Michigan – Days 1-4: A Bunch of Unexpected Awesomeness

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My first day in Detroit I checked out Pewabic Pottery, one of the oldest pottery places in Detroit. While there, I learned that Pewabic created the art tiles for many installations across the country, most notably the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. and the Detroit Public Library.

After checking out Pewabic I headed to Belle Isle. It was a nice day and I was sleepy so, despite my decision to stop taking naps outside, I took another nap. When I woke up I realized the day was creeping away from me so I decided to move along.

I went to, well, I tried to go to Heidelberg Park, which sounded cool on Google. Turns out the Google address took me to the non-profit headquarters which is next to a building with pictures of shoes around it, but not what I was expecting… Though, to be fair, it was artsy.

Shoe Art Building, Detroit, MI.

Shoe Art Building, Detroit, MI.

My host had said the Guardian Building was cool, so I checked that out. Meh. The sculpture Spirit of Detroit was across the street, that I liked. Nearby I encountered the coolest unplanned discovery of the day: the musical swings. The swings claim to be an exercise in musical cooperation. They travel around the country and spread smiles and laughter. When you swing, the swing plays a note of music. I love swinging. I love music. Music made by swinging = pure awesomeness.

Musical Swings, Detroit, MI.

Musical Swings, Detroit, MI.

I made another fun discovery while trying to find the Detroit Public Library. This one was a mural of street art. There is something incredibly exciting about glancing in an alley and being surprised to find it covered in bright colors.

Street Art in Detroit, MI.

Street Art in Detroit, MI.

I’d also heard that the Fisher Building was cool. It did have lots of interesting mosaics and cool architecture inside. The rest of the night I just worked and made dinner, nothing terribly exciting.

The following morning I checked out the Detroit Historical Museum. They have a cool lower level that recreates the streets of Detroit from the 1840s, 1870s, and 1900s. I love interactive stuff like that, so that was fantastic. The museum was quite informative and interesting. I enjoyed myself and learned a lot.

They also had a cool exhibit comparing fashion of the past with fashion today, which was pretty neat, it was called Fashion D. Fined. The Doorway to Freedom exhibit was about the Underground Railroad and had an audio component which was kind of cool.

The rest of the day was spent driving to Grand Rapids. My hosts made dinner and then we hung out and watched a few episodes of Girls.

I wanted to go to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park while I was in Grand Rapids but it was too expensive, so I skipped it. It looked really cool though. Though it was really cold out which made me even less inclined to hang out outside. I’d definitely go on a nice day.

My host in Traverse City took me on a driving tour around the area and told me about its history. Did you know Traverse City is famous for its cherries? I didn’t. Yep, who knew? We drove up the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and did a small hike up to see the view from Pyramid Point. It was pretty stellar.

This wasn't from Pyramid Point, but still pretty, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI.

This wasn’t from Pyramid Point, but it’s still pretty, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI.

We tried to do a scenic drive at Pierce Stocking but, at the end of April, there was a sign saying it was closed until spring… I call shenanigans Michigan. Shenanigans. My host then took me to The Cherry Republic where we got to sample a bunch of different cherry inspired foods including cherry flavored salsas, bbq sauces, and chocolate and yogurt dipped cherries. Yum!

All the wineries were closed by the time we got around to going to them. So instead we went to Poppycock’s for dinner. The food was delicious. My favorite was dessert because the Chocolate Oblivion said it was enrobed in a chocolate ganache. Enrobed. Has anyone ever heard that word used before? I hadn’t. Totally love it though.

Most of the next day was just driving up to Marquette on the Upper Peninsula (U.P.). I stopped a couple times but did nothing terribly interesting. I did like the scenic viewpoint over Grand Island Harbor.

Grand Island Harbor Scenic Viewpoint, MI.

Grand Island Harbor scenic viewpoint, MI.

When I got to Marquette my host was celebrating the end of finals, so we went out to Ore Dock for a drink. The Culture of Cult was hosting an art fundraiser called Board to Death that night while we were there. There were some pretty cool painted skateboards up for auction. I really appreciated the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, the Storm Trooper one, and the crazy eyed Donald Drumpf one. At the end of the night when we were leaving the bar I realized that beer was only $2. What? Where was I?! $2…for an 8 oz. beer?! Whoa. U.P. for the win!

My host was heading to Detroit the following morning so we woke up super early, after going to bed super late (read: early in the morning). Though I did get to see the sunrise over Lake Superior, and that was pretty great, so I’m not complaining.

Sunrise on Lake Superior, Marquette, MI.

Sunrise on Lake Superior, Marquette, MI.