Ok, so I have mentioned in at least one post (#72 – Café Med) that I’ve worked in Dearborn for the past year but am a complete wimp about driving around there because I find its road system cray-cray. Really, it’s nothing against Dearborn; it’s just all about familiarity for me – I can whip around four-lane, mad-traffic-laden Hall Road like a boss, but Dearborn and Detroit’s looping roads and largely grid-pattern adverse set-ups get me all white-knuckled and frantic. So I’ve largely avoided driving around the neighborhood surrounding my workplace, and honestly, I’m one to bring my lunch to work every day anyway (more money to go out to dinner!). But a few weeks ago, I forgot my lunch at home, and that prompted me to venture at least a few miles out, for Pete’s sake, Jackie! and try out Ollie’s, a Dearborn institution lauded by both Yelp and my coworkers. And you can bet I felt like Rocky after going the distance when I made it there and back. You gotta celebrate your baby steps, no matter how small or silly-sounding to others, right?
Check out that gorgeous patio in the above photo!
16351 Ford Rd., Ste. 100
Dearborn, MI 48126
Until my recent (well, not so recent anymore – it was almost a month ago!) Detroit Day that I’ve been chronicling, I’m pretty sure I was the only person my ripe old age of 30 who had lived her whole life in the proximity of Detroit and had not been through the Heidelburg Project. Out on the other side of the experience, I can heartily attest that it was everything I thought it would be and more!
For those unfamiliar with it, the Heidelburg Project is an urban art installation – referred to as an “outdoor community art environment” on its website – on Heidelburg Street in Detroit. Starting in 1986 (I had no idea it went back that far until researching it!), local artist Tyree Guyton started to transform this heavily blighted area of his community through the raw, beautifying power of art, using his trademark colorful polka dots and found and recycled objects primarily from the Detroit area and recruiting the help of family members and neighborhood kids. And look at how f@cking amazing it is! I just love contemporary art and art using found objects; I get really excited about it, so I was pretty impassioned when my friend was driving me through the Heidelburg Project, ohh-ing and ahh-ing and getting really upset recalling how some of it has been destroyed by ignorant idiots – but then excited to see that they have worked on rebuilding it. A colorful kaleidoscope of emotions – that’s what the best art brings out in us.
Today, the Heidelburg Project is more than an inspiring and thought-provoking urban art installation – it’s a movement that includes youth art workshops and gallery exhibitions by other artists. If you’re as passionate about such creative, community-focused work as I am, you can also support the cause through a donation via the below website.
3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit MI, 48207
I’d heard so many people praise Atwater Brewery and its beer over the years that I was really excited to visit it. Wow, is this place really utilizing the space as it is! Atwater Brewery basically entails a large warehouse that the beer is brewed in with a bar counter and a bunch of tables thrown in amongst it, off to the side. So you’re right there by pallets of beer boxes and brewing equipment and can see way back there into the bowels of the place and look at all the additional equipment and whatnot (and there is a lot of whatnot) that is located back there. It’s an interesting set-up, but I can appreciate the ability to use a space for more than one purpose; it’s a smart business move, and it makes Atwater stand out.
I would really like to check out Atwater’s Grosse Pointe Park location, Atwater in the Park, which is located in a gorgeous old church and offers both food and drink (the Detroit location doesn’t offer food). It looks right up my alley! Not that visiting Atwater Brewery wasn’t enjoyable to me; it was rather the kind of experience very well-suited to a Detroit Day of exploration.
237 Joseph Campau St.
Detroit, MI 48207