Tag Archives: detroit

Detroit is Two-Faced

Detroit is two-faced! Or is it us that is two- faced toward her? I suppose your opinion would be based on your most recent experience.

You may be in love with the D today because your summer taxes are paid, the weather is perfect and you just had a fantastic lunch outdoors at your favorite local spot. Whereas, tomorrow you hate her because you ran over a broken bottle, got a flat tire AND a parking ticket (as a result of not moving your disabled vehicle) and the Tigers lost to the frighin Royals, ugh!!

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Is the glass half full or half empty?

I chose to love the city on Sunday. I chose to be an optimist. Even though my dear hubby was stuck at work, I took a picnic lunch to him for his break and then took B to the River Walk to burn off some of his boundless toddler energy. I parked near my old building (free parking on Sundays) and walked through the Renaissance Center (because who doesn’t like a good puzzle on a Sunday) to the gleaming blue waters of the Detroit River.

Free Parking

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Gerbil Tubes Shooting off the RenCen

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Enjoying the sunshine and watching the boats.

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We sauntered down the River Walk past all of the pooches on the pet walk, the joggers and even one brave woman on rollerblades speedily pushing a stroller (woah!) to Wheelhouse Detroit where you can rent any bike complete with gear, totally awesome!

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The fountain and carousel were a big hit with B!

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The outdoor seating was plentiful, the grills were turning out some quality eats and the sun was beaming. We had just eaten our picnic lunch with Big Daddy, but once B caught sight of that slushie machine, there was NO WAY he was leaving without one. Sooo, my little man got his “special treat” of red dye #40 and he couldn’t have been happier.

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The playscape was just big enough for B to get his “swing on” but not get lost in an intricate web of shoots and ladders like some we’ve been to. It had beautiful benches, flowers, waste receptacles and clean, kid friendly bathrooms. There was also a HUGE free parking lot two feet away. Note to self, park there next time if not bringing a stroller!

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Here is the dichotomy: All of this beauty, cheer, food and fancy drawing your eyes to the river and the joys of being near it, but if you turn around… It’s a chained off, barren, seagull infested blight.

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This is where we make our choice
to love her or hate her, or maybe the third option is just allow ourselves to feel both. Isn’t that what a relationship is all about?

What are your most recent experiences in Detroit?

The Stroller Crew Hits a Detroit Hot Spot

Moms, babies and toddlers love to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Eastern Market is the perfect place to do it, especially for the new Tuesday market. The Tuesday market is like the “best of” from the massive Saturday market, from my “mommy” perspective. I looove Saturdays at Eastern market for the sheer volume and amazing vibe, but I can barely weave my way through the crowd myself, let alone with a stroller!

You might not grab a Bloody Mary at Viviano’s with little ones in tow, but you’ll have your choice of locally sourced grass fed beef burgers with homemade buns at Ned’s food truck (totally cool converted airstream) with their farm fresh accouterment. Of course what kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?!? The Mac Shack has the most decadent options I’ve ever seen on this comfort food classic, a must-try.

Tuesdays market has all of my favorites. Coffee from the caboose cart, fresh leafy greens from Vang’s, made-that-morning bread and bouquets of gorgeous flowers to brighten any day.
We tasted artisanal cheese, strawberry rhubarb jam, kale chips, pickles and even had a go on the xylophone! You can’t get THAT at the zoo!
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If the little ones may ask for a cool treat on a sunny day, don’t deny them (or you). It doesn’t have to be a market day for you to enjoy Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream from Mootown Ice Cream shoppe. Try a double decker sundae, smoothie or even quesadillas!

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Grandma holding B while he tried his hand as a street performer.

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Bathroom details: Bringing a potty training toddler anywhere can be daunting. “Potty Breaks” are frequent and it’s important to know where the good potty spots are. I chose the bathroom in DeVries (formerly R. Hirt Jr.) which lies between Shed 2 and Viviano’s. Head to the back wall of their delicious shop for a one person private toilet which your stroller might actually fit into. Otherwise, it’s rural rest stop accommodations in the public stalls next to the Welcome Center in Shed 3.

Bonus: Shed 3 was open but not full of vendors like on a Saturday. It was an enclosed wide open safe space to let the toddlers run. There were some street performers from a Krav Maga studio which were pretty interesting. There was even a business making an attempt at a “kid zone” offering a bean bag toss and face painting. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t go over to investigate because if B saw something he could throw he would’ve hurt someone or something. Plus, face painting gives me the heebeejeebee’s.

Parking: At 10am on a Tuesday it was easier to find parking than on 7am Saturday. We got lucky with a spot directly in front of Viviano’s.

By an hour and a half we had filled our market baskets and sampled our way through the entire market. A quick side trip to Whole Foods (literally around the corner on Mack Ave) and it was a fun and filling morning.

B returning our cart at Whole Foods.

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Me and B enjoying our tasty lunch, YUM!

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Detroit Prince (SS)

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A beautiful day for a boat ride! The hum of the engine acts as a lullaby while the summer breeze tickles the toes through flip-flops (or flippers, as B calls them). The gentle touch of a toddlers hand is the icing on the cake. Although other “rulers” may be official in the two countries we are balancing between, B is truly a prince today.

As we slide through ancient glacial pathways that now separate two countries, one is tempted to think of those who swam, paddled and sunk in these depths. I am reminded of the constant balance battle between man and nature as a huge plume of steam rises from a smokestack along the rivers edge.

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The Detroit Princess Cruise line is NOT a sponsor nor did they compensate me in any way to take their cruise. I purchased a Groupon and took the chance on a sunny July day that my two year old could miss his nap and still enjoy the river.

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Facts:
Daily outings at 1:00 and 3:30PM at Bishop Park in Wyandotte (behind the Henry Ford Hospital and Bacon Memorial Library) and a separate boat has the same schedule at Hart Plaza/ RiverWalk. All passengers are taken on a first come first served basis do try to arrive thirty minutes before boarding and be prepared to stand in line, even if you’ve purchased your tickets in advance.

Good to know:
The ramp (the gang plank?!) was too skinny to fit the stroller through so we had to “unload it”, fold it and carry kiddo and everything else on board. Once on board we could’ve stayed in the dining area but attempted going up on the covered deck. Found a nice shady wooden bench (relief) after braving metal stairs that were more like a ladder (yikes). The bathroom was much like you would find on an airplane, so diaper changes would need to be done ” al fresco”. You can bring drinks and snacks on board for the 0-5 year olds but anyone 6+ better have cash on hand for anything else available at the bar.

At $17 per person 6+ years old for a two hour cruise it’s a fine family value, though I’m glad I had a half off deal.

Does your toddler love the water? If so, what water fun have you had this summer?

A trip to Trader Joe’s is just as educational as the zoo, right?

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A quick morning errand turned into an education for mom & tot.

Visiting the new Trader Joe’s on Telegraph Rd. and Maple (15 Mile Rd.) gave B the chance to explore hands- on fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains from around the globe. Sipping coffee from a just-his-size sample cup (what, your toddler doesn’t like coffee?) and pushing his cart, he was allowed to be the “big boy” that he so fiercely proclaims to be. We talked about colors, letters, shapes, smells and textures all while trying to watch our manners (no running into the ankles of other patrons with your cart). B showed me and everyone at the store he was more than worthy of that free organic lollipop the cashier offered him.

Zoo, schmoo, how can watching a seemingly lifeless lioness (no matter how close that new glass enclosure can get you) compare to cool air conditioned independence??

Thank you Trader Joe’s, see you next week!

Moo Cluck Moo Review

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Moo Cluck Moo- restaurant review

http://www.moocluckmoo.com/

Cross Streets: Telegraph Rd. & Joy Rd.

Bathroom: NONE (apparently when you are a “carry out only” establishment you are not required to offer any facilities to your customers.)

Food: YUM to the capital Y U and M. We used our groupon for two “all american BBQ” burgers and added regular fries (although they had many options) and a salted caramel chocolate milk shake. An amazing pickled cole slaw topped my BBQ burger that blew my mind, it was SO good!

Seating: A few bar height two tops inside and some rickety two tops outside on the blacktop within feet of cars whizzing by at 60mph. We attempted to dine outside as the inside was jammed but found it too challenging to balance a toddler on one knee and eat. Plus, you could barely hear each other talk with the whooshing of traffic.

Staff: The employees were amazing. I would be happy if any of them were my neighbor or lab partner.

To solve the “family dining” issue we drove a few blocks off Telegraph to a playground attached to a school. It was in a cute brick home lined neighborhood and we attempted to eat “picnic style”. However, as soon as B saw the playscape, he was off and running, big daddy in hot pursuit!

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This is a picture of the school parking lot. There was one other family there that looked like they had the same meal plan we did.

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Overall, I felt good about giving B a “fast food” burger from here. I was just surprised about the “carry out only” scenario. Now that I am prepared, I can go with the right attitude to fully enjoy this great food served up by an uber friendly staff.

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Cruisin’

Cruisin'

Ahhh, there’s nothing better than the feeling of the wind in your hair when the rubber meets the road, especially in these cool trikes!

Elizabeth Park, Trenton, MI

closest main corner: West Rd. & Jefferson

We took our bikes and trikes for a lovely loop around the park (approx. 1/2 mile) then played for over an hour on their handicap accessible play structure. B and his friends (ages 2-4) were able to safely manage the climbing and sliding leaving the adults to enjoy the day on the nearby shaded picnic tables. Delightful!

Restroom: Inside the main new brick structure at the crest of the loop. Clean with baby changing table.

Extras: Beautiful water views, lots of photo opportunities. Mature shade trees. Mulched hiking path through the center with a woodsy feel.

Funsies:
*bring food for the ducks and geese
*skateboards welcome inside the skate park

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