Posts Tagged ‘Old Village’

Friday September 9, through Sunday, September 11, 2011

BINGO — Friday  from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

PLYMOUTH TASTE FEST — Friday 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

CAR SHOW — Saturday and Sunday

CRAFT SHOW — Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to dusk, and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST — Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

ROTARY SPAGHETTI DINNER — Saturday, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

ROTARY BBQ — Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Don’t forget the carnival and entertainment at the stages (Kellogg Park and Old Village)



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Many of my friends are up in arms about the smoking ban which took effect statewide on May 1.  They do not object so much about the elimination of smoking from bars and restaurants but are bothered by the perceived governmental intrusion.  I’m a believer in less being m0re when it comes to government, but I have to say that the smoking ban is long overdue.

More to the point, the smoking ban is a godsend for many of us non-smokers.  In the last week I’ve been to three (3) bars in the City of Plymouth that I avoided in the past because of the heavy smoke: Hermann’s Olde Town Grille, Doyle’s Tavern and Ironwood Grill.  I, for the first time, was able to enjoy a drink or two in these places without stinging eyes and burning lungs.

I have no data to back this up, but it appears that the smoking ban has had little or no negative impact on these businesses.  All three places were bustling when I was there.   Hermann’s, in particular, was packed Saturday night.  A few smokers drifted in and out on occasion to smoke out on the sidewalk, but I heard no grumbling or complaints.

For my wife and me, the ban has brought us back to the pubs.  I expect we’ll continue to hang out more in town now that we can do so in relative fresh air.

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I’ve been calling for this since I’ve been writing this blog.  I’d like to see more attention paid to Old Village.  It’s a great part of town.

It appears that, in spite of the lousy economy nationally and here in our state, business is growing (or at least holding steady) in Old Village.   New businesses are opening and the old ones moving forward.

Once again, I’ll repeat that I wish the City would support business development there and not just in the downtown.  The people of Old Village have to promote their own area, which I find a bit disconcerting.  Maybe that’s why things are hopping there.  The community is promoting itself.

Here’s an interesting article from the Plymouth Eagle on Old Village “breathing new life” into town.


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*drum roll* brrrrrt. tssssh.

Dilly Dally Deli in Old Village!

If you like Reubens, you’ll love DDD’s version.  It’s not just the sandwich.  Their corned beef is out of this world!  What makes it so special?  Well, they make the best corned beef I’ve ever had from a restaurant.  I asked the owners how they got their corned beef so tender that it flakes in your mouth.  They cook it themselves, in their kitchen, all day.

I’ve never had anything other than the Reuben at DDD.  I can’t tell you that all their other stuff is good, but if the rest of their menu is half as good as the corned beef, the stuff would be wonderful.

I’m telling you.  You can’t beat their corned beef.  It’s delicious.

In case you don’t know where it’s at,  look at the map.


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Yesterday, after itching to buy a bass for the last few weeks, I figured I’d check out Blue Fish Music, local store I’ve past dozens of times, but never entered. Two visits on Saturday and I left with a used Dean acoustic/electric bass for a great price. My buying experience was very pleasant; Blue Fish is a great local merchant worthy of our support.

The store specializes in guitars, both electric and acoustic, but has a few basses, lutes, mandolins and other such stringed instruments. In fact, I didn’t recognize some of the gear in the place. Like all cool guitar shops, there’s a good mix of new and used stuff. It’s 3 parts store, 1 part repair shop. Instruments being resurrected from the dead are spread out around the store. Repair work is done right there on the sales floor, so you can watch the experts at work.

Plenty of stools and amplifiers are available so that you can test drive whatever you’d like. Just grab an axe off the wall, plug in and go.

One of the things I liked best about dealing with the folks at Blue Fish was the laid back approach to customer service. Only once was I approached and asked if I needed help. My presence was acknowledged, but the employees let me find my way around the store and play with some of the instruments without constantly questioning or advising me.

A little thing that should be a given anytime you buy a big-ticket item from a store like this was the owner, Paul Murphy, making sure he was satisfied with the sound of my bass before I left with it. On his own initiative, he spent the better part of half-an-hour tweaking my bass, getting rid of buzz and some other quality issues he could hear but I couldn’t. I have an open invitation to bring the bass back if it needs anymore tweaking and adjusting. Customer service like that is great in my book because I’m not the type of buyer inclined to ask a lot of a seller. That Paul wanted me to be happy, in spite of my ignorance, means that I can trust him and the folks at Blue Fish.

Blue Fish Music is in the heart of Old Village, on Starkweather, just south of the railroad tracks. It’s in an ancient one story brick place with large display windows. If you’re looking for a stringed instrument, make sure you check it out before heading over to the nearby big box music store in the area.

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Youtube has a little bit of everything.  Everything!  Knowing that, I figured I would go there and search “plymouth mi” just to see what might pop up.  The first search result was a little “tour” (stretch to call it that) of Old Village by a local realtor, Russ Ravary.  He tell some very interesting historical facts about Plymouth.  Check it out.

This is not a professional grade documentary or anything of the sort.  It’s just this gentleman and his camcorder.

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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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One of the blessings of living in Plymouth is our wonderful downtown area.  It is one of the reasons many of us choose to live in a city like this (despite higher taxes.)  Downtown Plymouth is fantastic — I sincerely cannot say enough about how much our family enjoys spending time there all throughout the year.  We feel truly blessed to have such a clean, vibrant, safe, beautiful, friendly downtown.

Obviously, none of that has happened by accident.  The City of Plymouth, partnered with local business owners and residents, have worked hard and spent lots of money to make downtown what it is.  The Downtown Development Authority appears to be a key component to the downtown’s continued success.

Here is what the Downtown Development Authority’s website says about the history and purpose of the DDA:

The DDA was established in 1982 and is overseen by the Mayor and a 12 member board appointed by the City Commission.  It is the responsibility of the DDA Board to define the Downtown District and provide for all other matters within the district.

Focus: Infrastructure & Marketing

The DDA’s main focus is to facilitate economic development for the Downtown District.

The DDA engages in building and maintaining:

  • Parking lots
  • Street lighting
  • Traffic signals
  • Parks
  • Other streetscape features

Projects to facilitate economic development in the DDA district are not limited to physical improvements and upkeep.  The DDA also engages in marketing activities such as the development of this website, the creation of an annual Visitor’s Guide and the perennial favorite, Music In the Air Concerts, on Friday evenings during the summer.


The DDA Board Members include Mayor Purcell, residents and local business owners.  I cannot tell, but I assume this is a publicly funded body.

The DDA has quite a nice website with lots of information.  In fact it’s one of my links to this blog.  Here’s the link for the main website: http://www.downtownplymouth.org/

Fortunately for the downtown corridor, the DDA does an excellent job of promoting business growth.  Walking maps listing all the downtown businesses are posted downtown, can be found in paper form in downtown businesses and are found at the website.  “Eat, Shop and Be Merry” flags already fly from lightposts downtown.  If you’re a business owner downtown, it would appear that you could not have a better business partner than the DDA.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no corollary for Old Village, Plymouth’s other downtown.  Old Village boasts (by my count) at least 9 eateries, several of which are also taverns, a music store, a book store, several small clothing/accessory boutiques, salons and barber shops, several massage therapy centers, and numerous other professionals, services and locally owned/operated businesses.  It also has a number of fascinating old homes and structures.

The City of Plymouth, however, does not seem to expend much effort in promoting Old Village.  Surprisingly, there is no Old Village Development Authority and the DDA’s reach does not extend north of Harvey and Church Street intersection or east of Main Street and Church Street.  There is no slick website, no walking maps, no signs or banners (like “Eat, Shop and Be Merry”), and no events or festivals that take place in Old Village.  In short, there is no visible, obvious promotion of that area of the city.

I suspect the City of Plymouth would love Old Village to experience a huge growth spurt and really take off.  But you wouldn’t know that by the level of effort or money openly spent to promote growth in that area.  The businesses and residents there have to do it themselves.  They’ve created their own website http://www.plymoutholdvillage.com.  Local businesses set up their own events to draw customers/clients to the area.  I’ve heard said that individuals do their own landscaping, gardening and other beautification because the City does not do there what it does downtown.

It is great to have a vibrant downtown, but a city’s strength lies in its neighborhoods and enclaves.  The way to ensure the the entire City of Plymouth remains strong, that people will still want to live here, eat here, shop here, etc. is to make sure big areas of town are not left to fend for themselves.  (The City of Detroit is a great example of what happens when all the money is spent downtown and little or nothing spent in the neighborhoods.)  If Old Village had half the promotion that downtown gets, imagine the possibilities.  I hope this changes soon and that the City quits neglecting its historic Old Village.

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A few times a year, I have the good fortune to get a professional massage.  For my birthday this year, my wife got me a gift certificate for an hour massage at Pure Massage.  Tera is the owner and massage therapist.

Everything about the experience was fantastic.  Tera has amazing hands.  I’ve had really good massages from a variety of therapists, but her’s was equal to or better than the best one I’ve ever had.  She took her time to work my tight, trouble areas, freeing the knots and kinks.  Because I do a lot of weight training (and probably don’t drink enough water), my muscles are constantly tight and knotted.  That’s the tough part of any massage — that can be painful — but she did it tremendous skill, leaving me feeling great.  Even though she did deep tissue work, I had to fight from falling asleep.  I felt like a new person the next day.

Pure Massage has a nice, clean, very relaxing atmosphere.  Tera herself is relaxing and calming.  She has the perfect personality for a massage therapist.

I can’t say enough about Tera on a personal level.  She has been a God-send to my wife who needed weekly or bi-weekly sessions due to a health issue.  Tera treated my wife not as a customer but as a friend in need.  Thanks to Tera, my wife’s symptoms were greatly improved and managed.  Although I feel a debt of gratitude for Tera’s wonderful care for my wife, I would highly recommend Pure Massage based on my experience alone.

If you’re looking for a fantastic massage at a good price, call Tera at 734.459.8414 or check out her website:


Pure Massage is located at 696 N. Mill in Old Village.

With Christmas fast approaching, a gift certificate for an hour at Pure Massage would be a great gift.

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