Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

A mitten full of good stuff July 20, 2011

Filed under: Random Travels & Exploring — Heather @ 6:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m a fan of supporting the local and state economies, especially as the great state of Michigan struggles to recover from

Sunsets on a Michigan beach are the best.

an economic beating. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel throughout the state during my lifetime. For many years, my family takes our annual trip to a location in Michigan. We love Traverse City, returning several times, but also enjoyed Saugatuck, Silver Lake and Caseville in the recent past.

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There is no denying Michigan offers residents and visitors many beautiful locations, amazing beaches, quaint towns, miles of hiking and biking trails, eclectic shops, delicious restaurants, tasty breweries and wineries and….well, you get the picture – there is a lot to see, do and taste in this mitten state!

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While there are many places that have impressed me over the years, this is a short list of some businesses that I’ve worked with or encountered recently….my experience with each has resulted in excellent customer service, good products/services or just plain fun.

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Black Lotus – This brewery is located in downtown Clawson (ok, after growing up in Clawson, it still makes me laugh to say that Clawson has a ‘downtown’ but the small city really does, and it’s growing!). Since opening several years ago, their menu has grown to include burgers, sandwiches, turkey chili, pizza and the BBQ chicken nachos I’m quite fond of. I am, however, much more fond of their array of brews….my best friend once described their Wheat Mimosa as a beer that could make one an alcoholic, it’s so tasty (no worries, neither of us drink that much!). Justin and I are fond of the newer Funkin’ Apricot Wheat. There are other choices, such as the People Mover Pilsner and Vintage Brown. Black Lotus also offers a selection of their own wines and teas. From its opening, Black Lotus was non-smoking, which was always awesome to me. While the outdoor seating area can get a bit loud when the big FedEx trucks drive down 14 Mile, it’s great to sit outside on a nice evening with a great beer.

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Yellow Daisy Design – This creative company makes custom cards, invitations and announcements for every occasion. While it’s technically an online company that takes orders from across the U.S., it’s based locally. Whether you need to announce the birth of your new baby, are hosting a special anniversary party, getting married or interested in sending custom photo holiday cards, this is the company to choose.  To disclose, the owner is my youngest sister; yet also to disclose, she deserves the excellent reviews and compliments that Yellow Daisy Design receives for customer service, creativity, price and promptness. I admit when Kelli first launched YDD, I didn’t realize that she enjoyed this type of custom design project. I quickly was really impressed with the work and placed several of my own orders. Customers receive several layout options and the free cutom design and edits are really rare (and awesome) service options for a design company.

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Shine – This eclectic shop on Washington in downtown Royal Oak provides a fun variety of items. Need a gift for a girlfriend’s birthday? A funky purse or business card holder? Party napkins or quirky coasters? Look here. There is even a small section of children’s toys and gifts. This a store that you should visit often because you never know what you’ll find. The owner is a fun, energetic woman who is always welcoming to her customers.

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Cranbrook Institute of Science – Science museums may seem stuffy to some but this place always has something fun happening, whether a new exhibit, an out of this world program or interesting new information to share about science. When I served as the PR person for the museum, I never experienced the same day twice. The planetarium shows are always popular, taking visitors deep into space or on a wild laser light show. A visit to the Bat Zone offers a glimpse into the world of bats and other nocturnal animals – I developed a new respect and knowledge for these species. If you can, try to attend a program that lets you interact with their archaeologist, geologist or astronomer. You’ll learn some fascinating facts about history and the world around us. If you visit on a nice day, wander the grounds to discover more beauty in nature.

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Jolly Pumpkin – You have to leave metro Detroit to find this fabulous restaurant but it’s worth the drive. Located on Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, the Jolly Pumpkin welcomes guests with a relaxed, rustic ambiance and great food and beer. While I’ve been to the Jolly Pumpkin in Traverse City a few times (so my comments are based on that location), according to their website there are locations in Ann Arbor and Dexter (road trips!). Jolly Pumpkin sits near Bower Harbor/(West) Traverse Bay – when we stopped for lunch last summer there was a small wedding happening on the grounds. The Traverse City location is a restaurant, brewery and distillery. Their brews are tasty and their menu is really quite yummy. If you’re looking for a relaxing meal with family and friends, check this place out.

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I could go on and on with favorite places in Michigan but that’s my short list of places to shop or visit. What are some of your favorite places in Michigan?

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One Response to “A mitten full of good stuff”

  1. […] restaurants, the Jolly Pumpkin, on Old Mission Peninsula. I’ve referenced this restaurant in a previous blog so I won’t spend tons of time on it again. Needless to say, we enjoyed some delicious food and […]


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