower perched high above the world's longest porch and the flag flying on top. It affords a tremendous bird's eye view and it's a thrilling and inimitable experience with piano music and gorgeous sunset views over Mackinac Bridge. The complex opens next week, on May 5, for the 2011 season.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester

Give Thanks Bakery oozes warmth and comfort food in downtown Rochester.  It is located back behind Main Street, tucked away on Walnut Road. We always look for the church converted to art gallery to find it. The artisanal breads are a work of art. Here's where we also indulge in European pastries and a cup of joe. You'll love their story on their website which is quite intriguing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hawk Woods Hiking Trails in Auburn Hills

Springtime is glorious in Michigan. The scenery changes daily and there is much to be admired at Hawk Woods Nature Center on Bald Mountain Rd in Auburn Hills. We hiked the trails and explored their boardwalks that meander through the marshlands and were met with all kinds of unexpected delights. Although we did not see any hawks, the egrets were out as well as a host of warblers! We felt blessed to hear a litany of songs. Hawk Woods has beautiful cabins for rent and a variety of programs like wildflower walks and campfire nights  to help us enjoy the great outdoors.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Highland State Recreation Area

If you are looking outdoor adventure, check out Highland State Recreation Area. There are miles of bike (16), hiking (17) and equestrian trails (12). Rather picnic by the beach? Boating, fishing, hunting? The boat launch looks easy to navigate. This cute white tail deer was enjoying the serenity the same day we were!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Hamtramck

This Uukrainian Rite Catholic Church was built in 1942 following the settling of Ukrainians in the metro Detroit area in the early 1900's. The church is decorated with huge mural icons by the Ukrainian artist, Mychajlo Dmytrenko. In front of the altar is an iconostatsis consisting of a main gate and two smaller side gates or doors which open during mass and are closed after mass. Only a priest or bishop can go through the main center door called a Holy Door. The iconostatis was carved by Danylo Berezowsky and is decorated with gold leafing. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

St. Matthew & St. Joseph Episcopal Church, Detroit

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church was established in 1846 by the organizers of the Detroit Underground railroad as the first African American Episcopal congregation in Michigan. In 1971 it merged with St. Joseph's Episcopal Church at Woodward and Holbrook. Architect James Nettleton designed the building in English Gothic Style. The floor of the church is Pawabic tile. There are three beautiful Tiffany windows on the stairway from the narthex to the balcony.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Downtown Ferndale's Earth Day

Downtown Ferndale is celebrating Earth Day! Ferndale is known as the gateway to Oakland county with easy access from I696 and I75. On Woodward, just south of 9 Mile Road an Earth Day celebration will take place this evening with Green Awards and free healthy food. Cold beer and prizes are also available. Ferndale's perpetual traffic cop cares about you and the Earth! Plenty of great restaurants and shops downtown.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Christ Church Detroit

Christ Church Detroit thrilled us with the variety of glass windows. From the simple windows of the original chapel to the Resurrection Angel created by Tiffany, we found so many different styles and types of windows. Each window has a special story, like those in the baptistery that depict the faces of Lyster family that gave the window. The windows in the balcony were relatively recent gift to the church (1999), depicting creation, the Garden of Eden and other scenes in such vivid colors. The architect was Arthur Gordon Lloyd who created this "American Gothic" design in 1860. There are still wonderful things happening in this church after all these years!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fresco Wood Oven Pizzeria in Rochester Hills

Treat yourself to a wonderful meal in Rochester Hills across from Crittenden Hospital as you watch the staff deftly make your pizza in this fabulous wood burning oven imported from Tuscany, Italy. At Fresco Wood Oven Pizzeria you can indulge in wonderful appetizers and salads while you wait for your thin crust margherita or arugula creation amidst many others. Owner David, a graduate of Utica High School, spent three years in Europe--was this in search of the greatest pizza? You'll have to ask him!  We thought it was divine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hop Cat Brewery Pub in Grand Rapids

Bet you did not know that Grand Rapids has become a beer mecca! Our latest find is Hopcats which offers some great hand-crafted beers as well as tons of ambiance. In fact, the Beer Advocate has rated them the 3rd best beer bar in the world (really! Three years in a row!) We actually enjoyed the 20lb Hedgehog Scotch Ale, a Beer named Soo and the Cherry Hard Cider from Vander Mill Spring Lake. They went super well with the night's special of 50 cent wings. Crack fries are their specialty! With 48 taps, they offer great beers from around the world.  Look up and you'll see lots of unique French beer posters displayed on the ceiling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Skyline Retreat in Almont

Skyline Retreat Center in Almont has been providing excellent services for campers and retreat groups since 1964.  The 156 glorious woodsy acres were donated by a very generous lady and more than 10,000 kids have enjoyed these facilities and communed with nature. Week long camps provide fishing, canoeing, swimming, drumming, nature hikes, lots of games and outdoor activities as well as help build self-confidence and form wonderful friendships through teamwork and conflict resolution. Sunday, May 1, there is an Open House and all are welcome.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

EACH Prayer Walk in Detroit

A huge coalition of more than 500 Christian churches have banded together to form EACH, an acronym that stands for "Everyone a Chance to Hear". Several thousand supporters met for a Prayer Walk at Comerica Park yesterday morning and after worship songs, prayer and words of encouragement from various leaders, they began their march down Woodward, which was closed for the occasion.  It was exciting to see this cooperation between denominations in their efforts to help Detroit as well as spread the Gospel.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Selfridge Air Museum in Harrison Township

Selfridge Air Museum is on the Air National Guard Base, so be prepared to show your ID and registration for your car when you enter the security gates. All of this is worth the visit in Harrison Township on Lake St Clair. This museum receives no state or federal funding and relies totally on donations, admissions and volunteers to run. There are over 25 aircraft on display and some of the docents are retired crew which really added to the excitement of the presentation. You can walk around in a couple of the planes and in the museum building there are also cockpits and displays to enjoy from early aviation to Desert Storm. Did you know Charles Lindbergh completed his training at Selfridge?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wealthy Street Bakery in Grand Rapids

Wealthy Street Bakery has been voted as best local bakery in a recent poll by readers of Grand Rapids Magazine. One visit here and you can see why. It is not just bread they serve, but pastries, pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads and even soufflés. That cool pizza/bread oven shows they mean business. You notice the tin ceiling the moment you walk in the door, so yes, it is an historic--former grocery store--building from the 1930's. But, the best part is the passion they pour into their food.  We drool over the cinnamon buns, the scones and their homemade breads. Everything here is made from scratch using real butter and unique flours. We love this place. It's been here 9 years and has a loyal following.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Biggby Coffee Celebrates 16 years

It's hard to believe that Michigan-based coffee house Biggby has been around now for 16 years.  They started in this very shop in East Lansing. Now they have 128 stores, spreading beyond our state's borders to as far away as Texas and South Carolina. Every Biggby Coffee Shop is locally owned and promotes their values of 1) being happy 2) making friends 3) loving people 4) having fun and 5) drinking great coffee. That just makes us want to go there! Have you had their Butter Bear yet? We double dog dare you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Global Infusion in Grand Rapids

Chocolate and coffee and tea, oh my! We found a little piece of heaven at Global Infusion over in Grand Rapids where we can buy bulk loose tea, lots of herbs and spices, chocolate and coffees and some very cute gifts and clothing that are all sold under the fair trade agreement. The owner, Joana, made us a delicious blueberry rooibos tea (south African red bush) after which we promptly stuffed several bags to take home. They are located in an old meat packing facility that dates back to the 40's and you can freely refill your thermoses with their reverse osmosis water filter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Royal Oak: What Crêpe ;}

What Crêpe is garnering more and more praise from foodies in the area, including us. We love this intimate little eatery on Washington St with eclectic plates. The crêpes are simply delish with some 50 different kinds to choose from on the menu, from sweet to savory as well as vegan. They have an outdoor patio when the weather's nice. You can even learn from owner Paul Jenkins' wonderful jukebox mix on their website whose charming bluesy jazzy playlist changes monthly.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good Goods in Saugatuck

Saugatuck has been a great destination for many vacationers for eons. There are tons of vacation rentals which is a huge indicator of how popular this place is right on Lake Michigan. It is definitely an artist's community and with the proximity of Oval Beach--one of the top rated sand spots of the world--and many fine eateries and shops to poke in and out of, well, it's just another bright spot in our state. Spring has sprung! These are shots from Good Goods on the corner of Maple and Water Street.  Open since 1989, owner Sandra Randolph sells the works of over 200 American artists. Rich Kolb's yardbirds are artfully displayed inside and out. Everyone adores Sarah Grant's Sticks Furniture and art objects.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

St Aloysius Catholic Church in Detroit

St Aloysius on Washington Boulevard is sandwiched between other office buildings and doesn't even look like a church from the outside.  It was a friend who led us here to St Als, as it is known affectionately.  "Everybody's Church" is built of solid granite and stone and these impressive entrance doors glisten in the shining sun. This edifice having long been part of the Detroit Historical Society's historical church tours opened in 1921 after only 4 months construction. Its interior is unique in the world --built on 3 levels, and although confined to a space about 75 x 100 feet, it can hold 2000 worshippers because it is built like a well! They are singing and praying for the revitalization of Detroit this Wednesday night at 5pm. Besides weekend services, they also have a mass Monday-Friday at 12:15 where you can come experience St Aloysius for yourself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing

We love science museums and have been to many over the years to the sheer delight of our children when they were younger.  The best kinds are like the one in Lansing, hand-ons.  The Impression 5 Science Center is just outstanding.  Kids can walk through a gigantic heart and see just how this organ of our body works.  They can see the hearts of various animals for comparison purposes.  They learn with the experiments they can do right there. An oscilloscope will show you what the sound waves look like when you play the piano's various keys (it has a clear plastic front so you can watch the hammer action). The Lansing community has supported this museum 100% since its inception in 1972 and encourages kids to embrace the sciences and seek careers in them as well.  Awesome.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Roast in the Book Cadillac

If you are looking for some place special to dine, Roast in the Book Cadillac hotel, fits the bill. Chosen as metro Detroit's restaurant of the year in 2009, it is a Michael Symon creation of Iron Chef fame and a regular on the food network. Open for 2 1/2 years now, be prepared for some surprises on the menu... like "Roast Beast of the Day" and the bacon lardon salad which is served with crispy pig ear ;} We drooled over the sides: rosemary fries, spinach and feta au gratin, fried brussel sprouts and roasted beets. They decanted for us a bold and luscious Diamant from Karantes of the Languedoc-Rouissillon region in southern France and the birthday dessert was exquisite! It's open for dinner every day of the week.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Victorian Rose Tea House in Rochester

It's about time we put a tea house on our blog!  The Victorian Rose in Rochester is a wonderful example and people love it because it has been voted in as one of the top 5 tea houses in the Detroit metro area. They are only open from 11am-3pm and they serve homemade sandwiches and soups with their teas for very reasonable prices. Love the spinach bacon quiche and the raspberry vinaigrette salad. Three cheers to Loretta and her charming staff.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fennville's Kingsley House

Fennville is a sleepy, peaceful little town just south and west of Holland, near Lake Michigan. We love it for the Kingsley House Bed and Breakfast, run by David Drees. They have won innumerable awards and been mentioned in just about every hospitality magazine as well as local newspapers.   It's just a fine facility.  Harvey Kingsley built the inn back in the late 1800's. We love the wrap around porch and the giant checkers games.  Every room has its own private bath and a fireplace ;}. They hold murder mystery events, brew your own beer weekends and set you up for a hot air balloon ride.  Somebody has a green thumb, because their gardens are beautiful--the photo above was taken last Spring.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mackinac Island's Memorial to William Beaumont

Why is there a rock memorial to William Beaumont (of hospital fame) on Mackinac Island? We knew there had to be a story.  Turns out in the early 1800's this man, William Beaumont, was experimenting on a Québécois voyageur, Alexis St Martin, who accidentally got shot in the stomach. Beaumont, an army surgeon at the time,  saved his life, but the guy was left with a fistula hole into his stomach (which never healed) through which William enjoyed performing all kinds of experiments to see just exactly how food was digested. These experiments took place at the army post on Mackinac Island. Due to these unique experiments, Beaumont became known as the "Father of Gastric Physiology", and then 100 years after his death, the hospital that began in Royal Oak was named after him.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse 9 miles north of Northport on the Leelanau Peninsula is still open to the public.  It is always a thrill to climb these old beauties and imagine what it must have been like over 150 years ago.  The views are as terrific as ever! It is open starting May 1 from noon to 4pm. In June the hours are expanded from 10am until 6pm.  Know what's cool?  You can sign up for their Keeper program and sleep in the lighthouse keeper's quarters in exchange for learning about the lighthouse and conducting tours. Sounds like a great way to dive into history.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Second Baptist Church Detroit

The Second Baptist Church on Monroe in Detroit's Greektown is just filled with history, 175 years of it! Thirteen black freedmen and women organized the church in 1836 making it the oldest black congregation in the state. It became a stop for the Underground Railroad, hiding over 5000 escaping slaves in the basement before sending them on to Canada. You can visit the hiding place today. Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche was baptized here in 1927. The painting of Christ overlooking Detroit is really moving!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Meet you at the R.O.B.--the Royal Oak Brewery

Michigan is one of the top states in our nation for locally crafted beers. Here's Matthew, one of our blog followers, giving two thumbs up for the sample tray at the R.O.B. which is the Royal Oak Brewery on 4th Street east of Main. Besides their thirst-quaffing beers (Pappy's Porter, Northern Light, 4th St Wheat, Brewhouse ESB, Royal Pride IPA, Royal Oak Red and other seasonal beers), we love their fish tacos --best we've had locally and served with a zingy aioli sauce and some homemade pico de gallo. If you join their birthday club, they give you a free meal during the month of your special day. They've got the brick ovens to make tasty pizza, too.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sea glass lovers head to South Haven

Lynda Sharpe hangs out in South Haven where she hunts sea glass on the shores of Lake Michigan and fashions them into pendants, photographs them in stunning kaleidoscope arrangements and makes greetings cards, too. Her smile will brighten any room. This Michigan artist will personalize any of her prints with a Bible verse of your choice and they make such excellent gifts.