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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trilogy Antiques in Three Oaks

Three Oaks is well-known for its many little antique shops and we were very impressed with Trilogy. Everything was artfully displayed in their 5000 square feet of space on Elm Street. Three Oaks is a sleepy little town, but Triology which is a cooperative gallery featuring spectacular vintage pieces that are artfully displayed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Performance Theatre in Ann Arbor

God of Carnage is currently playing at the Professional Network Theatre in Ann Arbor. This top notch live acting group is celebrating its 30th year on this intimate little stage just around the corner from the Arbor Brewery. High school students get an opportunity for summer internships here learning about all aspects of theatre. The current play is 90 minutes of hilarity and is showing through February 19th. Well done, PNT!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Detroit Film Theatre

The gorgeously restored Detroit Film Theatre is attached to and part of the Detroit Institute of Arts on Woodward. The 1200 seat venue was built in 1927, designed by Paul Philippe Cret with C Howard Crane.  The result is total elegance. This weekend we were able to see The Mill and the Cross which is quite a fascinating movie within a painting by Pieter Bruegel.  One of the DIA's most magnificent works is the Wedding Dance by this Dutch artist. The painting of the movie is Bruegel's The Way to Calvary and blends the crucifixion of Christ with the Spanish inquisition and life in the 16th century. The DFT offers an awesome line-up of foreign and unusual little seen movies. Seriously....we've been coming here forever!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Union Street in Detroit

Noisy, boisterous and fun is how we would describe Unton Street on Woodward in Detroit. It was a packed crowd last night that filled this long time favorite eatery just south of The Whitney.  The food was pleasing with lobster pizza and french onion soup and one delightful looking dessert tray, but we were too full to attempt. The building is from the early 1900's and a sign above the door read Mad Anthony, a wave to the past when it was named as such.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Detroiter Bar in Bricktown

Detroit's Beaubien Street is home to the neighborhood hangout called the Detroiter Bar. Well known for their hamburgers, it's a small place in Bricktown with a friendly atmosphere. Since every Red Wing game has been sold out this year (they have won 17 in a row at home!), the Detroiter Bar is filled with hockey fans cheering for them on their big-screen TVs. Got tickets? They offer a free shuttle service. April through October, it's a Tigers den with seating outside as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vince and Joe's Gourmet Market

The gourmet market called Vince and Joe's is always filled with a devoted crowd. They have been proudly dishing out food since 1979 with a location in Clinton Township on Garfield north of 18 Mile while another is on Shelby at Van Dyke at 23 Mile Rd. The have outstanding displays of cheeses, meets , wines, deli offerings and pastries and quite a large collection of goods grown in Michigan. Mangia!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Union Woodshop in Clarkston

Clarkston's Union Woodshop is just a stone's throw from I-75 at exit 91 and it was filled with happy patrons Monday night. Chosen as the Detroit Freep's best restaurant in Michigan for 2011, it specializes in southern barbecue and comfort food like pizza and mac and cheese. Reinvented two years ago from what used to be the Carkston Café, their laid back atmosphere and superb food offerings have really struck the sweet spot. Even Kid Rock is a fan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake

2400 acres is nothing to sneeze at.  Indian Springs (part of the Huron-Clinton Metropark system) in White Lake is huge and offers an 8 mile paved biking loop, a sledding hill and lots of trails for hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. What we enjoyed was the Environmental Discovery Center and its pond viewing area in the basement with a dome and windows that show life and activity year round. The beautiful facility was completed 6 years ago and has become a popular venue for weddings.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bar Louie in Auburn Hills

Sometimes people think we live under a rock.  We had never heard of Bar Louie before. And since this place at Great Lakes Crossing was jam packed early in the evening, we decided to explore its offerings. It was a memorable experience!  Their 4-7 happy hour Monday through Friday offers half off assorted appetizers as well as $4 wines and $3 draft beers with a wonderful selection of Michigan ones.  We had the Winter Pale Ale from Bell's which was superb and the Adobe shrimp on a skewer--fabulous! Come on, for only $5?? It was a whole meal. Do not ask them though if they are a chain. They prefer the word "collection" of which there are seven in Michigan. Live and learn! We like this place a lot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Detroit People Mover

The Detroit People Mover (DPM) celebrates 25 years in 2012. It runs in a 3 mile elevated loop from the Renaissance Center, passing through Bricktown, Greektown, the Cadillac Center, Broadway, Grand Circus Park, Times Square,  Michigan Ave, Fort/Cass, Cobo Center, Joe Louis Arena, the Financial District and the Millender Center. The fare is 75 cents. Many people use this to park in Greektown and then take this transportation to the Joe Louis Arena for Red Wing hockey games or to Cobo for events like the International Auto Show of which today is the last day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills

Michigan's largest outlet mall is Great Lakes Crossing off of I-75 in Auburn Hills.  14 years old now, she is an uncontested beauty. It has different areas sectioned off as "wards" and a huge food court and play areas for children.  It's all on one floor and a continuous loop that is 1 mile around. With 180 stores, lots of restaurants and an AMC 25 screen movie theatre, it promises fun for everyone.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quarton Lake Trail in Birmingham

The Quarton Lake Trail in Birmingham is connected to the Linden Park Trail and is another very scenic place to hike.  It's path meanders around Quarton Lake and takes you past  this beautiful waterfall visible from West Maple Avenue. The huge mill stone memorial is a reminder of the grist mill that stood here from 1835 until 1918, built by Roswell T Merrill. Very cool touch, Birmingham.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rouge Green Corridor in Birmingham

Birmingham has a beautiful woodchip path called the Linden Park Trail that follows a meandering river.  It's part of the now serene Rouge Green Corridor and on our pleasant hike yesterday we pretty much had it to ourselves. It was quiet, peaceful and a great 2 mile jaunt past some beautiful homes and terrific scenery. Tuesday night, our snowshoe instructor at REI told us he used to hate Michigan winters. Then he developed the attitude that as long as he lived here, perhaps he could try to learn how to enjoy it. Now, he loves the winter and during his snowshoeing treks, he even cooks out there on the trail. Pray for snow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

San Chez Tapas Bistro in Grand Rapids

Celebrating 20 fabulous years is the quirky San Chez Tapas Bistro in Grand Rapids located in an old brick warehouse with lovely high ceilings. We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience here during Art Prize. The service is attentive and the food is superb. They offer red, white or mixed sangría and even have an option of making it with Cava--a truly unique experience. It's well worth a visit and we will definitely return.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin

Ben was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston, but his legacy is celebrated around our county. This quaint statue of him reading the Declaration of Independence by artist Mark Lundeen resides in Holland, Michigan. It invites us to sit, doesn't it?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bavarian Inn at Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth's outstanding all-you-can-eat chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn (and its sister Zehnder's across the street) are famous throughout the state. It began as the Union House Hotel in 1888 and was transformed into the theme of Bavaria in the 1950's. The 50 foot Glockenspiel is fun to watch as its figures represent the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  The restaurant and its adjacent lodge sit on the beautiful Cass River and nearby is the well known and picturesque covered bridge.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knowlton's Ice Museum of North America

Tucked away on Grand River in Port Huron is a museum that chronicles the history of ice use in North America. Knowlton's Ice Museum contains over 3000 pieces of memorabilia about this huge industry of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here you will see how it was harvested, cut, stored and sold and then delivered to your door via horse and buggy. Their collection of antique ice boxes, tools and other related items are perhaps the most extensive in the US. With regular hours only in the summer, in the winter you can call ahead and they will open for groups.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Port Huron Railroad Bridge

The 1931 bascule bridge in downtown Port Huron was used for trains on what was known as the Pere Marquette line, then the C&O and then the CSX. It has long been abandoned in its upright position, but stands as a symbol of the past. Boaters love this landmark that shows them where the mouth of the Black River is located. It's a rare bridge in great condition and should receive national historic designation. It is currently owned by the Port Huron Yacht Club.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Deerlawn lives on in Port Huron Museum

Deerlawn was was a Port Huron home built in 1878 by US Congressman Henry McMorran. The auditorium in the city is named after him. Unfortunately, it was torn down in the 1970's. The furnishings are on display in the Port Huron Museum of Arts and History and we can only imagine what they must have looked like in the beautiful 3-story home.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Detroit's Hall of Legends at Ford Field

We attended a function at the Hall of Legends within Ford Field and overlooking the Lions stadium on one side and the downtown area on the other.  How awesome is that?  The service and the food were outstanding. We found out you can also have functions inside the visiting teams' locker room or in the Atrium as well as other choice little hiding spots.  Check out their Event Spaces. We were indubitably impressed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lulu's Bistro in Bellaire

What a beautiful little oasis in the middle of the snowy village of Bellaire whose population is a mere 1100. For us, Lulu's Bistro is a jaw dropper with beautiful surroundings and savory, inventive dishes.  Chef Michael Peterson has trained both at the Culinary Institute of America and in Paris. Some of his creative offerings include warmed brie salad, blue cheese pear salad, smoked duck leg cassoulet or white fish with an herbed rémoulade on foccacia bread. Not far from the Shanty Creek ski resort, doesn't this sound like the perfect spot for an après ski adventure?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sander's Hot Fudge

In metro Detroit, Sander's hot fudge cream puff sundaes reign supreme and are big all year round when you consider their logo, "Always time for ice cream". They are located also on Mackinac Island, seasonally, but if you want one today, go to one of their stores in Clinton Township, Birmingham, Eastpointe, Grosse Pointe, Livonia, Novi or Rochester.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Burke's Waterfront Restaurant in Cadillac

There's a vintage restaurant in Cadillac overlooking the lake with some great menu choices like pulled pork and eggs benedict and buffalo burgers and several delicious mexican selections. The service was very friendly and we enjoyed our meals. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the summertime, we've eaten on the deck and were entertained by the wildlife on the water.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Keweenaw Heritage Center at St Anne's in Calumet

It's large, it's beautiful and it's 111 years old.  St Anne's in Calumet was decommissioned by the Catholic Church 40-some years ago due to declining population and attendance.  But the building, made of local red sandstone, was preserved and restored by a non-profit group whose members have spent thousands of hours lovingly bringing it back to its glory. They were quick to respond to the lightning strike this past year where they had to repair the roof and the steeple. Even the 100 year old organ works again and wonderful concerts are given throughout the summer. Since 1994, it has housed the Keweenaw Heritage Center which serves as an educational and cultural center supported by donations from Finns, Scots, Swedes, Slovenians, French Canadians, Italians and many others who live in the area or whose heritage goes back to Calumet.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

John Grogan's Marley & Me

Marley and Me is a beautiful book written by an author from Michigan, John Grogan. Most everyone knows it was also made into a precious movie starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anniston. His latest tome is a memoir about his trip back to Orchard Lake where he grew up and like his first book, it is filled with humor and keen insights.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Laurium Manor Inn

Laurium is in the middle of copper country up in Keweenaw Peninsula. Wealthy mine owners back in the early 1900's built some gorgeous homes.  The Laurium Manor Inn, which is a lovely B&B, was originally the home of Thomas Hoatson. It has a whopping 13,000 square feet! We peeked at several of the 10 guest rooms which have the old fashioned claw foot tubs. Guests are served breakfast using the original 100 year old table that belonged to Hoatson. When you look at the thistle tiles on the fireplace, you know that Hoatson had to be of Scottish heritage. This awesome B&B has been written up in many different publications.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Marley's Bar & Grill in Manistique

Manistique is a UP town on Lake Michigan where we squeezed in a visit to Marley's Bar and Grill. Famous for their onion rings, homemade sandwiches and soups, they also boil their hamburgers! We confirm that the vittles, which are served in pie pans, are delicious. This is a unique place that is well over 100 years old and open seven days a week.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills

All year round, Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills is a favorite for hikers, bikers, sledding, and letting out energies on the playgrounds. Built in 1924, it was a state park until 18 years ago, when the city took over.  Our beloved dogs on leashes are permitted. At 200+ acres, it is pretty huge and awesome for a city park. They also have Michigan's only velodrome which we featured here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Urban Lighthouse in Detroit

Being the first urban state park created in Michigan, millions of people have easy access to it.  Created in 2004, the 30 acre Milliken State Park and Harbor parallels the Detroit River giving dynamic views of the water, the GM Renaissance Center, various works of sculpture and this new lighthouse.  It is a 63 foot replica of Tawas Point lighthouse built in 1876. This scaled down version marks the entrance to the harbor with spaces for 52 boats come Spring time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Peter Stroh on the Detroit Riverwalk

There were a lot of people out enjoying Detroit's Riverwalk on New Year's Day as the freighters glided by under cloudy and windy skies. The guy with the binoculars is Peter Stroh, an important business leader in local history and great grandson of the Stroh Brewery founder who began making beer in Detroit in 1850. This philanthropic leader was also a huge conservationist who believed the riverfront should be open to the public and a habitat for wildlife, too.  The Riverwalk is a culmination of his awesome vision.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

World’s Tallest Red Kettle in Detroit

Although the campaign is officially over now, the World’s Tallest Red Kettle still stands in Detroit at Campus Martius on New Years Day. It really is visible at night when the 25,000 LED lights are lit. Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans and the builder of this huge 56 ft tall kettle, is the honorary corporate chair of the Salvation Armys Red Kettle Campaign. Kudos to the Red Wing hockey players who helped ring the bells. Did you see the Big D that was dropped at midnight at Campus Martius last night? Happy New Year to all our friends and family.