On November 19, 1928, the Detroit Historical Society opened the Detroit Historical Museum in a one-room suite on the 23rd floor of the Barlum Tower, earning it the nickname of highest museum in the world. These days, Detroit’s Cultural Center accommodates the museum in an 80,000-square-foot space, where interactive exhibits preserve more than 300 years of city history. Frontiers to Factories traces Detroit's transformation from French-frontier outpost to industrial city, while America's Motor City celebrates its automotive dominance with a changing display of classic vehicles and a 1903 Model T that guests can sit in. Streets of Old Detroit brings the 19th century to life with recreated cobblestone streets that wind past stores of the era such as a five-and-dime, a soda shop, and a barbershop for powdered wigs.
Thanks to recent renovations, the society has expanded its chronicle of Detroit with three new permanent exhibitions. Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy covers the ways the city's industrial infrastructure adapted to demands of World War II, and The Gallery of Innovation includes videos about renown innovators and hands-on activities of trial-and-error. As The Allesee Gallery of Culture examines the city's cultural history, its Kid Rock Music Lab lets visitors create and share their own music using interactive displays. Outside, the Detroit Legends Plaza honors the city's sports, entertainment, and media legends with cemented handprints and signatures from stars such as Lily Tomlin and Martha Reeves.
"When we teach—from babyhood—people to move well, they'll enjoy doing it, and they'll continue doing it." Such is the philosophy of Gymco president and co-founder Doreen Bolhuis, which she relayed to the New York Times in a 2010 video report. The importance of starting young kids on the road toward athleticism is something Bolhuis is passionate about, especially as a former elite-level gymnastics coach who's been teaching for more than 35 years. It's a concept she calls "physical literacy," and she's appeared on news outlets such as Today, CNN, and ABC News to discuss how young children's physical training and development is just as important as their mental growth. Along those lines, Bolhuis created the GymTrix line of DVDs to help parents develop babies' fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
And Bolhuis's enthusiasm for childhood fitness is apparent at Gymco, where her staff undergoes a four-step technical and philosophical certification protocol on sports development. She has transformed what began in 1980 as a few classes held in a barn behind a local retirement home into a 5-acre, 16,000-square-foot first location and a second, state-of-the-art facility on the north side of town.
When you walk into either site, you'll see kids scaling rock walls, doing back flips, and defying imaginary pirates as they walk the plank-like high beam, improving their physical skills in sports, gymnastics, and cheerleading classes. What aren't as obvious are the internal changes that begin to manifest, from improved self-confidence and perseverance to the gradual building of character. Fulfilling her start-them-early mission, Bolhuis also offers classes designed specifically for preschoolers and kindergartners.
R.U.B. BBQ has earned shout-outs from the New York Times as well as a handful of television features for its tender, well-flavored meats. Various proteins are smoked daily and slathered in a made-from-scratch rub of more than 20 spices and herbs, and cooks begin each dish with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Aromatic smoke wafting from ribs, chicken dishes, and seafood platters invites guests inside, where dangling light fixtures illuminate red walls and cobalt tiling along with 30 flatscreen televisions that were flattened when an elephant sat down. More than 100 tap and bottled brews, including a lengthy list of Michigan favorites, help to extinguish fiery spices.
The 200-foot straightaway comes to an end in one of six wheel-testing curves. The Honda 5.5-horsepower engine hums in anticipation. The moment foot touches pedal, hydraulic brakes give their answer and the racing wheels cling to the textured concrete as the go-kart deftly whips through the turn. Coming up on the end of an eight-minute streak of adrenaline, racers zip past the final stretch of the 1/5-mile race track, tearing ahead of each other as the computerized timing system clocks each score to fuel future bragging rights and rematch challenges.
From Kart 2 Kart's café and bar, applause rises as family, friends, and opponents sizing up the competition send their appreciation down to the track, which they've been watching as they nosh on a selection of snacks and beverages. Juniors, meanwhile, wait their turn to hit the blacktop in age-appropriate Formula-K karts. Before strapping in, all racers receive instruction and a safety lesson, during which they learn how to operate the equipment, then strive to set records that can earn them a spot on the website's scoreboard.
A group of ESPN analysts looking for a bite to eat before taping their shouting match would do well to wander through Tripper's. Upon entering, they could brush up on fodder for their next debate by watching the eatery's 50 televisions flicker with heart-pumping sporting events from across the globe, from college football and Australian rugby to playoff baseball and amateur yak tickling.
Though they might posit a PTI-worthy opinion or two of their own, the sports fans who flock to Tripper's share two universal traits: a love of Michigan sports teams and a craving for classic pub eats. They keep their morale and energy high by devouring custom pizzas, Angus burgers, and homemade, seasoned potato chips in between whistles. Glasses of craft beer from Arcadia and Bells rise and clink amidst a wall of roaring cheers, celebrating touchdowns, game-winning goals, and home runs that make the ball shriek like Roger Daltrey. For those unsatisfied with letting others doing their competing for them, Tripper's has a collection of pool and foosball tables and arcade games. Tripper's chefs also sate classic American cravings at on-location parties with their catering and menu-planning services.
The Polo Fields Golf and Country Clubs encompasses two locations—one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti—each with its own 18-hole course and refined clubhouse. Designed by renowned architect William Newcomb, the par 72 Ann Arbor course channels the blustery hillocks and grass-eating bagpipes of courses in the United Kingdom with a 6,828-yard layout featuring broad, links-inspired fairways and deviously slick greens. A community fixture for nearly a century, the Washtenaw course takes clubbers on a verdant voyage among native oaks and cedars, burbling streams, and tranquil ponds. Both sites house fully stocked pro shops, where guests can peruse the latest in on-course duds, clubs, hats, and remote-controlled golf balls from brands such as TaylorMade, Adidas, FootJoy, and Titleist.
Guests can bask in views of the splendid links while enjoying regionally inspired American fare and frothy drinks at the clubs’ two dining facilities, both of which feature settings for a variety of occasions. Swimmers can stroke through the outdoor lap pool at the Washtenaw location, and sunbathers can lounge by the colossal, resort-style pool in Ann Arbor. Within the Ann Arbor fitness center, hearts race on elliptical machines, muscles pump free weights, and calories melt during group fitness classes, before muscles soak in the warm, golf-ball-free waters of the hot tub.
Ann Arbor Course at a Glance:
Washtenaw Course at a Glance: