Must See Historic Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Visit the Botanical Gardens at Cranbrook National Historic Landmark #Michigan #traveldestinations #thingstodo #gardens

These must see botanical gardens are located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. As a registered National Landmark filled with amazing history, the beautiful gardens and grounds of the manor can be seen at every turn. As you explore the area you’ll experience the sounds of water streaming from iconic fountains, heavenly smells of flowers, and brightly colored trees & foliage in the fall. There are over 40 acres you must see at the historic Cranbrook Botanical Gardens. Explore the manor as you wander scenic trails throughout the grounds.

Explore the Must See Historic Botanical Gardens at Cranbrook

Cranbrook Lake Walk

When to Visit the Gardens

ADMISSION & HOURS

  • Free Admission; donations encouraged
  • Open May 1 – October 31
  • Open daily; including weekends from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Unfortunately dogs are not allowed
Sunken garden flowers at Botanical Gardens on the Cranbrook manor. #spring #flowers #bloom #thingstodo #michigan

Spring

If you’re interested in sunshine and warmer temperatures, I recommend visiting in the beginning of May. You’ll see spring flowers on trees, blooms throughout the Cranbrook grounds and trails, and cooler temperatures. Spring & Fall are my recommended times to visit the Botanical Gardens based on temperatures and drastic changes to the plants. Spring months are between April – May. March is cold and rainy.

Summer

The weather in the Great Lakes State changes often and quickly. The weather forecast can go from sunny & 80F to rainy and 50F within a couple hours. The flowers are thriving in the summer, and you’re guaranteed tons of beautiful flower blooms. Summer months are between June – August and will sometimes continue into September.

Fall

The fall season starts in mid September, ending around end of October, beginning of November. In the first two weeks of October the leaves start changing into brilliant colors of yellow, orange, & red. The fountains may not be in service depending on weather temperatures. In fall the leaves start to change turning the green trees orange, red, and yellow colors.

Winter

Unfortunately the gardens are not open for winter.

Cranbrook National Historic Landmark

How to Get to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

The nearest major airport to Birmingham is Detroit Metropolitan International Airport, (DTW). The airport is about 31 miles from the city center. Flint Bishop International Airport is the second major airport. Unfortunately it is not as budget friendly as Detroit. Flights are limited, and the airport is located 49 miles from Birmingham. If you are parking at your departure airport, save time by making a parking reservation.

You can rent a car from the airport to get around the city and explore more of what Michigan has to offer.

Download the Cranbrook App for tours, interactive maps, visitor info, and more. The grounds are 40 acres and you can easily get lost, which is fun if you have the time!

Succulent Arrangement at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Where to Stay When Visiting Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Holiday Inn hotel close to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

Budget Friendly

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Townsend Hotel best spot to stay in Bloomfield Hills Michigan

THE TOWNSEND HOTEL

Downtown Birmingham

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Double Tree Hilton Bloomfield Hills Michigan

DOUBLE TREE HILTON

Close to Gardens

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Best Things to do at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

  • Fountain of Santa Maria
  • Weeping Zeus
  • Courtyard Garden
  • Library Garden
Cranbrook Botanical Gardens
  • Cherub Fountain
  • Daffodil Hill
  • Shady Walk
  • Birthday Garden
  • Sundial Garden
  • Banyai Hosta Garden
  • Japanese Garden
  • Butterfly Garden
Cranbrook House

Cranbrook House

Cranbrook is located on the Cranbrook Educational Community campus is filled with rich history, beautiful craftsmanship, iconic sculptures, and . The campus is a National Historic Landmark, home to the oldest manor house in metro-Detroit. The gardens are maintained by a local volunteer-run organization.

The Cranbrook House

The Cranbrook house was designed in 1908 by local renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn, and home to the family of George & Ellen Booth for 40 years! As you explore the grounds you’ll see the best craftsmanship of that time reflected in each area of the house, landscapes, and gardens.

Rainbow Fountain - Cranbrook Botanical Gardens in Birmingham Michigan #michigantravel #thingstodo #traveldestinations #botanicalgardens

Rainbow Fountain

*2021 Update*

Due to the monetary strain caused by the pandemic, unfortunately the fountains and water features will not be running this year. The fountains are beautiful even without being turned on. So I still recommend visiting them on your trip to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens.

Sunken Gardens

The sunken gardens are one of the most BEAUTIFUL places at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens. They were my favorite garden throughout the entire visit. Bright colors popped in long symmetrical lines of flower beds surrounded by a castle wall.

Sunken Garden - Cranbrook

During our visit the lovely couple above were taking their engagement photos. I asked if I could photograph them while in the garden, and they happily said yes. Doesn’t she look so beautiful next to colors of the flowers with her dress? 😍

Japanese Garden at Cranbrook.  Located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden is surrounded by different types of beautiful bright colored Japanese Maples, and includes the famous red bridge.

Japanese Garden at Cranbrook.  Located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

One of the oldest Japanese Gardens in North America, you’ll see mature trees that are HUNDREDS of years old, towering high up into the sky. Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden is a peaceful garden surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll see large areas of big leaf Petasites, bright purple Liriope, and even some Tree Peonies. 

Top Hiking Trails in Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Japanese Garden Trail

Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden is located on the eastern edge of Kingswood Lake. You can reach the trailhead if you head east from upper north terrace. The garden started as a quaint rock garden and lily pond.  

Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Altar of Atonement

Location: The brow of a hill overlooking the Meeting House

Directly across Lone Pine Road from the altar is Christ Church Cranbrook. Built in 1927, this beautiful structure was given as a gift to the community.

The Altar of Atonement is a symbol of man’s need for atonement with God and with other human beings.

Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

The Bridge

The Bridge Trail will take you through a short woodsy whimsical stroll. Trail starts from the center of Cranbrook Botanical Gardens, known as the mountain leading you to the Greek Theatre.

Greek Theatre at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens in Bloomfield Hills Michigan
Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Kingswood Lake

Take a leisurely stroll around Kingswood lake. So you can admire the lake views, spot wildlife, and listen to the quiet sounds of nature. The walk around Kingswood Lake is around 0.65 miles, suitable for all ages.

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    The best #hiking trails and biking #trails in #Michigan

    Best Hiking Trails Near Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

    Clinton River Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
    • Trail category: Rail-Trail
    • Length: 16 miles
    • Trail end points: West Bloomfield Trail at Woodrow Wilson Blvd. (Sylvan Lake) and Macomb Orchard Trail at Dequindre Rd. (Rochester)
    Bike or #hike along the #Clinton River #trail in Rochester #Michigan
    Clinton River Trail

    One of my favorite trails in the area is the 16 mile Clinton River Trail. Walk or bike along the low elevation abandoned rail line. You will go through the heart of Oakland County, into the cities of Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills and Rochester. The trail rides along the Clinton River and is surrounding lush woodsy landscapes. Along the trail are cities downtowns, residential areas and parks.

    West Bloomfield Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
    • Trail category: Rail-Trail
    • Length: 6.8 miles
    • Trail end points: Haggerty Road south of Walnut Lake Road to Woodrow Wilson Blvd and Depew Dr. at Sylvan Manor Park/Clinton River Trail (West Bloomfield Township)

    The West Bloomfield trail frequently crosses the Clinton River. It continues as the Clinton River Trail to the east than the Macomb Orchard Trail. In downtown Rochester, you can break off from Clinton River Trail to the Paint Creek Trail via the Rochester Riverwalk taking you north to Lake Orion (the town I grew up in 🙂).

    Macomb Trail

    The Metro Connector Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Asphalt
    • Length: 2.5 miles
    • Trail end points: M-5 Trail and I-275 Trail

    The Metro Connector Trail closes the gap between two local favorites in Novi: the M-5 Metro Trail and the I-275 Metro Trail. Beginning on 13 Mile Road the trail pivots south along Meadowbrook Road. The M-5 Metro Trail further connects to the Michigan Air Line Trail.

    Kingswood Lake

    Take a leisurely stroll around Kingswood lake. So you can admire the lake views, spot wildlife, and listen to the quiet sounds of nature. The walk around Kingswood Lake is around 0.65 miles, suitable for all ages.

    Social Distancing in the Sunken Gardens of Cranbrook

    Social Distancing in Cranbrook Gardens

    You are encouraged to follow social distancing and other guidelines recommended by the CDC and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Orders. The bathroom facilities at the botanical gardens are not in service during the pandemic so keep that in mind as you plan your trip!

    Cranbrook Botanical Gardens are located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

    Guests are required to maintain at least 6 ft of distance from the grounds gardeners while they work. Logan and I chose to wear masks outside out of precaution. There were many people visiting as it was a Saturday. Be mindful as some of the paths are narrow.

    Cranbrook Botanical Gardens are located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history. #cranbrook #michigan #thingstodo #traveldestinations

    Courtyard Garden

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    The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park

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    Death Valley National Park is located on the California, Nevada state borders in the United States. Death Valley holds the title for driest, hottest, and lowest of all the U.S. National Parks. PLUS it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. In January, Logan and I spent the Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park. The plan was to see as much as we could in the time we had. The National Park was so amazing, we’re already planning our next trip back to explore more of this diverse landscape!

    The park entrance fee is $25 usd per vehicle per day- I have an annual pass ($80 usd) we used to get in. With over 3 million acres of wilderness, sand dunes, slot canyons, rocky rainbow peaks, and miles of back country roads to explore- where do you begin?! We flew into Las Vegas after work the Friday of MLK weekend and rented a car to make the 2 hour drive through the desert into Death Valley.

    Enjoy My Death Valley National Park Guide!


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    How to Get to Death Valley National Park

    PRO TIP: Make your rental car and camping reservations early. Spend the money on a 4×4 high clearance vehicle. You’ll need one if you plan to do the backcountry drives- that includes the famous racetrack. It’s 27 miles of HARD road to get there, and the ever logical Logan deemed our compact car  unfit for such conditions… preventing us from seeing the racetrack and other park sites (getting a flat or needing a tow truck in the middle of no where sounded not so fun).

    Day 1: Death Valley National Park East Side


    Stay the Night at Sunset Campground

    We spent more time dicking around in Vegas than we anticipated, so we got to the park a little later than planned, meaning we got to drive around in the dark looking for an open site… the campground is first come first serve and there were plenty of spots (it seems we’ve made setting up camp in the dark an unintentional tradition). The campsite didn’t have a fire pit or picnic table but the campground had water and flush toilets (no showers). The sites weren’t very private and it felt like we were in a giant parking lot more than a campground. We set up our tent facing to the darkest side, and watched the sky light up with stars.  

    sunset campground

    Artists Scenic Drive Loop

    This scenic loop drive is 9 miles of paved road that takes you through multi-hued colorful volcanic and sedimentary hills. We had the the one way road to ourselves so we took our time as we drove. As the famous Artist Palette came into view we got out at the pull off and explored further into the rock formations for a small hike. Our little compact car did fine on the paved road.

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    Natural Bridge Hiking Trail

    We did a few hikes in our time at the park, but this by far was our favorite. The road to get here is rough and rocky, we didn’t think our car was going to make it- thank God it did. The out and back hike took us 1 mile round trip from the natural bridge formation- bbbbbut don’t stop there!

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    We hiked back as far as we could get past the bridge (another mile or so) and the dramatic canyon turned to beautifully colored marble walls glistening around us. You could see the remains of a dried up waterfall, and how the powerful element carved it’s mark permanently into the earth. It was incredibly pretty, and the tall narrow canyon kept us shaded from the sun.

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    Badwater Basin

    It was 75 degrees and sunny when we walked a mile out to the salt flats 282 ft below sea level- the lowest point in North America. There was no shade, and in the dead of winter- we were hiking in Death Valley, and for the first time- we felt it. I’ve seen salt flats in Bolivia, and they were miles and miles long.

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    couple salt flat.jpg

    But these were the first salt flats with water I’d seen, and it was an incredible sight (and another reason I FREAKING LOVE MY TEVAS). I walked out into the salty water expecting the lake I saw before me to get deeper as  walked further out. The water never went above my ankle in depth- and from afar it looked to others as if I was walking on water. It was a magical experience.

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    Zabriskie Point

    If you’re looking for the best spot to catch a sunrise or sunset- this is it. The golden colored badlands make for an amazing backdrop to natures free shows each day. Start your day or end your day here- you won’t be disappointed either way you do it. We missed the point coming into the park at night, so we made sure we caught it on our way back out!

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    Day 2: Death Valley National Park North Side

    Stone Pipe Wells Campground

    We spent our 2nd night in this first come first serve campground that’s only open during the winter season; the campground has tent only sites everywhere, and a lot of private options; we had a beautiful view outside our tent of the mountains across the desert- there’s flush toilets and water, but no fire pits or picnic tables.

    stone pipe wells campground

    Ubehebe Crater

    Hundreds of years ago, a massive volcanic explosion happened in Death Valley. Magma mixing with an underground spring caused the explosion that created this 600 ft deep crater. As we drove to the trail head you could see the landscape around us changing from light colored brown tones to dark volcanic black sand. You can hike the full rim of the crater (around 1.5 miles round trip) but we were short on time, so we hiked to see little ubehebe crater and enjoyed the views before heading back down.

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    Ubehebe Crater Overlook in Death Valley National Park
    Road in Death Valley National Park leading to Ubehebe Crater

    Mosaic Canyon

    This was the hike I was most excited about. The 4 mile hike took us through polished marble narrows, and required a bit of rock climbing (scrambling). It was beautiful walking through the labyrinth of smooth rock.. The colorful walls changed in color and texture along the hike, making for gorgeous photo opportunities.

    mosaic 2
    The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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    Rainbow Canyon

    We ended our day exploring the west side of the park. As soon as I saw their was a “rainbow canyon” I knew we couldn’t leave without seeing it. The drive takes a couple hours, so we stocked up on fuel and road trip snacks in Stovepipe Wells Village before heading towards the canyon. The drive to Father Crowley Vista was one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever done. A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders turns to rainbow canyon with an explosion of color. As you’re driving through the mountains you can see the colors start to pop the closer you get.

    rainbow 1
    The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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    Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

    Hike to the largest dune field in the park for another great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. You can walk as far out into the dunes as you want, the hike to summit the highest is about 2 miles roundtrip. We walked through the sand up and down the dunes until we found the perfect sunset viewing peak, all to ourselves.

    dunes 1
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    The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking


    Furnace Creek Campground

    We spent our last night back on the east side of the park (where the only showers in the park were)- it was MLK Day, and the park entry and camping was free for the holiday! We were expecting a huge crowd but we had no issue finding a site on the first come first serve sites. It was our favorite campsite, we had a picnic table, a fire ring, and nobody around us. Of course the night we have furniture the clouds decided to be assholes- we didn’t see one star that night. Instead we were kept awake by the howling of the locals (aren’t they just adorable?!?).

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    furnace creek camp

    Download your Death Valley Checklist of must see activities!


    Know Before You Go

    • Showers are only available at the privately owned Furnace Creek Resort. It’s $5 per person for a pool pass that gives you access to their pool & showers/locker room. **These are the only showers in the entire park, and if you’re camping and hiking, you will want a shower.**
    • You can rent a 4×4 high clearance vehicle by the hour in the town of Furnace Creek from a privately owned company.
    • There is 1 restaurant (Stovepipe Wells Village) and a few small grocery stores inside the park (Stovepipe Wells Village & Furnace Creek).
    • It is a 2 hour drive to the park from Las Vegas and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles. The park is located in both California & Nevada.
    • Check out my guide on what to pack for your national park camping trip!

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    6 Must Try Michigan Foods

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    6 Must Try “Michigan Foods”

    The holiday season is my favorite time of year. My friends come home to Michigan from all over the country, work shuts down for a weeklong vacation, and I get to spend my afternoons brunching with my girlfriends instead of sitting in meetings. When my friends come home I always ask them– where do you want to go? what are you craving? Almost immediately the response includes something or somewhere only Michigan can provide.

    Here’s the “Michigan Foods” you must try if you’re visiting the Great Lakes State!

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    Cider & Donuts

    Growing up in Michigan meant going to cider mills in the fall. Cider mills meant melt in your mouth delicious cinnamon sugar covered donuts and crisp apple cider to wash it down. The cider mills used to only be open during the fall- but as popularity of the cider donut combo grew- the hours of some of the larger mills extended into the other seasons. There are so many cider mills within driving distance of Detroit- if you’re in Michigan, this is one treat you don’t want to miss. (Click Here to find a cider mill near Detroit!)

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    Coney Dogs

    Lafayette Coney Island VS American Coney Island. The ongoing battle for best Coney in Detroit is a long one. The two restaurants are next door to each other on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard- try them both, and you be the judge on who does em best.

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    Chicken Finger Hani

    Crispy chicken tenders, lettuce, american cheese and tomato wrapped in a pita smothered in delicious homemade ranch. You can find this signature sandwich at most Coney’s in Michigan– making it my go to sandwich for lunch more often then I care to admit. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Kerby’s by my office knows me by name …

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    Pasties

    A pasty, or meat pie- is a hearty, savory, pastry filled with meat, potatoes and veggies. The pasties have an unusual history, and were originally made for the copper mine workers. There aren’t many places in the U.S you can get your hands on these, so if you’re from outta town- don’t leave without trying one!

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    Detroit Style Pizza

    My favorite Detroit style pizza is made by Buddy’s. My recommendation would be to get their award winning Detroiter pizza with a huge side of homemade ranch to dip it in- oh and don’t forget the Buddy bread while you’re waiting.

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    Ice Cream

    Getting ice cream after dinner happens all year round in Michigan. In the summer- going out for ice cream is pretty standard a couple nights a week (at least in my home). Even in January when temperatures are in the negatives- we’re in the freezer aisle picking up ice cream. Yes I know froyo is the cool thing, but we take our ice cream in Michigan serious- which means dairy & sugar- so skip the froyo and try something local your taste buds will thank you for like Cook’s Dairy, Hudsonville, or Sanders.

    Spending time in Detroit? Check out my guide for what to do here!

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    The Perfect Weekend In Detroit

     

    The Perfect Weekend In Detroit From A Local

    Detroit is the largest city in Michigan- with several nicknames.  We lovingly refer to our beloved city as “The D”, “Motown”, “The Motor City”, or most recent- “America’s Comeback City.” Having grown up just 30 miles north of the city, and done my fair share of traveling around the world- I feel Detroit is seriously underrated as a travel destination. But fear not! Detroit city is making a comeback. Lonely Planet recently ranked the D- No.2 in the top 10 cities to travel in 2018, making it the ONLY continental U.S. city on the list.

    Ready to see what all the hype is about?

    Here’s your weekend guide to Detroit Michigan in a weekend!

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    Brunch in Detroit
    Dime Store

    Brunch Instead of Lunch

    Brunch: My favorite meal of the day. Detroit has so many options for a delicious mid-day meal, and many are centrally located right downtown. Here are some of my personal favorites!

    Dime Store: This dime is a little hidden gem- it’s located inside the Chrysler House. Order a peach mimosa, with your eggs benny and find out why they call it Detroit’s #1 breakfast spot.

    Pro Tip: While you’re waiting for a table, go around the corner of the Chrysler Building to Bon Bon Bon and snack on the most adorable, tasty, handmade chocolate boxes you’ll ever taste.

    The Hudson Café: Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, the namesake comes from the old Hudson’s department store that was across the street from the café. I would recommend trying their delicious Baklava French Toast- covered in walnuts, pistachios, and drizzled in honey.

    Parks & Rec Diner: To get here- enter at the corner of Grand River and Cass Avenues. Breakfast & lunch are served all day, every day. The artisanal menu boasts a number of traditional fan favorites- I had the mouthwatering C-Day Benny: Thanksgiving spiced, smoked & pulled local chicken, poached eggs, sweet potato biscuit smothered in sausage gravy. But the real winner was the melt in your mouth delicious Crème Brûlée French Toast.. it was so different than I expected- soaked in orange anglaise coated in a crackly sugar crust and fresh fruit, served with two eggs any style-we went with scrambled.

    Gold Cash Gold: Located in Corktown, this old pawn shop turned hipster eatery has a fantastic farm to table rotating seasonal menu.Try their take on the classic chicken & waffle- made with a cornbread waffle, hot & spicy fried chicken, and an orange sorghum butter, it’ll satisfy your sweet AND savory cravings.

    6 Must Try Michigan Foods

    When my out of state friends come home to visit, I ask them where they want to go for food. They immediately respond with something or somewhere only Michigan can provide.

    Food to Try in Michigan
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    Detroit Eastern Market - things to do for a weekend in Detroit Michigan

    Shop at Detroit’s Eastern Market

    You can’t visit Detroit without experiencing the oldest and largest year-round market in the US.  During the busy season, Eastern Market has over 225 market vendors with up to 40,000 visitors in one day. Depending on the season, you can expect fresh Michigan grown produce, fresh proteins, TREATS, flowers, hand crafted goods, and all kinds of fun stuff.

    Get there early on the weekends (around 7-8 a.m). Parking is free but fills up fast, so the earlier you get there the better chance you have of getting a good spot. After you’re done shopping- walk a couple blocks over to the Detroit Distillery and wet your whistle with their hand crafted cocktails.

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    Get Inspired By The Heidelberg Project

    The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art environment on Detroit’s East Side- about 5 minutes from Eastern Market. The project is on Heidelberg Street- the same street where the local artist grew up.

    In 1986 the artist started transforming his childhood neighborhood now in poverty and shambles, into a massive piece of art. The old abandoned houses and lots were cleaned up, and the refuse collected was recycled back to create the artwork. The street, sidewalks, trees, and anything else on this street has become a part of this neighborhood art project.

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    Campus Martius Downtown Detroit

    Campus Martius Park

    Visit Detroit’s gathering place, Campus Martius Park. Located downtown, the park has spectacular skyline views and is home to the always flowing Woodward Fountain, gardens, historical monuments and the popular Parc Restaurant.

    The park is open year round with activities for everyone- in the summer it’s turned into a small beach where you can relax and sip on cocktails in the middle of the city- while in the winter the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with the most popular ice skating rink in the area. Make sure to check their calendar of events before you go, there’s often special events on weekends- you don’t want to miss out!

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    District Detroit

    The Detroit District is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments IN THE COUNTRY. Located in the heart of Detroit, the 50 blocks include just about everything. This includes businesses, parks, restaurants, sports arenas, shopping, and bars. The newly formed district brings together eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues.  

    In addition to the residents, the district is also home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions- making it the district with the most professional sports teams in one downtown…again… IN THE COUNTRY. This is where the action is- grab some tickets if you’re in Detroit on game day, experience what Detroit is really like and see a game. No matter the sport, Detroit fans are loyal from every win, to every loss.

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    Visit Belle Isle

    Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island on the Michigan side of the Detroit River. The park is home to Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center,  and the James Scott Memorial Fountain. No matter what season it is- there’s always something to do on Belle Isle. Take a walk around the island and explore, you’ll find an old lighthouse, several historical sites, and incredible views of both Detroit and Windsor across the river.

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    Detroit Canada Skyline

    Visit Windsor Canada

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    Coffee Shops in Detroit

    Coffee in Detroit

    Detroiters love their coffee; it’s also a requirement for me to start my day with something that contains caffeine. The Roasting Plant  is the perfect place to grab a fresh cup of joe (and just so happens to be my favorite coffee shop in Detroit). The coffee beans are stored in a Javabot (super cool tub machine that shoots the beans out through tunnels you can see) at the center of the shop- measured out per order.

    You can blend up to four different varieties per cup, brewed within seconds – fresh just for you. I would recommend the Jamaica Blue Mountain blend- a bright acidity with a butter-soft body. Aromas of almond and praline come first, followed by dark chocolate, and energetic lemon zest.

    Great Lakes Coffee has a few locations in Southeast Michigan including one in Midtown. If you’re looking for somewhere cozy with tea options and yummy baked goods and sandwiches, head to Corktown over to Astro Coffee.

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    Lemon Poppyseed Muffin from Astoria Bakeshop in Detroit

    Astoria Pastry Shop

    Located in the Greektown District of Detroit, Astoria Pastry Shop is open till 1:00 a.m. on weekends for all your late night sweet tooth cravings. They have TONS of yummy treats- you’ll find something for everyone, from muffins, to cannoli’s, to fancy cheesecakes. Astoria has been filling Detroiters with goodies since the 1970’s- making it a local staple and a must try on your visit to Detroit.

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    Eat in Detroit

    Detroit is rapidly transforming itself into a food mecca with foodie approved eateries throughout the entire city- the majority of which are locally owned and operated.

    Head to Hamtramck over to Polish Village for some pierogis that will give your taste buds an explosion of flavor. Feeling spicy? You’ll want to go to Mexican Town for some tasty tacos.

    Some of the best sushi I’ve had has been at Maru. It’s the perfect spot for a nice night out and a warm cup of Japanese tea.

    Wright & Co is great for sharing- with their menu consisting of creative seasonal small plates, my friends and I always order a couple plates a person, and then share family style.

    Go vegan at The Original Detroit Vegan Coney Island Restaurant – Chili Mustard Onions. Indulge in Detroit style comfort foods like chili cheese fries, cheeseburgers, chicken finger hani’s, and more.

    5 Reasons to Love Ludington

    Ludington is a harbor town bordered by one of my favorite great lakes, Lake Michigan!  This adorable town sits on the west side of the state (Michiganders: right by the pinky knuckle) – and is just a 4 hour drive from Detroit or Chicago, which is great for weekend trips. The town draws visitors year round (despite the bitter winter Michigan is infamous for) with a ton of recreation activities and adventures. Ludington is easily one of my favorite summer camping spots. The Ludington State Park is the most popular park in the state, so if you plan on camping there, make your reservations early! You’ll need a recreation passport or day pass to enter (both can be purchased at the park entrance). Go pack your bags, and take a road trip-  Here’s 5 reasons I absolutely LOVE Ludington.

    Sunsets

    You know the best part about sunsets? THEY’RE FREE. And no matter how many times you see them, no two are the same. What makes Ludington’s sunsets so amazing? Take a look for yourself…

    Lighthouses

    With 3,200 miles of shoreline, the state of Michigan has more lighthouses than any other US state (Alaska holds the title). Ludington has not one, but TWOOO lighthouses that are both active. An easy 3.6 mile round trip hike brings you to Michigan’s tallest and most iconic lighthouse-Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Not up for the hike? Take a walk down the breakwall leading out to the North Breakwater Light instead.

    Sand Dunes

    I hope everyone likes sand! Ludington State park is covered in sand dunes. You’ll hit the sand before you’re even in the park. I like to pull off M-116 before getting into the park. There’s spots all along the road where you can walk down the dunes to Lake Michigan (and essentially your own private beach). If you decide to make the trek to the Big Sable Point lighthouse- you’ll experience the dunes AND a lighthouse!

    Water

    This is Michigan, so I understand “water” is pretty ambiguous.  First there’s Lake Michigan- whose turquoise blue waters make you feel like you’re on a tropical island (except way more cold- even in July/August the water temperature will only reach highs of 60-65 F.) If you’re looking for something a little warmer- head 4 miles north of Ludington over to Hamlin Lake. This inland lake is 12 miles long! So you can hang out at the beach, go boating, or picnic without feeling crowded. Go burn your picnic calories and get some exercise-there’s a Canoe Trail that starts at Hamlin beach. The trail is around 4 miles, and you can canoe or kayak through marshland to check out the wildlife or towards Lost Lake where you can explore some small islands. For those who just want to spend their time relaxing and not paddling- there’s tubing down the Sable River (Expert Level: bring a floating cooler full of adult beverages).

    Trails

    Ludington has trails EVERYWHERE. Hiking trails? Check. Biking trails? Check. Water trails? Double check. There’s 8 trails that cover around 18 miles of the state park. The landscape of the trails varies- I found myself in giant sand dunes at the head of a trail that eventually led into the thick of the forest- finally popping me out on a paved walking path. Pack a backpack and get lost on the trails for a couple hours, I promise they won’t disappoint.