Cbobfoto, our lovable rescue mutt Banksy Dog & I went to visit the family last weekend in Michigan to catch the tail-end of the 2013 fall colors. WOW – it was a ‘stunner’. We explored ‘The Ledges’, 300-million-year-old sandstone and quartzite rock ledges that rise above the Grand River.
Talk-about a picture perfect background for capturing the essence of ‘fall’. Craggy out-crops of rocks, a gentle flowing stream into a majestic river, clickety-clack rail-road bridge, gnarly knotted trees clinging to the cliffs, elaborate rock carvings, ducks & geese, perfectly fallen trees over the trail, and colorful leaf laden paths. I could wax-poetic forever. It truly was the perfect fall setting, & no wonder every 50 feet we ran into family a photo session, I assume gearing up for the Christmas Card production line.
Thanks Michigan for putting on a show for us.
This Thanksgiving when visiting family in Michigan. we took a little time out to stop by the new Zaha Hadid designed Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University [opened Nov 10th 2012]. What a fantastic compact international art museum! It is highly recommended for visits in the area. A brilliant design that is an ode to the future, and the interior space is just as interesting as the art it displays. We can’t wait to return again for a visit soon.
Supino Pizzeria has been declared [by two Australian's] as the best pizza in the world, even out doing what was eaten in Naples. Found in the Eastern Market, it is a gold mine of Neapolitan Pizza goodness. The perfect crispy crust on the bottom, but dough on top AND they sell it by the slice. We feasted on one of the daily specials by the slice – ‘Prosciutto & Fennel’ – my mouth waters just thinking about it. I wish we had a bullet train to Detroit from Chicago because I would be on it right now after some more pizza.
Astro Coffee – The minute my eyes spied the words ‘Flat White’ & ‘Builders Tea’ & ‘ Anzac Biscuits’ I knew we were in the right place. Actually for the time we were in Detroit it turned into a unoffical Australian Embassy [with 3 Australian visitors & the owners being Aussie], this hub of local activity made us quickly feel right at home in Detroit. The home-baked goods to die for – loved the egg sandwich with the best aioli ever. The coffee is fantastic and they make a mean cuppa – now how to get them in Chicago and into our village.
Slows Bar B Q is the spot to be in town, from doors open to doors close there is a constant flow of customers and at peak meal times the wait can get long. As the name states it is bar vs. restaurant, and dishes out some great BBQ. We quickly became addicted to the spicy apple sauce. Worth stopping by more than once so you can eat your way around the menu – it is all good.
Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy – What a fun experience! People of all shapes and sizes from all walks of life gather in this place every Friday night to enjoy some great music and to soak in the ambience and enjoy some cocktails. A great Detroit experience that is a must.
Sugar House craft cocktails, if you are into cocktails this needs to be added onto your radar screen for must-do mixology stops. The space is cozy, the service is knowledgable & friendly, and the cocktails creative: we all fell in love with the Where there is Smoke cocktail [White Horse Scotch, Lemon, Honey & Laphroaig Foam], and definitely don’t stop at the listed items go with a dealer’s choice – select your liquor and let the fun begin.
For more on Detroit click here.
Located in Corktown, and close to everything that is worthy of checking out in Detroit, Honor & Folly is the perfect spot to base yourself for the weekend.
There were four of us, and we found there was plenty of room to move around, spread out and not be on top of each other. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a dishwasher, and washer & dryer, you can make yourself right at home. Head to Eastern Market to collect market fresh finds and cook up your own meals, or conveniently down the stairs you can grab coffee and treats at Astro Coffee, speak-easy cocktails at Sugar House and a drool worthy BBQ dinner at Slows.
As you fall in love with the objects that surround you, and trust me you will find to hard to leave without a little something extra, don’t fret most of them are for sale. I fell for the dinnerware by Abigail Murray [Cranbrook alumni] and it is now at home and being used frequently already. If you can’t make it in person you can always check out Honor & Folly’s Shoppe and pick up a piece or two of this gem for yourself.
For more stories on our Detroit travel adventures click here.
We are hitting the road late Friday afternoon and heading to Detroit for the weekend, taking our Australian friends to see some more of the USA before they move back home. Here is what we have on the radar so far:
- We are super excited to experience first hand the creative endeavors of Design Tripper with a stay at their [Meghan McEwen's] very own micro-hotel called Honor & Folly.
- A visit to this place for some Brunch & stock up on some deli items.
- We hope to get here for some BBQ and we really hope we make it in time Friday to go here for some cocktails.
- Anyone got a take on this place or should we spend out $$$ & time elsewhere?
If you have any suggestions on things we should EAT & SEE in the Motor City please send them our way in the comments section. Looking forward to sharing details of what we got up to upon our safe return. Happy travels.
PS. We are back. To see what went down click here.
Local in New Buffalo Michigan has got to be the most adorable hole-in-the-wall Butcher Shop ever. Run by a husband and wife team, Pat & Ellie exude passion for what they are doing. I wish it was a little closer so we could shop here everyday. We were introduced to this store through produce that was served up at a dinner party. We had to visit to check it out for ourselves, where we proceed to buy up the store: rabbit, duck, duck rillettes, we could have bought more if we had of brought along a cooler. Stop by and say hi to Pat & Ellie and pick up some farm fresh locally sourced organic goods.
PS. This was our first attempt at cooking a duck, it was done on the Big Green Egg and was pretty good, the bones made for an excellent stock and the fat we are still cooking in – yum! No laughing at the trussing – we were tired.
When we were in Michigan last weekend, we were doing a little vintage store perusing, and came across this new store on Red Arrow Highway called Sojourn. It was closing time, but they let us take a look around. We soon realized we had run into a in-store dinner party that was being set-up. Next thing we know we had wine in our hands and were joining the party.
It was a magical evening, that was filled with coincidences. Many of the guests that arrived we were somehow connected to through six degrees of separation. The clever designer who worked on the logo, the architect that designed the store, the reclaimed furniture maker, and the clothing store owner who is also a blogger and created the table setting & menu. A huge thank-you to wonderful & warm Stacia Kass the owner for this amazing new store that you have to check out. Thanks for inviting us in and making us feel like we have known each other forever, we had a wonderful evening.
We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend enjoying the fabulous weather we had here in Chicago / Harbor Country and that you got to take advantage of the extra hour by sleeping in. We spontaneously headed to Michigan for the night staying at the Rabbit Run Inn to check out what was left of the Fall colors. What an adventure we had meeting so many wonderful people and finding some fun stores – more about that later. This is going to be a super busy week. Happy Monday.
Have you ever spotted one of these? A shoe tree that is?
We spotted this out of no where on the side of the road driving through Northern Michigan? Did people throw their shoes up their spontaneously, or did they come back with some old shoes to add to the collection?
We were puzzled by it, and as you can tell we still are?
When in Sawyer Michigan and you get hungry pop into Fitzgerald’s for a spot of lunch or dinner, or every third saturday for some dancing in the evening. It’s a charming bistro pub with an English Chef at the helm and he sure knows how to rustle up some english pub grub. If the food doesn’t get you, you will be delighted by the sunshine cozy interior with a huge and very beautiful mahogany bar taking center stage, and you will also find the nicest restaurant / bar staff around.
We popped in for dinner and sampled a few cocktails before tucking in to the food. We skipped the salads and went straight for the good stuff opting for Aussie [and English] classics. We started with the Fish and Chips consisting of cod filets in Fitzgerald’s own ‘mad hatter batter’ served up with hand-cut fries, lightly curried coleslaw, and malt vinegar [very civilized] is provided too. I love fish & chips and have to head to Australia to get a decent serving, but now I know I can drive from Chicago to get these next time I crave some, hands-down-bowing-to-the-Chef fantastic.
Then it was a Steak and Mushroom Pie, only available Thursday through the weekend, consists of slow-braised steak finished with a mixture of wild and domestic mushrooms in homemade, super-rich beef gravy, under a golden crust, the staff recommends it and so do we. We split these two dishes and they came out with the dessert menu when done. You know what we ordered for dessert? ANOTHER round of the fish & chips, they were that good, the coleslaw was ‘meh’, too heavy with the dressing, the rest = divine.
For places to stay in the area like a cute B&B click here, or a whole cottage click here, for places to shop click here, and yummy places to eat click here.
There are many places in Harbor Country Michigan that we adore visiting, here are a few of my favorites stores that we always stop into.
I hardly leave here without buying something. Brandon the owner, is not only a wonderful person, he has an excellent eye for interesting pieces, and he is also the owner of Trilogy.
Trilogy is a collective of sellers with a wide variety of wares to offer including: furniture; paintings; prints; sculptures; homewares; you name it.
This place is huge, and filled to the brim with stuff to sort though and admire. I have found some great items here, always fun just for a look it’s almost a museum.
This store provides a wonderful selection of American and European antiques and vintage finds. These photos are from their website [I was busy snapping up items vs. photos].
I am sharing this as I love the look of the building and the beautiful old lumber store houses. Some one please rescue them. They are amazing and deserve a second life.
Harbour Country is only a short drive from Chicago and can be made into a day trip for a wonderful day of shopping & grazing. For ideas on where to eat you can click here. Wanting to stay a little longer you can always stay at a charming B&B here or rent a cottage here.
There are many places in Harbor Country, Michigan that we love to stop for eats, here are a few of our favorites.
A favorite stop in Three oaks is Froehlich’s for a sandwich, sometimes depending on the weather soup. A great place to pick-up some homemade jams and canned tomatoes. They have even been featured on Food Network – Food Finds. Everything is always fresh and flavorful.
Another favorite food stop when in Harbor Country, this one is in Union Pier. They have a great selection of wines, cheese, chocolates, fresh-baked goods, and other pre-made delights perfect for a picnic on the beach, or nestled into one of the outdoor picnic tables.
Driers – Butcher Shop
This is the most adorable butcher shop, and I am not the only one that thinks so, as it is on the National Registry of Historical Interiors. Pop in when you are in Three Oaks, and pick up some smoked meats, and a few steaks.
In the warmer months there are many other farmer’s stands and farmers markets that are available offering up local produce and products.
We love making a visit to the Lake after Labor Day, when all the madness has ceased and we get the Lake and Countryside to ourselves. A weekend away where we get to enjoy lazy days that are focused around: food & wine with friends; sleeping in; farm visits; winery tours: antiquing; and walks on the beach…… To get such said ‘bliss’ we typically like to visit Harbor Country [Union Pier, Michiana, New Buffalo area] renting a cottage for four. This year with our rental we struck gold with ‘Cottonwood’. An adorable farmhouse without the musty odor, uncomfortable beds, poorly equipped kitchen, and tiny little bathroom for all to share. This place is far from that description and comes FULLY LOADED. I mean when the owners renovated this place they built it for entertaining and for sharing, and from the minute you turn into the driveway you feel this house welcoming you …
DESCRIPTION: The kitchen is stocked ready for gourmet creations from farm fresh finds, and there are 2 [not 1] BBQs. The HUGE patio and garden provide a serene setting for cocktails and meals! There are beds for 9 adults, and 2 bathrooms, and even a laundry room. I tell you this place is a home-away-from-home. Big cosy comfy chairs in the sitting room, and a massive great room for watching TV and snuggling by the fire, with a large group there is plenty of room for all to spread out that you would never feel on-top of each other. The decor is country vintage chic, filled with fabulous finds from local antique stores. It would be a great place for a Thanksgiving celebration, serving up a feast for a huge gathering, as there are plenty of plates, glasses, napkins and serving ware to make a beautifully set table. We will be back to visit.
LOCATION: Union Pier, Michigan. About 90 minutes drive from Chicago.
HIGHLIGHTS: The screened in porch that is perfect for lazy mornings as you savor coffee and shake the debauchery from the night before. The rocking chairs under the oak tree to enjoy whilst sipping cocktails. The comfy sitting room in candle light with wine and cheese. The cosy beds to snuggle in at night, and the wonderful towels in the bathroom that are artfully embroidered.
WEBSITE: Cottonwood Bookings
What can you do when you are there? LOADS OF FUN here are some ideas, just get out there and explore and if you have anything to add to the list please leave a comment:
- Walk on the Lake Front
- Rent Bikes and Ride through the Country Lanes
- Visit the The Whistle Stop Grocery for great sandwiches, pastries and coffee or gourmet supplies for dinner.
- Stop into the beautiful store – Marco Polo for great mid-century / vintage finds.
- Rummage through the piles of goodies waiting to be found at Harbert Antique Mall.
- Adorn your home with finds from the Judith Racht Gallery.
- Browse at Ipso Facto for vintage goodies [you can't go in without buying something]
- Enjoy the eye candy at Trilogy Antiques perfectly curated collection under one roof too many temptations here too.
- Get outfitted at French Twist in a unique selection of European designers clothes for women, all purchases from here remain on my favorite things to wear list.
- Snack at Froehlichs on tasty sandwiches and grab some goodies for your cheese platter in the evening.
- Purchase up some meat for the BBQ back at the cottage at Driers or also grab some smoked goods and cheese.
- Grab some great farm fresh finds from farm stands like: Dinges Farm; Edge of the Woods [Great Pies], Granor Farm [Organic Produce] just to name a few.
- Visit the Wine Shop @ Acorn Theater for a great selection of wines and beers for your farm fresh meal.
- Woodfire Pizza Naples Style at Stop 50 is always a must for lunch or dinner.
- Soe Cafe in Sawyer for a Lunch or Dinner stop.
- Grab your grocery items and fresh vegetables and fruits from Sawyer Garden Center.
- Visit some local wineries for some local flavor like the Round Barn or Hickory Creek.
Click here for a post on where to EAT
and click here for where to SHOP
when in the area.