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Help with dining and biking recommendations for SE Michigan

Discussion in 'Midwest/Great Lakes' started by JohnQ, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Location:
    Redding, CT
    I am traveling to SE Michigan via Niagara Falls and SW Ontario for a week’s holiday at the end of September and would love some recommendations around great restaurants and great bike rides in Detroit and its suburbs. I grew up in the Bloomfield Hills/Birmingham area and attended the University of Michigan in the mid-80s so am most familiar with the northwest suburbs. I also spent 9 months in the late 90s consulting with GM downtown and am comfortable with knocking around the city.

    But things change quite a bit over 15 years. Restaurants come and go, new areas rise as interesting communities, etc. Where would you take visitors for a bike ride? Which restaurants would you take them to? What areas of the city or suburbs would you spend an afternoon in?

    Some info to help (and references may be outdated):

    Restaurants
    I’m an adventurous eater. Not interested in going to the Chop House. Happy to spend a significant amount of money for a stellar meal but just as happy to discover a hole in the wall that serves great BBQ or pirogues.

    Bike Rides
    I don’t hammer. My perfect bike ride is 40 miles with either beautiful scenery or an interesting destination. I’ll average 15 mph or so and will often carry panniers so I can make a purchase and easily carry it back. One example would be the classic Ann Arbor ride out Huron River Drive to the Dexter Cider Mill. I’m not afraid to ride busy roads or city streets and cool weather or rain isn't an issue. Overnights are possible, also. In Ontario I'm parking the car at a charging station and riding out to a campground for the evening.

    I have not settled on lodging as of yet and may move around. Will definitely be in AA for two evenings to see friends. If there’s a great ride in central MI or along the Lake Huron shoreline I may hop up there for a day or two. So, help me decide!
     
  2. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

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    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    #2 Aphysician, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
    Restaurants: best bet Birmingham downtown, variety to choose from. Royal Oak downtown, similar but more youth oriented. Ann Arbor downtown also close third. Cafe Zola for breakfast.
    Bike Ride: if interested in scenery then Kensington metropark. If interested in biking in the D proper, see Detroit Bike City and Slow Roll.
    https://www.facebook.com/detroitbikecity2012
    http://www.slowroll.bike
    Tour de Ford organized by Henry Ford Hospital on September 14.
     
  3. physicsfita

    physicsfita Member

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    Ann Arbor, MI
    #3 physicsfita, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
    Restaurants in Ann Arbor:
    Grange -- a completely locally-sourced, snout-to-tail restaurant with a seasonal menu. The duck-fat fries poutine is a must (make sure to get a waiver from your cardiologist first)!
    Sava's (not to be confused with Seva) -- somewhat Mediterranean-influenced with a creative bar. Seasonal menu.
    Prickly Pear for very good southwestern food.
    Angelo's or Northside Grill for breakfast.
    Arbor Brewing Company or Jolly Pumpkin for brewpubs.
    Ron's Roadside BBQ looks a bit dumpy, but the BBQ is some of the best I've had north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

    Bike Rides
    For your style riding, I'd still go with HRD to Dexter, although I usually go to the A&W -- they will gladly fill your water bottle and put ice in it, if you request (or root beer if you want to take it to go!). If you're feeling ambitious, extend your ride down Dexter-Chelsea Rd. to downtown Chelsea -- Zou Zou's is a nice place to get a quick bite, and they have a good-sized bike rack placed in one of the street parking spaces during the warm-weather months.

    For a bit slower than 15 mph (depending on how many joggers and rollerbladers there are), the Border-to-Border trail is a lot of fun, mostly car-free, and has excellent scenery as it (sorta) follows the Huron River for most of its length.

    In the western suburbs, the Hines Drive park is hard to beat.

    I do have other recommendations if you're looking for something specific -- PM me if interested.
     
  4. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Thanks for the biking links. This reminded me about the Tour de Troit as well. I meant to go a few years ago but this brought it back on the radar screen. While the timing isn't perfect I'll have to adjust my schedule to make that ride.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Funny, it's been so long since I've hung out in Ann Arbor that I've never eaten at any of your restaurant recommendations except Angelo's. I used to work at Le Dog while in school and still good friends with Jules so may need to invite him to Grange. Sounds interesting.

    Thanks for the thoughts and I'll likely PM as I get closer.
     
  5. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    In my neck of the woods (northern Macomb County), there's the Macomb Orchard Trail which is a rail trail that stretches about 23 miles. At the south-west end, it becomes Clinton River Trail, which goes another 16 miles.
    The Apple Orchard Inn Restaurant is next to the trail and I've heard it's very good, yet haven't been there despite living very close.
    If you want more scenery (though the Orchard trail has some beautiful areas too), you can go to the Stony Creek Metropark which surrounds a fairly large lake about a mile west of the trail.
     
  6. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Rode by the Packard Plant as part of the Tour-de-Troit; had to stop by for a quick photo with the S before heading to the Lions game.

    Tesla-Packard 2.jpg
     

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