Tag Archives: Detroit

Films Made in Michigan

Below is a list of select films made in Michigan in 2011. The Michigan Film Board reported on 46 productions took place in Michigan from 2010-2012.

Oz Great and Powerful 

A small-time magician with questionable ethics arrives in a magical land and must choose between becoming a good man or a great one.


Sparkle

Set in the 1960s, three sisters form girl group and soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart.


Spy Kids All the Time in the World 4D

A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world. The post-production work for Spy Kids 4D was done in Birmingham, Michigan in the Spring of 2011. 

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World,” starred Antonio Banderas and Jessica Alba.


Margarine Wars

60’s Psychedelic Counterculture clash during the “Summer of Love,” when an aspiring hippie Afro-Jew from New York dupes the son of a Swedish dairy farmer into smuggling illegal margarine into butter rich Wisconsin.


Dogman

Hanklin Purvis enjoys the outdoors, and he loves to hunt. He and his wife, Dorothy, live on a farm in the rural midwest. For some reason, during the season before autumn, things start to happen.

The movie is based on ‘The Legend’ by Steve Cook for an April Fool’s day joke, which was made up of different sightings of ‘dogman’ – there is such a thing as ‘the Michigan Dogman’, which was first reported all the way back in 1887.


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The Oldest Michigan Coney Island

The Detroit Coney

Lafayette and American Coney Island

Today we take a road trip from the Thumb region to visit our youngest at Western Michigan University. It also gives us a chance to explore a uniquely Michigan experience the Coney Island Hot Dog. Open just about any foodie magazine or Google about  Michigan Coney Islands and chances are you will stumble onto voluminous articles and posts discussing the back-to-back Detroit standbys of American and Lafayette Coney Islands. Local legend tells that these two hot dog stands emerged out of a disagreement between two partners. However, rather than locating far away from each other the former partner ended up next door. A rivalry was born. 


Enough About Detroit Coneys Already

Lafayette Michigan Coney Island

I’ll admit I’m a big Lafayette and American fan. If we are in Detroit I’ll stop in. Just about every food writer in Michigan seems to place these two Detroit stands into the obligatory #1, #2 in best coney dog contests. Despite these perennial rankings, many folks are amazed to learn that there are actually three tasty versions of the Michigan Coney; the Detroit, the Flint and the Jackson styles. 


Want the Original Coney? Leave Detroit and Head West!

Michigan Coney Island Kalamazoo

It seems to be universally accepted that the first Michigan Coney was created in Jackson by George Todoroff in 1914. His Jackson Coney Island restaurant was located in front of the Jackson Train Station on East Michigan Avenue. It closed when his son, who was running the restaurant, was drafted into World War II. It surprises many folks to learn that the oldest continuously operating Coney Island in Michigan belongs to Coney Island Kalamazoo. They opened their doors in 1915 and it has been running ever since. Its location downtown makes for a busy lunch crowd. 


The Kalamazoo Coney

Kalamazoo Coney Island

The mildly spicy low moisture Jackson style coney “sauce” is more like an open loose burger on top of natural casing hot dog. The meat spices have the obligatory garlic and chili powder but there are also hints of celery salt, turmeric, and even the exotically expensive saffron. I asked one of the cooks about the spice mixture. She said that it comes pre-ground in a small stainless container for each batch and it’s a closely guarded secret. Topped with onions and mustard on a steamed bun. It didn’t last long. 


Keep the Coney Rivalry Going

Michigan Coney Island Kalamazoo Cooking

In our post about Unique Michigan Foods, You Have to Try, I did get some hate email about our love for the Western Michigan version of the Coney dog. We stand by our tasty assessment and point out that the Kalamazoo Coney Dog doesn’t follow you around all afternoon if you know what I mean. I say keep the dogs cooking and try to improve an original. Pass the mustard.

Michigan Coney Island Kalamazoo Entry


More Uniquely Michigan Foods

If you like this topic please feel free to share it. It sees other Michigan favorite foods check out this post on

Unique Michigan Foods


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Best of the Upper Thumb

For well over five decades the Upper Thumb has been deemed the “Closer Up North” for the Southeast Michigan and Detroit area.  Sandy beaches, great fishing, parks and some of the friendliest proprietors around, Huron County is a great place to steal a weekend away from the “burbs” of Detroit without busting your wallet.  In less than a two hour drive you can be at the tip of the Thumb and sinking your toes into the sugar sand of Saginaw Bay. It’s family friendly unpretentious and considered by many to be an undiscovered Michigan destination.

There are many events throughout the year but the highlight festival of the summer is Cheeseburger in Caseville held in August. When it was first held in 1999 it was purely a local affair attended by only 5,000 locals. Now the event is considered the largest civic festival event in Michigan with over 100,000 visitors during  the 10 day event. Caseville becomes Key North during the event. Bring your Conch Republic passport for diplomatic treatment.

ThumbWind presents the “inside scoop” from locals and those who live here and wish our visitors to have a great time. A new page has been added Best of the Upper Thumb. This local information offers a collection of the “Best Of” for the  all the festivals and unique sites the Upper Thumb has to offer including Caseville’s Cheeseburger festival . This stuff just scratches the surface for a unique trip of fun and adventure.

Best of RibStock in Caseville. Last weekend of JuneRibstock is considered the warm up act for the big August festival. However this celebration of BBQ and country music is quickly becoming a favorite early summer event.

Best Place to Talk Politics During Cheesburger’s “Parade of Fools” This is the largest event of the festival. It’s also a great chance to meet and great local and national politicians who find their way into Caseville.

Best Gourmet Grocery to Create Your Own Cheeseburger There are dozens of local restaurants and charity’s who set up for the 10 day event. You may want to make your own. Here is the best place to get all the fixens for your own cheeseburger in paradise.

Best Taste of the Florida Keys in the Upper Thumb – Want to experience a bit of the Keys cuisine without the 1,500 mile car trip and all the bridge hopping? There are many roadside inns along M-53 that can go toe-to-toe with those on A-1-A. The only thing missing is the conch chowder.  Here is a stand out.

Best Bar Cheeseburger in the ThumbBar burgers are fun. However you may actually have to leave Caseville to find the best bar cheeseburger in the Thumb.

Best Place to Camp Next to the BeachThe Upper Thumb is a camper nirvana. However there is only one area where you can literally camp steps away on the beach. Find out where.

Best Things to do When Your Bored of Cheeseburger – Ten days of luau shirts, Margareta’s and cheeseburgers sounds like a lot of fun but for kids it can be too much. If you want to step away from the crowds there is plenty to see and do. Check out the suggestions.

Best Stroll During the Festival – See the odd sights and unique sounds and atmosphere found only on the water.

Ora Labora Grave Old Bay Port Cemetery AngelBest Place to Get Totally Scared – The Upper Thumb has been home to native and American settlers for over a millenia. The paranormal activity in one nearby town has been the subject of books, movies and TV shows. You can even stay in a famously haunted inn overnight if you dare.

The Best Place to Dance Polka – If your around after Labor Day the upper thumb has a polka festival that is one of the Great Lakes best.


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Backyard Winter Survival Fun

This was a post from the great winter we had in 2014 when we were blessed with ongoing snow throughout much of the year. Here is what can happen when some kids get bored of video games. 

Snow Provides the Fun

The day after Christmas yielded our first significant snowfall. About six inches fell overnight and blanketed the northern Detroit suburbs. We were playing host to four college age young men and two senior high boys who were sick of playing video games. The chatter and talk of the evening was focused on the fun time when they were young and the snow shelters that they made hiking the Chief Pontiac Trail. As they got older the size of these shelters grew and sometimes they dragged sleeping bags and candles to spend the winter night. Later that evening the older boys trooped out to the back yard and started mounding snow. It was dark and getting late so I went off to bed while this group worked away in the snow storm.

The Results

The next morning showed the results of their work. A ten foot mound of snow was settling in the bright morning sun. It was an impressive site. The boys built the start of a quinzee. It’s a basic shelter made by hollowing out a big pile of snow that has been allowed to settle and harden. They can take several hours to build, but are an effective way to stay warm when camping in the winter. A quinzee shelter is warmer than any four season tent.

All the Comforts of Home

In the late afternoon Evan, Peter, Matt, Tim, Ian and Austin finished the project. They ran power out to the snow dome quinzee for music, Christmas lights and laptop access from the multitude of unsecure Wi-Fi networks in our neighborhood. They lined the base of the shelter with tarp then wool blankets and sleeping bags. It was comfortable and warm. The entrance was blocked with a couple of sleds.

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The Scouting Magazine Boys Life offers a great outline of how to build one.

http://boyslife.org/outdoors/outdoorarticles/2992/how-to-build-a-quinzee-snow-shelter/

 

Fun in Port Austin – Tip of the Thumb

Port Austin State Harbor

Port Austin is Close to Metro Detroit But with A Northern Michigan Feel

Most states in our country have small towns tucked away from the hustle and bustle of state capitals and big cities.  In Michigan’s greater Detroit area, Port Austin fits the bill.  This harbor town is two hours away from Detroit in a straight drive up M-53 to the tip of the Thumb of Michigan. This budding artist colony nestled between farms and pasture land to its south and the expanse of Lake Huron to its north. As a result of this unique position, the town offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset views over the big lake.  With a small year around population just over 600, it’s a summer destination with cottage owners and weekend tourists seek the cool breezes of Lake Huron while the parents take the kids out to enjoy the numerous sandy beaches throughout the area.

Boaters and cruising sailors carefully motor past the rocks and the iconic Port Austin Lighthouse to utilize the strategic port to stock up with groceries or make repairs before heading over to Canada’s Georgian Bay or the pristine waters of the North Channel. 


Port Austin and Grindstone City are a Budding Artist Colony

Port Austin Farmers Market Flowers

This historic and unique town embraces visitors and its community with activities that allow everyone to get out and fellowship with one another forming lasting bonds.  There is an “Art in The Park” event every Labor Day weekend and the White Church gallery is minutes away in Grindstone City.  During the summer months, the town holds a weekly farmers market full of fresh veggies and produce accompanied by arts and crafts.  No need to ask for directions as it’s located downtown one block from the harbor.  This laid-back event is much anticipated by the locals and serves as both a marketplace and social gathering.  The newest event to hit the town has been the Porchfest. Here famous and not-so-famous music groups perform folk, country, jazz, and even a little rock. Participants stroll from house to house and take in each entertainer. The event is held each June and we will update our readers with dates as the event gets closer.

 


Turnip Rock Near Pointe Aux Barques Michigan

Port Austin is Great For Sea Kayaking

The outdoor enthusiast will find no shortage of things do or places to explore in Huron County.  Turnip Rock is at the foremost of many beautiful sites.  Only accessible by water (as any route taken by land would trespass on private property), the 5-hour kayak round trip is the best way to experience this natural treasure.  The 2 hours heading out seem shortened by the anticipation of seeing something so marvelous and the 2-hour paddle back allows ample time to explore the rocky shore let the experience sink in. If you’re a fisherman, the Port Austin harbor is home to several charter boats that specialize in finding the numerous Lake Trout, tasty Walleye and Steelhead Salmon that are out in the big lake.

For those who like to enjoy their site seeing underwater, Port Austin has an entire underwater park full of shipwrecks from the 19th century.  Scuba divers and snorkelers can be seen here daily in summer months.  On the other hand, if you feel the need to stay dry and hit the links, head just south of town to Bird Creek Golf Club and test your skills at the “best greens in the Thumb”. If putting is more your style, Port Austin has several classic mini-golf attractions for the kids and the popular Sandy Dunes Adventure Golf which claims the only waterfall in the Thumb. Horseback riding is available for kids age 8 and up at the Knoblock Riding Stables and the stable offers Pony rides for the little ones. 


The Tip of the Thumb is Starting to be a Foodie Destination

The Bank 1884 Food and Spirits, Port Austin Michigan

The Upper Thumb offers some of the finest home cooked and Great Lakes fare in the region. With over twenty restaurants, grills and pubs there is a choice for just about every taste. Some of the more outstanding establishments include the epicureanism of The Farm Restaurant, the classic dishes of The Bank 1884 Food and Spirits and breakfast at the Lighthouse Café. For those who like a sense of history venture to the reopened Garfield Inn. The 20th President of the United States, James Garfield, did not build or own the landmark 1850’s Inn, but he was a rather frequent visitor. A few minutes from Port Austin in Grindstone City are the dueling ice cream shops of the Grindstone General Store and Rybak’s Ice Cream. 


Enjoy A Wild Beach at the Site of a Ghost Town

Port Crescent Plat Map


If you like to enjoy the great outdoors Port Crescent State Park is the perfect place.  Located on 640 acres with 3 miles of sugar sand beach, the park offers excellent scenery making it the perfect place for a beach walk. Find the quiet by relaxing among the sand dunes and enjoy a good book.  The park is located on the site of an 1860’s lumber town that has long since faded away. Some remnants of the original town of Port Crescent are still seen in


Port Cresent State Park River Bank

the park such as the chimney base from the salt works and lumber mill. Much of the park literally resides on a ghost town. The park supports canoeing on the gentle Pinnebog River with rentals nearby. For those who want to venture on foot, there are 7 miles of dunes and woods hiking terrain will satisfy the adventurous souls.  Other amenities include hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, and birding. Port Crescent State Park has been designated as one of the few areas qualified to be listed as Dark Sky Preserve. With little light pollution from nearby metro areas, this park is a haven for astronomers each summer. 


Port Austin is Family Friendly

Port Austin's Farmers MarketPort Austin is an affordable resort town with a budding artist colony in a family-friendly atmosphere.  Visitors can find numerous places to stay. Lodging is available on the waterfront overlooking the famous Broken Rocks, a favorite of kayakers. Or check out the cozy knotty pine cabins in town and near the shops. Couples can also experience the romantic and classic touches of several Bed & Breakfasts in town. Camping is also available at several commercial, county and at Port Crescent State Park campgrounds. Port Austin is a place to call home or to spend a long weekend reminiscent of the early to mid-1900’s America. 


Related Links About Port Austin

Port Austin