24 Hours in Detroit

Detroit, not exactly what you think of when you hear the term “tourist destination”, but as someone who spent almost 2 years in Michigan, I want to put a positive spin on a place that needs some serious positivity.

As mentioned previously, I used to be a consultant, and as a result, getting an excuse to see some parts of the USofA I didn’t think I’d ever visit came with the deal.  One of those places, was Detroit.  Fortunately, I had a great tour guide who lived there (still does), and gave us the ins, outs, does and don’ts of Detroit.  I mean Detroit has a Whole Foods now, how bad could it be??

We went in the summer and scored tickets to a Detroit Tigers / Red Sox game (go Sox!) so we were determined to fill our days with all we could see.  We met for breakfast at a cute farm to table spot outside of the midtown loop.  What we learned is that when it comes to city planning, the same people that planned Detroit might as well have planned Philadelphia.  I-95 runs right through the city, cutting off certain areas from downtown, with not the best public transportation.

Outside of the mid-town loop we saw their own Central station, a beautifully abandoned train station that will eventually be re-purposed.  They drove us through an adorable residential area with cute row homes near what they dubbed the “hipster” part of town with coffee shops, bars/pubs, etc. and of course, near the Whole Foods.

We then ventured back into the central business district to see Eastern Market and the Detroit Waterfront.  The Detroit waterfront is a beautiful walk along a boardwalk overlooking Canada.  I had no idea!  Your phone starts measuring everything in kilometers so be warned!  The waterfront was really worth the walk, and they have beautiful fireworks each year for the fourth of July.  We were really impressed by what they had done with the waterfront, and Eastern Market as well.  Eastern Market is the world’s largest farmer’s market and was so much fun to walk through.  Just a note – it is only open on weekends, and Sundays only from June through October.

Additionally, we ended our tour in the business district, which really showed the power of private industry.  Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, moved his headquarters to downtown Detroit and encouraged other businesses to follow suit.  As a result, there are beautiful office buildings in Detroit’s central business district, one containing the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

After leaving our tour guides, we decided to check out Greek Town, a really fun neighborhood in Detroit with delicious, you guessed it, greek foods, bakeries, and casinos.  This part of Detroit is full of energy and life, and could be plucked and placed into any major city.  With bright lights, enticing restaurants, Greek Town is not to be missed, and is easy to get to on their People Mover, which loops around the city.  We were staying at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit hotel and was in walking distance of public transport.

After a delicious meal, we were off to see the Red Sox get destroyed (womp womp) by the Tigers and check off a new stadium on our list.

I know I gave a very rosy view of Detroit just now, and I want it to remain rosy, but my husband and I had mixed views on the city itself.  My husband saw the city as one going through a slow, yet steady resurgence, and I saw one that represented crumbling Americana hoping to some day claw its way back.  With that being said, my 24 hours in Detroit were fun, and as with exploring any new city, exciting as well.  So if you’re in the area, go support a city that needs a little extra love.

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Being sheepish outside Comerica Park
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Spirit of Detroit Statue

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Pic of the Week – Tourist at Home

Last night, my husband and I went to the Longwood Garden’s light show, Nightscape, in PA.  Walking through alleys of plants with music, psychadelic lights, or watching larger than life fireflies dance across pine trees was only half of the experience.  While I love traveling and getting away, it’s so nice to explore and enjoy things close to home.  Below is one of my favorite photos from the night, a very Tim Burton-esque experience.

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Nightscape at Longwood Gardens, August 2015

The Wild West Part One

So I have something really embarrassing to admit.  If you read the About Me section you’ll note that I’d only been on an airplane once before the age of 18.  It gets worse. In the United States I hadn’t been outside the eastern timezone until after I graduated college.  I KNOW.  WHAT was I doing with the first 22 years of life??*

Needless to say, with that in mind, my boyfriend/fiance/now husband and I instituted a policy to help me see the good ole fashioned USofA.  The thought was (now is) each year we take one domestic and one international trip, that way I can see all the beauty this country has to offer without sacrificing a stamp on my passport in the process (I love my passport stamps).

After much thought, we planned out a 10 day wild west road trip, starting in swinging Las Vegas.

vegasI didn’t really know what to expect from Las Vegas, and honestly, I didn’t expect to like it.  The only thing I knew going in, apart from the obvious, was that I must choose wisely when picking a place to buffet.  I had no idea that buffet culture was such a thing!  After extensive research, I decided that the Wicked Spoon inside the Cosmopolitan would be the one.  I had read that it was the best buffet in town, and as a result, Caesars spent millions of dollars to create its own rival buffet.  (Note: next time I must check out Caesars.)  After eating fried chicken, waffles, fruit, ice cream, french toast, and pancakes for breakfast (yikes!), my husband and I slowly rolled each other out of the Cosmopolitan and onto the rest of the strip.  And we walked the heck out of that strip.  I’m fairly confident my Jawbone Activity Tracker tapped out at well over 30,000 steps.  Does that undo the breakfast ice cream?  Probably not, but it certainly made us feel better!

vegas 2My husband and I aren’t gamblers, so we saw a Cirque du Soleil show (he was not to be dragged to Britney, sad face) and checked out the brand spanking new Linq.  It had just opened a few days prior to our visit and we were thrilled to be some of the first on the holy roller!  It was so new that we had the entire compartment to ourselves.  We watched the beautiful Bellagio fountains from above and just took it all in.

After a night at the MGM Grand in Vegas (which I highly recommend), we hopped into our rental car (a fab little Prius), and it was time to check out the Hoover Dam, and then march onward into Utah and Arizona.  Granted, there was a pit stop in Lake Las Vegas – but we’ll gloss over that for now, review to come later.

Stay tuned for part two, as our foray into red rocks, cacti and bucket list items are just beginning!

*Answer: Exploring the eastern seaboard.