Downtown Detroit and The Phantom of the Opera

I bought my tickets to this amazing show more than 3 months ago, so I was excited to make the trip to one of my favorite cities again. There was a special display, called Illuminocity and it was uniquely interesting and beautiful. They had examples of lighted sculptures set up all around the downtown area. 

We had arrived 2 hours early so we decided to venture inside the famous Ashley building which is located a block or two from the Detroit Opera House. A restaurant called Vertical is located there. Inside Vertical

We decided to have some dessert (me) and wine (my friend) before the show. I chose one of my longtime favorites, Creme Brûlée. It was delicious and had an interesting presentation. 

The decor was fabulous. The service was top notch. They are more well known for their wine pairings with dinner but my experience was very positive. Interesting photo display of Detroiters. 

After a little more walking to view Detroit’s nightly beauty we arrived at the Opera house. 

The stage before the show began. 

We had pretty good seats on the balcony level. I have seen Phantom of the Opera in London (which is supposed to be the best place) but I felt the touring company rivaled it and actually had better props and scenery changes, it was  truly magnificent! 

If you know me I always talk about looking up and my eyes always draw me to the ceiling, and once again it did not disappoint me. 

I’m a huge fan of Detroit and all it has to offer, I’m incredibly lucky to experience as many wonderful things as I do. 


Zoo Lights at the Detroit Zoo

The eve before Christmas Eve is always a special time of anticipation and excitement. This year my daughter and son-in-law gave us the wonderful gift of going to see the light display at the Detroit Zoo. 

Before going to the zoo, we went to downtown Birmingham to a restaurant called Salvatore Scallopinis. It was phenomenal!  I got spinach ravioli with cheese. One of their specialties is their homemade pasta. We will be back for sure!

After dinner we headed to the zoo. As soon as we turned into the parking area we could tell it was going to be a lot more than we expected. 

I’ve heard they start putting up their display in early October. It’s no wonder as they boast more than 5 million led lights and over 200 lighted animal sculptures. 

We picked the perfect night. Although very crowded, the temperatures were around 36 degrees and there was a layer of snow on the ground which only added to the beauty. They had several fire pits to warm up if needed and many hot chocolate stands. 

Everyone stayed nice and warm! 

Marco staying warm 

It took us a good hour and a half to walk around the circular path of lights and that included a short hot chocolate rest break. I can only imagine how cold it could be with lower temperatures!

Chelcee, Luca and me

The colors and variety of the lights were indescribable. It was much more than we expected. We decided we would start a family tradition on the eve of Christmas Eve by going to Salvatore Scallopini’s for dinner and someplace else to see lights, next year, maybe Greenfield Village!

Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theatre

What’s the best thing to do on a cold wintry afternoon? That’s right, go to a movie. Usually I go to the Rave Cinema which is closer to my apartment and has a huge selection of movies to choose from, but yesterday I ventured downtown to see Manchester by the Sea at the Michigan Theatre. I like to watch Oscar nominated movies and this one is getting a lot of buzz. It did not disappoint. It was an excellent movie which I highly recommend. 

The theatre itself is magnificent. It reminds me of the theatres when I was young but larger and much more magestic. I bought my ticket outside the theatre at a booth, which I remember doing long ago. 

That’s not me, haha. 

The refreshment counter was also reminiscent of the past. 

Inside the theatre there were a lot of beautiful details, especially on the ceilings. Whenever I’m in historical buildings, I always look up.   I also thought the light fixtures were gorgeous. 

The theatre is huge. It is often used for stage performances and has balcony seating. The Nutcracker was recently performed there.  

I will keep up with whatever the theatre has on tap whether it is another movie or a performance. Being in downtown Ann Arbor is a nice place to be and catching performances at the Michigan Theatre is on my list of things to do. I’m thankful I can go there anytime I want. 

Rudolph: The Musical, at Fox Theatre in Detroit 

One of my all time favorite things to do is to go to musicals. Now that I live closer to Detroit, the opportunity is here. I bought theatre tickets for Rudolph, The Musical at the grand Fox Theatre in Detroit for my daughter, my grandson, and me for our first adventure. 

I have seen this theatre many times from the outside, when I attended Detroit Tiger games, but I have never been inside. It was just as beautiful as I’ve been told, especially when decorated for Christmas. 

Inside of the festive Fox Theatre 

Chelcee, Luca and I all enjoyed the show. It was performed exactly from the TV version we see every holiday season. It even included several sing-along songs. 

We had center seats on the main floor, about 30 rows back. There were lots of families with children of all ages and everyone seemed enthralled with the show. This was Luca’s first musical and he loved it. 

Waiting for the show to start!

Other shows I have planned for early next year include: Dirty Dancing, Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King. I am very excited for all three!

Salt Springs Brewery (Downtown Saline)

Beautiful stained glass window inside Salt Springs Brewery 

My niece, Danielle and I headed over to Salt Springs Brewery after the Saline Girl’s Varsity Basketball game in celebration of their victory last Friday.  She is the assistant coach of the team.

This Brewery is in a renovated old church and has the most beautiful interior with gorgeous windows, fixtures, and woodwork.

The food was fantastic. I ordered macaroni and cheese and it was unlike any I’ve ever had, simply delicious!  Danielle had a pizza on homemade crust with assorted toppings like bacon, onions, white sauce, and greens. She loved her meal as well. She also had a pumpkin ale and declared it “okay”.

Danielle perusing the menu and sampling her brew before making a choice. 

Unique ceiling light with Christmas decorations. 

A bad shot of inside the Brewery, but yet more insight to the church sense of the place. 

I would definitely recommend this place for a casual outing. It closes at 11pm this time of year. It does have extensive outdoor seating so I have plans to return in the summer.

A Weekend with Luca

Luca came to visit me this past weekend. I met his parents in Howell to pick him up and we were on our way to Ann Arbor. I let him stay up a little later than usual and we watched tv, snacked, and read books. 

First up Friday morning was a trip to the Hands-On Children’s Museum in downtown Ann Arbor. Luca LOVED this place. At first there was so much to see and do that he ran around testing and experimenting with everything. He finally settled in the Preschool Room which was perfect for him. His second favorite place was the H2O room. 

Luca playing with a magnificent ball display. 

On Saturday we had plans to see the movie Trolls. I cannot say enough good things about it. The music, the characters, the message, were all perfect for my three year old.  He was captivated throughout the entire movie. 

My favorite troll!

Luca took my picture!

After the movie we came home for lunch and some rest. When Luca woke up from his nap, we went to my sister’s to visit Luca’s cousins, Alayna and Vincent. Such fun!

On Sunday, our last day, we went out for breakfast at IHOP. Luca ordered his favorite, pancakes and milk. 

Later that afternoon it was time to go and meet mom and dad. He was very anxious to see them and his brother, Marco. We have another weekend visit planned soon!

Visiting Downtown Detroit

My friend Jane and I had been planning our own walking tour in downtown Detroit for the past couple months. Little did we know that the weather on an early November day would be so beautiful! We drove into to town, arriving around 9:15am. We quickly parked and set off for our first destination, Trinity Lutheran Church. We took the Dequindre Cut to get there. 

Example of artwork along the Cut. 

The walking/bike path along the Cut. 

The Dequindre Cut is a green space walkway cutting through the downtown Detroit area. It is truly unique in that it has exits and entrances much like a highway and there is beautiful artwork along the way. It is a great place for Detroit residents to exercise and enjoy outdoor space. 

We exited the Cut near the Eastern Market and headed to Trinity Lutheran. This church is a historical part of downtown Detroit and was truly beautiful. Part of its history included that it has an original Skinner pipe organ and we were lucky to hear the musical director play it. 

Historical Trinity Lutheran Church

After visiting the church we headed over to the Eastern Market to see what that was like. 

After checking out some vendors and taking a snack break, we continued our tour by walking toward Greektown and visiting churches in the surrounding area. 

Second Baptist Church

St Mary’s Catholic Church 

An Italian Catholic Church (forgot name)

An interesting note about the first church pictured, The Second Baptist Church, is that it was a gathering place on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada. Also, Martin Luther King, Jr. had attended services there several times. 

A street view of Greektown

We eventually made our way to Campus Martius Park and the Detroit Opera House       which we will be back to visit because we have tickets to The Phantom of the Opera there in January. 

A couple of unique buildings. 

The highlight of our tour was discovering the Diquundre Cut. I have plans to return to walk it in the future plus there are many more buildings and history to discover in Detroit.