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Monday, April 30, 2012

Journey Home in Birmingham

In front of Birmingham's City Hall stands this noticeable sculpture by Dennis Oppenheim called Journey Home. Constructed of steel and glass, it changes hues and colors depending on the sun's brightness and position. Oppenheim passed away last year, so it's quite special that we have a piece of art by this imaginative sculptor whose works are known around the world.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One-Eyed Betty in Ferndale

In Fabulous Ferndale, a new place has opened called One-Eyed Betty and it's a very popular hangout for brunch on the weekends. Could it be their bottomless $12 mimosas? They serve up a great selection of craft beer and a draft root beer. Weekdays, it is open at 4pm, but expect lines and loud music.  Everyone is flocking here! Try the garlic aioli on the hamburger or the gumbo. You will find many things on the menu you will want to try. It's certainly not your standard fare.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Detroit Music Awards at The Fillmore

The theatre district is alive and well in Detroit. The Fillmore is a big part of it, sitting across from Comerica Park and close to The Fox. The Detroit Music Awards (21st annual) were held here last night where the Howling Diablos came out big winners. Highlighting a huge array Michigan artists, winners were selected in 72 categories. Operated by Live Nation, the Fillmore (called the State Theatre prior to 2007) has been an anchor in Detroit since 1925 and little by little it is being restored to its original grandeur.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Twisted Shamrock in Ferndale

If you've ever been in the Twisted Shamrock in Ferndale you can understand why it has been voted the best little Irish shop in Michigan. The store is deep and the stock is incredible. Jim Monahan has put his Irish soul and spirit into this leprechaun haven. Open Tuesday through Sunday, it is filled with lovely gems from the Emerald Isle.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lansing's Planet Walk

Lansing has a very cool Planet Walk that follows the Grand River and the Red Cedar.  It's about a 2 mile hike out and back, but spatially, it gives you a awesome idea of just how far apart our earthly planets are and how big they are.  They start with the sun at the Impression 5 Museum and you learn a ton of interesting facts at each planet.  If our Earth is 93 million miles from the sun, do you know how many miles away Pluto is?  Basically, this river trail's scale represents one step is a million miles. Pluto is 3.7 billion miles from the sun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ferndale Mural by Daniel Cascardo

Fabulous Ferndale features a great piece of street art by Michigan artist Daniel Cascardo. His colorful, whimsical works can be enjoyed through this Saturday, April 28th at gallery 194 in Lapeer where he has transformed the walls. If you've gotten a tote recently from Macy's by purchasing True Religion "Hippie Chic" or Ed Harding fragrances, well, that's Daniel's "Love Garden" on the bag, the proceeds for which went to help out Turning Point, the Mt Clemens non-profit which helps abused women.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adams Castle in Bloomfield Hills

The Adams Castle, as it is affectionately known, is located off Adams Rd in Bloomfield Hills. Built in the late 1920's by architect Richard Marr, this private home has 32 rooms. The style is French Norman Tudor. Don and Val Bortz have owned it since 1976. They have it all light up at Christmas time and it's worth a stroll down their street called Adams Castle Dr just north of Big Beaver. Isn't it a totally unique Michigan residence?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Townsend Hotel in Birmingham

Michigan's only 4 star, 4 diamond hotel is tucked away in Birmingham.  The Townsend Hotel has been a favorite of professional athletes and entertainers over the years.  With 150 rooms, many of them are executive suites and palatial presidential corners with marble baths and dining alcoves.  The boutique inn also has the well known Rugby Grille which has received many culinary awards for its traditional elegance including its afternoon tea.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chomp Away in Rochester

A French lady alerted us to Chomp in downtown Rochester, claiming they make the best burgers in the Detroit area. Ok. We bit. We went. We concur. They offer fast, healthy food and the burgers have no fillers and are three quarters of a pound of ground sirloin cooked to perfection. Only problem is, how do you get your mouth around something so huge? For vegetarian lovers, Chomp also offers a delicious black bean burger. Don't be put off by the construction tearing up Main Street.  There is parking behind this cute little family-owned restaurant that is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Old World Olive Press in Birmingham

Are you a devotée of EVOO? Then head on over to Maple Street in Birmingham for tastings at the Old World Olive Press. Not only will you be hooked on their delicious olive oils, but you'll have to get some of their unique balsamic vinegars (like red apple or cinnamon pear) to go with them. Cory and Shasta have pledged to bring in the finest, freshest olive oils from around the world. They also have stores in Rockford and Plymouth.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fralia's in Saginaw

Some friends that work in Saginaw recommended Fralia's for lunch. What a great recommendation! At least eight fantastic salads on the menu and more sandwiches than we could count. If you don't see anything you want on the menu, you can create your own sandwich. The Goodfella (#20) was created with salami, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, spinach, tomato, artichokes, pesto, mayo on focaccia. Is your mouth watering yet? We can't wait to go back.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Somerset Mall Skyway in Troy

The skyway at Somerset Mall in Troy stretches over eight lanes of Big Beaver Road's divided highway. It makes it a unique paradise for walkers and shoppers who easily traverse the traffic with no worries. It connects the north side (anchors Macy's and Nordstrom's) with the southside (anchors Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue).  More than 180 stores are represented at Somerset.  Their Mall Walker Program offers complimentary coffee with doors open at 7am. If you walk around every level on both sides and pass through the skyway, you have done more than a mile and a half.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finders Keepers in Plymouth

The building states it's the Plymouth United Savings Bank, but it's been recycled into a vintage shop aptly named Finders Keepers. Located in Plymouth's historic district on Liberty Street where many of the structures date back to the 1800's, it is filled with memorabilia from bygone eras. Happy one year anniversary, Finders Keepers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baldwin Library in Birmingham

A plunky lady named Martha Baldwin started a literary club in Birmingham back in 1869 with all of 48 books. The Baldwin Library, named after Martha, now has 120,000 volumes as well as many electronic gadgets and other educational toys. It is interesting that everything in the library's collection has been tagged with RFID chips (radio frequency identification) which means that using the self-checkout machines--no more waiting in line. The original building known as the Grand Hall above, was completed in 1927. The more modern entrance off Merrill St was added on in 1983. Don't you love Marshall Fredericks statue in its own little garden off to the side?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Birmingham Toast

Every once in a while you just have to splurge on the weekend and enjoy brunch out. Toast in Birmingham is a great experience. They are known for their bloody marys with dill pickles and dill-infused vodka.  Yesterday, their special was a bellini which is peach juice flavored with vodka then added to a bubbly wine and served in a chilled martini glass. Molto bene. We love their wide variety of eggs benedict served with grits.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

St James in Birmingham

The carillon tower of St James Episcopal Church in Birmingham has been doling out tunes since 1965. This worship facility on West Maple in the downtown area thrives amongst all the shops and restaurants and has been a presence here for some 120 years. The St James choir is putting on a Bach concert on Sunday, April 29th at 4pm. Birmingham offers free parking on Sundays, which makes it easy to attend either their 8 am or 10am service and the concert, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saginaw Art Museum

Saginaw Art Museum has some really interesting pieces. This one here was created by Conceptual Artist, Peter Clouse and is made up of painted chicken bones! The gardens are beautiful with privot hedge paths. The museum admission is free on Fridays, thanks to Macy's. Currently, there is an exhibition of Michigan artists.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Faces in the Hood--Tyree Guyton

Detroiters know the urban artist Tyree Guyton from the various homes and yards decorated in his Heidelberg Project. In the Milliken State Park which has been incorporated into the Detroit Riverwalk, you will find lots of interesting eclectic art one of which portrays Guyton's Faces in the Hood. The GM Headquarters looms in the background.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rodin's Thinker at the DIA

Rodin's awesome Thinker statue guards the entrance to our DIA Woodward entrance. The creator, French artist Auguste Rodin, is often considered the father of modern sculpture. This pensive figure is over 100 years old and is one of the most recognizable statues in existence. Cast in bronze, it weighs 2000 pounds!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Angler's Paradise on Clinton River

Michigan is an angler's year round paradise no matter what the weather.  We found this chap on a cold morning in the Clinton River patiently awaiting his elusive trout. Mike Delp, Michigan poet and avid fisherman, says that "Fly fishing is the rip cord for escape."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit

A popular hang out spot for locals in Detroit is the Northern Lights Lounge. They have live entertainment in the evenings.  Thursdays they feature Live Blues and tonight you can enjoy Johnnie Bassett an The Blues Insurgents from 9pm on.  THere is no cover charge and after 7pm, they offer half off food on the menu until midnight. Location is on Baltimore Street.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hermann's grill in Northville

The big moose loudly proclaims, this is Hermann's Grill in Northville. They offer great food and a variety f TVs on which to watch the Wings and Tigers and various other sporting games. They offer Michigan beers on tap and despite the moose motif, they do provide several vegetarian dishes.  It's a great place for folks to gather.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Children's Zoo, Saginaw

The Children's Zoo in Saginaw has been very busy with the warm weather and the kids on break from school. But us big kids enjoyed the zoo too! The Bald Eagles posed for us. We couldn't get the pure white wolf to wake up from his afternoon nap. He looked so comfortable and docile. It is wonderful to see so many parents/grandparents walking their children through the zoo, helping them discover the birds, animals and reptiles. The zoo also has some rides, concessions and a gift shop, of course.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rabbits at Saginaw County Building

These rabbits have taken over the lawn in front of the Saginaw County Building. Our favorite was the chocolate, foil wrapped bunny with part of his ear missing. We loved how each rabbit had its own personality and character, just like the adults and kids walking around the rabbits!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center, Troy

Even on a cloudy day there was so much to do and see the the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center. On the 100-Acre preserve within the City of Troy, we hiked the walking trails as squirrels, deer, birds all posed for photos, adding to the excitement of the adventure. The Maple trees were being tapped for syrup. Large windows in the interpretive center library allowed us to research while observing the outdoors. It was hard to believe we were only 2 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of suburban life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ernie Harwell Statue at Comerica Park

Ernie Harwell was a legend in Detroit.  The announcer for the Detroit Tigers passed away 2 years ago. For 42 years he spoke to us via radio or television with his singular southern style. He would start the spring training broadcast with a reading from the Song of Solomon 2:11-12  "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." Today the Tigers begin their 112th season at home and Ernie's spirit permeates the ballpark. Go Tigers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gregorio Perez Morel and Frog

In celebration of the Spring morel mushroom hunting season in Michigan, we offer Gregorio Perez' woodcut entitled Morel and Frog. He is an artist from Tecumseh whose simple designs are very attractive. You can see more of his works on his blog where he talks about his adventures of fly-fishing, hiking and kayaking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids

The Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids is truly Grand. We stayed a couple of nights in the old section in very comfortable rooms. There are great shops, walking tours in and around the hotel along the river and downtown Grand Rapids. The view from Cygnus 27 (the bar on the 27th floor) at sunset is unbelievable. We found we really had to explore to find all the shops, eateries and such the Amway had to offer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

O'Brien's Crabhouse - Auburn Hills

O'Brien's Crabhouse is a cute tavern with great seafood. We enjoyed the crabcake special with hollandaise sauce and the seafood saute over spinach instead of the traditional rice pilaf. Entres are served with fresh, warm bread right out of the oven and a soup or salad. They blend the Manhattan style clam chowder with the white clam chowder for a real delicious treat!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Detroit is pet friendly

We found this drinking fountain when we were walking down Woodward Ave the other evening. Convenient for adult, child, handicapped and pet tourists! You have to love this town.