“It feels a little lonely”- exploring Detroit, MI

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What’s a giveaway?

Hello friends! I hope you’re having an oh-so-fine weekend. We’ve had a wonderful week but unfortunately, our website did not (it was down the past couple days due to an attack). But fear not, we are up and running again just a bit behind schedule. You may have already seen on social media that this past week we hosted our first giveaway! It may seem silly but it was a big deal to me and we got to take some fun pictures for it. If you’re not up on social media stuff, a giveaway is typically used to help build more followers or engagement on your profile. This was an Instagram giveaway that we gave away gift cards to the winner. Anyway! I learned how to set all that up and run a computer-generated winner picker so go me!

I saw this at our campground in Michigan and was like, “That’s it! A spooky season giveaway!”

Wayne County Fairgrounds

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly campground near Detroit, MI with the friendliest staff, look no further than Wayne County Fairgrounds! We so enjoyed our stay here, it was a fraction of the price of other campgrounds and even had it own community garden! Though the season is almost over the receptionist encouraged me to go see what I could find in the garden and help myself. So of course, I did, you know me.

Yummy tomatoes and peppers
I even learned how to fry up some eggplant!

Exploring Detroit, MI

Michigan Soldiers and Sailors monument located in Campus Maritus park

Our first stop in Detroit, MI was Campus Maritus Park, this is an award winning park smack dab in the middle of downtown. In the winter it boasts an ice skating rink which is pretty darn cool.

The Spirit of Detroit
Waiting Statue by Kaws
Comidas Statue
Joe Louis Monument

While in the downtown area we made sure to stop and enjoy the cute swings on the way to the Riverwalk. It is an odd sort of feeling we got in Detroit, MI. The architecture is astounding from corporate buildings to residential homes they were some of the largest we’ve seen in the country. But there was this lonely feeling Luke and I both got as we meandered about the city. The sidewalks weren’t bustling, we swang alone, we explored the historic homes mostly alone. Now, this could be due to COVID too, I’m not sure, it was just not something we’d experienced before.

As we looked across the water we could see Canada! How cool is that? Now maybe I’m just ignorant about geography but I didn’t realize Detroit, MI and Canada were so close. Anyways, now you know!

International Memorial to the Underground Railroad
Philip A. Hart Plaza
Michigan Labor Legacy Monument

American vs. Lafayette Coney

American Coney Island and Layfayette Coney Island
American Coney Island and Layfayette Coney Island

After a long morning of accumulating steps and getting acquainted with Detroit, we’d worked up quite an appetite. So it was time for a classic coney dog throw-down. Did you know Michigan also claims to be the birthplace of the coney dog? Not just Coney Island in New York. I’ll have to say the sheer number of Coney restaurants makes a strong argument for the state of Michigan.

Lafayette Coney Island

We first checked out Lafayette Coney Island, the walls are lined with photos of famous folk who have stopped for some of their notorious grub. While we liked the vintage vibes of the diner we didn’t enjoy the ordering process particularly. We sat down but then saw people standing at the counter, hm, maybe we’re supposed to order at the counter? Nope, the old cook instructed us to sit down. So sit we did. The only menu was on a corner wall opposite from us, we didn’t want to stand over the crowded table below the menu to read it, so original coney dog it was.

Presentation? Eh, not so great. Was it a good hot dog? Yes, the quality was good and it had that notorious “pop” to the outside of it. The toppings were a bit sub-par to us, it honestly just tasted like regular old chili and some chopped onions. But! We gave it a go, so on to American Coney we went.

American Coney Island

American Coney Island

This coney restaurant offered a much larger dining area and we did enjoy it more for the sheer fact that ordering didn’t make us uncomfortable. We went to the counter, got to look at the menu, and order. Boom, what a concept. We sprang for some chili cheese fries here because we were still hungry. Coney rating? Somewhat better presentation but again, it just sort of tastes like a regular old coney dog to me. I just wasn’t blown away, what can I say?

So my advice to you fellow foodies, seek out another Coney Island! They’re all over the city, surely one has got to be something to brag about!

Eastern Market

Eastern Market Detroit MI

Next up, the Eastern Market! It is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the country. Serving up fresh eats for over 125 years. We were not able to hit the market on a Saturday but Sunday still offered many shops and goods.

Eastern Market Detroit MI
Eastern Market Detroit MI
Eastern Market Detroit MI

Belle Isle

Belle Isle Detroit MI

Last stop on the Embry express was Belle Isle park. I am so happy we made it to the island. We thought we’d have to pay admission to cross the bridge but turns out it’s free on Sundays! There were tons of people picnicking, having family reunions, playing tennis. It was just a happy and light atmosphere with a ton of historical buildings to explore.

Belle Isle Detroit MI

As we hopped off the motorcycle a groundhog greeted us, needless to say I was delighted and enjoyed his company for as long as I could. I mean who can resist those little arms?

Belle Isle Detroit MI

One of the first things you’ll see should you visit Belle Isle is the massive fountain that had to be incredibly expensive to build for its time. This is the James Scott Memorial Fountain. It was completed in 1925, how much did it cost to build? $500,000!

Belle Isle Detroit MI

Belle Isle Conservatory and Aquarium

Belle Isle is also host to an aquarium and conservatory. Both closed due to COVID for now but still a sight to behold. The aquarium opened in 1904 and is the oldest operating public aquarium in North America. How cool is that? There was a wedding on the lawn as we rode by, and weddings always make my heart happy. The conservatory also opened in 1904.

Belle Isle Detroit MI

We found a variety of sprawling buildings throughout Belle Isle including the athletic shelter (that seems to be permanently closed). But I still think it’s fun to imagine the variety of people that went through its doors over the last 100+ years.

Belle Isle Detroit MI

Children’s Zoo

Before we departed from Belle Isle I wanted to get a glimpse of the abandoned Children’s zoo, it permanently closed its doors in 2002 but was quite the attraction the 50 years prior to that. And before that, it was home to the Detroit zoo itself. It seems the Children’s zoo kept things interesting with old newspapers reported a missing kangaroo turning up 13 miles away and the kidnapping of a Mynah bird!

Belle Isle Detroit MI
We didn’t have the guts to venture into the abandoned children’s zoo, but many seem to! Who knows what spooky stuff you might find?
Belle Isle Detroit MI
The abandoned stables of Belle Isle

Mexicantown

As we left Belle Isle it had begun to sprinkle just a bit, but we wanted to make a visit to Mexicantown. In we walked to Los Altos, notorious for their delicious chorizo nachos. We chowed down for dinner, it was SO GOOD. They included fresh veggies to compliment our salsa and chips. Arkansas Mexican restaurants, take notes!

Mexicantown Detroit MI

After eating way too much tasty food we headed back to walk Bobby and other daily sundries. I hope you’ve enjoyed our travels in Detroit. If you missed last week’s post, here it is. Can you guess where we’re headed next?

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2 Comments

  1. Sherlylynn Pierce says:

    I love Detroit, Michigan. From our hospice office we could see the Comidas statue. I loved walking downtown except when I was there in January and it was so cold, snowed every day and was icy. But lots of good folks, food and places to explore. I enjoyed my trips over to Canada in the evening (they have some good restaurants. When I went the first time we did not need passports, but within a year we did. I always learned to carry my passports when I traveled to our different hospices.

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      How neat! I agree beautiful place but not a fan of cold weather, we hope to make it to Canada next go around when the border is open

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