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Archive for January, 2009

Here’s the latest from the group trying to save the original Veterans Memorial Park stone wall.  It appears that basic repairs can be done very cheaply (especially compared to the $100,000 the committee is willing to spend for a new wall)

We have selected Salem Farms to repair the stone wall. The mason’s
name is Pat Cahill (Salem Farms is his business name). He is local and
comes very highly recommended. He is very willing to work with us and
has agreed to perform the work in stages if necessary.
What does that mean? Please see the attached flyer for a graph of
work that can be accomplished in three stages. The basic work that
needs to be done will cost $2,600. If that is all we can raise by May
1st, then he will just perform the basic repairs. If we can raise
$5,600 then Pat can perform additional work like fixing bad repairs of
the past and reshaping some areas that seem to have just been slapped
together (I think cars previously hit these areas).
Thus far we have collected $560. We are really pushing to collect
the full $5,600, but will settle for $2,600 if that is all we can
raise.

I’m not sure how you can contact this group to donate to the cause, but I will check on that and post an update.

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Now!  They are still in Kellogg Park.  It has been plenty cold so they haven’t melted or fallen apart.  Best of all there are no crowds!

I love this event, but there were so many people there Saturday — throngs bumping into and stepping on each other — I didn’t feel like I could see the sculptures, appreciate the work that went into them.

I did get a few pictures that I will post later.  But if you live in/near town, go check them out for yourself.

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Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Crawford’s Kitchen.  Mrs. Crawford greeted us with brand new menus, the covers which feature historic photos of Old Village.  She proceeded to tell us some very fascinating Plymouth history that she learned while designing the new menus.  She moved to another table and began sharing information with a gentleman in his 60’s who was dining by himself.  The gentleman knew quite a bit about history and began telling the rest of us some interesting things about town.

He explained that he learned a great deal of Plymouth history from a gentleman who had lived here all his life and died in his 90’s.  Through that man, our fellow diner learned that what is now downtown Plymouth used to be referred to as “upper town” or “uptown” and what is now Old Village used to be called “lower town.”  The story, it goes, is that “lower town,” which is east of the rail road tracks was referred to as that because the winds tended to carry the train smoke in that direction.  Upper town, to the west, didn’t get much of the black exhaust.

The differences in the two parts of town, even today, are quite stark.  Our historian friend pointed out the comparative infrequency of brick homes on the east side of the tracks.  Homes in Old Village tend to be wood framed and sided and more “working class” than homes downtown or otherwise to the west.

I’ve noticed (and previously blogged about) the different way in which the City of Plymouth fosters business and development on the different sides of the tracks.  Downtown gets all the festivals and all the infrastructure improvements.  Old Village appears to get. . . well .  .  . nothing.

My wife and I agreed (perhaps in ignorance) that the “upper town”/”lower town” thing smacked of urban legend.  I theorized that it had nothing to do with the train smoke, but the west side of town has always been the “nicer” part of town and, therefore, feelings of inferiority (or superiority, depending on who’s talking) caused people to start referring to that side as “lower town”; lower in everything.

Whatever the case may be, that stories like this are still being told in 2009 is, I think, fantastic.  The oral tradition is alive and well.  Our town has seen enough to tell those stories, to merit remembering.

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The Weather Channel (www.weather.com) says the high temperatures for Plymouth on Saturday and Sunday are around 15-16 degrees.

Past ice shows have been disappointing when warm weather has melted the sculptures.  All sorts of snow and ice is melting today. It’s a balmy 37 degrees now.

But the next two days there’s no fear of any melting.  It will be plenty cold, so bundle up.

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If you’re coming from out of town or live in town but hadn’t planned out your visit to the ice sculpture show, may I recommend a few places for food and drinks?

If you’re going to be around in the morning and want breakfast, head over to Crawford’s Kitchen on Starkweather.   It’s not downtown so, on a cold day, you may not want to walk from there to the ice sculptures.  But it’s very close drive (too close to drive in nice weather) from downtown.  The food is fresh and prices are reasonable.  Crawford’s is on Starkweather, just north of Main Street, about a 1/4 mile east of the downtown area.  You’ll find it in Old Village.

For lunch (if you’re not counting calories), I cannot recommend highly enough The Burger Spot, which is downtown and only about block from Kellogg Park.  TBS has fantastic burgers and hot dogs and scrumptious (haven’t used that word in years) french fries. You will pay about a dollar to two dollars more per burger there than at a fast food joint, but the burgers are excellent with many varieties from which to choose.  If you’re feeding a family, just share a basket or two of fries.  They go along way. Here’s TBS’s website. http://www.burgerspot.net/

If you just want a nice cup of coffee or some hot chocolate to warm you up, head over to the Coffee Bean on Penniman, near Harvey.  It is only a block away from Ice Spectacular.  The Bean has been voted Detroit’s Best Coffee Shop and I couldn’t agree more.  The Bean will probably be busy.  But it’s worth the wait.  There are some chain coffee/bakery places downtown, but the coffee, in my opinion, is better at the Bean.  Besides, the local business would appreciate your support.  Here’s the Bean’s webpage. http://www.plymouthcoffeebean.com/

If you’re around for dinner, there are plenty of places to eat.  If you want a more upscale type of bar food, check out either O’Callaghan’s on Penniman or 1999 Tavern on Forest.   O’Callaghan’s is a building away from Main, so it is closer (just a little) to the action.  If you want bar food and a hundreds of beer choices (literally), the Box Bar is on Ann Arbor Trail, right across from park.   There are two Italian eateries on Main, just across from the park.  Fiamma is more of an upscale restaurant. http://www.fiammagrille.com/ and Compari’s, right next door, is slightly more casual atmosphere http://www.comparisdining.com/ Both are great choices if you’re not trying to save a few dollars.

Have fun at the Ice Spectacular.

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From January 20 to 26, northbound Main Street, between Ann Arbor Trail and Penniman, is closed for the Ice Spectacular.  Essentially you cannot drive northbound on Main Street adjacent to Kellogg Park.

This should be a great year for the ice sculptures.  Weekend temperatures are not expected above freezing.

Have fun this weekend.

[CORRECTION: AS OF THE AFTERNOON OF 1/21/09, ONE NORTHBOUND LANE IS OPEN.  THAT MIGHT BE TEMPORARY.]

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I do not yet have the details but I wanted to put out the word early to keep your eyes open for information about this event. It was announced that there will be a food give-away again on February 14 — Valentine’s Day.

I assume it will be similar to the event this past Saturday. When details are made available, I’ll post them.

Saturday’s mobile food pantry gave food baskets to 187 families. Not bad.

By the way, I’ve written about these events several times over the last few months. I just want to let you know, I’m not promoting the church (although it is a wonderful place to worship.) I’m promoting the events because I’d like to see as many needy families as possible get the help they could use in these hard times. Please spread the word to those that could benefit.

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