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South Beach Cafe

September 8, 2016
  • 10 Water Street
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) ???-????
  • Website
  • Menu

It took us all dang summer to get to the beach.  We had so much going on this year that we could never carve out a few hours to make a trip to the beach.  We couldn’t let summer end without at least one trip….including B’s first trip to Lake Michigan…now could we?

We got up on Labor Day and decided it was now or never as far as a beach trip goes.  As we were pulling out of the driveway, I asked J St. Joe or South Haven.  She picked South Haven thinking it would be less crazy, so west we went.

We spent about two hours at South Beach.  The water was around 50 degrees, so it was a little cold, but L and I played in it for a while and played on the beach as well.  We set B down right on the edge and let the water splash up to him.  He didn’t care.  He just wanted to eat the sand.

As our day in the water was winding down, we took the beach gear back to the car and got a change of clothes for L and I.  The only changing rooms are the bathrooms, so I headed over there with L to change.

The bathrooms are right next to a new concession stand and they have ice cream.  L had been so good all day and didn’t throw a fit when it was time to leave, so J suggested treating ourselves to ice cream.

South Beach Cafe appears to be a new building this year.  The last time we were at the beach in South Haven was apparently in 2013, the South Beach Concession Stand was a mobile trailer.  In the place of that trailer is now a large concession stand with a small souvenir shop attached to one end. Read more…

Sir Pizza – Territorial Road

September 4, 2016
  • 1000 Territorial Road
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (269) 968-3369
  • Website
  • Menu

This one’s gonna be a doozy.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find information on a restaurant in 2016, but it seriously is like this restaurant doesn’t exist.  The web is barren on almost all information other than an address and phone number.

What I’m talking about is the Sir Pizza on the corner of Territorial Road and 20th Street in Battle Creek’s Lakeview area.  It’s a Sir Pizza.  It says so on the sign and on the very, very minimalist website.  In fact, it claims to be “the original” Sir Pizza that website…that offers no menu.  The only thing it does offer are these three helpful facts.

  1. Pizza only
  2. Carry-Out Only
  3. Cash Only

OK.  Well, that’s good to know.  Lucky for me, I was in the mood for a pizza and I needed to do carry-out.  I didn’t have enough cash though so I did have to stop at the Family Unit Market (advertised on the Sir Pizza website) to see if they had an ATM.  They did, so I was in luck.  I was able to call in my pizza order.

Oh…about that.  It’s impossible to find a menu anywhere online specifically for this place.  The one I linked to is the pizza menu from all the other Sir Pizza locations so I’m making the assumption it’s the same.  I was hoping when I went to pick up my pizza I would find one, but all I found was this. Read more…

Lansing Brewing Company

September 4, 2016
  • 518 E. Shiawassee Street
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 371-2600
  • Website
  • Menu

We didn’t really have plans for Saturday on our whirlwind trip to the east side of the state.  As I mentioned previously, we stayed the night Auburn Hills mostly because we didn’t want to put the kids through six hours in the car just so mommy and daddy could taste some delicious hard cider.  J got up with the kids on Saturday morning and went to the breakfast at our hotel.  I took the opportunity to grab another half hour or so of sleep.

We checked out of the hotel around 11:00 and headed towards home.  Our neighborhood picnic was that night and we wanted to at least get home for the bike parade.  It’s really cute.  The fire department brings down one of their engines and leads the kids around the neighborhood on their bikes.  L doesn’t really like her bike, but loves her scooter, so she scooted the whole four blocks or so they did pumping that little leg as hard as she could to keep up with the bigger kids.

As we were coming in to Flint on I-75, J asked if there was any place to eat.  I told her to Google “brewery” and see what came up.  What she got was….not much.  Tenacity Brewing was all that came up.  There was no food menu and they weren’t open yet, so that wasn’t an option.  At that point, I said either Google something else or try “Brewery” in Lansing.  She chose brewery in Lansing.

The first thing that popped up was Lansing Brewing Company.  It’s been six years since J and I lived in Lansing and the only brewery at that time was MBC…which is now not Michigan Brewing Company but Midtown Brewing Company after Michigan Brewing went bankrupt several years back.  Finding that there are now multiple breweries in town was a little bit of a surprise.

Lansing Brewing Company is near the corner of Shiawassee and Larch in downtown Lansing.  The building used to be Mid-Michigan Stamps and Signs…so not even remotely something used in the hospitality industry.  The building was turned into a brewery in 2015 at the cost of more than $1.5 million. Read more…

Guido’s Premium Pizza – Auburn Hills

September 2, 2016
  • 4391 LaPeer Road
  • Auburn Hills, MI 48326
  • (248) 370-7700
  • Website
  • Menu

I don’t think I have to explain to parents the obsession little kids have with hotel pools.  My daughter loves going to hotels and asks constantly if we can stay in the hotels by our house just so she can swim in the pool.

When we travel, I typically resort to Express Deals on Priceline.com.  9 times out of 10, I can figure out what the hotel is going to be just by the price, rating, and amenities.

Last Friday, J woke me up and said, “Screw it.  Let’s go to Blake’s,” so we took a trip to the other side of the state.   Six hours in the car was too long for two youngsters so we decided to hit up SEA LIFE in Auburn Hills to give L something fun to do.

We still weren’t going to drive home the same night, so I got on Priceline and found a great deal on a 3 1/2 star hotel in Auburn Hills.  Using my detective skills, I thought I was getting the Hyatt Place.  Turns out, this is the 1 out of 10 times that I’m wrong.  We actually got a Springhill Suites by Marriot.  Still a great hotel and they still had a pool which is a requirement for us these days.

We left the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets figuring we’d find a pizza place near the hotel.  Turns out, we didn’t have to look too far.  As we made the turn in to our hotel, there was a sign for a pizza place right across the street. Read more…

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

August 31, 2016
  • 4316 Baldwin Road
  • Auburn Hills, MI 48326
  • (866) 622-0605
  • Website

We haven’t taken nearly as many trips this summer as we have the last couple of years.  The second child being less than a year old makes travel difficult because we never know what kind of mood he’s going to be in.  We really wanted to road trip to Armada to eat lunch and enjoy some hard cider at Blake’s Ciderhouse & Winery, but we needed to find something else to do.  We couldn’t do six hours in the car in one day, so a hotel stop (with a pool of course) was going to be in our plans.

I started looking back towards Detroit for things to do.  We had discussed the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle, but neither of us really wanted to be outside.  I had seen friends who have recently been to Legoland Discovery Center, but I wasn’t sure  how much L would actually enjoy that.  My search of Legoland brought me to another idea though.

The group that owns Legoland, Merlin Entertainments, also owns a chain of aquariums.  SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is in the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets just around through the food court from Legoland.  Merlin is an England based company that owns a number of attractions throughout the world.  Including Auburn Hills, there are eight SEA LIFE Aquariums in the U.S.  Around the world, there are 39 other locations.

SEA LIFE Michigan is right at Entry 7 of the Great Lakes Crossing across the hall from Rainforest Cafe.  The aquarium opened in early 2015 taking over the space that was previously occupied by Game Works.  They really encourage buying tickets in advance.  Entry to the aquarium is done in a controlled setting with tickets purchased for a half hour window in which you can enter.  They do have some walk up tickets available, but on busy days, it’s best to buy in advance to make sure you can get in.   Read more…

Blake’s Ciderhouse & Winery

August 28, 2016
  • 17985 Armada Center Road
  • Armada, MI 48005
  • (586) 784-9463
  • Website
  • Menu

J goes to a lot of breweries with me.  I mean, a lot of breweries.  It’s typically alright though because most of them have a.) something she will drink and b.) incredible food.  Still, wouldn’t it be great if there was a place like a brewery with her drink of choice?  Whadya know?  There actually is.

J fell in love with Blake’s Hard Cider the first time she picked up a bottle from Costco.  Not only is it delicious cider, but they have a number of unique varieties so she always has something new to try.  It’s kind like breweries with all their experimenting and throwing in everything but the kitchen sink.  Blake’s does a lot of that with their ciders too.

The bad news?  Blake’s Orchard is on the other side of the state.  Almost three hours from Kalamazoo.  We have two little ones who don’t always travel well in the car, so in order for us to make the trip, we would need a plan.  We’d need a hotel and something for the kids to do.  Luckily, I had both lined up.

We set out on the three hour trip to Armada a little before 10:00 on Friday morning.  We had no idea what we were getting in to and both of us had our fingers crossed that this wouldn’t be a disappointing trip.  We both like Blake’s Hard Cider and if the Ciderhouse didn’t live up to our expectations, it could ruin the drink for us.

We pulled in to Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill just before 1:00.  We actually had a pretty smooth trip with only one stop and no real issues in the car.  We had no idea that Blake’s Orchard was a big destination.  It’s a lot like Gull Meadow Farms in Richland.  They have a lot of U-Pick options plus a bakery, cafe, and a Barnyard Funland with attractions that weren’t open yet.  It’s a huge operation on a farm that’s been around for 69 years. Read more…

Dad’s Place

August 28, 2016
  • 1104 3rd Street
  • Three Rivers, MI 49093
  • (269) 279-7175
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

As I wrote about last week, my family spent the weekend at a cottage near Three Rivers.  It’s a place owned by my dad’s cousin on Pleasant Lake.  We do it once a year.  The whole family gets together and we play in the water, ride jet ski’s, try to water ski, cook out, and order a lot of pizza to fill in the remaining meals.

This is the first year J and I had two kids and two kids worth of stuff to keep track of.  We didn’t do all that well.  Last Wednesday, J got a message from my cousin saying they found B’s swim trunks in the bushes.  They were leaving Michigan Friday morning and said they’d just mail them.  I still hadn’t nailed down what we were going to do on my our long, three day weekend, so I wanted to get them back.  I had to drop L off at school at 8:15 then I asked if it’d be ok if I ran to Three Rivers to pick them up.  My cousin and her husband were not planning on leaving that early, so they said they would still be there if I got there around 9:00.

I spent about a half hour at the lake.  My cousin enjoyed a little one-on-one time with B since that was hard to do with a lot of other people around.  Eventually, they had to get on the road and B was getting sleepy so he and I got back in the car.

He started acting happy on the way back towards town so I asked him, knowing he couldn’t actually answer, if he wanted to go get breakfast. I was hungry and we were already out so why the heck not?

I pulled over and did a quick search for breakfast places in Three Rivers.  One kept popping up with good reviews on every site I looked at, so that’s what I went with.

Dad’s Place is not a place you will stumble upon in Three Rivers.  It’s on 3rd Street across from what I believe is Central Manufacturing Services, Inc. It’s a huge warehouse complex that is used partially by International Paper as well, but I’m pretty sure that’s on the south end of the complex.   It’s tucked back in to a neighborhood nowhere near any of the main roads through town.  I get the feeling it’s been there for a long time as I can’t see how they would be able to get zoning for a restaurant in this neighborhood the way it is today.   Read more…