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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fort Street Brewery in Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park's Fort Street Brewery is making mucho headway in Michigan's microbrew field. They even claim they're the world's most popular brewery. We do confirm that they are spacious and cozy with a knock out $6 pizza that feeds 2-3 people. We do like their beers, having tried the Burning Leaf Lager Oktoberfest and the Lincoln Lager (which they also mix with lemonade for something light and tasty, reminding us of Europe). The favorite was the hearty Downriver Red Altbier. Pumpkin beers are available for the Halloween party tonight and tomorrow and they are awarding prizes for the best costumes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Holy Cross Cemetery in Detroit

The Day of the Dead celebrations started last weekend and go through November 4th in the Detroit area. Some of the events take place in Holy Cross Cemetery on Dix Road in the Delray area of Detroit. It's a very old beautiful cemetery from the early 1800's when French Canadians first used it.  Then came the Hungarians and Polonians and now mostly Hispanics are buried here. A Day of the Dead marathon had been scheduled to run through here Saturday, but that was cancelled.  The West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society is meeting here November 3rd to share traditional soul cakes in honor of the dead. Many remarkable grave markers are located within these 65 acres.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Iorio's Gelateria in AnnArbor and Lansing

The gelateria in Ann Arbor called Iorio's was started by an Italian family in 2004. Their passion is delivering artisan gelato made with fresh milk, sugar, nuts, coffee, fruit and chocolate. Gelato has less fat and more flavor and we swooned over the butter pecan. They also have a space at the Lansing City Market.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lansing City Market and Waterfront Bar and Grill

The Lansing City Market sits overlooking the Grand River and we were able to explore it this past week in the gorgeous sunshine before the weather went down. Our lunch at the Waterfront Grill was really superb. Of all the meals we had over our three day stay in Lansing, this one was the best. The tuna pasta salad was very fresh accompanying a tangy southwest sandwich. They are open seven days a week. The City Market was established in 1909 and their new home is really very beautiful. It is home to lots of unique merchants.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Northville's Next Chapter Bookstore and Bistro

Bookstore and Bistro...those words we've never heard of putting together before, but it sure works in Northville and we had a delightful experience at The Next Chapter.  You can watch the crepes being made and then savor every delicious bite. There are wee tables in nooks and crannies which invite patrons to peruse their tomes and munch on their goodies. They are open every morning at 7:30 for tea, expresso, smoothies, etc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Northville Cider Mill

Since 1873, Northville has had a gorgeous cider mill that offers wine and cider, donuts, apples, cheese, cinnamon roasted almonds, maple syrup, pumpkins, fudge, local honey and a lot more. Opened by the Parmenter family after the Civil War, their framed marriage certificate is hung on the wall for all to see. Today it goes by Nothville Cider Mill, but many people still refer to it as Parmenter's although they have new owners since 1991. A fire destroyed their historic mill in 1977, but they rebuilt and did not miss a cider season. We tasted their award winning products and give 2 thumbs up to Red Ruckus.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Detroit Athletic Company

If you are looking for Detroit sports apparel and doodads like keychains, pennants, jewelry, caps, photos, etc, the Detroit Athletic Company on Michigan Avenue is a great resource. We loaded up on Tiger gear for the World Series here. It was interesting to see an exact replica of Mickey Cocrane's catcher's mitt. This former Tiger is our only catcher in the baseball hall of fame. The store is located next to the field where Tiger Stadium used to stand.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas Cove Farm in Northport

What fun to find an antique apple farm up on the Leelenau Peninsula.  John and Phyllis Kilcherman have delved into the history of apples and have cultivated and sold more than 200 varieties of these juicy specimens, many of which origins date back centuries ago. They say the Spitzenburg apple was Thomas Jefferson's favorite. Located near Northport, Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm also has a phenomenal collection of more than 10,000 soda bottles from days long ago. "John the Apple Man" and Phyllis send out gift boxes of all sorts of apples with the history on each variety. They've been written up in the New York Times and the Free Press. This four generation 80 acre farm makes some incredible unpasteurized cider, too. Thanks, Hal Evans, for the photo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lexington's A Night to Remember

For a special occasion, you'll get all the pampering that is expected at A Night to Remember, a beautiful bed and breakfast in Lexington. Impeccably decorated, each room has a comfy pillowtop mattress, lovely linens and down comforters and free wifi. For the buffet breakfasts, hostess Nadine serves her homemade fare using Grandma's special china. This is a great spot from which to explore Lexington on Lake Huron.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Capers in Detroit

For a Friday night adventure, we went to Detroit's Capers on Gratiot south of 8 Mile for the first time and were pleasantly surprised. Wall-to-wall at 5:45pm, it was packed. Here, they are famous for their steak by the ounce. The loaded baked potato was the biggest one we've ever seen and it was delicious, too! Special beverage was a 32 ounce can of Foster's for three bucks. We enjoyed the whole experience as well as the very friendly servers and clientele.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beaumont Carillon Tower in East Lansing

Yesterday, on a cool crisp fall day, it was a pleasure to stroll through the Michigan State Campus and hear the carillon being played from Beaumont Tower. A gift of Alice and John Beaumont, the tower was completed in 1928. A carillon plays at least 2 octaves of bells by means of a keyboard. Beaumont Tower contains 49 bells that were totally renovated in 1996. Ray McLellan has been the resident carilloneur since 1997. The hill on which the tower stands is hallowed ground where the first instructional edifice (College Hall) was built on campus and the first one in the nation to be dedicated to the teaching of scientific agriculture. The Sower, above the main door, symbolizes the seeds of knowledge.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Coloma's Haunted Schoolhouse

There's a haunted school house in Coloma for ages 6 and up. Ghosts and ghouls lurk around the corners of the 1800's one room school house to give you a good scare. Open on the weekends through October 28th, it is the Harvest Festival of Jollay Orchards which we featured three years ago. It also includes a corn maze, hay rides and a tree top ferris wheel. Pay-one-price admission of $9. Only $2 for senior citizens!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lisa Nails in Sterling Heights

Everybody's on the Tigers' bandwagon with their dramatic sweep of the Yankees and capturing the trophy for the American League. Now we are headed for the World Series.  Lisa Nails on Van Dyke in Sterling Heights does nail art for Detroit baseball fans who support their team's effort to make it all the way.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin

You get but a glimpse of the beauty of Michigan in its bountiful state parks. One of our all time favorites is Port Crescent at the tip of the thumb. With campsites right on the water and the abiity to watch not only the sunrise but the sunset, we have the best of all possible worlds. Campfires de rigueur. We catch the Tigers' games the old fashioned way--listening to the radio.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coffee Cup Plus in Bad Axe

If you are voted in as the best coffee shop in a county, well, we have to go there.  The experience was superb at Coffee Cup Plus in Bad Axe.  They do not have just one kind of coffee, but from mild to knock your socks of dark French roast. And real half and half. And gigantic bear claws. And a delicious breakfast with five kinds of fresh fruit. And service with a genuine, glad-you-are-here smile. And a real newspaper to read. And the bill, well, 2 eggs, rye toast, fresh fruit and 2 gigantic cups of coffee....$4.42.  Honest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wind Farm in the Thumb

They loom large in the thumb as you drive by. DTE Energy has set up a wind farm in a quadrangle cornered by Kinde, Bad Axe, Port Hope and Harbor Beach. Those 400 foot tall towers are pretty much jaw droppers on a windy day as the rotors churn. 140 of these giants are being installed by DTE in the thumb which is a 500 million dollar investment by the company.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hershberger Amish Furniture in Snover

If you are traveling Van Dyke up in the thumb, you'll notice one sign indicating Hershberger Furniture south of Bad Axe. The 2 mile trek to the east on Shabbona Road is definitely worth a visit. It's a picturesque Amish farm in Snover where Aaron Hershberger creates beautiful rustic works of art from log beds and dressers to dining room tables, rocking chairs and bar stools.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Marlette's Mastodon at the Train Depot

On Sundays in October from 2-5pm, the Marlette Historical Society is opening their lovely restored 1890 train depot to visitors. On display is a 10,000 year old mastodon skull that was unearthed 12 years ago on a nearby farm. Marlette is celebrating its 150th birthday this year and the fossil is on loan from the University of Michigan where it normally resides. Situated on the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad line, the historical society purchased the depot in 1999 and this multi-use building now can be enjoyed by many.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Almont's Country Smoke House

Interested in wild game jerky or sausage? The Country Smokehouse in Almont is known throughout the nation for their excellent meat products.  The store is huge and on a mid-week afternoon, there were tons of customers. They do very little advertising as it is all word-of-mouth. You can't miss the venue with the giant bull out front and the moose splayed on the PT Cruiser rooftop. Summertime weekly barbecues are well attended as they crank up their giant smoker and dish out giant turkey drumsticks, buffalo burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and slow cooked barbecue ribs.  All their sides are homemade also.  And to think, they started some 25 years ago out of a one car garage. It's the American dream come true. Their manly gift boxes make outstanding presents.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Haunted Dark House in Brown City

You'll do a double take when you pass the Dark House on Van Dyke in Brown City.  The Bruce Mansion looks like something straight out of the Addams Family. October weekends, this scary 1876 home is open from 8-11pm. They take you on a tour of a cemetery as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pointes aux Barques Lighthouse near Port Hope

'Twas a banner day this week, getting to explore the Pointes aux Barques lightkeeper's house and see Michigan's oldest continuously operating lighthouse. The first keeper here in Lighthouse County Park near Port Hope was Peter Shook in 1848.  When he drowned in 1849, his wife Catharine became Michigan's first female lighthouse keeper.  The 89 foot tall structure dates back to 1857. Cindy Krueger, the great great great granddaughter of Peter and Catharine Shook presented the Michigan Historical Marker here a few years ago. It's pretty neat that they have a framed rubbing of her ancestors tombstone in the keeper's house.  The largest lighthouse festival in North America takes place this weekend, Oct 11-14 in Alpena.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stone Lodge in Port Sanilac

The Thumb of Michigan can be hit-or-miss with places being open during the week after Labor Day.  Some even close up until Memorial Weekend! We found a gem of a restaurant/bar in Port Sanilac called the Stone Lodge. A sign proclaiming Go Tigers out front and a carved critter greeting us by the front door seemed promising. The rich wood and stone decor inside and chatty patrons at the beautifully adorned bar on a midweek afternoon added more pluses.  With Bud Light Lime specials for $1.50 and a terrific walleye dish, we knew this would make "the blog". They were even able to broadcast the Sunday Tiger playoff game that so many had to listen to on the radio! They are open seven days a week at 11am.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lakeport State Park in the Thumb

Michigan is resplendent in its colors this month! We took a stroll today through Lakeport State Park just north of Port Huron in Lakeport. You can camp right next to glorious Lake Huron and enjoy the sunrise side of the state. With 250 sites, there is no need for reservations until next June. However, there is one cabin available which sleeps six people for those who have no camping equipment. Every site has a picnic table and a fire ring.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Beezy's in Ypsilanti

We loved our first experience at Beezy's in Ypsilanti this past weekend. There was service with genuine smiles, delicious sandwiches and homemade soups, fresh squeezed lemonade and yes, excellent coffee.  Located on Main Street in an 1865 historical building, Beezy's is a popular college hangout that is sensitive to vegetarian and gluten free needs. Don't you love the old percolator morphed into art work?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Historic Hope Chapel in Shelby Township

Tucked away in Shelby Township is the 1890 Hope Chapel. It was formerly the Hope United Methodist Church of Disco located at Van Dyke and 24 Mile Rd. Disco no longer exists. The church was restored and moved just a little bit south to the municipal grounds by the Shelby Township Historical Society and is now frequently used for weddings.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Raus Country Store in Frankenmuth

The Raus Country Store in Frankenmuth is crammed full of interesting merchandise and it is huge. Encompassing two stories on Main Street, browsers are sure to find a treasure somewhere. Started by the Rau family almost 50 years ago, it is still going strong today. Their nostalgic candy displays are awesome as well as their large display of puzzles and Russian nesting dolls. We succumbed and started our Christmas shopping. It was too easy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Romeo's Westview Orchard, Cider and Corn Maze

Michael Bowerman began this Romeo farm in 1813 and his offspring--6th and 7th generation--proudly carry on the tradition.  Brian gave us an awesome tour showing us the creek that his great great great great great great grand daddy would follow in order to trade with the Indians.  They use underground irrigation to water their crops. We enjoyed the animals to pet, hay wagon rides, cider, honey, peach flips, ice cream, cheddar chive bread, a peck of apples, and apple cherry butter.  Want a pumpkin? They have wagons out in the field for you to pick one out then pull it back in a toy wagon.  Our favorite thing is their corn maze--actually they have three of them with one running at night, so bring your flashlight. This is a beautiful bicentennial farm!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frankenmuth Airport

Michigan is filled with smaller airports that host wonderful breakfasts and fly-ins. We've flown into the Wm Tiny Zehnder Airport in Frankenmuth. They have a 1/2 mile grass strip for single engine and light twin engine aircraft. They are known to host pancake breakfasts, steak lunches, bonfires, camp-ins and even a flour bomb drop. The Bavarian Inn shuttle makes runs for their chicken dinners, too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Erebus in Pontiac, a Haunted Attraction

Pontiac is home to Erebus--one of the world's largest haunted houses. With lots of high tech scariness, it has even been featured on the Travel Channel. All this stuff comes at a hefty price, $23-25 per person depending on what night you go. This four story structure is open Wed-Sun until November 3rd. There have been lines around the block since 2000, so it is best to reserve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Voilà Boutique in Grosse Pointe Farms

Oo la la! There is a trendy new boutique in Grosse Pointe Farms run by two charming, chatty little French ladies, Carol and Pascale. Voilà Boutique is a cute little shop on Mack filled with unique clothes, bibelots, accessories and decorative bric-à-brac. With an eye for flair and joie de vivre, branches act as racks for their hanging items. Magnifique!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Frankenmuth's Lager Mill

The Lager Mill Beer Store and Brewing Museum in Frankenmuth is a unique establishment unlike anything we've seen in Michigan. Occupying the historic mill site on the river, they have set aside one part of it as a museum dedicated to the stories about brewing beer in Frankenmuth --a part of the city's history since its inception in 1845. In the rest of the building, they sell the largest collection of Michigan craft beers we have ever seen, as well, as local wines, ciders and mead. And the personnel take such pride in being knowledgeable about Michigan potables and about the city's history.  Lager Mill is definitely worth a visit and it's open seven days a week.