“Arctic air is not to be trifled with.” His words when I asked about the slightly grimy cardboard after I sighted it the first time. I was in my early twenties.
My grandmother and grandfather lived in two homes during my childhood that I vividly remember. Both had carports, which as a child I found mesmerizing. Our old homes in the big city did not have these “modern” features. Low brick walls and a slick concrete floor defined the second and last carport.
In the heat of summer and on breezy days, they could be known to park the car further back in the driveway and not under the carport. This signaled that part of the evening would be spent in aluminum-framed folding chairs with the plastic webbing reforming our thighs.
I love driving. I like to be in control. I enjoy it. Last week I took a road trip with my husband and son during the younger one’s spring break. Our small family truly loves road trips.
I love driving. I like to be in control. I enjoy it. Last week I took a road trip with my husband and son during the younger one’s spring break. Our small family truly loves road trips.Close, personal time together. Books on CD. Long naps in the back seat. And, because mom is the driver, there is the added bonus of the son getting her to agree to lunch or dinner on the road at places I would never say yes to during “normal” times The men in my car like being able to drop off to sleep at any time with no push back from me. I like the time alone with my memories and percolating thoughts.
This time, memories of a road trip with my Dad in Scotland came bubbling to the top while I was driving between Cleveland and Detroit.
We were in both American cities only one and a half days each. Two nights and one full day in each place. Rock and Roll Hall Fame and Museum in Cleveland and Hitsville USA/Motown in Detroit. Those were our “must dos” and anything else we decided to do would be gravy. Icing. A bonus.
I was pretty much over-the-moon about the prospect of vising Detroit. I was bound and determined not to let the media sway me into or out of my emotions. I had no idea what to expect, and I liked it that way.
My trip to Scotland 8 years ago was a road trip as well, besides the plane ride to get there. It started in an old city – Glasgow – and ended in an old city – Edinburgh – and every town/hamlet/village in between was older than any city I had ever visited in the States. I was transfixed with reuse of really old buildings – 600+ years old in some cases. Buildings with serious pedigree being used as primary schools and libraries. Post offices. Bakeries. Some towns had never torn a building down. Reuse was the way of the world in the places we visited over the pond. It thrilled me. They were living with their history. They were living in their history.
Detroit brought it all home for me. It is an older American city. A city built upon pretty much one industry. When we travel as a family, we seek the unique and authentic, and Detroit did not let us down. You can clearly see where majestic buildings once stood by the blight that is the place marker. But we also saw restaurants blossoming in building that had housed manufacturing. We met people proud to tell you not only about their city’s problems but about its potential. Proud, not boastful, their eyes lighting up. Hopeful. We toured a gorgeous art museum with incredible murals by Diego Rivera and spent time in a museum with the most animated, music-loving tour guide ever placed on this Earth. At the end of our one long day, a desk clerk that asked us where all we had been and was attentive to the answers before bidding us good night.
Go to Detroit. See it. Hop in the car and drive around. A city built on automobiles wants you to see her scars and her polish. Have no fear. Live a little.
And say nice things about her when you get home. She’s lived one hell of a life and is building an incredible second act with young entrepreneurs and activists.
p.s. Cleveland was amazing. Great food. Friendly people. We slept in a re-purposed bank building that now houses a Holiday Inn Express. Amazing 13 foot ceilings and hardwood floors in every oversized room. And, well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is just that. Rock and roll.
p.s.s. If you ever go to Detroit or Cleveland, drop me a note and I’ll give you our list. Great places, restaurants and hotels. email@example.com is how you find me.
I have never really liked the “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” saying. It has always bugged me, and it doesn’t sit right.
I have never really liked the “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” saying. It has always bugged me, and it doesn’t sit right. I like a good motivational saying – my Pinterest board “Sayin’ Something” is full of them. But that one, not so much.
When life, parades, business and commitments stepped in a few weeks ago and blew the plans my family and my sister’s family had made for Spring Break, we didn’t pout; we just changed our plans. Well, the youngest among us cried her eyes out, but the rest of us remained relatively calm. We were to have skied in Steamboat, but, instead, we took a road trip to Dallas. See? Nothing like lemonade.
And it was fantastic! What a great American city. The night before we were to leave, I typed my new favorite combination into Google “boutique hotel in (choose city name)” and happened upon the Belmont Hotel. Just over the Trinity River from downtown Dallas, and the view from most rooms was unstoppable; the view at night from the pool was a picture postcard.
We did our part as tourists – and those who like to spend money with locally owned businesses – and stayed in a locally owned hotel, ate meals in 4 locally owned restaurants, and, visited two tourist destinations located downtown. The Dallas World Aquarium and The Nasher Sculpture Center have found happy homes in urban settings.
We left much to go back and see, but that has been the way we’ve traveled with our son. You must always leave one thing undone in a destination so that you always have a reason to go back.
The Dallas World Aquarium was nice. The best part was when my husband decided to call it a terrarium after we had walked through the three floors of animals, spiders, and cougars, and finally made it to the lower level…where the aquarium part was. The whole building was packed to the gills with humans – never the best way to view nature – so we paced ourselves and took it all in. However, there really wasn’t enough sea life to put aquarium in the name.
I live with a funny man, and every time I think of the aquarium/terrarium comment I smile.