After spending an fun weekend in Chicago (Day 1, Day 2), my son and I made our way to Detroit to spend a couple more days with friends. In this case, friends we had never met in person. In 2019, this can’t be totally . But I’d been conversing off and on for months with fellow BoardingArea blogger Mark Ostermann, and we decided to get together this summer.
By get together, I mean, we had to go visit him. He has plans to visit California in the distant future (like who plans 2 years ahead?). He is also trying to convince me to go to Vegas, but the whole idea is a non-starter for me.
Anyway, back to Detroit. We spent two full, fun days enjoying the city and suburbs. The kids all had a blast!
First up was Greenfield Village. That lovely shot above is the pond not too far in past the entrance gate. This museum-town in Dearborn is where we met Mark and his kids. The village is a testament to early American life and resourcefulness, and it includes a number of artisan workshops, as well as houses and other buildings that you can tour. I expected it to highlight the time around the founding of the Ford Motor Company, but there are structures that have been brought to Greenfield Village from much earlier periods.
One of the coolest workshops to visit features glass blowing. We enjoyed watching the artisans start a glass rhino. We left after about 15 minutes, but apparently the whole endeavor took upwards of two hours. Then he had to leave the piece in the cooling furnace to slowly cure. We unfortunately didn’t get to see the final product.
From there we hopped the train. It’s a fun ride, and you can hop on and off at different points within Greenfield Village.
You can go inside many of the homes. I especially loved the ivy on this stone house.
I didn’t get a great shot of the covered bridge, but you can see the entrance ahead in the photo below.
Greenfield Village really requires a whole day. We spent longer there than expected, and basically missed the lunch plans we had. At the very end, the kids all made candlesticks out of a brass round using this cool machine. With help (not mine), of course.
I think we wrapped up around 3:30. our anticipation was that we’d probably take off at 1:00 or 1:30. I’d recommend just planning to spend the whole day at Greenfield Village, if you visit. There is that much to see!
Then into the city itself we went. This was the point at which I wondered if we were going to get shot. Ok, I’m kidding. Downtown Detroit isn’t quite what I expected. There are plenty of people and plenty of businesses. After dinner at Supino’s Pizza (highly rated, by the way), wandered Greektown before heading down to the river.
The kids enjoyed the splash pad in the warm Michigan evening. You can also enjoy views of Canada across the river. To the south. I know. Weird.
Our visit to downtown concluded day two. Well, I proceeded to get lost on my way back to the Hyatt Place Detroit Livonia and had to ask a gas station worker if I could check maps on his phone (mine had died). He was kind enough to let me memorize the way back.
The Henry Ford Museum
Day two started back at the Henry Ford Museum. It’s co-located with Greenfield Village, and we’d bought a combo ticket. The museum is very large. If you’re into cars, you could probably spend all day here as well. We just tried to hit the highlights, including this lovely DC-3.
The Henry Ford Museum has the very bus Rosa Parks was on when she famously refused to move from her seat. They outbid the Smithsonian for the honor of owning it.
It is fully restored, and you can hop inside and sit down yourself.
Interestingly, the museum also featured a temporary Star Trek exhibit. Yeah, I thought it odd, too. But as a fan of The Next Generation, it was fun to walk through.
There’s even a little part where you get to star in your own “mission”! The kids sure enjoyed it. It was at this point Mark’s son shot me, and Detroit lived up to its reputation.
Heading north from Dearborn, we made our way up to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, just north of Pontiac. There is a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in this shopping center, and it is quite the cool place. We’ve not been to actual Legoland, and even this (relatively) small indoor fun center was quite a blast for the kids.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center features a couple rides, a 4-D theater, a couple other construction and play areas, and a master builder workshop class. My son loves Legos, so the whole place is right up his alley.
All things have to come to an end, though. Our two days were fun-filled, with the kids enjoying playing together, and Mark and I getting to talk miles, points, family and blogging. We ended our time together at a great brewery called Griffin Claw. While the name might conjure up something out of a Harry Potter movie, it’s a great spot for a bite to eat in the northern Detroit Metro area.
Two days hanging out with friends went by way too fast. I’m sure we’ll be back someday, or Mark will have to head out to the west coast. Or we’ll meet in the middle somewhere.