Vickie on the Detroit Riverwalk

Last weekend we enjoyed real down home hospitality at West Virginia’s Chief Logan State Park. The farm-to-table dinner was the highlight of time well spent in a natural, Appalachian Mountain setting. What a difference a week makes! Over Labor Day weekend, we gassed up the Subaru and headed north for a visit with family and friends in Downtown Detroit. But, we didn’t let the country go quietly…

Instead of barreling up I-75 through Ohio and Michigan, we took country roads nearly all the way from Huntington to the Motor City. We drove thru thousands of acres of soy and corn fields and some quaint little farm town, surprisingly almost all the way to the outskirts of Detroit. It wasn’t much longer or farther, and we were much more relaxed. Sometimes it’s good to take the byways instead of the highways.

Too many times in visiting my hometown we spend hours driving congested freeways. This time we booked a room in the heart of a revitalized downtown Detroit. Very good move. On day one, we visited (for the first time!) the Motown museum, toured a free, fun and fascinating Detroit Historical Museum – and met an old college buddy and his significant other a few blocks from our hotel at a Detroit Tigers game.

Detroit Tigers game night

Day two – with beautifully temperate weather, we walked a few blocks over to Detroit’s bustling Eastern Market. We met some old friends and had lunch at the historic Russell Street Deli – a bittersweet lunch because the restaurant was closing that day due to a developer buy-out. After a cold beverage at Eastern Market Brewing Company, we bid adieu to out friends and wandered over to the free iconic Detroit Jazz Festival. Music everywhere on several stages, with a mellow crowd enjoying the pleasant day and talented local and national artists.

Downtown Detroit Jazz Fest

Up the next morning, we got on our sneakers and strolled the Detroit Riverwalk. More than 5 miles along the river with cruise ships stopping for the day and an unexpected treasure of a wetland-developed greenway right along the downtown river’s edge. Rabbits, frogs, herons – in the shadows of skyscrapers. Too cool.

Finally, we packed up , got back in our car, and drove a few miles to meet family for a picnic on Detroit’s Belle Isle. A cool rain couldn’t dampen our spirits and we toured the Isle’s free conservatory and the nation’s oldest aquarium. Then, it was on those mellow country roads instead of Interstates – and back home.

We found that getting off the beaten path and changing up urban rushing for downtown relaxing is a great alternative. Try it if you are traveling from country to city.

Eastern Market, Detroit MI

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