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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Detroit's 1917 American Bistro

At 1917 American Bistro, they will make our omelettes just like we want them--with egg whites, onions, spinach and fresh (not canned) mushrooms. We are so happy not to be limited to just what is on the menu. We love the Sunday brunch. Located in the Sherwood Forest area of Detroit on Livernois and 8 Mile, they have wifi, outdoor seating and live music in the evenings. Their juice bar with 14 different concoctions could become habit forming. The small meeting room upstairs is perfect for your next gathering and your group will definitely be pleased with their wonderful food. There is also a rooftop deck. The fetching couple on the window seat add some whimsy décor.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Masri Sweets in Dearborn

We indulged in a delicious pastry feast at Masri Sweets on Schaefer in Dearborn. They encourage customers to personalize and custom-order their cakes, so we did and they made us a beautiful dessert for a going away party. We love their baklava, too. The Masri family has been in the pastry business for over 100 years. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

St Patrick's Church in Detroit

Saint Patrick's in Detroit is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The parish began in Detroit in 1862. Sadly, the original church burned down in 1992, and the only edifice that remains is this Chapel of St Theresa. Completed in the 1920's, it stands close to Woodward on Parsons St near the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. You might think since it's a chapel, it's small, but it really is rather huge! And they call it by it's more recognizable name, St Patrick's. Worship service is at 9:30 on Sunday mornings.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tunnel of Trees Petoskey to Cross Village

The Tunnel of Trees up in Emmet County is a 27 mile stretch of gorgeous nature wending its way along M-119 from Petoskey up to Cross Village.  It is considered the most beautiful scenic route in Michigan and probably should be near the top in the nation.  No matter what time of year you drive it, there are views of Lake Michigan from its towering bluffs and mighty twists and turns along the narrow highway that earn it nicknames like Horseshoe Curve and Devil's Elbow. There are also lots of shops and foodie places to indulge in. Be patient, slow down and enjoy the journey!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Natalie Robyn's cherry products

We all know that Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world and it is a thrill to discover yet another delicious product made in our home state. Natalie Robyn's, a family operation working out of Interlochen. They make a cherry garlic butter, cherry barbecue sauce, vinaigrettes made with cherries and apricots, a salsa and more.  You will love them all. Isn't their logo beautiful? Also intriguing is their wine slushee, bottled under the name Six Lugs, made with the juice concentrate of sweet and tart cherries, apples, lemons and pomegranate.  You combine it with water and a bottle of wine and place in their special ziplock baggie and place in the freezer for 4-6 hours. Perfect for these sizzling hot summer days.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Norm's Field of Dreams in Troy

Yesterday was Wednesday and we just happened to be driving by on Rochester Road at 5:30 last night.....and saw the sign where they offer burgers for a dollar at Field of Dreams on Wednesdays 5-8pm. How can one resist? We thought they'd be just  sliders, but no! They were hand formed patties and about a third of a pound --and they were delicious! They also have lots of flat screens for sports entertainment and Norm's bus heads down to the Tiger games once a month.  For $45 you get free parking, a meal before the game at Norm's, your game ticket and beer on the bus.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

House on the Hill in Ellsworth

As far as Bed & Breakfasts go, we think House on the Hill in Ellsworth is topnotch. Their rooms are beautifully decorated and each is equipped with its own bathroom. They have a front porch with comfy chairs that afford a great view over St Clair Lake and if you are energetic enough you can take their kayaks out for a peaceful paddle. Hiking trails up and around their 50 acres beckon us to explore. We loved their giant checkers game out in the garden with king and queen adirondack chairs. A short walk to Rowe Inn will provide you with one of the best gourmet meals you can get in Michigan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Charlevoix Drawbridge

This is Charlevoix's drawbridge over the Pine River Channel which connects Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix to Lake Michigan.  In the summertime it opens on the hour and half hour with much clanging of bells to let the boats through. The Charlevoix Historical Society says that a bridge here defines their character and they've always had one since the 1860's.  Michigan artist, Jeremy Eden, has done a beautiful watercolor of the open bridge.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ypsilanti's Color Run

15,000 fitness lovers participated in Color Run yesterday--a crazy 5k walk/jog that took place in Ypsilanti. Everyone starts out with white shirts. However, each kilometer is designated a different hue.  Volunteers on the sidelines avalanche people with harmless brightly colored paints. The first kilometer is yellow, 2nd is blue, 3rd green, 4th is pink and the last is a color extravaganza.  The next one is scheduled for August 5th in Grand Rapids. Thanks, Paige Pierog, for the superb photos!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Biga Pizzeria in Royal Oak

Love love love this new Biga Pizzeria in Royal Oak in a building that used to house the Billings Feed Store back in the 1940's. The ceilings soar ultra high and it's so fun to see the action in the kitchen from your dining seats. Both the salad and pizza were nothing short of fabulous and the waitstaff is very attentive, several of them sporting Toms shoes. They use a 40,000 pound wood burning oven to bake their pizzas napoletana to perfection. And they have gelato. That long skinny table in the picture can seat 14 people.  Great place for gatherings! They have a small bar and feature beer and wine. They have dining al fresco right next to the train track. The restaurant sits on top of the Cloverleaf wine store. And Biga has a second location in Southfield.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sheep roam Rochester

Chicago had its painted cows back in 1999 and it started a worldwide phenomenon. Since then,  Midland had its trolls, Detroit had the little cars, South Haven had its benches and Rochester, this summer, has its sheep.  This is actually their second Ewe Revue, the first one having taken place in 2001.  People ask why sheep?  These wooly animals used to be the main stay of Rochester's economy with the Rochester Knitting Mill right behind the downtown block.  Of course, today we know it as the Rochester Mills Beer Company. All the sheep were decorated on a Hollywood theme.  The one above is A River Runs Through It, and stands at the Rochester Public Library adjacent to the river. Whimsically created by local artists, in September, many of these little critters will be auctioned off for charity.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Idler in South Haven

Although we have been to South Haven many times, this was our first experience on the Idler and we loved it.  The boat is permanently docked on the Black River and offers charm, pleasant service, an incredible view and a variety of food choices. The ship was built in 1897 and used to pushed or pulled by a tug up and down the Mississippi back in the day. It was owned by Vincent Price's father for more than 50 years. Moored in South Haven since 1979, the Idler is well known for their drink called South Haven Iced Tea (the use the 4 initials for a nickname) and patrons are never allowed more than 2.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mahi Reuben at Mike's in St Clair Shores

The mahi reuben sandwich at Mike's on the Water in St Clair Shores was a delectable, mouth-watering morsel that goes into the annals of "never-to-be-forgotten".  We can never look at reuben in the same way again.  Mike's may look just like any other boater's haven, but their food and wine choices make them a cut above.  The rain today was a welcome relief and our view over the bobbing vessels was serene.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Woody's Rooftop Bar in Royal Oak

What a beautiful night we had to enjoy the rooftop lounge at Woody's in Royal Oak with a great view over the downtown. Wedged between Fifth St and Center right next to the railroad tracks, the whole place rumbles when a train roars by. Food is typical bar fare featuring burgers and burritos, but there is something for everyone on any of the three floors including live music, pool tables, jukebox and live radio broadcasts by 98.7 AMP Radio on Saturday nights.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Art-is-in-Market in Livonia

We discovered a very lovely store that features works by various Michigan artists in Livonia recently. Art-is-in-Market began seven years ago at the Laurel Park Place Mall.  It has since expanded to Twelve Oaks in Novi and will be opening before too long at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township.  You'll find unique paintings and pottery, copper sculptures and wind chimes, jewelry, photography and artifacts made of wood, glass, mosaics and beyond.  It's a very cool place to find gifts for people that are made right here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Opa! in Greektown

We will never be able to forget our first Opa! experiences in the ethnic enclave of Detroit known as Greektown. Taking out-of-towners and newbies here is a lot of fun as you watch their look of total surprise! As the waiters yell Opa! --the flames on the saganaki cheese extend to 3 feet in the air and you'd swear those daring servers have singed off their eyebrows. And, it is so delicious!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Detroit's Bean Bar

Right across the street from Cobo Hall, there is a lively place called The Bean Bar that offers coffee and delicious smoothies at reasonable prices. The staff is very friendly and the premises are spotless with a big flat screen tv for the important stuff like watching Verlander beat Baltimore today.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Berrien Springs Court House

Michigan became a state in 1837. Two years after that, this Greek-revival style courthouse in Berrien Springs was completed which at the time was the county seat. It consists of hand-hewn whitewood timbers that about a foot square and 40 feet long and is Michigan's oldest courthouse. It is amazing that this structure still exists today, being that the county seat moved to St Joseph in 1894.  It passed through many private hands, but 45 years ago, Berrien County repurchased it in order to preserve it.  The historic courthouse is now part of the History Center at Courthouse Square where you can also visit an 1830 log house and other 19th century buildings. The museum is free.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Schu's Bar and Grill in St Joseph

The best place to dine outdoors and have a view of the setting sun in St Joseph is at Schu's on Pleasant Street which overlooks Silver Beach County Park. For 20 plus years now they have been making customers happy with blackened scallops, louisiana gumbo, whitefish, spinach bisque and lots of more normal fare like burgers and salads.  Their motto is "Great food, great views, just add friends." We like their entertainment, too.  Deborrah Wyndham is a singer, songwriter, keyboard artist who usually appears on Tuesdays. You'll also find Deborrah all around Michigan giving concerts and talks in libraries about the history of ragtime.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

St Anthony's rock on Mackinac Island

St Anthony's Rock is located in a small park behind the row of businesses on the main street of Mackinac Island. Archeologists and geologists call it a sea stack of Mackinac breccia stone formed 350 years ago. Can you see the image of St Anthony in the rock formation? An old indian legend claims that this was a ceremonial rock that spoke of a maiden's love and her desire to leap to her death.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mackinaw Brewery in Traverse City

Traverse City is home to the Mackinaw Brewing Company. Having begun operations in 1997, they offer some amazing hand craft brews like a cherry lager, an oatmeal stout, their peninsula pale ale and summer love, which is a wheat beer served with a slice of lemon. Open seven days a week, they smoke their own meats, providing lunch and dinner daily. They also make their own cider and mead. Even their historic Beadle Building is unique...built in 1892 as a harness shop by John Beadle himself.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

125th birthday at the Grand Hotel

Today marks the 125th birthday of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  There is no where finer to do some porch settin' than on these white rockers overlooking the straits of Mackinac. It is the longest front porch in the world at 660 feet.  John Plank was the builder of this majestic icon in Michigan. Back in 1887, rooms were $3 to $5 a night. Mark Twain gave a lecture here back in the 1800's. She has had more than 5 million overnight guests in her history which is pretty phenomenal, considering she closes down for the winter in October!  To mark a special birthday, anniversary or any event, staying at the Grand once in your lifetime is an experience not to be missed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

National Theatre in Detroit

Taking a guided walking tour of Detroit will load you up on information about its history and its unique architecture. This building, the National Theatre near Campus Martius, was designed in 1911 by the famous Albert Kahn as a vaudeville house. It looks a little Moorish, a little Egyptian and is filled with details like eagles and rosettes. The terra cotta exterior was fired at Pewabic Pottery on Jefferson. The twin gold-domed towers stand 64 feet tall. The interior is a wreck and estimates to restore this gem run into the millions.  Everything else in this Monroe block which dated back to the 19th century was razed. We hope that somehow the National Theatre can be saved.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

St Joe's Swing Bridge

There is a swing bridge in St Joseph that is still in use today.  Built in 1904 over the St Joseph River for the Père Marquette line, the tracks are now owned by CSX.  Trains still run across the bridge and it still opens to let boat traffic through.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hart Plaza Phylon in Detroit

The twisting column on Detroit's riverfront plaza is a piece of work by renowned architect Isamu Noguchi. He was born in Los Angeles in 1904, but went to high school in rural Indiana where he changed his name to Sam Gilmour! He eventually changed his name back and became one of the 20th centuries most prominent sculptors. The pylon in Hart Plaza is made of stainless steel. Why does it twist towards the sky? Only the artist knows! Nogucki also designed the fountain in Hart Plaza.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Clifford's Hickory Hill Farm

Cousin Don and family farm the 80 acre Hickory Hill in Clifford, the center of Michigan's thumb. It's been in the Hobson family since 1888 and offers eggs, rhubarb, jams, maple syrup, strawberries, asparagus and other vegetables. Cousin Don is a character in his signature orange shirt and has been spotted on the Martha Stewart Show. We can buy his delicious produce at various local markets (Birmingham, Rochester) promoting going local.  Ask him about his bush hogging or his grandpa's elderberries.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yelton Manor B&B in South Haven

The Yelton Manor says they are not just lodging, they are "life enhancement". And we agree!! It is a fabulous B&B in South Haven for people who just want to step back in time, get away and relax.  The owners, Elaine and Robert, have a passion for this innkeeping and their gardens and the delicious food they prepare. Even the rooms are named romantically: the jasmine, the forget-me-not, the snapdragon, etc. The Inn Traveler Magazine voted it the Best South Haven Bed and Breakfast. It's a treasure.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red Baron Charter Fishing in South Haven

What floats your boat on the 4th of July? Docked on the Black River near the Dykman Bridge in South Haven, the Red Baron offers superb charter fishing trips on Lake Michigan. Their 30' boat is equipped with everything you need to catch your perch, salmon or lake trout. The boats are run by two brothers, Captains Jim and Chad Bard. Bring your own food and drink.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Detroit Zoo's Rackham Fountain Bears

The Horace Rackham Memorial Fountain was built in 1939 by Corrado Parducci. Horace was a philanthropist and the first president of the zoo back in 1924-1928. He donated the land for the zoo and the adjacent Rackham Golf Course (Michigan's first 18 hole golf course!). The two bronze bears are 10 feet tall and one of the most photographed sites at the zoo. It appears so refreshing during our hot, hot summer, doesn't it?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wooden Quilt in Royal Oak Public Library

Three cheers for the Metro Carvers of Michigan who have created a uniquely carved wooden quilt which is displayed on the wall of the Royal Oak Public Library. Each of the 30 squares was created by a different member, except Jack Crifasi of Hazel Park, who has two designs, the State Capitol and the State seal. They are intricate carvings that show depth and beauty and some of the delightful highlights of Michigan. This artifact is now 19 years old.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

St Joseph's Silver Beach

Louis Blériot was the person to fly over the English Channel back in 1909.  That was an incredible 20 mile feat. Well, did you know that the second flight over water was done above our own Lake Michigan? Logan "Jack" Vilas flew 60 miles in a Curtiss bi-plane flying boat on July 1, 1913 from Silver Beach in St Joseph to Chicago. The hull of this aircraft is in Washington DC's Smithsonian. Today mark's the 99th anniversary of that historic flight.