We started the day off with no plan in mind, just wandering around the city in search of a smile; we knew she wouldn’t let us down . I had gardens on the mind, what better place to start than the Belle Isle Conservatory? There was a definite liveliness outside the building as workers set up chairs for an afternoon wedding, lucky them, they had a perfect day! We took a stroll up and down the rows of gardens; Peonies in varying shades of pinks and reds were in full bloom. Tall spikes of Lupine in rose, white and blue reached skyward; giant Allium joined them. Irises in multiple varieties added color to the landscape, orange Oriental Poppies were dazzling. The lawn was green and lush, borders of shrubs separate the rows. We walked through an opening in the shrubs to the center of the garden; here we were delighted to see Marshall Fredericks (think: Spirit of Detroit) Leaping Gazelle fountain up and running again. I love this piece! The elegant gazelle is surrounded by an otter, goose, hawk and a rabbit, the four of them native to Michigan. I read that this was the first commissioned work for which Marshall Frederick was paid; it’s lovely. After we walked through the conservatory we headed out to the Lily pond; this is such a peaceful area. We walked around the pond, stopping at the far end to watch the fish swim around, very relaxing. Volunteers do a wonderful job keeping the pond and grounds looking great.
Across from the conservatory there are a series of greenhouses run by the Agriscience students of the Golightly Career and technical Center in Detroit. 10th and 11th grade students who join this urban agriculture program spend a half day, each day, for two years learning about vegetable and flower production, environmental education, food safety and nutrition, sustainability and market sales and services. We noticed a flurry of people and activity over at the greenhouses, we walked over to take a look. It was Friday, they were busy preparing for their annual plant sale scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. With permission, we were able to walk through the greenhouses; aisles of perennials, annuals, herbs and heirloom tomatoes all ready to be sold. Volunteers were busy placing name tags and prices in the appropriate pots. I saw beautiful Foxglove, Coral Bells and daylilies. Flats of Petunias perfumed the air, Marigolds, Dahlias and Geraniums wait to be planted. It was fun to have a chance to go inside and poke around.
We had made up our mind to have lunch at Green Dot Stables on West Lafayette; only opened for a short time it has already become quite popular. This horse-race-themed establishment serves a variety of sliders, fries and sides, all right around three bucks each. Newly refurbished, the interior has red brick walls and wood floors; it has a sort of retro feel to me. Two of three televisions had live horse racing on, while the third had soccer; photos of jockey’s adorn the walls. The menu is simple and straightforward, Sliders are served on Detroit’s own Browns Buns and come in an array of choices: Corned Beef, Lamb, Catfish, Shredded Pork to name a few along with traditional and Mystery Meat. French Fries are the super skinny type; crisp and delicious; these are also available in an assortment of ways: Cajun, Ranch, Truffle and Herb and our choice of malt vinegar. For the ease of ordering we asked our waitress to bring us one of each of the first five sliders on the menu; that makes life easy, next time we get the next five…..The food arrived swiftly; each of the burgers comes in its own little cardboard dish garnished with pickle slices. We cut them in half and dug in; each had its own unique flavor, the combinations of meat and toppings very tasty, the traditional as good or better than any I’ve ever had. Next time I have to remember to save room for dessert: a Smore Slider; cinnamon, Nutella and marshmallow fluff served on a bun, sounds good doesn’t it?
We made a stop at Germack Coffee Shop in Eastern Market, after our caffeine fix we headed back outdoors to check out all the goings-on in preparation for Flower Day. North of the market The Detroit Mercantile Co was getting ready for their grand opening the following morning. The door was slightly ajar, the owner in view; we asked if we might get a sneak peek in the store, without hesitation we were welcomed in. What a cool store! Seriously, this place is great. The shop carries a little bit of everything; vintage and new items, clothing, gifts, music, souvenirs, even new bikes from the Detroit Bicycle Company. The owner is enthusiastic about carrying products made locally,we’re all for that ! The displays are eye-catching, you want to look everywhere at once, then you want to buy everything….. The mix of old and new really works well together, the owners passion for Detroit is clearly visible. I can tell we will be regular shoppers here.