Detroit, Michigan - August 2016

Detroit, Michigan – August 2016

I guess a good subtitle for this post should be: “Dear Detroit: Sorry but we’re just not that into you”.
Detroit gets a pretty bad rap. Leading up to our visit, there were probably a half dozen folks who we told that Detroit was on our destination list and who then gave us an incredulous or inquisitive look of shock. We persevered on though because hey, you never know till you go! Not only that, but Detroit is often on some of the TV shows which we watch – Anthony Bourdain no reservations, House Hunters, etc. – and these shows always seem full of cool Detroit highlights and how many things are developing there.

Call it our traveler’s ego but we hoped that we could find these diamonds in the rough…

We thought maybe it would be like the other turnaround cities such as Berlin & Cleveland that once struggled but now exude a hip and bustling vibe with lively arts scenes and maybe a few rough edges which only seem contrast and enhance all the energetic life of the city.

We tried to enjoy the sprawling suburbs, find interest in the Michigan U-turn (necessary since there is rarely a legal left turn option), take on the fairly limited “local” cuisine, enjoy our “wild” nature hikes with the background noise of major highways and shooting ranges and glimpses through the trees of major trash landfills…

After all that we said, you know, maybe there is an awesome hidden layer to Detroit that a week-long visit can’t uncover. Why else would millions of people choose to live here.

It just didn’t happen. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough. Sorry Detroit.
Here were the limited highlights:

There is a large population of Polish descent. It sounded like quite a few still speak Polish as well. There a couple very large Polish markets.

This aisle and the next one over – completely full of pickles – brought a smile to Elisa’s face!

The Heidelberg Project is an open-air art experience which has taken over a couple blocks of a poor neighborhood east of downtown, otherwise full of abandoned lots and houses in the middle of collapse.

More scenes of the Heidelberg Project

More scenes of the Heidelberg Project

More scenes of the Heidelberg Project

More scenes of the Heidelberg Project

The Ford towers are definitely cool – like a pistol pointing towards the sky. Reminds us of Toronto and all the reflective glass in downtown there.

We toured the Ford rouge river plant (the first Ford assembly line), as well as the adjacent museum of technology. Both were fascinating and worth a stop when passing through.

The Yates cider mill was close to our hotel on the north side of the city in Utica, MI. The fresh pressed cider and warm apple donuts were on par with the best we’ve ever had.

This is the ancient apple press for cider which is still in use and powered by the watermill on the front of the building.

Being quite hot outside, we spent a fair amount of time inside working on our retail arbitrage. This was the third luggage cart we rolled out of our room – probably to the surprise of the hotel staff.