Month: February 2015

The Inn on Ferry Street in Detroit

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Inn on Ferry Street - Winter   Inn on Ferry Street - Tile

Inn on Ferry Street - Original Floors   Inn on Ferry Street - Fireplace Mantel

Inn on Ferry Street - Staircase    Inn on Ferry Street - Guest Room View
(Photos by Stephanie Chapman)

The historic Inn is located 84 East Ferry Street in the East Ferry Street Historic District of Midtown Detroit.

Originally a part of the Ferry Seed Company, East Ferry Avenue was developed in the late 1800s into an upper-class neighborhood. The six historic buildings that are a part of The Inn On Ferry Street were all purchased by the Merrill-Palmer Institute, an educational institution nationally known for its pioneering work in the fields of child development and family life. Eventually the homes collectively came under ownership by the Detroit Institute of Arts in the 1970s and remained so until the renovation of the buildings began in February 2000 for The Inn On Ferry Street.

For more on the Inn visit

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Karl Ove Knausgaard writes about Detroit in NYT Magazine travel essay

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BowlingAtMajestic  The Inn on Ferry Street in Detroit


Originally published by Metro Times Detroit

Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian author who has become a literary sensation of sorts in recent years due to his six-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle, penned a mighty travel essay as the centerpiece to this week’s relaunched New York Times Magazine. Turns out, Knausgaard visited Detroit on his travels with the magazine’s photographer, Peter van Agtmael. From Knausgaard:

As we approached Detroit, the billboards were becoming more frequent, more and more buildings appeared along the road, big warehouses and shopping centers, typical of the outskirts of major cities, while the light slowly faded from the sky above.

It began to snow.

Suddenly, a chasm opened to our left. An enormous industrial site lay beneath huge, black clouds of smoke, our whole field of vision was filled with steel pipes, metal walls, tanks and towers, and it seemed to be on fire, there were flames leaping up in several places, patches of glowing and flickering orange beneath the darkening sky, against the backdrop of bulging, black clouds.

“Look at that!” I said.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “Man is an awful and disgusting species.”

“But it’s so beautiful!”

As Knausgaard described, “I had never seen anything like it.” Knausgaard visited the Garden Bowl, stayed at The Inn on Ferry Street, and, apparently, caught some local bands play. Can you find a place to experience American music better than Detroit, Knausgaard asked, “the birthplace of Motown and home of Iggy Pop and the Stooges?” But the show, it seems, wasn’t all too pleasant.

When the first band came on stage, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. They played some kind of blues rock, with reference to the sound of early 1970s, Grateful Dead-ish, but in a high-school-graduation-party kind of way. The band knew how to play, but they knew how to play the way 14- and 15-year-olds know how to play.

Was this for real?

Weren’t we in Detroit?

Slate didn’t believe Knausgaard’s writing style fit for a travel writing assignment, but his observations make for a fun read. Check out the entire piece here; the second half of his essay will appear in the magazine’s March 11 issue.

Read the entire NY Times piece.

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Romancing the ink stains in Eastern Market

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Originally published by The Detroit News

Tucked onto an Eastern Market side street, Signal-Return [1345 Division, just off Russell] is the ultimate anachronism. A print shop that uses machines resurrected from the dead: movable type, ink that stains, and bulky presses that are turned by hand.

But letterpress is undergoing a revival nationwide, riding the tide of fascination with what those Shinola copywriters like to call “the glory of manufacturing” — a renewed appreciation for a mechanical era largely gone. If you grew up with a MacBook Pro and Kinko’s, you can experience the glory of clanky machines and high rag content paper with fresh eyes, without unpleasant memories …

… At the other side of Eastern Market, another letterpress shop, Salt & Cedar, at 2448 Riopelle, operated by artists Megan O’Connell and Leon Johnson, demonstrates that competition is inevitable, even in the 21st century world of 19th century business.

Show Me Detroit Tours guides will be happy to show you their locations … Eastern Market is on our tour route.

Read the full article.

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Old Shillelagh lands on list of best Irish bars in America

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Old Shillelagh

Originally published by Metro Times Detroit

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and if you haven’t already made plans to take the holiday (and the day after) off from work, we highly suggest you do so soon because everyone knows St. Pat’s is the one day when area bars open at the crack of dawn and every Detroiter can claim (s)he’s a little bit Irish.

For folks who haven’t yet etched their St. Patty’s Day drinking schedule in stone, here’s a watering hole you may want to add to your list: The Old Shillelagh, which also happened to land on this list of best Irish bars in America.

Via Thrillist:

The Old Shillelagh (Detroit, MI)
Opened in the mid-’70s by a Dublin-raised retired Detroit police officer, The Old Shillelagh has remained a Motor City staple ever since. Now under a third generation of family ownership, the massive, tented St. Patrick’s Day party is legendary, and the free shuttles to all the major downtown Detroit sporting events and concerts make sure it stays appropriately rowdy the rest of the year.

If you’ve never been to the Old Shillelagh, do pay it a visit.

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Marche du Nain Rouge is coming up on March 22

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On the weekend of March 22, join 4,000 revelers to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the departure of the Nain Rouge, the fiendish imp intent on ruining Detroit.

The Marche du Nain Rouge proper begins at 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Traffic Jam & Snug, 511 W. Canfield St. This year, due to M1 construction, The Marche will process along Second Avenue to The Detroit Masonic Temple.

Revelers are encouraged to come masked or fully costumed; groups are encouraged to join in the fun with DIY chariots. There is no cost, just come out and have a good time.

With your help, just like in years past, the thing that tries to thwart us will discover this city is not finished. Detroit will not give up and will have a bright future.

For details on the The Marche, visit

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9 Dive Bars that’ll Give You a Sense of Place in Detroit

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Originally published by

Great dive bars in Detroit? I could fill a book. But since I probably only have your attention for the next 90 seconds or so, let me just share a few suggestions on some of the many, many best places in Detroit to commune with the locals and get a true sense of place.
Dimly lit? You bet. Sticky? Maybe. But Detroit’s dive bars are always easy-on-the-wallet, root-for-the-home team and come-as-you-are.

CORKTOWN – Nancy Whiskey’s DetroitCasey’s PubNemo’s bar and grillPJ’s Lager House.

DOWNTOWN – The Anchor BarCobo Joe’sCoaches Corner

MIDTOWN – The Majestic

Read the full article with info on each dive.

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Michigan Central Station: The story of its rise, fall and…

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MichiganCentralInterior2-BBC  MichiganCentralInterior3-BBC

Originally published by BBC News

For several decades, millions passed through Motor City’s majestic rail station which served as a portal to America’s heartland. But as the auto-industry slumped and the local economy collapsed, the station saw less and less traffic. Since the last train left in 1988, the once-regal station has come to symbolise Detroit’s economic woes and has become a favourite canvas for graffiti artists. But mysterious plans are now in the works to renovate the building, starting with the replacement of over 1,000 blown-out windows.

“No other building exemplifies just how much the automobile gave to the city of Detroit – and how much it took away,” writes Dan Austin in his book Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins.

Read the full article.

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