Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Michigan wrap blog.

Of the four days from last Saturday to this Tuesday, I spent about three of them in Michigan. Different parts of the state, but all within easy driving distance of greater Chicago. Easy, if you're by yourself, as I was on the trip to metro Detroit. Not quite as easy if little kids are along, as they were on the road to Holland, near the east coast of Lake Michigan. But both traveling solo and with family each have their rewards, as does Michigan itself.

Holland. Settled by 19th-century Dutch immigrants, whose descendants display their names on various business signs in town -- TerHorst, DeVries, DeKaamp, that sort of thing. Attractions include tulip gardens, a wooden shoe factory, a large windmill, even a Dutch-themed theme park. Downtown has a shopping street, including a candy store that has an outdoor painting of a peanut as a mascot. Something like the Planters' anthro-peanut, but wearing a Dutch cap, dark shirt and trousers, and wooden shoes.

Dearborn. I had business in this company town, the company being Ford. Not business with Ford, but with members of the Detroit commercial real estate community. The upside of this was that I got to stay at the Dearborn Ritz-Carlton. It is indeed ritzy.

Downtown Detroit. One can only take so much ritziness, except for those hollowed-out souls who are addicted to it, so I made time to see downtown Detroit the way a downtown should be seen, on foot. It occurred to me that in about 1970, people were worried that Detroit represented the dysfunctional future of the American city. Luckily, it didn’t quite work out that way in many cities, and even downtown Detroit isn’t a total loss. But it is a sad place.

Marshall. Right in the middle southern Michigan, it has a picturesque, living main street with an assortment of businesses. Must have been overlooked by WalMart, though that's hard to believe. Give them time.


Post a Comment

<< Home