Michigan Fall Moments

Featured in Pure Michigan 2014 Fall Issue, beginning on page 7. 

Michigan Moments 

Experiences, places and events that embody the essence of Pure Michigan 

 Red Bridge, Dow Gardens. Photo courtesy of Midwest Living/BobStefkoMore Michigan Moments—More Gardens                                                               

Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve, Niles
This verdant preserve along the St. Joseph River Valley features a Japanese dry garden, herb and sensory English garden and fern conservatory complete with waterfall. Visit the educational nature center to learn more about the plant life before walking the trails.

Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton
Drivers are welcome to cruise along the six-mile one-way road that winds through this arboretum and gardens. Among the property’s rolling hills are Hosta Hillside, a plant conservatory, a Bonsai collection and demonstration gardens.

Lisik Gardens, Hemlock
A living recreation of Monet’s Bridge over a Pool of Water Lilies stars at this show garden. Lush hostas and lilies, rare plants and a canopied shade garden are worthy of an afternoon spent ambling around the property. Call ahead to schedule a visit (989/642-5772). 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor
Restored prairies, 500-plus woodland plant species and more than a mile of riverfront are free for visitors to explore. Follow the trails through the University of Michigan’s 123-acre property.

The Monet Garden, Muskegon
Visitors can find their own artistic inspiration in this replica of Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France. The flowers that inspired Monet’s paintings bloom in a city lot, just beyond a rose-covered archway entrance (www.lakeshoregardenmasters.org   

More Things to Do—More in Detroit 

Heidelberg Project
Artist Tyree Guyton transformed a decaying eastside neighborhood (his childhood home) into a powerful attraction. Guyton decorates abandoned houses with discarded objects like old shoes and toys with the goal of improving lives and communities through art.

Pewabic Pottery
The Arts-and-Crafts-style pottery company, known for its dinnerware, vases and the tiles of Comerica Park and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, offers self-guided and docent-led tours of the working studios in its historic Tudor-style building.

Wheelhouse Detroit
Architectural and epicurean guided tours reveal a different side to the city—all from the seat of a bicycle. Check the website for differently monthly lineups and two-wheeled tours.

More Places to Eat—More in Detroit 

Coach Insignia
Dinner comes with sweeping views of the city from the 71st floor of the Renaissance Center at this contemporary restaurant. Chef Matt Prentice prepares modern American meals like lobster corn dogs and chilled poached shrimp.

Slows Bar-B-Q
Sandwiches like the Longhorn, thinly sliced beef brisket with onion marmalade, come in mammoth servings at this Corktown restaurant. Wash down the hearty meal with a drink from the robust beer and wine list.

The Rattlesnake Club
The number of courses diners chose determines their menu at this well-known eatery, famous for its locally-sourced meals. The former pharmaceutical building’s picture windows showcase the city’s skyline, adding to the restaurant’s celebration of all things Detroit.

More Places to Stay—More in Detroit 

Omni Detroit Hotel at River Place
Room service from Fender’s Tavern, views of the coastline and a convenient location on downtown’s Riverwalk come standard at this European-boutique-style hotel; it’s easy to see why it earned an AAA Four-Diamond ranking.

The Atheneum Suite Hotel
This Greektown hotel keeps the community’s founding culture alive with a two-story painting of mythical gods in the lobby. Guests can choose from 174 recently updated suites, great customer service included with each.

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Once the tallest hotel in the world, the Book Cadillac reclaimed its glamour and glory with a $200 million renovation. Guests can sink into a plush pillow top, enjoy in-room spa services or dine at one of the on-site eateries, including Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Roast.

More Things to Do—More in Ann Arbor   

Argo Cascades
Kayak or raft down a series of nine drops and pools along the Huron River, or stay on land and walk the 1,500-foot Border-to-Border Trail that follows the cascades (734/794-6241 or 734/794-6240). 

Savor Ann Arbor Walking Tours
A local foodie started these guided culinary walking tours to show off her city’s food and architecture. Make reservations for one of the pre-planned routes and sample food from some of Ann Arbor’s best restaurants and markets, or call ahead and create a customized tour.

The Michigan Theater
Tour the historically restored theater or enjoy a classic movie or indie film in one the vintage wooden seats. Silent films viewing-- accompanied by the theater’s original red-and-gold pipe organ--transport audiences to the movie palace’s early days. www.michtheater.org   

More Places to Eat—More in Ann Arbor 

Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery
Seasonal brews like Gourd to Death, a pumpkin ale, and Demonic Dark Ale are the real showstoppers at this beer and barbecue joint. Order a BBQ plate and pair sweet or spicy sauces with a favorite beverage.

Grange Kitchen and Bar
Fresh, creative meals highlight seasonal ingredients at this eatery on Main Street. Add a glass of Michigan wine to round out the eat-local experience.

A high-energy atmosphere and enthusiastic wait staff get customers excited for the meal to come. Try the game terrine, branzino or short ribs to understand why everyone’s so upbeat.

More Places to Stay—More in Ann Arbor 

Frank Lloyd Wright Palmer House
Rent this three-bedroom, two-bath home designed in 1950 by the architectural. Staying true to his design sense, Wright blends natural elements with architecture, especially apparent in features like a teahouse with working fireplace.

Inn at the League
Visiting the University of Michigan during football season? Stay in the center of the action at the on-campus inn. Call well in advance; the hotel fills fast. www.uunions.umich.edu/league/inn). 

Weber’s Hotel and Restaurant
Friendly staff and plentiful free amenities make for a pleasant stay at Weber’s, but it’s the hotel’s restaurant—especially it’s prime rib and desserts—that take the place up a notch.

More Things to Do—More in Lansing 

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing
Renowned London-based architect Zaha Hadid designed Michigan State University’s art museum, which itself has become a seminal piece of modern American architecture. Inside the remarkable structure is the university’s collection of paintings and pieces. www.broadmuseum.msu.edu).   

Michigan Capitol Building
Look up at the glass floor underneath the rotunda dome—it’s painted to look like a starry night sky. This and other unique design features make the neoclassical-style state capitol architecturally interesting and worthy of a visit.

Michigan Historical Museum
A recreated copper mine, replica Chevrolet dealership and a recreation of Motown’s headquarters bring Michigan history into modern day at this five-story museum. www.michigan.gov/museum). 

More Places to Eat—More in Lansing 

Clara’s Lansing Station
A 14-page menu guarantees enough options to satisfy a crowd at this former train depot and refurbished railcar. The Sunday brunch features a whopping 40 buffet items, including a made-to-order omelet station by the depot’s glass-window office. www.claras.com). 

Soup Spoon Cafe
This neighborhood cafe makes a strong case for breakfast being the most important meal of the day. The eggs Benny is exquisite; avocado, chorizo, peppers and melted cheese spill out of flavorful breakfast burritos and the buttermilk pancakes have perfect texture.

Business and political types gather at this upscale downtown restaurant, but those just looking for an elegant, satisfying meal will equally enjoy Troppo. Go for sandwiches and soups at lunch or steaks at dinner.

More Places to Stay—More Lansing 

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol
The chain hotels offers comfortable pillow-top mattresses and speedy room service near the state capitol.

Wild Goose Inn, East Lansing
A white Cape Cod cottage just off of Michigan State University’s campus is a quiet escape from the busy campus. Unwind in a private whirlpool or sit by the fireplace in one of the seasonally-themed suites.

More Things to Do—More in the Upper Peninsula 

Oswald’s Bear Ranch, Newberry
Owner Dean Oswald operates a refuge for bears that are unable to live in the wild. Visitors can walk around the large enclosures where rescued bears mill about wooded areas, ponds, rocks and other features of the Michigan landscape familiar to the animals.

Palms Book State Park, Manistique
Water floods through cracks in the limestone at Kitch-iti-kipi, The Big Spring. Climb in the self-guided raft and use the hand crank and lower the cable-controlled vessel to the deepest part of the eerily quiet spring.

Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie
One of the busiest lock systems in the world steers ships between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, adjust for a 21-foot elevation difference between the two lakes. Watch the massive carriers pass through from two-story viewing platform in Locks Park or take a two-hour narrated boat tour.

More Places to Eat—More in the Upper Peninsula 

Karl’s Cuisine, Sault Ste. Marie
Resembling a large wooden boat from the outside, Karl’s serves maple-planked whitefish and pasties made from the owner’s family recipe. The establishment also includes a winery and views of the St. Marys River.

Navigator Restaurant, Munising
Friday night brings an all-you-can eat fish fry to the nautically themed waterfront restaurant. Line up with other patrons for the just-caught fresh trout, whitefish, haddock and perch (906/387-1555). 

West Bay Diner and Delicatessen, Grand Marais
Satisfied customers return to this classic diner and attached house for thick-cut Reubens and Phillys, homemade soups and fresh-baked monster and lemon cookies (906/494-2607). 

More Places to Stay—More in the Upper Peninsula 

Hilltop Cabins and Motel, Grand Marais
Motel rooms and one to three bedroom cabins are available at this property just outside of town. Grills, picnic tables and a campfire pit are available for those who want to experience the outdoors but still retire to a warm bed.

Superior Motel and Suites, Munising
This homey mom-and-pop motel right off Highway 28 has a convenient location and clean rooms with woodsy decor. Guests can sit on the shared patio or walk to nearby restaurants after a day of exploring.

The Landmark Inn, Marquette
Individually decorated rooms start at $149 per night in this carefully restored hotel in Marquette’s historic downtown (906/228-2580 or 888/752-6362; www.thelandmarkinn.com).