Jean and I just got back from vacation in exotic Michigan. My home state! It was the first time I had been back in 15 years and the first ever for Jean (lucky her!). It was actually a great time...I forgot how beautiful it is there this time of year (spare the mosquitoes).
This should be the first of a series of blogs about our visit. Our first stop was Detroit and what a grandly bleak stop it was! First of all big big thanks to Design Sponge's city guides. It was our saving grace after we chose to stay in an extremely sub-par hotel and were ill-prepared to find suitable eats, drinks, and sites. To sum it up we arrived late and was too scared to go back out, so we had couple of chocolate bars as our dinner (only edible thing we had). We put out some sheets we brought and went straight to bed.

In the eery abandoned ghost-town category, the city lived up to all our expectations and more. It's just incredible to walk on the empty streets knowing that this was the center of the industrial universe not long ago. There are literally ruins in the making every where you look - gorgeous art deco relics and fancy Victorian mansions now completely abandoned. Granted there are still people living there and doing some cool stuff, but I have to say...they're few and far between from a visitor's perspective (even though we had d-sponge to guide us). If numbers help put things in perspective, the city's population has gone from 1.8 million in 1950 to around 900,000 today. Very few modern cities can claim the loss of half their population in 60 years!

We were totally jazzed to be there though because we love good ruins and urban decay. Here are some our favorite spots:Grand Central Station: An amazing defunct train station that must have been incredible in its day. Also see the site for photos of the inside (ultra creepy).

Victorian Mansions: There are entire neighborhoods of these elaborate homes left to decay. One of the most complete is Brush Park. A select few of these are slowly starting to be renovated, but most are being left to meet their doom.

The Heidelberg Project: A long ago neglected neighborhood in a not so nice part of town transformed into environmental art/political protest by artist Tyree Guyton and his grandfather. Really an incredible thing to walk through considering how it transformed the neighborhood.

Avalon Bakery: Thank god for them and their delicious coffee, breads, and wi-fi. Not a ruin, just a really good cafe.
422 W Willis St
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-0008

More Detroit photos live here. More Michigan stuff to come. Stay tuned!

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