03 January 2017

New Year in a New Detroit

          I have so much optimism for this new year. There is a chance I'm overly optimistic, but if our New Year's Eve celebration serves as an indication, 2017 will be pretty exciting. And hey, what could possibly go wrong in the coming year? *buries head in sand*

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation, city view
          I decided to relax a little and share my travel adventures on the blog. This requires some background information because my travel centers around my love of live music, interesting Airbnb accommodations (or sometimes sleeping in a tent on the street, which is a story for another post), and a small eclectic group of live music fans. We live in all parts across the US and other countries, and meet up periodically in line for an event, then again in the front row, and yet again for brunch to plan the next adventure. This is such a fun, smart group of folks who have pretty excellent taste is music, in my humble opinion. I'm fortunate that my sweet friend and music & travel counterpart lives in my town, and shares my need to seek out these adventures. It was our love of music and exploration of great cities that allowed our paths to cross. Our husbands and beloved kids have our attention 95% of the time, and they appreciate our need to explore and live our own adventures, and add color and sound to the remaining 5%.

Majestic, Detroit, Woodward Avenue,

          One of the best things about living in SW Ohio is the central location, which makes travel so convenient. In five hours, we're in Nashville, Detroit is a three hour drive, and it's eight hours to see my family in Upstate NY. I plan a trip every couple of months, whenever I am tempted by a concert, small show, or just to bust out of Ohio for the weekend. Over the summer my family drove to Florida by way of Nashville, then I drove to Atlanta for a conference, before returning to Ohio, all the while blasting music and catching up on podcasts. Tied with painting and creating, a road trip is the best way to clear the mind.

          In November we decided to catch a New Year's Eve show at The Magic Stick in Detroit, where a couple of great bands were hosting a small reunion of sorts.

          With tickets purchased, I found an interesting place to stay on Airbnb, and I didn't know it at the time, but this place is an absolute gem. As a side note, we spend no time at whatever place we reserve and quite literally need a place to land, and rest our bodies before morning, so finding an expensive and fancy establishment isn't our speed. I discovered the El Moore Lodge, and the prices were exactly what we needed; $35 per person, per night. We shared a room with twin bunk beds built into the wall, so if you require more space or plan to spend more time in your room, there are other options for a higher cost. They offer everything from our simple accommodations to full time luxury apartments, and everything in between. Their commitment to sustainability, history, and community make me want to give them all of the money.  Take my money and go and do more great things!

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation

          Some thoughts about Detroit; this city is undergoing a beautiful renaissance. I can't explain why I'm drawn there, and much of my interest in travel comes from the gut; I either love a city or I just don't care to return, and it falls off my radar. Well, I love Detroit. I love a good rich history, and Detroit had riches, and beautiful buildings, and all of the history. The highs are legendary in terms of big American cities, and the lows are still difficult to comprehend. How does it happen to such a monumentally important place? Is it possible to bring it back? We have stayed in Detroit four times now, and each time feels more hopeful with evidence of visible change and improvement. The people who pour their hearts and their lives into reclaiming and reshaping the city are the best part. The tour guide at the Guardian Building, the docent at the Masonic, the manager/developer of the El Moore; they all have genuine love and passion for Detroit and they have the desire and energy to bring it back. These folks light up when they share their passion with us, and it makes my heart so happy. I delight in hearing about the "anonymous donors" who come from Detroit, who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve buildings that would otherwise be demolished to make room for condos or whatever bland thing that might fit in that vacant lot and perhaps make money for the developer.

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation
           This gorgeous building had been vacant for 20 years when it was rescued from decay and likely demolition, and now stands in the prime location of a "new/old" neighborhood in Midtown, a.k.a the Cass Corridor. Renaming of historic neighborhoods is a touchy topic here. The old district is often renamed in order to disassociate itself from the former name and known negative reputation. Regardless of the neighborhood identity, you can not deny the beauty of these buildings and their history. Please, for the love, do not tear the beautiful buildings down. From the El Moore, we walked two blocks in search of our New Years champagne, two blocks for our fix of vinyl at Third Man Records, and two blocks to the show at The Magic Stick. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Midtown, and as a vegetarian, that isn't always easy to find quality options, but I had no problem.

          I will spare you the poorly lit selfies and pictures of the show, but trust me when I say it was a memorable way to say goodbye to a year full of stink and sadness. Just a quick road trip and reunion with friends in a neat old city; a live show with a midnight countdown by the Dirtbombs and a crazy set by the Soledad Brothers. Good things await us in 2017, I can feel it! 

          ***I will be back tomorrow with the regularly scheduled decorating projects. There is a powder room in desperate need of my attention. 
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