Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Day in Detroit

It was a gloomy day but we had no gloom in our hearts or our step as we headed to Detroit for a day of fun, music and a visit with the Baby Grand! Our primary destination was to be the Detroit Symphony but Rick, Kate and I left early to prowl around the revitalizing city of Detroit.

Since our plans for a picnic or extensive outside walking were somewhat curtailed by the weather, we decided we'd visit the area of Indian Village. This is a neighborhood of architecturally significant homes built during the arts and crafts period of the early 20th century.

The area held special significance for Rick. His great grandmother, Catherine Armstrong Acklin, was from this area and her sister, Aunt Josie Hibbard, also lived there after her marriage. We didn't know the address but wanted to check it out and see what it might have been like.

We had a bit of an idea. Photos from Rick's cousin Mary's album gave an idea of what the inside of one of these homes might have looked like during the period.

Back in the day, the Armstrong's neighbors included automobile legends Edsel Ford and Henry Leland, who founded Lincoln and Cadillac.

The homes were large, some behind gates, others with carriage houses.

Most of the homes were in the style of the Arts and Crafts movement, Tudor or what I would call traditional American.

Please, if there are any architecture mavens here, please add your two cents to the comments!

There was one fairly looking modern home I liked, though you couldn't see much of it from the street.

 But most were open to the street with lovely lawns looking lush in the soft rain.

We'd missed the garden tour (The Hibbard home had been on the garden tour -- if only we'd known!) but it was clear that everyone had their yards neatly done for their guests, hedges clipped. It was clear that when the garden tour took place a week or two before, that the trees had been in full flower and one can only imagine how lovely it was.

A group of intrepid cyclists were out for the day as well. You couldn't pick a nicer neighborhood to cycle through.

Yet one block over, it was clear that this was Detroit, less revitalized, less preserved. The homes were more rundown, vacant lots overgrown.


From Indian Village we headed to Belle Isle. Belle Isle is an Island in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada that is 982  acres. It's the home of the yacht club, Coast Guard, a Great Lakes museum, a golf course, aquarium, nature zoo (with displays of lizards, turtles, snakes and more!), loads of picnic areas and much more.

We stopped at the nature zoo.  As you might expect, I was captivated by the birds!

And the displays. See that little egg in the back row? My gallstone was that size! (Considering that the gallbladder is about the size of a lemon or a deck of cards, it's no wonder I was in the ER!)

After heading back to park by Orchestra Hall, we took the new Queue streetcar to the heart of downtown Detroit where we enjoyed a terrific lunch at a restaurant called the Broderick Grille.

It was a happy accident to discover it but the salads were delicious and huge and Rick was loving his chicken pesto sandwich and parmesan fries.

A good waiter like Bobby, who kept our glasses filled made us happy diners!

We walked back to Orchestra Hall, afraid we might miss the Queue. (It's new and the schedule needs a little work!) As we did we passed by my favorite Fox Theatre...

...and Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers.

I noted some great architectural details along the way -- Kate pointed out these fabulous church doors.

Concert time! A couple photos from the lobby of Orchestra Hall. I loved this art installation...

...this interesting piece...

...and the view of the lobby from the upper lobby. (OK, truth be told, I had to hang my camera out over the ledge because looking down from here kicked my vertigo into such high gear I was tingling all over!

The concert included a magnificent rendition of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy) and a pretty weird adaptation of Bob Dylan songs sung by a soprano to music by John Corgliano. You could barely hear her over the orchestra and the music was -- well, let's just say they should have stuck to Dylan's tunes. Fortunately, the 9th made up for it! Time for dinner!

And dinner was at Kevin and Molly's where we got to see our Baby Grand!

I probably don't have to tell you how happy this little guy makes us.

What's really lovely is seeing his parents interact with him. The next day was Molly's first day back at work and she was excited and I think both were a little anxious about the little guy's first experience in day care. (He did well!)

And then it was off to home.  And by then, I think we were all ready for bed.

A wonderful day.

Happy to share this week with Monday Social and Share Your Cup when links become available!


Valerie-Jael said...

Wow, what a wonderful day out you had. The nearest I ever got to Detroit was three hours at the airport in Chicago.... The houses look wonderful, what treasures, I would love to see how they look inside. Glad you also met nice people, like your waiter with the wonderful smile, and of course, your baby grand....he is so cute! Hugs, Valerie

La Table De Nana said...

Sweet as sugar:) Bébé is beautiful and so is mommy..look at her caring for him..the look of love..and Rick has it are all beaming around him I know.. I remember:)

Fun fun fun!

Gosh I have not seen my husband in a jacket since our eldest married 10 years ago!
Looks like you had fun.
Detroit does have staely homes..:) The last Detroit armchair travel tour was with Anthony Bourdain..he always shows the roughest parts..
I loved seeing the interior before when pics too..sent you an email to the addy you gave me a while ago..did u get it?Bon weekend!

Mae Travels said...

You have so much flair for finding things to see -- I've lived near Detroit for decades and didn't even know about Indian Village. Basically for me it's the DIA, period. And I went to a baseball game once.

Have you visited the mansion at Cranbrook? It's from the same era as Indian Village, with interior preserved. Also near the interesting museum & school, similar era.

best... mae at

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Loved seeing Detroit in a whole different way than I had imagined! You find beauty all around you, Jeanie! It's so lovely to see the rich history, the cultural offerings and, of course, the Grand Baby through your eyes!

My name is Erika. said...

Glad to hear that Detroit is coming back. It's had such a bad reputation for a long time. Those homes you showed were just gorgeous. Too bad the whole area isn't coming back but it all takes time. Baby grand is adorable and it was the perfect crappy offnof what seems like a wonderful day. Happy long weekend. Hugs erika

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I was really impressed with those homes. The modern one looks like something Frank Lloyd Wright would have designed. It was definitely later than some of the other homes you showed.

If I ever get back to Detroit, I want to visit "The Heidelberg Project". I think it deserves a mention because the man who started the project (Tyree Guyton) did so to lift up the neighborhood. And of course, there are the many, many buildings that now have street art.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful day and evening with us because it looks like you had a fantastic trip and time.

Red Rose Alley said...

What a nice visit you had in Detroit, Jeanie. The homes are so charming. They remind me of the homes we have nearby that are in the 40's that everyone drives by to see. I love that red brick house. What a great idea to look at the comparison of the homes in Rick's photo album. The egg display is delightful at the nature zoo. That Fox Theatre is such an old building, I wonder how old it is? The baby looks sweet resting on Rick's chest. Thanks for taking us along on your trip to Detroit. It was filled with lots to see and do.


Pam Jackson said...

What a beautiful subdivision. Love those big older homes like that. Really cool seeing your pics of the insides. Looks like you had an awesome time. I understand the new moms feelings about leaving that little cutie for the first time. Such a doll baby. Thanks for sharing.

Silver Willow said...

what a glorious day, and such an adorable baby!

Sandra Cox said...

What a lovely time and what a darling baby.

Kitty said...

What a delightful tour. Did you get an address for the Hibbard home when you found out about the tour? I first learned about Indian Village through Antiques Roadshow when they produced from there. Carson is getting so big - thanks for all the pictures of family. You are a very special gal. Next time you go to that area you need to take in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield village. The are both wonderful. I took a horse buggy tour of the village and it was really informational - and you get to go to the head of the line at the most popular sites.

Joyful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyful said...

What a sweet looking baby grand :-) Your waiter Bobby also has a sweet and kind face.

As always your photos are fantastic. It was lovely to see the grand homes of Detroit. They are simply beautiful and I didn't know they existed as we only ever see (on tv), the parts of the city that are in disrepair. I'm happy to hear and see that the city is being revitalized.

Tracy said...

How LOVELY are those Arts & Crafts period homes! It's a sad thing how on one street some lovely home. And the a street or two away everything's a bit run down... :( What a grand day out though, Jeanie! It's always so wonderful to learn more about where you around and the arts scene there! My goodness how little C has grown... Baby Grand, I love that! ;) And he certainly is grand--what a beauty! ((HUGS))

Rita C. said...

It was fun, tagging along on your day trip, Jeanie. The pictures of Rick's great-grandmother's neighborhood remind me of a couple of our city's neighborhoods - always cyclists, runners and walkers coming and going, big, established homes. And every neighborhood, it seems, has its edges of where another, less affluent or more rundown neighborhood, butts against it. That's America. Glad your day was so well-rounded. Baby apropos a name for that little guy! He's growing and showing wonderful personality, so cute.
Have a great weekend.

Joanne Huffman said...

Looks like a great day. I really must get to Detroit sometime - haven't been since 1980. Great baby pictures!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, even though it was a rainy day I think is was a grand day. We love doing day tripping here and I sure enjoyed tagging along with you on yours. Love the old homes, if only we could tour inside! I'm sure the garden tour was stunning when everything was in bloom. Lovely nature shots on Belle Isle and fun lunch and the symphony. Loved seeing the baby grand, he's sure growing. What a great way to end a lovely day. Happy Memorial Day weekend..........

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds like it really was a wonderful day, and made even better by the visit with your baby grand!

Beth Leintz said...

Jeanie- Really enjoyed your pictures of the houses and sites of Detroit. It's nice to be reminded of what a grand city it was. And Baby Grand is such a sweetie- I'm sure you're delighted with any chance you have to visit.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Thanks so much for the great trip, loved tagging along. The homes sure were beautiful and big. There yards are stunning and I bet the garden tour was something to see.

Great photos - thank so much.

That little grand is so cute and what a sweet baby. He sure like to cuddle with Rick.
So glad you got to spend time with him and his parents.

Have a terrific weekend.


Bella Rum said...

Thanks for the tour. What beautiful homes.

It looks like you didn't let the rain get you down. We've decided not to let it deter us from our day trips either. We've had so much rain lately. You just have to keep going.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

HE HAS GROWN SO FAST, Jeanie! What a cutie he is!!!!!! He will make his teachers in school so happy; some of my favorites were the little boys with their wondrous exploits! teeeheeeee

OH isn't it fun to explore the city? Detroit's fabulous homes, they look like the Minneapolis and St. Paul homes we love.

Are ya enjoying the beginning of summer fun? I have three days left of school and grade entering and then I am as free as that blue jay....WOO HOO!

anno said...

What a fun excursion! That modern/Frank Lloyd Wright-esque home with the red brick looks like it would be wonderful to explore.

Interesting, too, how our children encourage us to explore places we might not otherwise have visited. Thanks to m., even M & I (committed homebodies) have made our way into Detroit this year. We sure enjoyed the architectural treasures--and the vibrant sense of possibility that pervades the place these days. ...

Baby grand sure looks happy, too -- and who wouldn't be, with so many people who adore him! Best to his parents as they navigate all the changes this new life will bring: may they enjoy them all!

Pam Richardson said...

Sweet Jeanie, what a fabulous day that you all had in Detroit. The tour of the old homes was spectacular...loved seeing all the architecture. But, I know seeing Baby Grand was the best part of your time in Detroit! Happy Memorial Day!

Sandra Cox said...

Those homes are amazing!
Enjoy your weekend.

Lynne said...

Sounds like a wonderful day . . .
Love the cradtsman/Frank Loyd Wright style homes and area . . ,
It has always been my favorite.
Spending time with Mr Little must have been a treat.
My oh my, he is growing and changing.
Handsome baby . . .

Marcia said...

Quick stop today to catch up. Beautiful faces and places as always, wings for my day. Baby grand is simply ...grand.
Lovely weekend, Jeanie.

Tammie Lee said...

It looks like you had a wonderful outing in so many ways.
Such a lovely neighborhood and cute wee baby!

Gosh to the size of your gallstone!

shoreacres said...

Yes, yes... the baby is wonderful and the homes are grand and the concert was great, but! That egg! Oh, my goodness. You're right to say no wonder you had a trip to the ER! Clearly, you're better off without that thing, and I'm so glad you're able to enjoy all that life has to offer now without those concerns!

Jeanne Washburn said...

I've never been to the homes...what a fun trip...and your baby is so precious...thanks for sharing the fun. :)

Jann Olson said...

Baby grand is such a sweetie! I'm glad that you didn't let the rain damper your fun. It sure did make everything look beautiful! Looks like a wonderful visit!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Barbara said...

I haven't been to Detroit since maybe the 1970's, I think. It was so nice to see it again after so many years. We only hear about the despair in Detroit these days, but, those grand old homes seem to be holding up pretty well. After seeing your post, I would like to revisit Detroit. By the way, that baby is so precious and beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Jeanie.

Marilyn Miller said...

What a sweet little guy. Loved seeing the pictures of Rick holding him. Also loved that neighborhood in Detroit. I could live in any of those gorgeous homes. It looks like you had a terrific little trip.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love the homes in that area of Detroit! How beautiful! They kind of remind me of the homes by the lakes in south minneapolis - at least the more grand ones! A lot of homes in our neighborhood are also arts & crafts homes. Ours isn't, but I hope our next hope is!

I love the 9th! Such a beautiful piece of music! And I really love the pictures of your grandbaby. Gosh he is a cutie. I see a lot of Kevin in him!

Rosalie said...

It sounds like you had a lovely time exploring the city! Detroit is my hometown, so I always appreciate when visitors seek out the actual treasures in the city rather than dwelling on 'ruin porn'.

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