Search This Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2012

All Saints Episcopal in Pontiac

It was an enjoyable experience today sitting in the pews of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pontiac as they celebrated their 175th anniversary. With pipe organ reverberating and trumpet blaring, parishioners belted out "Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice". The beautiful stained glass windows were done to look medieval by Connick Associates of Boston. Very active in the community, All Saints offers a farmer's market on Saturdays and an after school tutoring program with a hot dinner for kids. Organ recitals were scheduled for this afternoon and a walking tour of the church.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Pub in Frankenmuth

It's Oktoberfest and there is no better place to celebrate that in Michigan than in Frankenmuth. At Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Haus and Grill on Weiss Street you will find excellent beer brewed in house and their famous fish and chips which they have been serving for more than 65 years. Many people feel they have the best beer in town. They do a lot of weddings and banquets here also as they are well equipped to handle large groups.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Independence Oaks in Clarkston

Michigan's sunny 60 degree weather is perfect for hiking and checking out our beautiful fall colors that are beginning to peak.  The 1000+ acres at Independence Oaks in Clarkston are gorgeous for bikers and fishermen and picnickers as well. With its 68 acre lake all kinds of animal life abound. They have 10 miles of lovely trails, some paved and some left natural. The nature center will give you a map and a list of birds in the are for you to mark off. In the wintertime, this is a great park for cross county skiing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kern's Sausage in Frankenmuth

Sometimes we get in a rut by doing the same things over and over. Is Frankenmuth one?  People stop at Bronner's and eat at Zehnder's or the Bavarian Inn and then go back home.  Having explored extensively in this town, we're still finding gems in Little Bavaria like Kern's Sausage, a family-owned business for over 50 years! We love the staff's enthusiasm and walked out with many purchases.  Of course their number one seller is their Kern's summer sausage--perfect for the Sunday Lions' game as well as the onion meatloaf, bockwurst and jagowurst (made with pistachios).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Van Buren County Courthouse in Paw Paw

The village of Paw Paw is the county seat of Van Buren. Their courthouse, dating back to 1901, has been listed on the National Register for Historic Places. The architect from Jackson, Claire Allen, also did Chelsea's famous clock tower. Named for the paw paw trees that were plentiful here, Paw Paw is also the hometown of former Detroit Tiger, Charlie Maxwell, who still resides here. His nickname was Old Paw Paw.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pontiac's Oakland Towne Center

Whoa! As soon as you enter the historic downtown Pontiac area, you notice this gorgeous art deco building, the Oakland Towne Center. Formerly the Pontiac State Bank Building, it has been Pontiac's tallest building since 1929. Chief Pontiac, the leader of the Ottawa Indians in the early 1700's, is depicted in sculpture. The white terracotta accents at the top make it look very distinctive and gothic, begging one to explore the upper reaches of this unique skyscraper.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mad Anthony Wayne in Detroit

Since we have Wayne County, Fort Wayne and Wayne State University in Michigan, it might be nice to know a little bit about the General behind the name of Anthony Wayne. He lived in the 1700's and fought in the American Revolution.  But it is during the Northwest Indian War that Mad Anthony fought battles in our region to secure the lands for the US rather than Britain, Spain or France. This plaque is visible in Detroit on the old Wayne County Building.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Presbyterian Church in Howell

The people of Howell built the First Presbyterian Church in 1915, which means this English gothic edifice will be soon celebrating its 100th birthday, although its roots go back in Howell to 1838. This place of worship is involved in all kinds of ministries both local, like working the soup kitchen at Fort Street Presbyterian in Detroit and the Forgotten Man Ministry in the Livingston County Jail and in faraway places like the Yucatan, Romania and Ghana. Worship is the heartbeat of their Christian faith at two Sunday services -- 9:30 and 11.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Harbor Springs' Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

Fall in Michigan--it just doesn't get any better than this! The Thorne Swift Nature Preserve up in Harbor Springs is a 30-acre peaceful oasis located on Lake Michigan that has some delightful boardwalk trails that show off sand dunes, cedar swamps, hardwood forests and a beautiful beach.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Small Plates in Detroit

Having experienced tapas in Spain when Small Plates came to Detroit ten years ago we were thrilled. Just a short walk from Ford Field and Comerica Park, it seems to be perennially packed. And no wonder --with choices like brick oven pizza, croque monsieurs and huevos rancheros, duck empanadas, calamari peppernata, blackened lamb chops and fish tacos. To add to the excitement there is live music during their Sunday brunches and a bloody mary bar. For dessert would you choose, the bumpy cake or their crème brûlé or perhaps the triple chocolate cheesecake?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Marshall's Dark Horse Brewing Co

This is an interesting one. Who ever heard of a brewery making a lobster bisque let alone one with their beer brewed raspberry ale? Three cheers for the Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall.  Their 3000 mugs are a testament to their boatload of devotees. Bill gave a tour of the whole operation. It was very impressive and the raspberry ale is tasty as well as their homemade ginger ale! Love the sandwiches where the pretzel buns are made with the brewery grains?*!*?!! The spicy asain slaw will knock you off your barstool. With live music in the evenings, a biergarten out back and their awesome beers and grub, this is definitely a must-visit brewery in Michigan. Don't be put off by the dilapidated shack-like entrance.  Be brave, head inside and be amazingly surprised!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birmingham Historical Museum and Park

The Birmingham Historical Society has worked hard to preserve some architectural gems in their city. They are headquartered in two houses sitting side-by-side, the 1822 John West Hunter House (the oldest home in the city) and the 1928 Allen House on Maple Road.  Strolling through the homes, visitors behold images of what life was like back in the day. They have a great collection of Indian arrowheads made of chert and flint.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Battle Creek Memorial Highway to WWII vets

When you stop at the rest area off I-94 in Battle Creek, do not forget to look at the dedication monument to the 94th Infantry Division which fought valiantly during World War II. Six miles of the expressway have been set aside by our state legislature to honor these brave army guys activated at Fort Custer near Kalamazoo who landed on Utah Beach in September of 1944 and also fought under General George Patton.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Franklin Cider Mill in Bloomfield Hills

The Franklin Cider Mill dates back to 1837--that's the year Michigan became a state! Everywhere you look it is a feast for the eyes--watching the press squeeze the juice out of the apples, the giant waterwheel, the pies, breads, donuts, jams, honey and vinegar, not to mention the babbling brook. They are open seven days a week through Thanksgiving weekend in Bloomfield Hills. We saved the best for last--the delicious fresh apple cider made without preservatives. It is superb!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Four Towns Methodist in Waterford

On Cooley Lake Road in Waterford sits a pretty little church called Four Towns United Methodist. It won't be long before they are celebrating their 150th anniversary.  It was originally a school house which also dubbed as the church for four local towns: Waterford, Commerce, West Bloomfield and White Lake--hence the name. Since 1930, it has been solely used as a church. Services are at 11:15.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

MSU Tollgate Gardens in Novi

What perfect weather today for the Fall Fair at the MSU Tollgate Gardens in Novi. This large working farm was donated to MSU in the 1980's and it is open to the public Monday through Saturdays. But their Fall Fair was an extravaganza! Parking was free and very organized.  Admission was free and all children were given bags with handles on them on which their names were elegantly written.  This was for all their artwork! Many many volunteers were manning various stations.  There was face painting, rock painting, pumpkin painting and hand painting. The younguns were encouraged to play the game "I spy". The kids were casting and fishing in the pond and releasing. There were free hot dogs and free beverages, free popcorn and lots of candies and cookies.  Hay wagon rides took people on grand tours. The wonderful music was the old time country variety. Families were having a blast.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Currier and Ives at Hazel Park Race Track

Tomorrow is the last day in 2012 for live racing at the Hazel Park Race Track. There is also a special exhibit of Currier and Ives lithographs on loan from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Trotting was born in Goshen, NY.  Today the sport is known as harness racing and its horses are standardbreds.  The exciting story of its starts and its heros is celebrated in this brilliant new exhibit dedicated to "the first great American pastime".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kiteboarding in South Haven

Sometimes they call it kiteboarding, sometimes they call it kitesurfing, but whatever the name, it is exciting to watch.  South Haven just may be the Michigan capital of this particular extreme sport. It was pretty awesome to watch this past weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wayland's Kettle Corn Couple

Becky Hubbert got us hooked on their kettle corn by supplying us with free samples. How could we resist? Little did we know how addicting the sweet and salty freshly made treats are! While her husband Steve was stirring the kettle and popping the kernels the delicious smells were wafting out into the street. The colored bag is their unique unicorn poop which comes in a variety of flavors like green apple and blue raspberry. Hubbert's Kettle Corn has their home base in Wayland, but you will find this cute couple at fairs and fundraisers throughout Michigan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial

There is a memorial in Michigan that honors both firefighters and law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. A special tribute was held here today in Pontiac at the Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial in honor of the hundreds of names inscribed on the wall and also in memory of the event that happened eleven years ago on 9/11. Another name will soon be added--that of Patrick O'Rourke, the West Bloomfield officer who was killed Sunday night.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Air Dogs in Paw Paw

The Air Dog competition at Paw Paw's Wine and Harvest Festival was a new one for us yesterday. They had a large pool measured out in feet and inches and these super leaping hounds would jump out into it as far as they could. It's sort of like a Long Jump for pooches. We watched one reach over 17 feet! The 3-day festival also included grape stomping, champagne races, a gospel choir, a hole-on-one contest, a carnival and band concerts with wine tastings and festival booths lining the streets. Happy faces were beaming everywhere.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Michigan Flywheelers in South Haven

The largest antique engine, steam engine and tractor show in Michigan takes place every September in South Haven. It is an 80 acre world unto itself at the Michigan Flywheelers Museum.  Today is the last day of the four day show. Golf cart and tractor taxis hauling wagons take you to the outdoor flea market, a wooden nickel gift shop, parades, magic shows, blacksmithing and demonstrations galore.  The longest line was for the steamed corn! Everyone enjoyed the country music performed by the Bronk Bros last night.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Orion Township Public Library

The reading garden at the Orion Township Public Library is very peaceful and well laid out.  There are nice shady spots to take refuge from the sun if it is too hot. The beautiful library on Joslyn Road opened in 1989, although the library has been in existence in Orion township since 1926 started by the local women's club. The new facility is 29,000 square feet large. Today, the library is celebrating Grandparents Day with special stories and crafts.  Hiral Shah is also there to demonstrate henna tattoos and its history. The public is also encouraged to park in their lot to access the Polly Ann Trail behind the library for hiking or biking.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck

Love the New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck! If you go in the men's room (ladies, they will take you on a tour!), they will show you through a glass covered window the tunnel where bootleggers delivered their hooch during prohibition. It is a very friendly place where bartender Maria proudly shows you their canoe that was used during the Labor Day races this week.  They came in second! Live entertainment tonight.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Navy Week in Detroit

It's Navy Week in Detroit through September 9th in celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Yesterday we heard the rousing Navy band play while the public was invited to tour two war ships.  The US Brig Niagara is a replica of the actual one used in that battle on Lake Erie with Commodore Oliver Perry. When you go below deck, even shorties have to duck their heads!  It has very cramped quarters.  You can also board the USS De Wert, a navy frigate that is 453 feet long. They were both free of charge. Look for them in front of the GM Renaissance Center.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Boll YMCA in Detroit

The Boll YMCA in Detroit is new, spacious and beautiful! There are some nice workout machines, lots of fitness classes and zumba, two pools and a hot tub, a rock climbing wall and basketball courts with an elevated walk/running track around them. We heard a guest speaker here in their nice auditorium facility.  Don't you love the YMCA children out front?  It, too, was donated by the Boll Family.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Copper Harbor's One Room Schoolhouse

Today is the official start of public schools in Michigan and we are featuring Copper Harbor's one room school house which is still in use today.  Dating back to 1850, only about 10 students attend their pre-school through eighth grade. It is the northernmost classroom in Michigan--some 650 miles north of Detroit. Their school motto is "To do your best, is the test!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Polly Ann Trail in Orion Township

What are you doing for Labor Day? Before we head out for a picnic we got our exercise in on the Polly Ann Trail in Oakland County this morning. It's such a glorious day and we should take advantage of the wonderful opportunities around us. Used by joggers, bikers and hikers, the Polly Ann Trail is 14 miles long connecting Leonard, Oxford, Addison and Orion Townships. Originally it was the P,O and N Railroad line, standing for Pontiac, Oxford and Northern --which ran up through the thumb to Caseville. The State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources was able to purchase it in 1993 and work continues on the trail to complete it and connect to others in the area. We parked at Orion Township Library on Joslyn Road which provides access to the trail.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Detroit's Old Wayne County Building

The old Wayne County building on Randolph in Detroit still stands empty with a forlorn for sale sign on its front lawn. Completed in 1902, it is a beautiful architectural gem on the National Register of Historic Places.  NYC sculptor j Massey Rhind's majestic chariot statues atop represent Victory and Progress. Both Clarence Darrow and Henry Ford have walked its halls. Look for it when you watch the movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Detroit Jazz Festival

Have you experienced the world's largest free jazz festival right here in our state?  Downtown Detroit is all abuzz with these outstanding musicians this fine Labor Day Weekend. This tradition is it its 33rd year. Wynton Marsalis above was surrounded by thousands of listeners tonight.  We have never seen so many people jammed into Campus Martius and Cadillac Square. The vibes were awesome. The concerts continue tomorrow and Monday as our Tigers try to sweep the Chicago White Sox and tie for first place on Sunday.