The weather was forecasted to be rainy all weekend long, canceling our plans for a fall camping trip. After some back and forth, and some research on Hotwire, we decided to go to Detroit. Per usual, we compiled a list of must see, eat and do that was longer than the time we had available. But we squeezed a lot in and left with a desire to come back soon and finish our list.
The ladies of the weekend were able to leave early Friday afternoon and enjoy a leisurely drive across the state. We fit in two Starbucks visits, a stop for a swimsuit find at Marshall's, and a late lunch at The Cosmo's in Lansing. In addition, we survived nearly being swiped off the road a few miles from our hotel - welcome to Detroit. The guys joined us later that evening and we made our plan of attack for Saturday, narrowing down our pre-trip google doc and making group decisions like the bosses we are.
We began our Saturday with brunch at Gold Cash Gold, pulling up outside their doors just as they opened. Everything we had was delicious, but I personally recommend the fried chicken biscuit sandwiches. It's hard to go wrong with anything described as "pickle brined." Following brunch we walked through Eastern Market. I was amazed at how low the prices were and noticed that the vendors here really sell their produce, something you don't hear as much at the Fulton Street Farmers Market here in Grand Rapids.
After the market we parked the car and walked over to the Renaissance Center. We walked around on a rooftop patio and enjoyed the view of Canada and the Detroit River. Then we headed back to ground level and strolled the river walk, which has been nicely developed to include a world map, green spaces, and a water feature in addition to a nice wide path for biking and walking along the riverfront.
Back up we went for a ride on the people mover. The elevated train takes you the long way from the Ren Center to Greek Town, so you get a feel for how dead downtown is on a Saturday (with no sporting events taking place). We strolled through Greek Town, stopping at a bakery that wasn't worth writing home about, and then decided to head for some coney dogs. American Coney Island was enjoyed by all, but most of us were too fill to do a comparison with Lafayette next door. Conensus seems to be that the service is better at American but the food is better at Lafayette.
The group split up for a bit after this so some could enjoy shopping and others could grab coffee and hang at Campus Martius Park. Sitting next to the fountain at the park and people watching served as a reminder that we were in the big city, despite how few people walked by compared to what you'd find on a Saturday in Chicago. Once the shoppers joined us back at the park we decided to head to Atwater Brewery - delicious beer, fairly chaotic service. We took a little walk along the river near the brewery to clear our heads and then drove over to Belle Isle.
While there are seemingly some interesting things to do on Belle Isle (the aquarium for one), it was late in the day and most things were closed. So we drove around - getting out at times to explore hobbit houses, giant slides and abandoned theme parks. We headed out of the city for the day and enjoyed dinner at Vinsetta Garage in Royal Oak. I can't recommend their deep fried cheese curds enough - they're magic! Following dinner we hurried back to throw on our suits and take a dip in the hotel pool. Sadly, 2/5 of our crew had to head home after the swim.
We started off the day with breakfast sandwiches at the Detroit Institute of Bagels. Then we walked through the two Heidelberg Project sites. Our time in the city was capped off with a visit to Sister Pie - the one place I had insisted we visit that weekend. Their salted maple pie was even better than I had expected - chilled and served alongside a cup of hot coffee it will blow your mind, I promise.
After stopping at Sister Pie, we headed out to Bloomfield Hills to visit a friend and get a tour of Cranbrook. The campus is beautiful and the weather turned out to be perfect. Our time in Detroit ended with sushi from Noble Fish, enjoyed at a sunny picnic table out front.
A weekend away in Detroit had us feeling like we were farther from home than we really were - at times it was like we were in another country. The great part is we were just on the other side of Michigan and another slice of salted maple pie is only a couple hours away!