J.W. Westcott II and West RiverWalk

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They say we learn something new everyday and today was no exception. We headed to Detroit to be a part of the Grand Opening celebration of the West RiverWalk. It was number one on Crain’s Detroit Business’ “10 Things to Do in Detroit This Weekend” list. Exercise, food trucks and various family activities lured us in with excitement. The cold and windy weather forced us to sport our winter gloves and coats for the trip. Arriving a little after 2:00 pm,  we split a $6.00 elephant ear, took pictures with Smokey the Bear, enjoyed some music and took in the beautiful views.

As we left and headed back to our car, my husband spotted the J.W. Westcott II near a freighter. He educated us on this unique boat that was right in front of us working on the Detroit River. The J.W. Westcott II is a United States Postal Service mail boat that delivers mail to passing ships and is the world’s first floating zip code of 48222.  In addition to delivering mail, it is a book store, a messaging service, pilot boat service and water taxi. It also sells postcards, candy, cigarettes and even delivers pizza.

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Dlectricity in the D!

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We headed down to Detroit for our third consecutive Dlectricity experience. The weather was perfect, a crescent moon decorated the sky, and huge crowds gathered on the streets. We parked in a Wayne State University parking structure near the law school for $7.00. Great price, tons of parking and limited traffic.

We headed over to Woodward and went by the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, The MajesticThe Whitney and enjoyed some art and dancing at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Giant, mesmerizing projections covered almost the entire facades of the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Public Library, bringing the wandering crowds to a halt to take it all in. You could see and feel the music and wanted to experience what was going on all around you in every direction.

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As we approached the Majestic Theater, we noticed the bike parade in progress. It was exciting to see so many people involved this year and the amount of creativity put into the bikes and outfits was amazing. Bikes participating included small, tandems, vintage, new, stock and custom-made. It seemed the range of bikes was as diverse as the people riding them. It was truly uplifting to see everyone on the same united path.

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We stopped and enjoyed a light show displayed over the alter at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. The church itself was welcoming and beautiful.

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Great night, interesting people and unique art. There was so much more to see, but our aching feet and enticing visuals along the way kept us from seeing more…until next year. Dlectricity was a memorable experience in the D!

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Giant Slide at Belle Isle Park is open!

On Facebook last Friday, the Belle Isle Conservancy page posted that the giant slide was now open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I immediately sent a text to my husband. I was so excited! Our plans for Saturday were now known.

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It had been years since I was on that slide. It took me back to my younger days. We no longer had to drive past the closed slide unable to experience it with our kids…..until now!

We arrived at the slide area around 12:30 pm. There was hardly any parking and lots of people enjoying the park. I was worried the line would be long. But there was no crowd or line at the slide.

The cost was $1, which is steeper than the slide itself. Fifty cents sounds more of a reasonable price. If you bought 4 tickets you did get 2 free, so we did that.

We all climbed up the lengthy stairs. We were instructed to put our whole body in the provided brown bag to slide down in.

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My daughter was the first to go. She was leaning back and was instructed to lean forward. I thought she hit her head when she got to the bottom but she did not. She loved it and was ready to do it again. I went next. I held my camera, leaned forward, and started to slip down the slide!

At the 3rd hump on the slide, my body bounced a few inches into the air, I let out a little scream, came back to the slide and abruptly stopped as I came off the metal slide and onto the felt like material meant to brake you. It ended suddenly but produced a huge smile on my face and the urge to go again and again.

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My son and husband were next. They also thoroughly enjoyed it.

The man and woman working at the slide were very nice and we exchanged a few fond memories about the slide and Belle Isle Park.

There was no line despite the crowd at the park. Maybe lowering the $1 a slide will produce a line and more smiles from children and parents.

So happy the giant slide is open and again part of the Belle Isle Park experience. Another memorable spot that the great city of Detroit has to offer.

Slide on!

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Dequindre Cut

The weather was perfect this past weekend and we decided to get some exercise  at the Dequindre Cut. We packed the kid’s bikes, parked near the Detroit RiverWalk, and started our little over a mile exploration towards Gratiot. This was our second visit, a year ago being our first time.

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There was a nice mixture of new and old graffiti. Many great photo opportunities.

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Throughout our 70 minute slow stroll, we passed about 15 other bikers and walkers. We even got to see two people who were in the process of painting their vision. They had their car parked under the bridge, music playing, their paint cans and brushes working. Excited to see the end result next visit.

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When we got to the current end of the Dequindre Cut at Gratiot, I walked up, ran across Gratiot and got a picture to see the current progression. We will soon be able to walk the Dequindre Cut all the way to Eastern Market.

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Batman vs Superman and a truck on fire

A day becomes more interesting on your ride home when you end up seeing a burning vehicle engulfed in flames on the side of the expressway. We had drove downtown last Friday afternoon to see where they were filming scenes for Batman vs Superman near Porter Street. They were not filming that day but we did see a few people working on props. Kids thought it was interesting. We were not allowed to take pictures up close. We took a mental picture which lasts longer.

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On our way home we saw the red brake lights on vehicles in all lanes light up and thick, black smoke rising into the sky. I exited and circled around.

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There was a blue pickup truck totally engulfed in flames. The amount of smoke was intense. There was a lawnmower resting a few feet behind the truck. Luckily it was not a car accident and I could see what I believed to be the driver safely awaiting help many feet in front of the truck.

Here is a short video of what we saw.

 

A fun and cheap day in the D!

 

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Mt. Elliott Park Detroit

We visited the Mt. Elliott Park last weekend. I loved it. The kids loved it. And it’s free!

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We made music on very large wind chimes. It was cool to hit one and enjoy listening to how long it vibrated before coming to rest.

There is another area to bang paddles on ends of a PVC piping type instrument to make music but there were no paddles. We improvised and used the bottom of our kids shoes as the paddles and made some interesting sounds.

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The kids loved the splash pad. It is viewed as a pirate ship with crates and bags. There are two cannons where you can aim the water shooting out of them. Children can hide behind barriers to avoid the water coming out of the cannons.

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You also have a great view of the Belle Isle Bridge, freighters, and different wildlife.

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We visited the Mt. Elliott Park Fun Shop before heading home that sells t-shirts, bubbles, to various Detroit made products. Kids can play with a few toys they have displayed outside of the store.

 

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Shiver on the River at Belle Isle

 

For the past few years, we have visited Belle Isle during Shiver on the River located inside the Belle Isle Casino. It happens around the beginning of February and is free. We got to explore the Belle Isle Casino building which is not usually open to the public. The kids got to enjoy hot dogs, chips, drinks, and a magic show.

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During Shiver on the River, the Belle Isle Aquarium, the U.S. Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the Detroit Boat Club, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Belle Isle Nature Museum, and the Detroit Yacht Club is open. This year our family got a tour of the Detroit Yacht Club.

We also got to watch an Ice Rescue Demonstration in front of the U.S. Coast Guard Station.

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One of our favorite spots is the Detroit Boat Club. My father loved rowing and used to take me here when he was alive.

 

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Random pictures throughout Detroit. It would be great if these homes and buildings could share their stories and how they got here.

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Historic Fort Wayne, Belle Isle, and Detroit Gold Cup 2014 Qatar blow-over

Our family had a great day of exploring Detroit. We visited Historic Fort Wayne for the first time. The Medieval Days were going on and we wanted to do the 1:00 pm tour of Historic Fort Wayne. We paid $5.00 for parking. The tour was rescheduled for 2:00 pm when we got there so we decided to explore on our own this time and come back a different day for the guided tour.

We spent about 3 hours there. It kind of reminded me of a deserted Greenfield Village.  We love Greenfield Village and are currently members.

We walked and looked at the old barracks, tanks, walked along the water, toured the updated jail and met a few volunteers who graciously gave us some very interesting history we gladly soaked up. I highly recommend a visit to Historic Fort Wayne and look forward to our next visit. It is beautiful and blighted all at the same time and a definite must see.

 

An interesting side note I took my mom by Historic Fort Wayne where we passed Crawford Street. My mother yelled, “that is the street I grew up on!” She grew up at 821 Crawford. We passed over the expressway and found a fenced in vacant lot with many cars parked where her childhood home once stood. It had burned down many years ago. As soon as we turned down the street, I remembered the neighborhood.

After our memorable visit at Historic Fort Wayne, we decided to go to Belle Isle to see if we could see any Detroit Gold Cup races going on. No races were currently going on so we visited the James Scott Memorial Fountain.

As soon as we left Belle Isle after our fountain visit, we heard the races begin. My son begged us to stop. We found a small, free parking lot near Belle Isle off of Jefferson and parked. It was a great view near the races Belle Isle turn. On the third lap, we witnessed the blow-over of the Qatar hydroplane. It was scary for all to see. The driver came out and stood on his hydroplane. Everyone cheered him on excited that he was safe. This is our view of the Qatar blow-over at the Detroit Gold Cup 2014.

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