Fenton: A J Phillips Museum, The French Laundry, Cooks Farm Dairy

23 Sep

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At the first sign of cool, crisp Fall weather our road trip season kicks into high gear, so top off the gas tank, buckle your seat belt and get ready to wear your car out! You may not be aware of it, but there are wonderful scenic roads leading to picturesque little towns all around the metro area.

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Today we are heading northwest to Fenton; a lovely small town great for a day trip. The Shiawassee River flows over a dam and through the park in the center of town, take a stroll  along the walkway by the river, or have a seat under the old-fashioned gazebo; the scenery is pretty as a picture. Large pots are spilling over with brightly colored flowers, people in kayaks paddle down the river, a family feeds a large gathering of ducks on this bright Sunday afternoon. The park is overlooked by City Hall, across the street is the Fenton Community and Cultural Center designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen. We rambled down the street to the AJ Phillips Fenton Museum which tells the story of Fenton’s history; modest in size it contains an abundance of information. From vintage clothing, tools, newspapers and photographs everything has a tie to the city. The Sights and Sounds area has some great old tv’s  and cameras. The main area is devoted to military and war items; the key piece is a sword belonging to Col. William Fenton himself. It’s really a fascinating place and well worth a visit. The downtown still retains much of it’s historical charm and Majestic century old homes grace the neighborhoods.

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On the corner of Shiawassee and Adelaide sits the French Laundry, an awesome, nearly impossible to get into restaurant. We have been coming here for years and have watched it change from a little one room deli to a full service restaurant. They have stuck with their incredible deli menu (think Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor), and just added to that. Sandwiches are served on great breads and piled high with high quality fillings, everything is made with the freshest top-notch ingredients, coffee drinks and baked goods are out-of-this-world. The place is inviting; the original section has that charming deli feel, while the new section is more contemporary, the patio seating is delightful; which all explains why it is so hard to get into! The weather was perfect; we lucked out and sat at a table outdoors, after staring at the menu we ended up with a #40″Floydian Slip”: Homemade chicken salad, cream cheese, raspberry preserves all rolled up in whole wheat flat bread, so good, you have to try it. Along with that we had a #57 “Peanut Butter & Brady Time”: Peanut butter and strawberry preserves, bananas and vanilla marshmallows all squeezed between 2 pieces of grilled cinnamon raisin bread, As much of a dessert as a meal! I had to have a side of their tasty potato salad too, everything was scrumptious.

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We left Fenton heading east on Grange Hall road, this is a great route to take; pretty roads passing through wooded and hilly areas. Head southbound on M15 and continue twisting and turning through the scenic countryside. Go east on Seymour Lake Rd, but stop when you arrive at Cooks Farm Dairy in Ortonville. This place is awesome! This dairy farm has been around for decades; think of it as a sort of petting farm that serves some of the best ice cream and dairy products you will ever have the pleasure of tasting. I start out by visiting the baby cows in their little pens; they don’t get cuter than this. The pigs are a little further back from the barns and are always fun to watch. The big cows are doing all the work; someone has to make all the milk. At Cooks they grow the corn that feeds the cows, the cows produce the milk, and the Cooks turn it into ice cream, chocolate milk, butter and eggnog, all available for you to purchase in their storefront. Portions are HUGE, the flavors are incredible, the experience, priceless.

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One Response to “Fenton: A J Phillips Museum, The French Laundry, Cooks Farm Dairy”

  1. Donald Dale Milne December 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Fenton is indeed a fun town to visit. The Historical Museum has provided me with some great photos, so you can read more about the town’s history at my stie.

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