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Monday, December 31, 2012

Detroit Bold Coffee Beans

Start the new year off right by switching to a Michigan made product called Detroit Bold. AJ O'Neill is roasting coffee beans in Highland Park on E Evelyn, a plant where the beans have been roasted since 1914. This factory provided the coffee beans that served our US troops during World War II! A portion of their proceeds go to help local charities. We found this product at Mootown Ice Cream on Russell in Eastern Market.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter on Lake St Clair

The beauty of our great lakes surround us in every season.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Petoskey Brewery is a sparkling new addition

This Petoskey building was born as a brewery in the 1800's and had seen many different uses through years. Under owners Patrick Dowd and Lou Gostinger complete renovations, the Petoskey Brewing Company came back to life in September of 2012. We tried a flight of beers and loved them. Their pretzels with various sauces are outstanding. Sean and Adam are providing live entertainment tonight.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Marshall's Town and Country antiques

The antique shopping in Marshall will pique your interest. We found lots of treasures at Town and Country. Can you read the name of this inimitable Tiger star who still lives in our state? If I told you where it would give it away.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bill Conklin Michigan Photographer

Saint Joseph is the place photographer Bill Conklin calls home.  He loves the winter scenes out in the wilderness though, like Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Honolulu House in Marshall

Loved the tour of the 19th century Honolulu House during Marshall's beautiful Christmas Walk. The tour guides love what they do and they make history come alive. It is worth it to see the unique Hawaiian victorian architecture, the hand-painted walls and ornate fireplaces.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guernsey Dairy Farm in Northville

Since 1954 the McGuire family has been running the Guernsey Dairy Farm on Novi Road in Northville.  They sell hormone-free milk from Michigan raised cows and make delicious ice cream from it also. People's Magazine voted their butter pecan the best in the nation. It's a quaint place. If you are an ice cream lover, you love it year round, not just in the summer time!! They serve it all with old-fashioned hospitality.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Detroit's Ye Olde Tap Room

Circa 1912 is a bronze plaque posted at the front door of Ye Olde Tap Room.  There was an animated crowd there tonight and it was fun. They have a myriad amount of beers organized in two ways---on a sheet of paper by country, or up on the chalkboard by style. Their prices are decent and the peanuts are free. Located on Charlevoix at Outer Dr (a.k.a. Alter) on the cusp of Grosse Pte Park, this centennial hangout has a lot of history on all three floors. Bravo to the Beer Snobs of Michigan and their ugly sweater meet-up here this evening. Thanks for introducing us to a real Detroit gem.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marie Catrib's in Gand Rapids

What a pleasure it was to dine at Marie Catrib's in Grand Rapids last Saturday. Everything we had was outstanding....the grilled tuna sandwich with pasta, the handyman's sandwich and the fish tacos were to die for. We also thoroughly enjoyed the split pea soup. They have many items labeled gluten free and/or vegan. Their mantra is "to create, produce and serve super-great full-flavored food that has a beginning, middle and finish to every bite". And they strive for exceptional service. They get it right. Did we say everything was homemade and fresh?  Wow. We loved every morsel. Bravo and well done.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Props for the Home in South Haven

Everyone we bring to South Haven falls in love with this store called Props. They just have so many unique items you're bound to find something you can use. This is where you find a great gift or stocking stuffer for your hard-to-buy-for friend or family Paddywax candles where each scent is named after a different author or wobble bottle openers, bungee wallets, personalized drink bands, cherry choppers, salt and pants, jewelry organizers, conceal book shelves and so much more! Their merchandise is displayed on Pinterest, also.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bucharest Grill in Detroit

The Bucharest Grill on Park Avenue downtown is always packed especially on game days. The delicious, fresh homemade food commands repeat business. Open seven days a week until midnight, the prices are very reasonable for these Romanian and middle eastern dishes. They have perhaps the best chicken shawarma in the state. Their sandwich called the Detroiter consists of knockwurst with coney sauce, grilled onions and cheddar cheese on a bun. You wait in line, order your food, grab it and go find an empty table either upstairs or down. The Park Bar upstairs offers beverages to go with your meal.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Romeo Public Library

The Romeo Library was organized in 1900 and housed in the Kezar home on Church Street.  After the Kezars moved to California, they donated a some of money to have a library built within Romeo which still exists today on Church Street and appropriately named Kezar Library. When it was bursting at the seams, the Graubner family donated land for a new library which was opened in 2001 in the Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style. It is a very warm inviting place on Van Dyke just north of 30 Mile Road with beautiful artwork and appropriately named the Graubner Library.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Phone Booth in Royal Oak

An old fashioned phone booth is catching the eye of younger people who are not familiar with this antiquated way of communicating. It's now become a hot photo spot in Royal Oak by the Second Street Sub Shop. The murals were done by Martin Laprise out of Shelby Township. The sub shop is also a favorite for sandwich lovers made fresh on whole grain bread with lots of vegetarian options.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Edmund's in Lansing

Word of mouth led us to Edmund's in Lansing. We hesitate to call it a sports bar, because the food is so good.  And we can't call it gourmet dining because of the large TV screens everywhere. But, if you are looking for good food and a place to watch your important sporting event, this is the spot in downtown Lansing. We were able to sit in a large comfy round booth with a wide screen right in front of us to watch one of our favorite teams. Their happy hour prices will also lure you in.....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fabergé Eggs at the DIA

Until January 21, 2013, find some time in your schedule to view these unique Russian Fabergé art objects on display at Detroit's Institute of Art. There are more than 200 pieces including frames, jewel encrusted animals, boxes, flowers and of course six of the famous eggs.  Only 50 eggs are still in existence.  The one above is called the Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg from 1903. Images never do justice to seeing the real deal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Royal Oak's Inn Season

Most people know about Inn Season on Fourth Street in Royal Oak.  This tiny place has been there 30+ years and it still has a strong and steady clientele. This is one of Michigan's best vegetarian restaurants which also specializes in organic vegan foods. Local artists' works decorate their walls. If you enjoyed Detroit 187, you would have recognized Michael Imperioli dining here frequently as it was his favorite Detroit eatery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tour Lake St Clair

Have you noticed the blue Circle the Lake Tour signs around Lake St Clair? This organization exists to promote awareness of the great tourism opportunities that abound by the water in Monroe, Wayne, Macomb and St Clair Counties. At this time of year, they talk about musky and pike fishing, the abundance of white tail deer viewing and holiday celebrations at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. See how many of these top 25 destinations you've been to!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Da Nang's in Clawson

We recently enjoyed our culinary experience at Da Nang Restaurant in Clawson and are going back for a Christmas celebration next month. On the corner of 14 mile Road and Main Street, they have been voted in as the best Vietnamese cuisine in metro Detroit. You are in for a treat if you try their spring rolls, crispy garlic tofu or lemongrass chicken wings served with a peanut dipping sauce. The owner will come out and chat with you also.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Marlette's First United Methodist Church

The neo-gothic First United Methodist Church in Marlette has been standing on Main Street since 1902. Joseph Mills was not only the architect of this historic church but also the local high school and the county courthouse. December 16th at 10am, the service includes a solo concert by Jerry Garcia who resides in Adrian.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Piper's Alley in Clinton Township

They are already in the Christmas spirit at Piper's Alley Bar and Grill on Gratiot. Located in Clinton Township south of 15 Mile Road, we stopped in here for conversation and were very pleased with the excellent service, the beverages and especially the calamari.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pentwater's River House Farm Barn

We celebrate one of Michigan's oldest barns built 150 years ago called the River House in Pentwater. It was built in 1862, in the middle of the Civil War, by lumberman Charles Mears. After the trees were cut down and made into lumber, Charles planted peach, plum, pear and apple trees. The Pentwater Historical Society is overseeing the restoration of this important piece of history located on business route US 31, on part of the Pentwater River State Game Area.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Gift of Roses from Jethro Tull at Fox Theatre

We've featured Detroit's beautifully restored Fox Theatre before, some two years ago, but Jethro Tull played there earlier this month and today, on Thanksgiving, we give you Jethro's "A Gift of Roses". Enjoy this day with your loved ones.  Thanks, John Stanfield, for the photo.

I count the hours... you count the days.
Together, we count the minutes in this Passion Play.
Walk dusty miles. And I ride that train
on a first class ticket, just to be with you again.

Picking up tired feet. Back from a far horizon.
Cleaned up and brushed down. Dressed to look the part.
Fresh from God's garden, I bring a gift of roses...
To stand in sweet spring water and press them to your heart.

Like the Kipling cat, I walk alone -
Never inviting trouble, never casting the stone.
But this badge of honour is of tarnished tin.
Light your guiding beacon to bring this fisher in.

Performing tomorrow night at the Fox is Chris Isaac, Saturday is the Jingle Bell Ball, Monday is Leonard Cohen and Tuesday is Christmas with the Rat Pack.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ludington's Waterfront Park

Ludington's beautiful Waterfront Park is home to a group of original bronze sculptures that have been gifted to the city and celebrate its heritage. It's fun and educational to follow the sculpture trail throughout this five acre park. "Follow the Leader" was created by W Stanley Proctor with the five children and dog leaping across the stepping stones. "Put me in Coach" by Mark Lundeen, refers back to the semi-pro team from 1912-1924, the Ludington Mariners who played at Culver Park. Others depict farming, car ferries, fishing, lumbering, a dummy train and more. There are facilities for picnicking and a band shell for summer concerts. It's a great little place just to watch the boat action on the water.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Silversides Submarine in Muskegon

Treat your kids to an adventure of a lifetime with a sleep over on the USS Silversides Submarine in Muskegon! First launched in 1941, it is now part of the Great Lakes Memorial and Museum. Daily tours are offered on this WWII gato-class submarine where you can explore both the top deck and the levels below. You learn that she sank 23 ships. Silversides was used in the making of the movie Below in 2002 when they towed her out to Lake Michigan

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hiking Grand Haven's Rosy Mound

There is a beautiful hiking trail through the dunes in Grand Haven called Rosy Mound. The 3/4 mile (one way) trail leading to Lake Michigan includes lots of stairs but the woodsy, sandy scenery is gorgeous no matter what time of year. We like reading the educational signs and learning about our environment. There is no charge between Labor Day and Memorial Weekend and even in the summertime, this secret beach is not too crowded.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Montague's World Largest Weathervane

Montague, just north of Muskegon, displays the world's largest weathervane, standing 48 feet tall with a 26 foot arrow. A 19th century schooner named Ella Ellenwood graces the top. Her home port used to be in Montague. The whole sculpture weighs two tons with a weather station in its base. It was built in Montague by the employees of the Whitehall factory.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ludington Gallery and Gifts

Once upon a time, the owner of Ludington Gallery and Gifts moved to Alaska. Nancy came to her senses and moved back home and opened a lovely shop featuring local artists and Michigan made products. Here you will find many possible Christmas gifts that include photography, woodworking, glassware and many attractive artifacts. They are open every day except Monday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Alliance Française of Grosse Pointe

The Alliance Française of Grosse Pointe had their annual Beaujolais Nouveau fling last night at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. President David Thoms, sporting a Georges DuBoeuf tie, warmly greeted the crowd amidst roaring fires, live entertainment, baskets of bread and trays of cheese, fruit and pâté. You could not help but have a good time. Created in 1883, the international organization of Alliance Française exists to promote the French language and culture. Chapters exist in 135 countries and the US has over 100. The Grosse Pointe chapter is very active with a literary circle, French movies each month, excursions and, of course, they teach French classes in the evening for aspiring students.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Greenbush Brewery in Sawyer

A craft beer taproom that uses mirepoix in their pub grub?  You will say it is a match made in heaven when you try the Greenbush Brews with their food. We gobbled down their homemade hummus and warm pita with a super beer sampler tray consisting of Memento Mori, Anger, Dune Gräs, Penitence, Red Bud and 1825.  They held a Brew & View two days ago, showing Spaceballs. What a classic. The Brewer's Table Dinner tonight is SOLD OUT! Get your reservations in for the Bistro on the Boulevard Beer Dinner for Thursday, Nov 29th.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor

In Glen Arbor, part of Michigan's pinkie, you'll find the Cherry Republic "Stomp House" Winery which makes a lovely cherry hard cider and cherry pop and cherry wines and tons of other cherry products. You haven't lived until you've eaten a cherry boomchunka cookie! If you are looking for Christmas gifts, they offer free shipping on orders of $100 or more. They also make a unique blend of popcorn that they call Snow Orchard Crunch with cherries, pecans, caramel and white chocolate. Their slogan is Life, Liberty, Beaches and Pie. For Black Friday, Nov 23, they are having a pajama party from 5-8am!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sawyer Garden Center

We had to rub our eyes when we entered the Sawyer Garden Center down in Michigan's southwest corner.  Is this place for real? They offer gourmet foods, gorgeous Christmas decorations, live greens, unique gifts and there was even a wine tasting going on.  It was like an oasis in the middle of a desert! Pure fun.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Great Lakes National Cemetery

Today we officially observe Veterans' Day. In Holly, the Great Lakes National Cemetery opened just seven years ago and already has more than 15,000 interments. Consisting of over 500 acres, the setting is solemn, peaceful and beautiful overlooking a lake with an entryway lined with US flags. At the 11th hour on the 11th day yesterday, the New Century Chorale sang the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs here. Great Lakes is the second national cemetery in Michigan. The first one is Fort Custer, established in 1981 near Battle Creek.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

St Matthew's in Benton Harbor

St Matt's in Benton Harbor has been around since 1898.  Founded by German immigrants, Pastor Laitinen regularly offers English worship services at 9am and on the third Sunday of each month at 10:30am he leads it in German. This singular gothic looking church was built in 1920. This Wisconsin Synod Lutheran church is active in the community and offers daycare, preschool, kindergarten, a thrift store and pregnancy center.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bastone Brewery in Royal Oak

Royal Oak's Main Street is very cooly lit up already for the holidays. Bastone's tables right by their large windows help you to enjoy this romantic effect. This Belgian-style restaurant serves up the best food for a brewery that we have ever encountered, like the mussels and pommes frites or their thin crust pizzas. Their beer is made on premises in their basement and has been winning awards, like their Main Street Pilsner. The Huffington Post says they're the best craft beer of Metro Detroit. We heard Bastone's might be expanding and adding a second floor?!#?!@!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ferndale's Treat Dreams

Fabulous Ferndale's newest ice cream shop--Treat Dreams-- sports some pretty wild flavors like Pumpkin Bourbon Ginger Snap which we tried this week. They make their products right here on site and offer tastings of flavors you would like to try. They are so not afraid of staying open all winter. Bravo! They have a sorbet flavor and vegan choices as well. What we have to come back for: salted caramel with nutella, coffee oreo, honey lavendar, pistachio wasabi, swedish fish, jack and apple, butterbeer, spicy key lime, the sailor man (spinach ice cream with a hint of nutmeg), chocolate sauerkraut and sweet and sour pork! Lastly, their kooky monster is a gigantic two chocolate chip cookies sandwiching a thick slab of blue vanilla ice cream. It's a heavenly meal in itself!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor

We were very surprised to see the Parisian-looking Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor. Built in 1918 and over 250 feet long, it has been very well maintained ad is filled with specialty shops like a florist, a tobacco shop, a barber, food stores, clothing boutiques and gift shops. Naturally, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See if you can find the fairy door within!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kowalski Deli Products made in Hamtramck

How many times have you been by this giant sausage sign in Hamtramck? Kowalski has been serving up quality deli products in the Detroit area since 1920. Agnes and Zygmund Kowalski settled in Detroit from Poland and opened up a store with their homemade Polish kielbasa using an old world recipe and hardwood chips to smoke it. Today, the Kowalski grandchildren still run it and more than 50 products are made and sold in metro Detroit, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just Baked Cupcakes in Warren

The Just Baked franchise specializes in cupcakes of the divine kind like caramel macchiato, upside down pineapple and black forest topped with cherries. Today they make them to remind you to vote!  The first store began in Livonia and now there are 12 boutiques in the Metro area with another opening soon in Waterford. These photos were taken at the Warren bakery on Mound Road, where three eager faces are waiting to serve you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

J.W. Westcott II--Detroit's Boat Post Office

The only floating post office in the world is located in Detroit--the J.W. Westcott II with its own zip code of 48222. It anchors on 24th Street in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge. The delivery is called "mail in the pail" as the little diesel motor boat snugs up to a big freighter which then lowers a bucket with mail and messages to be sent/exchanged with the Westcott. Captain J.W. Westcott began this service back in the 1800's. Today, Captain Sam says he'll take visitors on his boat to show you just how it is done.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lake Huron Retreat Center

We've used this retreat center a few times over the years and highly recommend it.  Located right on Lake Huron north of Port Huron in Burtchville Township, it's a peaceful place with excellent facilities including wifi and overnight accommodations.  Although used mostly by churches and non-profits during fall, winter and spring, they offer personal retreats as well, including a 3 day New Year's Eve celebration. They even pamper you with three hot meals per day. July and August, they are loaded with summer camps provided by the United Methodist Church.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Youmacon Convention in Detroit

November's first weekend means Youmacon, the Anime Convention in Detroit with 20,000 wildly dressed participants using the GM Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall.  The weather today was beautiful for going back and forth between the two and these guys--lovers of anime, manga and gaming-- adore being photographed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Marlette Library

There were 53 Carnegie Libraries built in Michigan and the Marlette Library, dating back to 1921, was the last one built in the Midwest. Marlette belongs to MelCat, the Michigan Electronic Library Catalog.  This entity contains the combined holdings of all participating Michigan libraries which will eventually include 48 million items.  That means that Michigan residents whose library belongs to MelCat get to take advantage of this entire collection. This also includes interlibrary loans. It's a beautiful thing. So many books--so little time! The playful dragon in the children's section is called Pageburner.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day-of-the-Dead in Northville

We were amazed with enormous amount of skeleton displays in Northville. Our favorite was the bank robber in front of Comerica! Apparently the whole town gets in on this and on the first weekend in October they performed Michael Jackson's Thriller for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Good job! This is their second year of skeleton displays and we're sure this tradition will continue. And it's a perfect setting for Day-of-the-Dead photos!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fort Street Brewery in Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park's Fort Street Brewery is making mucho headway in Michigan's microbrew field. They even claim they're the world's most popular brewery. We do confirm that they are spacious and cozy with a knock out $6 pizza that feeds 2-3 people. We do like their beers, having tried the Burning Leaf Lager Oktoberfest and the Lincoln Lager (which they also mix with lemonade for something light and tasty, reminding us of Europe). The favorite was the hearty Downriver Red Altbier. Pumpkin beers are available for the Halloween party tonight and tomorrow and they are awarding prizes for the best costumes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Holy Cross Cemetery in Detroit

The Day of the Dead celebrations started last weekend and go through November 4th in the Detroit area. Some of the events take place in Holy Cross Cemetery on Dix Road in the Delray area of Detroit. It's a very old beautiful cemetery from the early 1800's when French Canadians first used it.  Then came the Hungarians and Polonians and now mostly Hispanics are buried here. A Day of the Dead marathon had been scheduled to run through here Saturday, but that was cancelled.  The West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society is meeting here November 3rd to share traditional soul cakes in honor of the dead. Many remarkable grave markers are located within these 65 acres.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Iorio's Gelateria in AnnArbor and Lansing

The gelateria in Ann Arbor called Iorio's was started by an Italian family in 2004. Their passion is delivering artisan gelato made with fresh milk, sugar, nuts, coffee, fruit and chocolate. Gelato has less fat and more flavor and we swooned over the butter pecan. They also have a space at the Lansing City Market.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lansing City Market and Waterfront Bar and Grill

The Lansing City Market sits overlooking the Grand River and we were able to explore it this past week in the gorgeous sunshine before the weather went down. Our lunch at the Waterfront Grill was really superb. Of all the meals we had over our three day stay in Lansing, this one was the best. The tuna pasta salad was very fresh accompanying a tangy southwest sandwich. They are open seven days a week. The City Market was established in 1909 and their new home is really very beautiful. It is home to lots of unique merchants.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Northville's Next Chapter Bookstore and Bistro

Bookstore and Bistro...those words we've never heard of putting together before, but it sure works in Northville and we had a delightful experience at The Next Chapter.  You can watch the crepes being made and then savor every delicious bite. There are wee tables in nooks and crannies which invite patrons to peruse their tomes and munch on their goodies. They are open every morning at 7:30 for tea, expresso, smoothies, etc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Northville Cider Mill

Since 1873, Northville has had a gorgeous cider mill that offers wine and cider, donuts, apples, cheese, cinnamon roasted almonds, maple syrup, pumpkins, fudge, local honey and a lot more. Opened by the Parmenter family after the Civil War, their framed marriage certificate is hung on the wall for all to see. Today it goes by Nothville Cider Mill, but many people still refer to it as Parmenter's although they have new owners since 1991. A fire destroyed their historic mill in 1977, but they rebuilt and did not miss a cider season. We tasted their award winning products and give 2 thumbs up to Red Ruckus.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Detroit Athletic Company

If you are looking for Detroit sports apparel and doodads like keychains, pennants, jewelry, caps, photos, etc, the Detroit Athletic Company on Michigan Avenue is a great resource. We loaded up on Tiger gear for the World Series here. It was interesting to see an exact replica of Mickey Cocrane's catcher's mitt. This former Tiger is our only catcher in the baseball hall of fame. The store is located next to the field where Tiger Stadium used to stand.