15 March 2017

Galavanting in Michigan

To celebrate Michigan State's Spring Break and take a break from normal life, Matthijs and I spent some time galavanting through Michigan last week. We spent a day in Detroit, explored Portland and Ionia, and spent some time in downtown Grand Rapids.

Below are some highlights:
- We explored the Detroit Historical Museum. I appreciated especially the Gallery of Culture, as it gave a glimpse of some of the more complicated history of Detroit, including some of the riots and violence that gave Detroit its strongly negative reputation. The role of sports was also intriguing, as it brought people together while also appearing to be a way to avoid the racism, poverty, crime, and other troubles of the city.
- We bumped into The Whitney, a gorgeous 1890's mansion close to the museum. We came during happy hour, so lunch upstairs at the bar was not only enjoyable but also affordable.
- We explored the Detroit Public Library with its gorgeous architecture and artwork.
Ionia Courthouse
- And then we stopped at Ikea on the way home because there were a couple of household things we wanted to pick up, and we ended up also getting a desk for Matthijs - one where the height adjusts, so he can actually get his knees under it in a comfortable way.
- We discovered that Portland, MI, isn't all that exciting: however, it has great paths both for walking and biking.
- Ionia, MI has a bit better architecture, as evidenced by this lovely house for sale and the picture at the side of the courthouse.
- Ionia, however, has nothing on Grand Rapids, especially the Heritage Hill area where we spent the night (see Logan house at the side and a map of Heritage hill houses that we followed for as long as we could handle the cold).
Logan house (plus a Frank Lloyd Wright-ish house beside it)
- We saw the musical Ragtime. The production was very well done, and it led to a couple of fascinating conversations about how the musical (and the early 1900s) has a lot of connections with today: the place of immigrants, the role of women, one's place in society, racism, and even the role of sports as both a distraction and something that draws people together.

The break was good, as was the opportunity to explore and delight in new places.

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