Thursday, March 19, 2009


We left Saturday, packing the car while Big Sis enjoyed herself at a birthday party & Big J napped (recovering from birthday excitement).

We made it to the Indiana border, then stopped for the night.

We finally headed into the Detroit suburbs early Sunday afternoon. We checked in, unpacked, and headed right over to Mt. Clemens to see what it's all about.
The hospital is small, but looks like it stays busy.
We spent Monday checking out the areas that seemed as though they had potential for a good place to live - Grosse Pointe, Mt. Clemens, Clinton Township. It was eye opening.

Our impression of Detroit itself is that it's a dying city. I've visited many a big city in my day - NYC, Dallas, Miami, LA, San Fran, Seattle, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas.... but they were nothing like this. I've never seen so many abandoned houses, falling-down manufacturing plants, trash, and broken everything. Unemployment is at 18%+. The roads are in terrible condition - all over the metro area.

Grosse Pointe is a really nice area, which borders on the not-so-nice Detroit city limit. You can clearly see where the town starts to move towards Detroit. The houses get progressively more rundown and abandoned. We saw the most police cars there - 5 in about 15 minutes. Gotta keep the Pointe safe, you know. I had thought we might find a place to live there, and Big Daddy could commute up to Mt. Clemens. Unfortunately, it's really just too far to justify the distance and the cost. (But it has a Trader Joe's! We'll be back, I can feel it).

Mt. Clemens is a small town, with a thriving downtown driven by County business. We didn't see much that inspired us, but went back on Tuesday and found a cute neighborhood close to the hospital. It looks like there may be several houses for rent there. It's also within walking distance of a decent school for Big Sis.

Posing with Big Boy - this is totally a childhood memory for me.

Too bad the food is no longer as good as I remember it.

Tuesday we visited the Henry Ford Museum. It was awesome! It's near one of the big Ford plants, and driving through the area really gave me a sense of how much the auto industry must have impacted Detroit (for good and for bad). The museum was auto-centered, but also contained a random assortment of Americana, including enormous trains, a restored 1940's diner, a full scale replica of the Wright Bros. plane, the Weinermobile, the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, and the Rosa Parks bus. It was eclectic, unusual, and really fascinating. We spent almost 6 hours there, and are looking forward to taking visitors there (for anyone who is brave enough to come see us while we live in "The D").

President Kennedy's Limo - the one he was riding in when he was assassinated.

Driving the train.

One of the original Weinermobiles.

The bus Rosa Parks was riding when she refused to give up her seat.

We hit Ikea on Wednesday morning (I think I exercised admirable restraint by only purchasing picture frames), and then decided to cut our trip short & head home. Big Daddy and I slept horribly during the trip - a combination of hard bed, weak pillows, & slight colds, and we saw no reason to prolong the agony.

Net/net: It's going to be a long 2 years. I am sure that once we get there and get into our routine, we'll be fine. The 15 mile commute to church will take some getting used to, as will the trash, graffiti, potholes, bad drivers, and lack of sidewalks. I have definitely been spoiled by our time in Des Moines. On the upside, there is Ikea, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, REI, Nordstrom, Cranbrook, Detroit Institute of Art, 4 major league sport teams, and a 4% personal income tax.


Ashley said...

Amy, I find myself truly looking forward to yours posts...they entertain me...and lately I'm not that easily thanks for the excitement you give me everytime you post!!

Now...on to Detroit! Oh the Ford Museum alone looks so interesting!! I hope you guys find a place that you end up loving! Oh the win/lose you get by moving from Des Moines...there's so many more opportunities/stores/restaurants in bigger cities but we definitley were surprised with how much we missed the clean little suburbia feel, the people, and even the cows/corn/and small town feel Des Moines had. But you're right, once you move and get settled in, you'll fall in love with MI for it's own things...which is a perk of moving for sure, experiencing different places and people, and if anything just for 2 years!

Bytheway, we have a Trader Joe's here...and I've never been inside...fill me in on what I'm missing, I keep thinking it's some indian trading store or something..haha ;)

sarita said...

Oh, I wish so bad you were staying here! I was just telling Ryan today how much I was going to miss you when you move.

I'm with Ashley, though----you will love MI for what it has to offer, it just might take a little time.