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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Round Barn Winery in Baroda

Berrien County in the southwest part of the state has some pretty awesome features.  One of them is in a small town called Baroda where you'll find the Round Barn Winery. This Amish barn dates back to 1881. The owners of the winery purchased the barn and moved it, repaired the roof and voilà! It is a marvelous work of art to walk through. They not only make fruity wines, they also produce beer and DiVine vodka made from grapes.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Haunted lighthouse in Presque Isle

First of all, to set the record straight, it is pronounced presk EEL--not like Belle Isle.  It is that omnipresent French influence in our state. Secondly, we had heard rumors that the old Presque Isle lighthouse was haunted and the lady in the gift shop gave us the whole scoop. It is pretty fascinating. This squat little tower was built in 1840, making it 171 awesome years old. It is no longer in use, however, George Parris, the former caretaker in the 1800's, returns habitually in ghost form to relight it!  Today it is a fine museum and we highly recommend it, being open until 7pm in the evening.  Can you believe it?  Climb away and get a gorgeous view--if you dare.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Saginaw Eddy Concert Band on Ojibway Island

Ojibway Island in Saginaw is the venue for the Saginaw Eddy Concert Band performances on Sundays this summer.  They are currently in their 85th season.  Families enjoying picnicking on the lawns prior to these wonderful concerts which feature show tunes, marches, and those familiar and nostalgic tunes. Congratulations to Marcile Cunningham (clarinet) and Ed Cunningham (bass) on their 50th wedding anniversary. Photo credit: Marge Mandl.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brigadoon in Mackinac City

The minute we saw Brigadoon, we knew we wanted to stay here. It just oozes charm and comfort. Your room comes with cookies and lemonade in the afternoon, a homemade dessert in the evening and a delicious hot breakfast the next day in a sunny room overlooking the downtown area. Owners Doug and Lydia Yoder purchased the 100 year old Victorian home which is on the right side of this picture and painstakingly renovated it and also added the wing to the left with the rooms and suites. It is ever so tastefully done, with a fireplace in each room. They are the same couple that owns Bay View on Mackinac Island.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Beck Funeral Home Hearse in Rogers City

OMG was all we could say when we drove by this in Rogers City.  Never having seen one before, we had to stop and take a photo.  It appears as if this hearse on display in front of the Beck Funeral home dates back to the 1800's.  It is so gorgeous and similar to the one that carried Abraham Lincoln in his funeral procession. This is the only time we have put a funeral home on our blog in two years. The undertaker, Ted Beck, has worked in the funeral business all his life. He told us the hearse was formerly used on Mackinac Island.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Buffalo Sunset

We found a public beach in New Buffalo near the Indiana border and were able just to catch the sunset. In these hot sticky days, it is such a pleasure to be near the water and Michigan has plenty of it. After 8pm, the parking was free.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cheboygan Opera House

Three cheers for the local group of people who tirelessly worked to save the lovely Cheboygan Opera House and restore it to its days of glory. The first opera building on this spot  appeared in 1877, but a fire razed it in 1886. Undaunted, the people of the city voted to reconstruct an even better one to the tune of $35,000! Although fire struck again in 1903, they were able to reconstruct the auditorium.  Many well known names have entertained people from their stage like Annie Oakley, William S Hart and Mary Pickford.  In the 1960's amd 70's, no longer in use, it was abandoned and condemned. The Cheboygan Area Arts Council was formed in 1972 and they spearheaded the huge effort to save her.  It reopened in 1984 and under the direction of its executive board, it has been going strong. The first floor of the building is occupied by City Hall, the police, a jail and the fire department. The stage and auditorium take up the upper two floors. The gorgeous horseshoe balcony wraps around the stage. There are many exciting events this summer, including an evening with Jeff Daniels. Thank you, Pam Westover, for the great tour.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

St Bernard Church in Alpena

St Bernard church in Alpena houses the oldest Catholic parish between Bay City and Cheboygan. Remember the snowshoe priest, Bishop Baraga? Well, he slogged his way through the snow and ice from Sault Set Marie in 1861 and founded a catholic church in Alpena. Although the cornerstone was laid in 1880 for their new church, the parish split into three. The French retained the original structure and named it St Anne, the Polish faction became St Mary's and then the Irish kept St Bernard which we see above.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Detroit's Gold Cup races

Watching the Gold Cup Races on the Detroit River will knock your socks off.   The roar of the engines, the huge rooster tails, and just the thrill of the competition gets in your blood when you watch them from the shores of Belle Isle.  The APBA Gold Cup is the oldest active trophy in motorsports, having started in Detroit in 1904. Cal Phipps from Sterling Heights won his first Unlimited Hydroplane heat riding in his U-17 Miss Red Dot. We got to peek at one of these sleek machines up close. A 30-foot long boat weighs upwards of 6000 pounds with a 3000 horsepower helicopter engine!

Friday, July 22, 2011

PF Hoeft State Park in Rogers City

A mile of sandy beach and lovely shaded campsites that back right up to this sand are the highlights of PF Hoeft State Park in Rogers City.  There is a well constructed boardwalk that leads you from the campsites to the beach on Lake Huron. Even in the summertime, if you stay away from the weekends, you practically have the beach to yourself! With 300 acres, there are also lots of trails to hike.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Highland Park's Cornerstone Bistro

Cornerstone Bistro--this lovely little find in Highland Park is located off Woodward, south of the Davison Freeway.  A training facility for clients of the Detroit Rescue Mission, we found the food and service to be great as well as the ambiance. The DRMM (Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries) stands for rebuilding the inner city one life at a time. As the 13th largest treatment program in the nation, they do an awesome job.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shipwreck Fay in Rogers City

The amount of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes have been staggering. Seven miles north of Rogers City on Lake Huron you can see the remains of the steamer, Joseph S Fay, that went down in October of 1905. 150 feet of her side have been embedded in the sand for over a hundred years. Walking around the spikes still sticking up, you can get lost in thought about what a terrible night that must have been.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Icebreaker Mackinaw

You are welcome aboard the Icebreaker Mackinaw which was retired five years ago.  Up and down skinny little ladders you climb, exploring the engine room, the captain's quarters, the heads, the galley --all the way up to the steering room. Is that what you call it? It is a very cool experience. Berthed in Mackinaw City, the self-guided tour let's you explore at your own pace.  Very proud Coast Guard guides are strategically placed and give you more detail about various aspects of the ship built during World War II. You'll be amazed at some of the facts--like at one time, it cut through a layer of ice 35 feet thick!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Couturier Blueberry Farm in Ludington

July begins the blueberry harvest in Michigan, the number one US state in highbush blueberry production!  Ludington's Couturier Blueberry Farm is one of the best U-Picks we have visited with seven different varieties of  big, juicy blueberries on their fields. The proprietors made sure you had a good time harvesting as all pickers were given an old men's tie to wrap the bucket around your waist.   With two hands free, we had a blast and were able to pick a couple of big buckets in less than an hour. Blueberry pancakes and muffins, here we come!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Kresge Foundation Headquarters in Troy

The Kresge Headquarters in Troy has been certified green by LEEDS. They have incorporated into their master plan, the 1852 farmhouse that sits on their property and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The blend of the old with the new is startling.  Planted all around two wetland areas are grasses and flowers native to our state that are drought resistant and need no watering. It's a beautiful site to behold with a butterfly garden, abundant wildlife and a green roof--all on 3 acres of land at Big Beaver and Coolidge. We learned about it through Troy's Annual Garden Walk last week which featured the Kresge HQ as one of their 9 gardens to view.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mackinaw City Lumberjack Shows

Displaying the great skills of the lumberjacks that forged our state's history, the Jack Pine Show in Mackinaw City will amaze you with their competitive games.  They climb and descend trees at lightening speed, run across logs, play king of the rolling log, show their muscle in hacking the logs in two and way more. They have shows every night at 7:30pm with audience participation!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Disneyland in Hamtramck

The Disneyland display in Hamtramck is a collection of art objects, paintings and sculptures in an alley off Klinger and Comer. A serious parade of people and cars come to see this mixture of Ukranian-American-German art on top of two garages. This pot pourri is offered by Dmytro Szylak, a former GM employee, who has been congratulated by the mayor for his unique efforts. Among the light display you'll find Elvis, American flags and soldiers with toy guns.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fresnel Lens in Rogers City at 40 Mile Point

Augustin-Jean Fresnel was the inventor of the most commonly used beacon in lighthouses. So we offer this 4th order Fresnel lens which is used in the 40 Mile Point Light a few miles north of Rogers City as a way of saying Happy Bastille Day!  Fresnel was born in 1788 in France. Unable to speak until he was 8 years old, he was really a mathematical and scientific genius who died when he was just 39 years old. His blending of lenses and prisms made him the father of modern lighthouses. The 40 Mile Point Light was constructed in 1897 and is still in use today. You can climb it all the way to the top.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alpena's Sputnik

They call her Sputnik or Little Red in Alpena. She's a cute little lighthouse on the shores of Lake Huron. Believed to be the only lighthouse of this type in the US, it's history goes back to 1914. It is not open to the public.  Your best views are from a boat, or like we did here--walk out on the long breakwater that protects the harbor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Widow's Watch B and B in Harrisville

If you are seeking a peaceful heaven with delicious food, try the Widow's Watch B and B in Harrisville on Lake Huron.  Built in 1866, the owner Ann, is a gracious hostess who loves to recount the history of the area. The home overlooks the harbor. Ann gave us her recipe for the scrumptious monkey bread she prepared for breakfast. Harrisville's popular wine festival takes place this weekend, July 16-17.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blue Water Winery in Lexington

The thumb area of Michigan is just full of surprises.  Here, we are looking at the Town Hall in Lexington that serves up tastings of the Blue Water Winery and Vineyard. The building dates back to 1876 when it was used as the fire hall, then an opera house and the Masonic Temple. Today it's a newly renovated tasting room for wines from their vineyard located just north of Lexington in Carsonville. Their wines are served in Lexington's waterfront restaurant Smackwater Jack's as well.  Blue Water's motto is "Think globally, drink locally"!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit

There are many gems in the Boston-Edison district, one of which is the Sacred Heart Seminary. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places almost 30 years ago. For almost 100 years, this Catholic institution has been training men for the priesthood as well as men and women for lay ministries. Built in the English Tudor Gothic style, the architect claimed it would stand for 300 years. The cool display of pewabic floor tile is the largest collection in our state.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Clemens Park of Mt Clemens

Clemens Park, located in Mt Clemens on Gratiot Avenue, is shady and perfect for picnics.  Wandering around, you'll see this monument, which is actually the burial site for one Christian Clemens and his wife Elizabeth. Christian was the founder of the city and had a log cabin home on the banks of the Clinton River right where the Courthouse stands today. Christian plotted the land for the area which became the village of Mt Clemens in 1818 and used his influence to have it named the county seat and provided land for churches and a cemetery. He helped establish a stagecoach run between Mt Clemens and Detroit and operated a distillery in the village.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kavan's Bar and Grille in Warren

99 years old and still going strong--that's Kavan's in Warren on Hayes Rd south of 12 Mile.  We have never had a better ice cream brandy alexander.  Their bar grub is good, too.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beach Grill in St Clair Shores

Once upon a time there stood a fabulous place in St Clair Shores called The Jefferson Beach Amusement Park. Dismantled in the 50's, in its shadow lies The Beach Grill with a nostalgic roller coaster mural on the wall overlooking its patrons. Massive DJ-led dance parties beckon everyone to the 5,000 square foot deck overlooking Jefferson Beach Marina and the huge indoor facility with restaurant, dance floor, bar and 30-foot video wall with surround sound.  It must be experienced to be believed. Our recommendation is the superb whitefish.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lexington's Gatherings--Antiques and Folk Art

Domenick and Jean Zerilli started with a home built in 1852 and then transformed it into a darling little antique shop with garden art and folksy, whimsical objets d'art. There are lots of little shops to explore in Lexington along the shores of Lake Huron.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Penny Black in Rochester

Penny Black is a southwestern themed restaurant in Rochester that took over the old post office. The service was great, the outdoor patio seating in the shade was phenomenal, the margaritas were delish and the food very good.  The tangy remoulade sauce with the deep fried pickles will bring us back. The sweet potato fries with the club sandwich were the best we've ever had. With lots of micro beers on tap and music and dancing on the weekends, it looks like this place is here to stay.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day from Detroit!

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The fireworks at the  Freedom Festival in downtown Detroit are the crème de la crème. They are the most opulent display  of pyrotechnics that we have ever experienced.  Whether you are in Hart Plaza, on top of Cobo Hall or viewing from Windsor, the display is always spectacular.  Happy 235th birthday, USA!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bark Chapel on Mackinac Island

This bark chapel is an example of the ones built by Jesuit missionaries back in the 1600's on Mackinac Island. It stands in Marquette Park, named after Père Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest who worked with the American Indians in the area. Tourists poke in and out of this simple structure all day long. Behind it looms Fort Mackinac.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Accolades for the Adrian Public Library

What does a library do when you find out that a subterranean river has undermined your foundation and that your aging façade is about to collapse? The people of Adrian love their library. A huge community effort raised the funds and after 2 1/2 years of renovations, voilà! Winner of Michigan's 2010 State Librarian's Excellence Award, the Adrian Public Library is an inviting place with lots of events and programs for all ages. Tracing its roots back to 1868, the library has been under the directorship of Carol Souchock since 2006. They certainly take advantage of technology and social media with an attractive website and informative, inviting Facebook page.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lincoln Park celebrates 90th

Lincoln Park celebrated their 90th Anniversary this past weekend by honoring members of the community that are currently 90 years old. We enjoyed our visit to the Historical Museum in the old post office building. In the museum we found toys, housewares, appliances, phones and more. We especially loved the old phone display and the educational artifacts and the knowledgeable director and curator.