After reading so many other great MRI blogs, I decided to take the plunge and write a first post.
Motor City Visit
With a 7 hour drive ahead it was decided a stop at the Pittsburgh Marriott North would break the trip up.
The Pittsburgh Marriott North was a standard FS Marriott. The check-in was smooth, room was on one of the two concierge levels, and associate came out from behind the desk to hand me room keys and orient me to the hotel. This is rare in my experience, but is a nice touch. Mrs. Jakeal and I got drinks and shared an appetizer from the bar. Appetizer was not great and draft beer selection could have been better. Room was clean and well appointed. Bed was what you would expect from a FS Marriott. Concierge lounge was closed and two buffet breakfast vouchers were given. Breakfast was great – omelets and waffles made to order and fresh food on the buffet.
Arrived at the Dearborn Inn around 3 p.m and front desk associate stated our room on the Concierge wing was not yet ready, but offered to hold our luggage and have it placed in the room when ready. While driving around scouting out the Henry Ford Museum we ran into a museum staffer who allowed us to sit in a Model T that was built at a cost of $250,000 for Ford's 100th Anniversary in 2003. Was truly amazing to hear it hum.
We drove to Ann Arbor on Saturday evening to attend a Collegiate A Capella Semifinal competition. Dinner was at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery. The pulled pork sliders were delicious and fries seasoned to perfection. I also had the Amber Ale which was very good.
Breakfast was in the hotel restaurant, Edison’s, as the Concierge Lounge was closed. There was a $3 up charge to upgrade to buffet which was your standard buffet (made to order omelets, bacon, sausage gravy, biscuits) with good food.
We took the day to explore Detroit and its suburbs. We drove past the Joe Louis Monument (pictured below) and explored some of the abandoned Detroit landscape. The old Michigan Central Station is also pictured below – what a magnificent structure, but unfortunately restoration efforts keep stalling. A visit to Detroit would not be complete without a stop at the Motown Museum.
We then drove to Birmingham, a beautiful Detroit suburb to stroll around some shops. Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at a local Detroit brewery, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, for lunch. I had wings and Mrs. Jakeal had the Chicken Sandwich, wings were pretty standard, but the sandwich was great. I also order a flight of four of their beers – 3-5-7 Alt Bier, Amber Lager, El Rojo Red Ale, and Grand Trunk Pilsner. All were very solid beers, but the 3-5-7 Alt Bier and El Rojo Red Ale stood out as great craft beers.
Sunday afternoon and evening consisted of relaxing at the beautiful hotel. The picture below gives you an idea of the inviting areas in which to relax or read a the newspaper just off the lobby.
We had purchased combo tour tickets from the hotel for the Henry Ford Museum and Ford Rogue Factory Tour. We did the Ford Rogue Factory Tour first which included two movies, one about the factory history and the other about the “art of manufacturing”; a visit to their Observation Deck overlooking the entire Rogue complex (panoramic below); an Assembly Plant walking tour; and a walk around their Legacy Gallery showcasing some of the historic cars made at the plant over the years. Regardless of how you feel about the Ford brand this tour is truly amazing. TripAdvisor rated it one of the top #25 Museums in the United States for 2013.
A bus took us back over to the Henry Ford Museum which is expansive (nine acres on one level with 40 foot ceilings). They had a range of exhibits to view ranging from former presidential limos, the only remaining Dymaxion house, the Rosa Parks bus, old train cars, a Made in America exhibit, and for the aviation lovers (iahflyr and others) there was a Heroes of the Sky exhibit. I included some pictures below and have posted more in this photo album: (Detroit, Michigan and the Henry Ford Museum).
Mrs. Jakeal had an afternoon spa appointment at a hotel recommended spa a few miles away. The hotel had a complimentary shuttle and Mrs. Jakeal reports back that the hotel was not wrong. Spa Om was great.
We decided to do dinner in the hotel restaurant. Mrs. Jakeal had the Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Bell Pepper Salsa and Flat Iron Steak with Mashed Potatoes. I can honestly say I have not tasted a better sweet potato soup anywhere. They had a special St. Paddy’s Day menu so I order the Corned Beef Croquette which was lightly fried and served over fresh greens. For my main course I went with the servers recommendation and ordered the Walleye with Potatoes Au Gratin in a Red Tomato Sauce. I cannot speak highly enough of this dish, the walleye was cooked perfectly and the tomato based sauce complemented the walleye perfectly. I had a glass of Michigan beer – Bell’s Smitten and Mrs. Jakeal had a glass of local Grand Chateau Traverse Late Harvest Reiseling. Would recommend both. As we were enjoying our dinner the restaurant supervisor even stopped over to make sure everything was going well. The service at this restaurant was fantastic and overall this is likely the best meal I have ever enjoyed at a Marriott restaurant
Checkout was easy and we were certainly sad to go. Before we left home we drove by the old Tiger Stadium which sadly is in bad shape even though a local group is supposedly keeping it up as a local ballfield for youth.
Any trip with me always has to include a good sweet. On the way back to Pennsylvania we stopped at Wixey Bakery, a Toledo, Ohio institution since 1930. The approach makes you confident you are going to get some good baked goods. We got a cinnamon sugar fried cake donut and a vanilla cream filled chocolate long john. They hit the spot and would be well worth the stop.
The Dearborn Inn
The hotel was magnificent; making you feel like you took a trip back in time. I’ve included a picture of the lobby below. The room was well appointed and clean with a nice view of the property’s back courtyard area. The shower head was up there with the best I have had at Marriott’s. The staff were what you would expect from Marriott staff and I even ran into the GM late one evening walking around the hotel. He was great to chat with and you could tell he took pride in the property. The only downside to our room (266) was it was cattycorner to the Concierge attendant’s prep room so there was regular noise during the hours the concierge lounge was open. This hotel is only a Category 5 and looks to be staying that way for 2015. This would be a great use of MegaBonus certificates to combine with a visit to the Henry Ford Museum or catching a Tigers or Lions game.
Looking forward to continuing to blog!