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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Paint Creek Trail in Rochester

The Paint Creek Trail runs for almost 9 miles in Oakland County running though Rochester and Lake Orion. It has the distinction of being the first converted Rail to Tail in Michigan and has about 100,000 walkers or bikers a year. The US Department of the Interior named it a National Recreation Trail six years ago and rightfully so!  It's a beauty.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lipuma's Coney Island in Rochester

We learned about Lipuma's through word of mouth. This coney island in Rochester on Main Street is one heckuva popular place. Their dogs are delicious (made skinless by Koegel's in Flint) and they have this wonderful covered outdoor seating right next to the babbling Paint Creek which means its got the most ambience in the world! This great little eatery has been opened and operated by the Lipuma family since 1969.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Midland, The City of Modern Explorers

In downtown Midland, there is a little park with a super large bronze piece of art claiming that Midland is the city of modern explorers. The artist is Corrado Joseph Parducci.  Midland made a bronze casting of his plaster bas-relief that used to be displayed in the Midland Theatre lobby from 1942 to 1998. This sculpture represents the history between the Dow Chemical Company and the Midland community. The Dow Company was started in 1897 by Herbert Henry Dow in Midland and is still headquartered there as the second largest chemical manufacturer in the world. Parducci was born in Italy, but lived most of his life in Michigan which has reaped the benefits of his artistic works.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ferndale Memorial Parade 2012

We went and participated this morning in the Ferndale Memorial Parade as part of the Michigan Fallen Heroes Foot Parade and Float. Each walker carried a sign with a name and photograph depicting a Michigan soldier who had been killed in the line of duty serving in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.  They came in silent waves wearing red, white and blue honoring lives that have been lost to preserve our freedom. The idea was the brainstorm of Larry Saville, pictured in the upper right.  Lenny's Copy Center creates the signs.  The visual display was very powerful. Bless you, Ferndale, for a very meaningful and excellent procession.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Family of God in Detroit

Sometimes the beauty of a worship facility is hidden behind its walls.  Family of God is a cornerstore church on Vernor near Springwells where Pastor Jim Hill works ceaselessly with the hungry and the homeless in this section of Detroit. Many weekly meals are provided and served by a coalition of volunteers from all over the metropolitan area. Warmth and charm and love oozes from this special place.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Town Tavern in Royal Oak

With so many great eateries in Royal Oak, we think there might be dangers of gaining weight if we lived here. The Town Tavern is located on Fourth Street directly across from Goldfish Tea. Their French doors which open to the patio are very attractive. You can start off with a tavern bloody mary served with jalapeño dill infused vodka or a Michigan cherry screwdriver made with, of course, a Michigan cherry liqueur. We loved their parmesan truffle fries, the filet mignon served with cognac pepper sauce and their broiled Great Lakes whitefish. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Can't find a spot to park? Use their valet service!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Emerald Isle Ferry from Charlevoix

There is a great ferry boat ride that takes you and your vehicle, if you so desire, out to Beaver Island from Charlevoix. It's called the Emerald Isle. Summertime rates are $54 for adults, round trip. Run by the Beaver Island Boat Company, this ferry makes trips out to the island until December 21st. Then it docks until April. We have seen a semi-truck being loaded on this boat! It has a capacity for 300 passengers. Their smaller boat is called the Beaver Islander. It takes 2 hours to make the 32 mile trip out to the largest island in Michigan.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beaver Island's Whiskey Pt Lighthouse

Beaver Island in Lake Michigan has two lighthouses.  This one, on the north end of the island is called Whiskey Point. Built in 1870, it is located at St James Harbor and you get a good view of it coming in on the ferry. We featured the Beaver Head Lighthouse before with its attached keeper house. Whiskey Pt's keeper house no longer exists. You can see the lighthouse up close, but it is locked and we were unable to enter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scarves by Nan and Susie in White Lake

Sisters Nan and Susie live in White Lake and create these beautiful scarves of yarn and beads by hand. Each one is unique and detailed. They are sold in many different stores throughout Michigan as well as out of state! If you like them on Facebook, you can find out what their upcoming craft show schedule is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TLC: The Lunch Café in Berkley

The locals in Berkley steered us towards TLC on 12 Mile where the vittles are superb and the décor quite humorous. The Lunch Café makes everything from scratch and the proof is in the tasting. The tortilla soup was excellent as well as the panini sandwiches and salad with plump cherries, walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. Our favorite sign was "Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.  Look who's here!" Our server, Angela, quite charmed the socks off of us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Zilwaukee Bridge

The Zilwaukee Bridge, part of I-75 situated 5 miles north of Saginaw, was opened in 1988 after years of construction.  It is 125 feet high and spans the Saginaw River, replacing a bascule drawbridge that used to cause massive backups on the highway. Owned by MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation), it cost more than $100 million dollars to build.  They were plagued with building problems, but no lives were lost. Nowadays, people just zoom over it without a thought.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

St Ladislaus in Hamtramck

With dawn just breaking, we caught the silhouette of St Ladislaus in Hamtramck. In the heart of "Little Poland", they still have a service on Sunday mornings at 11am in Polish. The church was built in 1953. It's high school closed in the 1980's when the population began to decline. Szczęść Boże.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Berkley's City Style

It seems like everyone is sporting the popular Kid Rock Made in Detroit brand these days. City Style is a chic boutique on 12 Mile in Berkley that carries it along with lots of other great items promoting Michigan. Owners Tim and Carrie Vestrand are native Detroiters who love and appreciate the Motor City. Stop in to check out their great selection of shoes, handbags, jewelry and assorted accessories. There's a 10% off coupon for your entire purchase on their website.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak

Royal Oak's Goldfish Tea is the most intriguing and beguiling tea salon we have ever been in.  Owner Janice explained to us how she fell in love with tea living in Beijing, China. Upon return to the States, she and her husband Jim opened up on Fourth Street devoted entirely to making and serving of this special beverage.  They designed the inviting and unique furniture in China where it was made and had it shipped over here. The walls are lined with beautiful tea accessories and decorations. After selecting your tea, they give you a timer to steep your tea for the proper 3 minutes and a cozy area in which to sit. You could easily get hooked on this place.  Local musicians provide live entertainment.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching Fireflies in Berkley

For the little kid in all of us, there's a charming store in Berkley called Catching Fireflies. Every nook and cranny is filled with delightful little gifts and many are by local artists. it is very difficult to walk away without purchasing something! from gift cards to reversible aprons, jewelry, pottery, paintings, suncatchers, books, scarves and garden accessories, it's a place to find a gift for just about anyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Robin Satterthwaite Jewelry

The artist Robin Satterthwaite loves dancing and tries to convey the movement and grace of dance in the jewelry that she hand makes. She lives in Douglas where she creates her bijoux, but you will find her whimsical pieces all over the United States. Her company, Robin Goodfellow Designs, which she owns with business partner Julie Lefler, is located in Saugatuck. Good Goods in Saugatuck features Robin's beautiful designs. They would like us all to "wear the dance of the jewelry"!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit

The massive renovations in the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel downtown make for some premier accommodations in the city. When it was completed in 1924, it was the tallest hotel in the world. The Book brothers built it and Cadillac was the French guy who founded the city. It has been designated an historic place on the National Register. The rooms are luxurious and the meetings areas are impeccably designed. On the upper floors, private residences are available for purchase or for lease.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Bramble in Port Huron

The Coast Guard ship Bramble is currently being considered by the Michigan State Preservation Review Board as a possible candidate for National Register of Historic Places. It was commissioned in 1944 and has been one of only 3 coast guard ships that have sailed entirely around North America, having traversed the infamous Northwest Passage in 1957. The 4500 mile trip took over two months to complete. The ship is owned by the Port Huron Museum and it used to be open for tours, but lacking funds, the museum is seeking other means of support.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eckert's Greenhouse in Sterling Heights

Happy Mother's Day to friends and family near and far. Today we bring you Eckert's Greenhouse which comes from one of our favorite nurseries in Sterling Heights. If helping mom beautify the garden is one of her priorities--then, this is the place that satisfies her needs.  The 100+ year old farmhouse sits on Ryan Road beckoning the green thumbers. We stocked up on geraniums, impatiens and herbs, but they also have an incredible selection of poppies, begonias, hibiscus, clematis, echinacea, verbena and tons of others. We love the charm of this place that has been run by the Eckert family since 1957. Bless you, moms!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Café Zinc in Midland

We cleverly avoided the crowds by celebrating Mother's Day today at the Café Zinc on their lovely outdoor terrace.  The food, weather, ambience and service were perfect. It's part of the newly renovated H Hotel in downtown Midland. The menu has an array of tantalizing things like beet salad (with goat cheese, watercress and pecans), a croque monsieur or the santa fe pita which was full of avocado and marinated chicken with a chipotle sauce.  You have to love the pairing of each succulent dessert with a special sweet wine. The pièce de résistance was the fact that they had those lovely french macarons, in pistachio, lemon and passion fruit.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Midland's Dow Library celebrates 100

To honor the celebration of Children's Book Week (May 7-13), we explored the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland which is celebrating their 100th birthday. You can see why they won the State Librarian's Excellence Award a few years ago.  Their spacious lounge overlooks the peaceful Japanese Gardens. Their Youth Services is filled with interesting nooks and spaces as well as a huge doll wall dedicated to the characters represented in children's fiction. It sure makes us want to read Llama, Llama, Red Pyjama! They also offer some great services like Book Club in a Bag and Battle of the Books. They even have a great coffee bar called the Cup and Chaucer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the perimeter of Green Oak Village Place in Brighton stands Jameson's Irish Pub. We enjoyed our first time here this week imbibing in reubens and a santa fe sandwich with avocado and chipotle sauce. It has a lively ambience and an interesting irish writers corner.  The outdoor patio is very inviting. They have been open for a year and are associated with Woody's in Royal Oak.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Green Dot Stable in Detroit

Not far from the Ambassador Bridge, the restaurant called Green Dot Stable on Lafayette just reopened. The décor is all horses and racing which made for a huge crowd last weekend for the Kentucky Derby. Of course, they served mint juleps and hot browns. Their slider sandwiches range between $2-4 of which you should definitely try the catfish! Currently open for lunch only, it's worth a trot over to this Corktown bistro run by Jacques.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cornfields Mural in Detroit

When you see the vibrant colors you now you are in Detroit's Mexican Town. This beautiful mural is a creation of local artist Vito Valdez and James Puntigam called Cornfields. It's located on Bagley Street close to the Mexican Village Restaurant. As a Detroit Institute of Arts studio instructor, Vito has enjoyed teaching mural art at Cristo Rey High School and guiding students to create their own mural.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Detroit Science Center

The Detroit Science Center is one of the largest in the nation since its expansion in 2001. It features the new digital planetarium, the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre and the US Steel Factory amongst many others, including lots of hands-on stuff for youngsters to experiment with first hand. You can launch water bottles, get zapped by electricity and check out their laser harp.  It's sad to see this complex temporarily closed due to the economical times and financial woes. We hope permanent funding is secured soon!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Congregational Church in Detroit

This striking red sandstone church on Woodward, dating back to 1891, is called First Congregational. Albert Kahn designed the Angel Wing in 1921 which is represented by the 8 foot copper archangel Uriel. Filled with carved wood and rose windows, this is one of the beautiful historical churches of Detroit and has been designated as a National Historic Place. Self-guided tours are encouraged as well as a visit to the Underground Railroad Living Museum

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo

One of the best known Michigan craft beers is Bell's in Kalamazoo.  You'll love their trays on which they serve their beer samplers--do you want the upper peninsula or the lower? Our choices tonight were sangría, milk stout, smoked vienna lager, raspberry wild one, rye stout and Deb's red. Launched in 1985, Bell's employs over 100 people and distributes in multiple states, Puerto Rico and DC. They have a barley farm in Shepherd Michigan which they use in their beer-making. Their green efforts on the farm and throughout the brewery must be leading the industry. Tours are given at the downtown brewery which also contains their Eccentric Café and their General Store.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Red Dock in Douglas

No trip to Saugatuck/Douglas is complete without a stop at Red Dock. With the atmosphere akin to Key West and hanging right over the water, it is a memorable bar with loud music and some very very good drinks.  Their bloody marys and rum punches were absolutely delicious. It's a seasonal place, open from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day right next to the cruise ship SS Kewatin. With the unseasonably strange warm weather we've been having, perhaps they will move up their official start of summer!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rocky's Peanuts in Detroit

For many people, city dwellers and suburbanites alike, browsing Eastern Market on a Saturday morning is a delightful ritual.  Rocky's Peanuts on Russell Street has been in the Russo family since 1931. No trip to this wonderful open area shopping is complete without a stop here to purchase some of their bulk items. They open at 5am so you can check out their supply of nuts and dried fruits from all over the world. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rub BBQ Pub in Detroit

Succulent barbecued pulled pork on a bun with luscious homemade coleslaw. Couple that with an outstanding offering of Michigan brews and the fact that they are a stone's throw from Comerica Park and Tiger Baseball and you just have to put Rub BBQ Pub on your dining list. We sat by their signed framed Papa Grande jersey. They also offer all the fixings for a mighty fine picnic or tailgating party including a 6 pack or 64 oz growler of beer. Rub's is open every day for lunch and dinner.  Their second site is in Warren kitty corner from the GM Tech Center.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

University Roadhouse in Kalamazoo

We've built some great memories at the University Roadhouse in Kalamazoo. It's a great place to hang with friends especially on the upper outdoor deck which lets you soak up the sun's beautiful rays. The young crowds flock here for the great food (Bell's battered cod, black n bleu burger, perch reuben), live music during the week and a DJ on Thursday nights. Then there's the boombas of sangría. And most nights, your kids eat free. Before you catch Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Miller's Auditorium this month, grab a bite to eat at the Roadhouse.