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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe turns 84 today. Number 9 was signed by Red Wings at age 16 and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1957. Artist, Doug West, has created a beautiful giclée print of Mr. Hockey with Gordie's signature on it. These are very limited and available through the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Port of Detroit

The Port of Detroit's history begins with Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the explorer who first founded Detroit in 1701 as a fur trading port. Today the port continues to play a role in the local economy. The new terminal dock and facility recently opened on the Riverwalk and has already been visited by tall ships and Great Lakes cruise ships. We are excited about the prospect of many new visitors coming to our wonderful Michigan with their entry at this port.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

" National Wildlife Refuge" this exit was all it took to make us detour off I-75. We are so happy we did. The Refuge has over 9600 acres of marsh, bottomland hardwood, grasslands and agricultural lands that are protected. The refuge has walking trails where you can see up to 250 species of bird. There is a driving trail for all of you that do not like to leave your car. All this and knowledge staff to guide you on your way and answer questions. The driving trail is temporarily closed due to Bald Eagles nesting near the roadside. What a great find! Can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Deadwood Bar and Grill

The Deadwood Bar and Grill hunting lodge decor made us feel like we were either up north or out west, just relaxing after a fun day in the Michigan Outdoors. We just especially loved the whitefish pate appetizer and the warm grilled chicken salad. A wonderful place to visit just outside downtown Northville.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baker's No. 2 Rosedale Cafe

There is a new restaurant in Detroit on Grand River Ave and it is wonderful. Juanita's Menu of homestyle cooking for breakfast. lunch and dinner. We visited for dinner and enjoyed a wonderful perch dinner with the chosen sides of cabbage and potato salad and ribs tips with greens and sweet potato fries. Delicious cornbread is served with every meal. Adding to the great feast was the wonderful music making it a very hip BBQ and entertainment joint! Enjoy a meal and the friendly service at Baker's No. 2 Cafe. Name sound familiar? You guessed it, this is where John Colbert and Juanita Jackson ended up after selling the Historical Baker's Keyboard Lounge in 20ll.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Liberty Street Brewery in Plymouth

Liberty Street is a great brew pub located in the historical district of Plymouth. They have a huge upstairs as well where live entertainment takes place on the weekends, like Four Block Empire this past Saturday. Lots of aficionados at the bar claimed that all the beers are fabulous.  We liked the Pub House Brown for sure.  Joe and Jim are in their fourth year of brewing and soon you will see Liberty Street in the stores and at other places that serve beer as they are about to embark upon distribution!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ward Presbyterian Church in Northville

There is a sprawling complex of a church called Ward Presbyterian in Northville. A gigantic traffic circle surrounds it where cars flow clockwise. Inside this gorgeous facility they worship 2500 people per week with 5 different services on Sunday morning in two different locations within the building, because they offer traditional and contemporary worship. The message is the same though, so one place gets it live and the other has it beamed over via video. They offer a tremendous amount of classes that can help us improve like Divorce Recovery, Fitness, Youth Basketball, Hiking, Grief Counseling, etc. Mission trips are offered to Nicaragua, Siberia, India, Mali, Philippines, New Mexico, Dearborn and Detroit. We've attended some seminars here and find Ward to be a pretty awesome place.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Silverbolt at the Detroit Children's Museum

The Detroit Children's Museum (DCM) was only the third one of its kind when it opened back in 1917. You are looking a the beloved Silverbolt standing in front of the museum which is made from car parts. At the moment, due to financial woes, the museum is only open to the Detroit Public School classes.  They are working had to secure the funding to open again to the general public. We hope that funding comes soon, becasue it is a great place for hands-on experiences and where dreams are created and given wings.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nain Rouge, the red dwarf of Detroit

This weekend there will be festivities surrounding the mystic creature called the Nain Rouge or the Red Dwarf in Detroit. It's legend has been around since the founding of Detroit 300 years ago. Traffic Jam & Snug is having a Crawfish Boil tonight.  The actual Marche du Nain Rouge will be Sunday, March 25 for the purpose of banishing the Red Dwarf which has been haunting the area since Cadillac's landing in 1701. About 2000 revelers are expected to gather at Traffic Jam and Snug on Sunday at 1pm and then they will parade down the Cass Corridor following the Detroit Party Marching Band. This folkloric tradition has been around quite some time and there will be lots of chariots, mimes, acrobats and merchandise available to purchase about this unusual creature!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Polish Yacht Club in Detroit

OMG--we reserve that expression for our very favorite experiences which we had today!  The Ivanhoe Café in Detroit is more commonly known as the Polish Yacht Club. In existence since 1909, this is like stepping into a neighborhood bar from the distant past with wonderful homemade food and very friendly staff and patrons. Today we ate pierogis and potato pancakes. The kitchen is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 2pm and Friday until maybe 7pm. They provide security for all their patrons cars.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cuisine in Detroit

It's location behind the Fisher in Detroit, makes Cuisine ideal for theatre goers. We love this place.  Chef Paul Grosz has done a phenomenal job with this unique restaurant housed in an historic home. We've eaten out on the porch, in the main dining room and upstairs. Each area is unique.  Chosen as restaurant of the year back in 2002, it still maintains its high standards and an excellent wine menu. We will return for the pièce de résistance--the Grand Marnier soufflé.  Mark your calendars now for Detroit's Restaurant Week, April 20-29.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Davison Freeway in Detroit

In Detroit, when people use or drive over the Davison Freeway, they ought to know that it was the world's first urban freeway open to the public. This feat took place 70 years ago, in 1942. This photo was taken by the driver while operating a motor vehicle on the Davison.  Tsk Tsk.

Monday, March 19, 2012

PJ's Lager House in Detroit

We heard that Robocop was hiding out behind PJ's Lager House in Detroit, so we set off to investigate for ourselves.  PJ himself proudly led us 'round back to show us the graffiti that predates the 1987 movie about Robocop set in Detroit. We decided that this is one very cool bar on Michigan Avenue that everyone should know about and frequent.  Their sweet potato fries are outstanding and the falafal veggie burger was great.  PJ cooked up his famous creole gumbo last night for their dinner series which features live local blues and celtic bands. Guitar picks are embedded in the bar. It has a huge history during prohibition. Bartender Jessica showed us the secret slots and entryway to the basement.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Most Holy Trinity Church in Detroit's Corktown

Still being in the Irish spirit, our offering today is Most Holy Trinity in Corktown, Detroit's oldest surviving neighborhood whose first residents were mostly from the county of Corktown in Ireland. The parish itself was founded in 1834, the first English speaking Catholic church in the area. The beautiful building above with its distinctive green spire was completed in 1866.  For most of the 20th century, the beloved Father Clement Kern led Most Holy Trinity. Still today, MHT does a tremendous outreach to the disadvantaged. Services are in Spanish or English.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sean O'Callaghan's in Plymouth

Slainte! Everyone's a little bit Irish today. The merriment begins at 7 this morning at Sean O'Callaghan's Public House in Plymouth. Live entertainment starts at 11am and runs until midnight. Today and all year long, they serve up Irish stew, corned beef cabbage, shepherd's pie and hand-battered fish and chips. Recently the winners of the perfect Guiness pour, they also have 21 other draft beers including Bell's and Founders'. Normal happy hours are Mon-Friday from 3-7pm where draft beers are $3 and half off their appetizers like the crispy calamari.  Tuesdays they serve angus burgers for two bucks all day. Any day you can come partake of the craic (news, gossip, fun, entertainment).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blue Fish Music in Plymouth

If you are into guitars, then Blue Fish Music in Plymouth's historic old town would be a fun place to browse.  They have modern and vintage guitars as well as banjos, mandolins, ouds and lutes. It's a great place, too, for instruction, if you are interested in improving your playing ability.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cupcake Station in Birmingham

Honestly, it would be best if we put on blinders when walking past Cupcake Station. These little morsels are just so mouth-watering! Every batch is made from scratch. Have you ever tried their Bump-a-licious? or their carrot cake? Lemon lust? PB & C? That would be peanut butter and chocolate. The Birmingham store was the first cupcake specialty shop in Michigan.  They have since expanded to Ferndale, Ann Arbor and Plymouth and have been voted best cupcakes in Metro Detroit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Plymouth Coffee Bean

It was just too beautiful today to stay inside.  Wow--74 degrees in mid-March. Patrons at the Plymouth Coffee Bean were enjoying their lattes al fresco. This longest running independent coffee shop in Michigan is a kitschy friendly place with delicious fruit smoothies. Their chalk art on the walls and ceiling draw you right in.  It's obvious why this place is so busy and has been voted the best in metro Detroit! They even have live music in the evenings.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TranquiliTea in Plymouth

The smells make you swoon a soon as you walk through the door at TranquiliTea in downtown Plymouth. They offer teabags and, of course, loose tea (once you've had loose tea, you can't go back to regular!) The very knowledgeable owner will take you around the store and give you a whiff from various jars. We succumbed tout de suite to the Cinnamon Spice and also bought some sticks of wild flower, white sage and star thistle honey. Lots of accessories are attractively displayed everywhere. If you place your order on-line, they will also ship directly to your house.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Vault Delicatessen in Mason

The Vault Delicatessen has to be the coolest venue we have seen for a wine cellar. The row of buildings from the 1900's stands on Mason's historic Courthouse Square. In what used to be the Dart Bank, the owners uniquely converted the existing vault into their stellar wine cellar. With a great selection of wines and beer, they also have artisan breads and cheeses and lots of gourmet sandwiches. Hats off to Scott (great grandson of R.C. Dart, the banker) and Jamie Robinson, the visionary owners.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm in Mason

If you are interested in wool and mohair from Michigan sheep and goats, look no further than Mason where you will find the Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm.  Make an appointment to visit the farm where you can see their 1865 converted chicken coop filled with lovely creations like scarves, socks, sweaters, hats, etc. Joedy and Bridget Patrick own the farm and the menagerie of animals.  It's a love affair with the earth and its creatures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ingham County Courthouse in Mason

The city of Mason was so named after our first governor, Stevens T Mason. Just a few miles south of Lansing, Mason became Ingham's county seat in 1840 and is the ONLY site in the nation where the state capitol is not located in its county seat. The County Courthouse is a beautiful site to behold. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It is open for tours Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sinbad's on the Detroit River

For 63 years, Sinbad's has been serving up fare on the Detroit River to the delight of many devotees.  Earlier this evening there were many decked out in Red Wing hockey gear to take advantage of the secure parking at the restaurant and then use the free shuttle to the Joe Louis. The clam chowder is outstanding and of course, they are known for their seafood. A very caring and attentive staff showed us around, answered our questions and seated us by the window overlooking the river. The second floor banquet room is called Sohar's, named for the birthplace of the famous fictional Sinbad himself.  In the summertime, it really cranks up with live bands.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cass Bar & Grill in Utica

We were indubitably impressed with Cass Bar, a.k.a. Hogs Hollow in downtown Utica.  Their cool garage doors were flung open earlier in the day to let the warm 68 degree temperatures and seductive Spring breezes in. With ocal beers on tap (loved the Michigan Dwarf from the Detroit Brewing Company) and many tempting food choices to pick from you can tell this is not your ordinary bar.  The fried green tomatoes were the best we have ever had. We'll being going back to try the caramelized pear salad.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo

You'll succumb to the history and charm of a lovely Queen Anne style B and B in Kalamazoo called the Henderson Castle. Built in 1895, it rests high above the city where the views are fantastic. There are seven totally restored rooms with beautiful quaint fixtures. François Moyet, Master French Chef, is the owner today and he serves up some very gourmet meals. The cuisses de grenouille (frog legs) were done to perfection. Some paranormal enthusiasts say the house is haunted, but we did not sense the presence of any ghosts.  The hot tub on the roof, however, is wonderful under the stars! Thanks for the photos, Mary France Oudin.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Armada Free Public Library

The Armada Free Public Library celebrated its centennial some years ago in this town of less than 2000 people and it was great to see it open this past Saturday, as many libraries have closed for the weekend.  The historic library, originally funded by Andrew Carnegie, honored Dr Seuss on his birthday, March 2 with an all-day party.  If you are in the area, the Celtic Cross Band is performing here on Wednesday, March 14th.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spencer Park in Rochester Hills

In the summertime, Spencer Park is swarming with bodies and you have to pay to get in.  But, in the other three seasons, you pretty much have this 100+ acre playground on John R Road to yourself with its beautiful lake surrounded by a lovely hiking trail.  It's about a one mile trek around the lake and a superb spot to breathe in some fresh air. Yesterday, there were a few swans on the water, warily eyeing this lonely fisherman.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Maybury State Park in Northville

No flashlights were needed on this glorious moonlight hike through Maybury State Park last night.  We were leaping and jumping in the moon shadows on an invigorating five mile hike led by Metro Detroit Outdoor and Hiking advocate, Phil. Our guide taught us many interesting historical facts about the area which used to be a tuberculosis sanitorium. Today the park has almost 1000 acres and is used for horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, cross country skiing, etc. It's a great place to enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature, night or day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Boodles Restaurant in Madison Heights

Old world charm has been oozing out of Boodles since 1985. The beautiful singing and saxophone playing and our tableside caesar salad by Bruno last night were, again, a superb delight. It is a cozy little bistro in Madison Heights that consistently delivers good food, great service and lots of ambiance. Add all that to a great selection of wines by the glass and we say, "High five"!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ted Lindsay Foundation

Our beloved former Red Wing hockey player, Ted Lindsay, a.k.a. Terrible Ted, is oft seen around town. His Ted Lindsay Foundation, which began in 2001 and is headquartered in Troy, raises funds to help find a cure for autism. Kudos to this incredible hockey legend #7, who at 86 years old deserves to sit back and rest on his laurels, yet is out and about and has raised more than a million and a half dollars. Ted says, "Together, we can beat autism". At a recent gathering, Pavel Datsyuk (recovering from knee surgery) was there to join his efforts.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tre Monti in Troy

We were not only amazed at the quality of the food at Tre Monti yesterday, but the displays and the elegant surroundings all made for a beautiful evening. It is well worth discovering this hidden gem tucked behind the San Marino Club on Big Beaver Road. We loved the fireplaces and excellent wine selections. In the summertime, dining al fresco is very popular on their large patio.