Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adventures in Detroit

If you live anywhere in the U.S., you've probably heard things about Detroit.  I know, at least, that whenever I'm out of town and tell someone "I'm from the Detroit area," their initial reaction is to draw back slightly and hold onto their purse. Maybe they thing I'm a gang member or a thug, or at least a little tougher than your average teenage girl. 

At which point I usually explain I'm from the suburbs. 

Usually. Sometimes I just go with the tough girl thing. It's kind of fun!

In spite of everything you've heard about Detroit or anything you're thinking of now after my description, it's not all shady, run-down buildings, graffiti, and liquor stores. The city has some really, really interesting stuff to offer - I think the fact that you have to dig through the rubble and avoid the gangsters to get to it makes it even more so! I kind of love the mixture of the the struggle of the present city and the beauty that's in its past or its hope for the future.

Belle Isle is one of those interesting places, and although it's seen better days, it is, after all, an ISLAND! (I really like islands) and it's full of history and hidden secrets and is just a bridge away from downtown Detroit. 

This monument is visible across a small lake as you're driving into the island, and the view is
striking. Its a fountain and it doesn't run anymore; it's one of those beautiful-past-struggling-present mashups, but it's still pretty grand and impressive.

Farther into the island is an outdoor boat museum. This one is an old coast guard boat, retired a long time ago from saving people but still in great climbing and standing on condition!

I didn't read up on these cannons, but I'd assume they came of of ships on Lake Erie. We had some fun with these.

After "cruising" around the island (as my grandpa calls it) for a while, seeing the sights and taking a few unplanned detours, we had worked up an appetite. I voted for authentic Detroit food and was informed that authentic Detroit food would include beer, Vernors, and Better Made potato chips.

We went to Panera Bread.

Which was still delicious. I ordered a shrimp caesar salad, which I devoured in a few seconds.

After having ourselves a good meal, we couldn't pass up a stop at one of about five ice cream shops that lined downtown Grosse Point. We went for Coldstone; in my opinion, some of the best ice cream money can buy.

Now, this is my favorite part.  I have always wanted to see the Heidelberg project, so when grandpa asked it there was anything else we wanted to see in the D, I whipped out my phone and ordered up directions to 3600 Heidelberg street, the official address for the outdoor guerilla art-esque exhibit that has become, as I understand, pretty famous over the last few years.  It's in a part of town that's especially grafitti-ed, run-down, and shady.  It's a project to show how creativity can be used to bring hope to Detroit, and I must say, they did a darn good job.

Art covers the houses of Heidelberg street . . .

and decorates the vacant lots in between.

Unfortunately, a torrential downpour started almost as soon as we stepped out of the car, so I snapped as many pictures I could before I felt myself begin to drown and we left for our little suburban bubble again. 

Have anything like this near you? Talk it up, and take me with you next time you visit!

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