Tag Archives: Armada

A Little North…..

2 Jun

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We are in the Village of Romeo, there’s an estate sale at the former Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast at 439 Prospect Street. We’ve always wanted to see the inside of this 6,000 sq. ft. beauty, today’s our chance. We park on the street and approach the hill-top property, curiosity-seekers and shoppers enter and exit through the front doors. The imposing structure is quite lovely, immediately in the entry way a staircase leads us up, we make our way from room to room noticing antique light fixtures, wide moldings  surrounding the ceiling and doorways and the unique feature of inset sinks in the bedrooms. Fireplaces are marble, floors are wood, medallions grace a few of the ceilings. Everything is for sale. 

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Having satisfied our curiosity we decide to take a stroll through the neighborhood. The area now known as Romeo was originally inhabited by Chippewa Indians and called Indian Village, as more and more people moved into the village homes were put up, businesses began to grow; the town was re-named Romeo in 1838. Much of the architecture you see today dates to the 19th and 20th centuries, most of it Victorian in style, including the picturesque downtown. The entire Village of Romeo is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We stroll up and down Main Street, beautiful Queen Anne homes sport lattice, spindles, fish-scale and shake siding. Elaborate paint schemes make the most of architectural details, porches are large and inviting, baskets of flowers hang above. 

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Throughout the neighborhood homes have leaded glass windows, graceful columns, stone is a popular feature whether used for a chimney or the lower level of a house, I like the way it looks. Flowering trees are still in bloom, lawns are deep green and lush. Greek Revival and Italianate styles join the Queen Anne’s with their colorful exteriors. We spy a pale yellow home with the fanciest trim I think I’ve ever seen, from the distinctive columns and window pediments to the third-story dormers and decoration under the eaves, it’s spectacular. The green Second Empire at 240 Sisson is gorgeous, as are so many of these well cared for homes. Romeo still maintains its agricultural history with farms and orchards throughout the city. 

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A short drive and we’re at Blake’s Ciderhouse and Winery in Armada for lunch. Gerald and Elisabeth Blake along with their 13 children started the historic farm back in 1846, they now have over 500 acres of orchards and farmland. The business has passed down through the generations and is one of the most popular cider mills in the area. With the addition of hard cider, wine and beer a whole new clientele is being introduced to the Blake’s family. The Ciderhouse and Winery is housed in a charming, rustic-looking building. The interior is an attractive mix of wood, wrought iron and decorative concrete, a large open fireplace rests in the center of the room. Wood shelves and cabinets hold craft ciders in glass bottles and aluminum cans, wine is sold by the bottle in several varieties.We have a seat at the bar, check out the latest ciders and place our order. I am having the Cransylvania Cider, a mix of blood orange and cranberry, it’s refreshing and delicious. Kris is drinking the Flannel Mouth, a nice, sweet apple-y hard cider. Our bbq chicken flatbread arrives; a sweet tangy bbq sauce is layered with chicken, smoked gouda cheese and sliced red onion, yum! Have to leave room for dessert…..

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Achatz Handmade Pie Company has been making pies using recipes passed down through the generations since 1993, we are at the North Ave location in Armada. If you have seen the name but aren’t sure how its pronounced, it rhymes with jackets. The space is homey, comfortable, shabby chic, vintage items are re-purposed as shelving and displays. You can purchase salsa’s, salad dressing, jam, honey, popcorn and of course pie! The length of the room is one long string of tasty offerings from homemade soups to desserts. There’s a lot to choose from so we have to give this some serious consideration, we finally agree on the Turtle Cheesecake. We order a slice at the counter along with espresso for Kris and tea for me. We take our tray to a seat by the roll-up door. The caramel cheesecake rests on a chocolate crust then is topped with a chocolate ganache and pecans, rich and delicious. We take our time enjoying our sweet treat, the afternoon sun and the breeze coming in through the door. Life is Good.

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A Drive In The Country; Wolcott Farm, Lamb’s Tail Antiques & Time on Main Cafe, Richmond

13 Aug

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Every once in a while you just need to escape from the fast-paced, traffic laden, frenzy of the city; even if it is only for a few hours.  Wolcott Mill Metro Park Farm Center surrounds you with that country feeling, located just outside of the northern suburbs you won’t have to drive all day or spend a small fortune on gasoline. The Farm Center is positioned on Wolcott Rd in Ray, and is actually just one of four parks in the metro park. This is a real working farm complete with a vegetable garden, goats, horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys, a gigantic rabbit, and of course my favorite; cows! I have to admit cows are my favorite farm animal, besides their sweet faces they provide us with milk, cheese, butter and ice cream; what’s not to love? The farm has lots of them; big and small, all brown or white with black spots, Holstein and Jersey, come see them being milked at 10am daily. Amble the farm roaming in and out of barns, take a deep breath of fresh air, listen to the sound of the clucking chickens and the baaa of the sheep, feel the simplicity of it all, it’s a great place to unwind. The center plans many activities through the year; A country fair, Farmers Camp for kids, Cider and Donut Wagon Rides and Farm Halloween. Fall is an especially beautiful time to visit.

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Continuing north on Wolcott past 32 Mile road, it will hook east and become Armada Ridge Road. Just as you round the bend you will come across an antique store called The Lamb’s Tail, do stop in! This is not your average country store; housed inside a Historical barn, this place is charming and whimsical, eye-catching displays lead you from one area to another, items for your home and garden, artwork and local honey. Drift from one room to the next imagining where to place different objects in your home. Dishes and glassware, mason jars in blue, vintage furniture, there’s a bit of everything here. The outside is just as lovely, vintage aprons hang from a clothesline, Victorian teacups and saucers are re-purposed as bird feeders, wonderful shabby wooden signs make declarations such as Beach, Michigan or Lake House, it almost makes you want to buy a cottage to place these enchanting wares.

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From there head east on Armada Ridge, this region bestows some photogenic scenery, then just sit back and enjoy the ride. With the recent rain the grass is a lush green, farm fields are bursting with produce, small stands along the road are piled high with baskets of tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. The corn stands tall waving in the summer breeze creating a perfect backdrop for large red barns and horses grazing. Lovely homes are set back from the road and far apart; from turn of the century to modern country estate. Seemingly every second home has a private pond, most bordered by gorgeous beds of flowers, sunflowers seem to be a popular choice. The smooth road curves and winds leaving you anxious to see what’s around the bend.

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Continue on, passing through the tiny town of Armada with its historic downtown, then proceed into Richmond where you will discover a wonderful cafe appropriately named Time On Main Street. This unexpected surprise would be at home in Birmingham or Rochester yet blends in perfectly in the country enclave of Richmond. Owners Phillip and Mimi have created something truly special here. Step inside this wonderful space with dark wooden floors, bright olive-green walls and a marble fireplace. Chandeliers light the large room giving it an elegant feel, have a seat at a high top table or on the settee, it’s all quite comfortable. Whether you come for coffee or for a meal you are sure to be satisfied.  The espresso is Barzula from Italy and it’s delicious, if you like your espresso sweet ask Phillip to make you a Cubano, and tell him Kris sent you, he’ll fix you up! He also makes a terrific cappuccino. The cafe menu consists of soup, salads and sandwiches, they always have a special of the day. We arrived hungry and ordered the House Salad with spinach, fresh mozzarella, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries and dried cherries with a balsamic dressing, everything was super fresh and flavorful. The special of the day was a Chipotle quesadilla; chicken, Roma tomatoes, purple onion and spicy cheese melted together on the panini press, scrumptious! You couldn’t meet nicer people than Mimi and Phillip, they pay attention to every detail and it shows from the food to the decor.

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