As the sun rises and sets on the shore of Lake St. Clair, it illuminates a historic mansion surrounded by 87 acres of gardens, meadows, and lagoons. The light catches the elm and sugar maple trees, blue lilacs, and other local florae, treating guests to the same idyllic views that Edsel Ford—the only son of Henry Ford—used to enjoy with his wife, Eleanor Clay Ford, and their children. Built in 1929 and now open to the general public, this historic house and its surrounding grounds give visitors a glimpse into the everyday lives of one of America's most prominent families.
Edsel and Eleanor Ford were renowned for their progressive design tastes and support of the arts, and these forward-thinking sensibilities are readily apparent throughout their Gaukler Point home. Detroit architect Albert Kahn chose to characterize it as a cozy escape from city life by recreating the aesthetic of a Cotswold village cottage, complete with stone roofs, vine-covered walls, and lead-paned windows. But the Ford's decidedly modern style is still visible—for every antique and stuffed and mounted Model T, guests can also spot the sleek, custom-made furnishings and leather-paneled walls recommended by interior designer Walter Teague. The acres outside those walls were shaped with equal care by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen, who chose to accentuate the area's natural beauty without giving any indication of manmade interference.
Of course, the Ford House would be incomplete without the invention that made the Ford name—the automobile. Reflecting that legacy and Edsel's own passion for designing vehicles, the garage houses a 1934 Brewster Town Car, a 1938 Lincoln K Brunn Brougham, and a 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet, each of which was customized to Edsel's specifications. The crown jewel of the exhibited collection—when it is not being displayed at car shows and museums across the country—is Edsel's treasured 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster, a vehicle that he personally spent years conceptualizing and then refining into a sleek, aluminum-bodied roadster.
A nonprofit organization, Midwest Freefall Sport Parachute Club aims to instill a love for skydiving in each person who steps into its 17-place Jet-Prop Cessna Grand Caravan, which elevates jumpers to more than 13,000 feet above the southeast Michigan countryside. Tandem jumps allow thrill-seekers to harvest cotton candy from clouds as seasoned instructors take care of dive essentials, including parachute deployment. For those who want to learn more, seven levels of free-fall training transform novices into experienced jumpers who can take solo dives. Before their second jump, skydivers become members of Midwest's club, which hosts social gatherings that debate the merits of traveling down stairs by parachute. Midwest Freefall Sport Parachute Club embraces the standards and procedures established by the United States Parachute Association to help ensure safety during all of its dives.
Board the award-winning, 138-foot, three-decked Ovation yacht for an evening of gourmet dining and DJ-spun sounds atop a water-defiant vessel. As you fill your eyes with the bobbing Detroit skyline and watch the sky-orange drench ripply waters in its juicy rays, fill your belly with an array of hors d'oeuvres, including cheese and fruit, white-cheddar pasta with grilled chicken breast, beef tenderloin with cambozola cheese, various desserts, coffee, and more. Bite-sized edibles pair swimmingly with two complimentary drinks, with more available from a full-service cash bar. At 11 p.m., the boat will park for a half-hour dockside float to cap off the first half of the evening, and to ease the strain on hardworking open waters exhausted from keeping the heavy ship afloat.
With 10 total locations—each packed with cardio and strength-training equipment as well as a wealth of classes—Metro Family Fitness makes it easy to get in shape. Several locations are women-only, granting members a comfortable environment to work out in as they boost muscle tone, burn calories. Classes such as boot camps, yoga, and zumba help increase their heart rate in far safer methods than watching horror movies for 48 hours straight.
The collection of ramps and half pipes inside Landslide Skate Park's 22,000-square-foot indoor skate facility offers a year-round haven for skaters of all skill levels. During private, group, or open-skate lessons, students master the nuances of kick-flips as experienced skaters demonstrate tricks and retired skateboards deliver instructive lectures. The park's foam pit provides a soft, cushy landing for skaters to practice aerial maneuvers without fear of injury, and a slew of private party rooms, flush with snacks and foosball, host birthday celebrations. Serious skaters can purchase top-of-the-line gear and apparel from brands such as Zero, Habitat, and Alien Workshop in the pro shop, or invest in a park membership for discounted access to the park and lessons without having to disguise yourself as Tony Hawk's legal guardian.