Good Morning + Happy 4th of July!
For those of you who live in the U.S., I hope today is all about celebrating America and it’s independence with a little barbecue, some patriotic apparel, and a lot of fireworks!
Also, for those of you who are celebrating a wedding anniversary today (my parents!!), Happy Anniversary! There will be many light shows dedicated to you two later tonight.
People often ask… “Your parents really got married on the fourth of July?” Yup. My mom jokes that their reasoning is so that my dad can always remember it, and also so there will always be fireworks to watch as their was right after their wedding reception thirty two years ago.
She jokes, but I think that move was very well played on her part.
Yesterday was a very exciting one! Scott and I’s friend Megan, one of our closest friends from Orlando, came to visit us for the fourth and is here to hang until Friday! She and I danced for the Orlando Magic together for three seasons, and I feel blessed to have stayed close with her throughout the years. She is the very first person I met at my first audition, and one of the sweetest at that.
After an appearance in the morning, I excitedly hopped in the car and picked her up from the airport right before Noon. Scott and I had a goal of showing her a true “Detroit” experience while she is here, and I thought posing on a real (and still used today) bull grill was entirely appropriate for our first picture together.
Lunch at Slows BAR-B-Q
With ideas of showing her the good about Downtown Detroit, we took her to one of our favorite barbecue joints in town: Slows Bar-B-Q, located on Michigan Avenue. Scott and I have tried it before, and this was the perfect excuse to revisit!
Knowing there is a bit of a “secret” door entrance, we put Megan up for the challenge of finding it. I gave her the hint that it’s wood, so she got in on her second try.
Before we even sat down, we all agreed that the Split Pea and Okra Fritters were a must.
Okra… fried in split pea batter, atop sassy dipping sauce, all garnished with strands of pickles?! The answer is always yes.
The three of us were considerably hungry since we didn’t get around to going to “lunch” until 4 p.m. Any large meal at this time of the day is what I like to call “linner.”
We all wanted to try as much as possible, so we ordered two large meals that came with a total of four sides, and split everything.
From Top to Bottom: Half and Half – chicken and brisket with green beans, sweet potato mash (my favorite!), waffle fries with cheese (a customer favorite. They were good, but not anything special.), Surf and Turf with catfish, pork, and jambalaya, and macaroni and cheese (totally worth the splurge!).
My favorites on the plate included the pork, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato mash! I didn’t try the brisket, but Scott said that was also wonderful.
Motown Museum – Hitsville U.S.A.
Before she got here, the three of us decided that we were going to play “tourist” and visit some of the must-see sights in Detroit while she is here. Our first stop was at “The Empire on West Grand Boulevard”, also known as Hitsville U.S.A.
Today it stands as the Motown Museum and has become a historic landmark visitors from across the globe come to stand in Studio A, where some of their all-time favorite Motown greats started.
We were unable to take photos inside, so feel the spirit of Motown if you will, from the outside.
For $10 a ticket, we got an hour long tour filled with information, artifacts, and a guided view of the famous studio that discovered incredible stars including Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Miracles, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Supremes, and The Marvelettes, among others.
Before building a headquarters that moved to Woodward Ave. that has now moved across the country to Hollywood, California, the museum combined the two main houses of where all the magic happened.
The upper flat of the white and blue house is where Berry Gordy, Jr. lived with his young family during the company’s earliest days.
The group we toured with was from all over the country, and we were literally the only ones who lived even close to Detroit. It was quite the attraction to see!
Our tour guide happened to be on his first day on the job, and since we were the last group of the day, we ended up getting an extra half hour to explore the museum. It was so cool to see and read about all the Motown greats of our city!
Detroit River + Famous Statues
We didn’t even think to suggest for Megan to bring her passport with her until she was already on her plane ride up to us. Heyyyyy, Winsor (Ontorio) Canada!
As we drove around downtown, we parked in a garage to walk over to the Detroit Riverfront, where Scott and I spent the afternoon just a few weeks ago. I still can’t believe another country is that close to us!
This time, we had some extra time to walk by the river and noticed some fun things right under our feet. Where are you from?
You will quickly notice this turned into an afternoon of posing in front of any fun statue we could find.
Highlights include the Silver Spike and Dodge Fountain, located in Hart Plaza.
My favorite has to be The Big Fist, properly called “A Memorial To Joe Louis”.
(Thanks for showing us the “Spirit of Detroit”, Scott.)
Motor City Casino
On our way back to the suburbs, we had one more thing we wanted to check off of our “done” list: Motor City Casino.
Throughout the year, I have noticed the bright neon lights dancing on the building’s sides from the highway. This week, the lights are red, white, and blue to honor our country and it’s independence!
The casino is huge! Just like any of them, I had no idea where to start once we got in.
Neither Scott or I are big gamblers, but will give a go at Black Jack or roulette every once in a while.
We listened to the live band for about a half an hour, and on our way back to the car decided to make things interesting. Scott told us he was going to put $100 on “red or black” and we had to choose the color. One move, one round, then leave. I finally talked him down to $40, and both of us whispered “red” before the ball dropped on the number of choice.
Lucky for him, the number was Red 16 and we actually left the casino up $40! That’s our rule… if you’re up, walk away. End of story.
On our way out, we took note of how dressed up this hotel and casino was in patriotic gear! Everything had a red, white, and blue flare and the spirit of the 4th is certainly here.
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe one!
Questions of the Day
• Do you ever play “tourist” in your hometown when people come to visit?
• Any exciting 4th of July Plans?
I love when people come to visit, especially since we moved to a new one! During the season, Scott and I get so wrapped up in our schedules, that we often forget to stop and look around at all of the culture and cool things in our city to explore. Any time we have a visitor, we try to do our best to give them the full city experience!