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Archive for July, 2008

I apologize for the late notice of this event. I only noticed this today. Here’s the PFDC’s website

http://www.geocities.com/pfdc_2000/

I like fife and drum bands. Very American. Very British.

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I’ve driven by it hundreds of times without stopping but I got the urge to try something new the other day.  So my wife and I had lunch there for the first time last Friday.

Immediately we were impressed by the menu that has at least 13 salad and 22 sandwich offerings (more if you consider that some of the sandwiches have several breads to choose from.)  Rather than a side of greasy potato chips out of a bag, Crawford’s offers more healthy options like fresh cut fruit, pasta, side salad and cole slaw.  My wife’s salad and my sandwich both had dried cherries and quality chicken and cheeses, which were both satisfying and tasty.  The Crawfords and our waitstaff were prompt, friendly and inviting.

Seeing that they offer quite an interesting variety of omelettes, 14 by my count, we had breakfast there the next morning.  We were both impressed with the Spartan Omelette my wife ordered, not because I went to MSU, but because of its fresh ingredients.  We’ve ordered omelettes with “fresh” spinach at other area restaurants only to get drippy, shredded spinach out of a can.  Crawford’s put fresh, whole (small) leaf spinach in the omelette and it tasted great!  I really enjoyed my corned beef hash which was not like the typical dog-food-like concoction at many family restaurants.  The potatoes and corned beef were fresh, not factory processed mush.

The weather was great so we took advantage of it and ate outside both days.  The outside dining area was spacious and pleasant.  If you want to eat there in bad weather, seating is limited inside so get there a bit before the usual breakfast or lunch rushes.

For breakfast or lunch, I highly recommend Crawford’s.  They sell unique items, made with good ingredients, at good prices, and with good service.  What more could you ask for?

Crawford’s Kitchen is at 542 Starkweather, in Old Village.

Crawford's Kitchen

Crawford's Kitchen

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I debated whether or not write about this incident.  I would not want to give a false impression of our town or cause any unnecessary fear or panic.  But, I think it’s a good reminder to be vigilant about our safety.

Several nights ago there was a home invasion in our neighborhood.  I understand that no one was physically harmed but that the culprit got away and has not yet been caught by the police.  There have also been, I understand, some thefts of items inside unlocked vehicles.

Remember to keep the doors and windows of your home and vehicles closed and locked.   Keeping your property well lit at night is also a good deterrent.

I don’t like having a lot of lights on at night.  I prefer the peacefulness of the night sky.  But, even in our town, we’re not immune from crimes like this.

If you out late, keep your eyes open for suspicious activity.  I’m sure the police wouldn’t mind a call if you saw someone acting strangely.

I suspect this was a one-off incident.  But, maybe it was a reminder to keep our guard up and future crime will be prevented by us taking these extra precautions.

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While at Lions Park the other day, I was handed a flier announcing that the Plymouth Lions are hosting a free picnic at Lions Park (corner of Burroughs and Harding Strees) on Satuday, July 26, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

I’m not a Lion, but I thought some of you might be interested in the event.

There will be food, a moonwalk, and a clown.  The flier request that you RSVP if you plan on attending.

Call John Marshall @ 734.455.4864

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For years I’ve wanted to help put on a Celtic festival and have discussed that with several friends and considered several different locations.  Most recently, a friend and I discussed putting one on here in Plymouth and made some very general inquiries about whether that would be doable or even welcomed.

More recently I’ve felt like as good as a Celtic festival would be, they are pretty common.  I’ve been to a few different ones a number of different times and they all, for reasons that are hardly surprising, lean heavily toward Irish music and culture.  The Scots are represented and highland games (and similar events) round out what tends to get left out of the more general “Celtic” festivals.  Welsh music and culture, at least in my experience, are not represented at all.

Obviously, nothing of English culture is represented at such events, one, because of the historic animosity between the Celtic folks and the English and, two, for the obvious reason that the English aren’t Celts.  Maybe some exist on the East Coast, but I am not aware of any festivals that celebrate Anglo-Saxon music and culture.

I’m English, Irish, Ulster-Scot, Scottish and Welsh, but mostly English and Irish.  It has recently dawned on me that my English ancestry has not been as personally significant to me as the others though it is the bulk of my genetic make-up.  From that it hit me that my personal feelings seem to mirror American recognition (or lack thereof) of heritage.  Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but when is anyone ever English?

I’d love to see Plymouth have a festival that brings in food, music, cultural and historical/educational events that recognize the people of all the so-called British Isles, both collectively and seperately.  If I knew there was interest in something like this, I would take a serious look at trying to organize it.

Let me know what you think.  If it sounds like an even that you would attend and/or want to participate in, feel free to comment.  Of course, if it sounds like a lousy idea, you can say that as well.

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Back when I was in grad school, my close friend, Joe, introduced me to the Plymouth Coffee Bean Co., or “the Bean,” on Penniman.  Before there were coffee shops on every street corner, the Bean was one of the few places around that sold anything better than gas station coffee.  Just as inviting as the good coffee was the one-of-a-kind atmosphere.  The Bean’s like having a coffee shop right next to your own living room.  I spent hundreds of hours there studying or working on files.  I also made a number of friends there and the Bean became a central place to meet friends either to hang out or move on to another event.

Now that I am a Plymouth resident, it’s the place where I daily get my morning coffee or bag of ground beans to take to work.  The coffee sold at the Bean is delicious, with lots of varieties served.  While the big chains keep jacking up the price of their fancy-named cups of joe, the Bean is a bargain.  If you bring in your own cup, you can fill ‘er up for 85¢.  How can you beat that?

Plymouth has seen coffee houses come and go over the years.  The old Studio Café, a place that never had good coffee – the loft was nice, though – is now Zapata’s, a fast-food style Mexican restaurant.  Some other specialty stores serve coffee but you would probably not visit those places just for the coffee itself.  It only compliments their delicious foods and desserts.

When Starbucks and Panera Bread both opened several years back, some of us Bean lovers worried that it might fold.  Both of those places get their fair share of coffee buyers, but neither makes better coffee than the Bean and neither hold a candle to the Bean as far as atmosphere.  If you want to see works of art by local artists or hear local musicians perform, you’ll find those things only at the Bean.  By contrast, the only word I can think to describe Starbucks’ atmosphre is “contrived.”  The company has tried too hard to convince us that a cold, sterile (concrete and plastic) place is actually warm and inviting.  There is no reason to be in there except to buy coffee…and leave promptly.

If you live here in Plymouth, or are just in town for a visit, drop by the Bean.  It’s at Penniman and Harvey, downtown.  Take a look around, grab a nice cup of coffee, sit back and relax.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had a chance to see all the vendors at AIP. The event runs until 5:00 p.m. today (Sunday, July 13.)

What I have seen, though, has been quite impressive. There are so many incredibly talented folks who are here this year. I do not know the statistics, but it seems that there are more vendors this year than last. Variety is the best single word that comes to mind to describe the make-up of AIP. You can find just about anything you might imagine, from purses and accessories made of cigar boxes to tie-dyed shirts and dresses to hand-made furniture. Most items are original works, but I did see one or two exhibits with antique or vintage items (with artistic touch-ups.)

I am all for free enterprise and companies who pay the money to have spot at AIP should get to sell their goods like their fellow exhibitors. But I was a tad dismayed to see that companies that sell gutters, replacement windows and stone pavers have booths/tents. These are not hand-crafted items, but rather mass-produced home improvement products. The event is called Art in the Park and at its core it is about art. What gutters and windows have to do with art, I’m not sure.

I plan to get a better look at the exhibits late this afternoon before the event ends.

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