Hellooooo. Sorry for the long pause! I feel like we’re stuck in a never-ending winter and I just can’t seem to pull it together this season! Hoping spring will rejuvenate me somehow… if it EVER comes! But since March is here, at least we start to see more daylight, so hopefully that makes the blogging game a little easier. But! In the meantime, we took a quick trip over to Lansing area last weekend because Eric had a show with his band, Chain of Lakes (that sold out!) I thought it’d be fun to make a little adventure out of it, book a hotel, stay overnight and explore the area. It wasn’t my favorite trip — not a ton to do, but we did have a great time at his show at the Robin Theater, ate dinner at Lansing Brewing Company, brunch at Golden Harvest, a little window shopping in East Lansing, and then explored this little antiques district in Mason just south of Lansing. So all in all — a good little getaway!
Let's jump back a couple of weeks, shall we? It's been a whirlwind start to summer ever since Memorial Day weekend, that's for sure! If you didn't catch it on Instagram, Eric and I headed out to Ann Arbor over the long weekend to stay at Graduate Ann Arbor. The amazing folks there invited us to experience the hotel, grab a bite to eat at the Allen Rumsey Supper Club, and enjoy checking out the quaint downtown of Ann Arbor. We've been to Ann Arbor a couple of times before, but I've never stayed a full weekend, so it was great to have a bit more time to explore, walk around, check out some of the bars and restaurants, and do a little bit of shopping!
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Last weekend when we were in Detroit, we stopped to the Z Parking Lot. It was amazing! I had originally found out about it through a friend on Instagram who took a picture by this cute wall at the "Z Lot". I had no idea it even existed. It's just a parking ramp, but every level has a different mural and color scheme. It's honestly the most beautiful parking garage I've ever seen! Of course my favorite wall was the one at the very top. Thank goodness for sunshine! If you're in Detroit, I'd say the $10 entrance fee is worth it for some pictures and some awesome art! Plus if you actually need to park, double bonus! Detroit, you're awesome.
I'm obsessed right now with everything off-the-shoulder. I think I mentioned this in my last post, but I'm in love! Honestly I love anything that can show a little skin, without ever showing boobs or belly. I'm just not into the two B's (at least, on me). But off-the-shoulder tops or dresses, or cut-out backs to dresses... the best! I just purchased this dress from ASOS. It was super affordable, and it's just a simple jersey cotton fabric (so comfortable) and can be dressed up or paired with flops for the beach! Speaking of the beach, it honestly feels like summer here in Michigan already, and I love it.
After we explored the parking garage, we drove a few minutes to our friend Matt's restaurant, Bobcat Bonnie's. If you're ever in Detroit (or if you live there!), you must go. It's absolutely incredible, and I'm not just saying that because we love Matt to death. Everything is the best. The decor (swooned over their yellow bar stools!), the atmosphere, the cocktails, the food... every little bit of our experience was awesome. I got two cocktails: the strawberry rhubarb moscow mule and the peach sangria. Both were suuuper good, but my favorite was definitely the mule. For an appetizer, we shared the fried goat cheese (YUM) and Eric got the Bobcat Burger. I got the buffalo chicken nachos, which were to die for. 100% YES. Go go go!
I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! Our weekend was pretty good... we spent time with friends, had a BBQ, got frozen yogurt, and visited with my family for tacos! Unfortunately I had to go to the emergency eye doctor on Memorial Day morning so he could flip my eyelid and get something out (worst pain/watery eyes ever!) so that was pretty exciting. Eye situations are so scary! I've had to take some antibiotic drops (my eyelid was so swollen!) and I've had to wear my glasses for the last couple of days. And I just seriously loathe wearing glasses. But I can't complain, I'm super thankful I'm feeling better! Plus, it's a short week! Tomorrow is already Wednesday. Woo!
So last weekend, we headed out to Detroit to catch a concert and a Detroit Tigers game! We stayed the night in Rochester Hills, and drove to downtown Detroit the next morning. The company I work at buys season tickets every year, and we always have a raffle to give employees a game or two each season! It's awesome because the seats are really great, shaded and cushioned! We met up with two friends that drove in from GR and enjoyed a 70º day at the ballpark!
Comerica Park is a such a great baseball stadium too. It's an open-air stadium, located right downtown Detroit. This stadium replaced Tiger stadium in 2000, so it's pretty new considering! A few fun things about Comerica Park... they have fireworks on the weekends, whenever the Tigers score a run a Tiger growls through the stadium speakers, and they also have a baseball ferris wheel and a themed carousel ride too. Plus, a million different food and drink options. I always love doing our annual trip to Comerica Park!
I went for a more casual look. I've never been into 'sporty' fashion, so I felt a little bit strange in a baseball hat and sneakers, but I also love to fit into my surroundings, so this outfit ended up being okay. I purchased this chambray top from the Ruche closing sale, and I love it, but it also semi feels like a work shirt, like something a serviceman would wear. Haha! So I guess that's just me today... serviceman, sporty Tiek. This probably won't happen again, so we'll just enjoy this now for the one post while it lasts. ;)
I'll be back with a post on an amazing parking garage we visited in Detroit! There is so much to explore in the city... we really have to go back and stay for a weekend. Plus there are even a few lighthouses I haven't seen yet in Detroit, which require boat trips on the Detroit River! Plus so many amazing places to eat and grab cocktails. I'm excited to go back... hopefully soon! If you're from Detroit, what are your recommendations?
U.S. ROUTE 12
After our day in Ann Arbor, we took U.S. Route 12 home to do a little bit of exploring. This highway has been on my Michigan bucket list for quite some time. It's often referred to as "Michigan's Forgotten Highway", and contains many abandoned treasures and historic landmarks along the way. After leaving Ann Arbor, we drove through Saline and Clinton (which looked to have cute downtown areas) and then I knew we had hit Irish Hills once we saw this sign. Not long after seeing the sign, the road starts to bend and turn a bit more, and then all of a sudden, you start to see the strangest things!
I first pulled off the road to check out this abandoned Irish Hills Fun Center. We pulled through the dirt drive, and I got out to snap a few pictures. There was a super overgrown mini golf area, an old water slide, along with a couple of boarded up buildings, including an arcade. The strangest thing I saw was this weird animal creature hanging out in the cave. Creepy, right? Once upon a time, U.S. Route 12 was a bustling tourism destination... now it's lined with abandoned amusement parks.
ABANDONED PREHISTORIC FOREST
I've been slightly dying to go and see the abandoned Prehistoric Forest. This roadside attraction was built in 1963. It had a safari train ride through the woods, which was filled with over 70 fiberglass statues of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. It also had a fossil digging pit, a volcano that smoked, and a 400-ft water slide added in the 80s. It closed in 1999 and has sat abandoned ever since. Unfortunately, vandals have damaged this park extensively, and it now has 'no trespassing' signs and security cameras everywhere. I would have loved to explore the entire forest, but we stuck to the rules and took photos from the road. Such an awesome place though. And slightly creepy too!
IRISH HILLS TOWERS
Just down the street, we came upon the historic and abandoned Irish Hills Towers. These are two wooden observation towers built in 1924. From the top, you could view a rolling landscape and several crystal blue lakes. The Michigan Observation Company built one tower, and the neighbor was mad and protested by building his own tower less than 5 yards away! They operated as separate entities through the 1950s, until a new owner bought them both. They closed in 2000, and were deemed unsafe. They started tearing them down, but after a meeting in September 2014, the township agreed to hold off demolition while the historical society continued fundraising to save the landmarks. Even though I'm not from the area, I would be so sad if they tore these down!
ST. JOSEPH SHRINE
Just another quick trip down the highway, we came to St. Joseph's Shrine. As part of the 1928 expansion of St. Joseph's Church, a shrine-inspired by the grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes in France was designed. Two Mexican artists sculpted the steps, archways and railings from wet cement to resemble stone and timber. There are fourteen outdoor stations, which depict scenes of the Via Dolorosa that Jesus walked to Calvary. We checked out a few of the sculptures, the colorful pathway, and some of the gravestones that date back to the 1850s.
CHERRY CREEK WINERY
Our last stop on U.S. Route 12 before heading north back to Grand Rapids was Cherry Creek Winery. For over 100 years, four generations have been making wines in this area. The winery is located in a historic 1870 schoolhouse, on a beautiful spot of land with plenty of outdoor seating. They also have Butter Fudge, Michigan Cherry Preserves, and a really delightful lunch menu. We paid for the $5 wine tasting, and also brought home a bottle of their Cranberry Passion wine. I'd also recommend their Root Beer Cider. Such a unique, yet familiar taste! Really yummy.
Well, that's it for our trip along Route U.S. 12! It's a super fun day trip, and in the summer, they have a lot more to see and do. I'd love to go back and explore Mystery Hill, Walker's Tavern and Historic Site, grab a bite at Randy's Road Side Bar-B-Que and stay at Stagecoach Stop Western Resort. Plus, I just read that they might be renovating the Irish Hills Towers for tours this upcoming summer! I'd love to go back and check that out. If you know of this area, and have any additional tips or things to do, let me know in the comments!
This past weekend, we decided to head out and spend a day in Ann Arbor! I've been to Ann Arbor a few times before, but never to really explore or check out the city. I've gone for different events, or concerts, but it was fun to go this time with no agenda. It's such a fun and vibrant city, and it's only two hours from us in Grand Rapids! There was a chapter in my favorite Michigan travel book called "Forgotten Highways: The Chicago & Territorial Roads" and it has you starting in Ann Arbor and taking U.S. Route 12 to explore Irish Hills. So that's what we decided to do! Read on to see what we did with our one day in Ann Arbor...
SWEETWATERS COFFEE & TEA
For coffee and a snack, we checked out Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea. There are five locations throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Eric went for a soy chai latte (my usual favorite) but I went for the owner's favorite, the Napali Brew. Inspired by the sandy beaches of Hawaii's Napali Coast, it's a blend of vanilla ice cream with espresso and hazelnut syrup, topped with whipped cream. It was insanely good! I also had to get an Ann Arbor cookie, which was also delicious. We spent a little bit of time there before walking around downtown. Although chilly, there were a lot of people out enjoying their Saturday!
Zingerman's Deli is an absolute classic in Ann Arbor, and since I had never been there, I knew we had to go. When we arrived, there was a line out the door, but we braved it! Located at the intersection of Detroit and Kingsley, it's right across from the Farmer's Market. The neighborhood was very vibrant and full of people out and about. I decided to go for one of their 'top ten' sandwiches – the Zingerman's Reuben. It's their own corned beef, Switzerland Swiss cheese, Brinery sauerkraut & Russian dressing on grilled, hand-sliced Jewish rye bread. It was so good! Even Barack Obama said "It's killer." Eric went for their creamy tomato soup. Well worth the wait, and a fun Ann Arbor experience!
For dinner, we decided to check out Frita Batidos after several recommendations. Known for their Cuban street food, the Frita is a burger traditionally made from spicy chorizo with shoestring fries on top. Batidos are tropical milkshakes made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, and sweetened milk. We decided to try both, opted for beef instead of chorizo, and it was incredibly delicious. But if I were to only recommend one item, it would be the garlic-cilantro shoestring fries with lemon-scented mayo. I nearly died and went to heaven after a bite of those. So yummy. Plus, it's a really cool, clean atmosphere with picnic style seating.
I know there's still so much left to explore in Ann Arbor, so if you have any tips or recommendations for our next visit, be sure to leave them in the comments! I'll be back with our trip along U.S. Route 12 through Irish Hills next! Have a great start to your week, and happy spring!