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.
Golf and curling are similar in their basic values: both games require a steady hand, have their own distinct vernacular, and emphasize sportsmanship so much that the post-match handshake is a universal ritual. Roseland Golf and Curling Club brings the two genteel games together in one facility that features a six-sheet curling rink and a 27-hole golf complex. Open November through March, the curling club offers free “Learn to Curl” classes at various points throughout the season, leagues for curlers of all ages and abilities, and open ice sheet rentals all day on Saturdays for those looking for a place to stash their perishable snacks.
Outside, golfers can test par-hunting skills at an 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Donald Ross and built in 1926. The layout measures a formidable 6,943 yards from the farthest tees, requiring golfers to call upon every club or oversized crowbar in their bag to complete the round. In addition, the facility offers shorter, short game-oriented rounds in the form of a 9-hole, par-3 course.
Housed in an open, peaceful space, Serendipity Yoga offers a variety of classes for yoga enthusiasts or for those hoping to increase flexibility without the negative back talk of a medieval stretcher. Vinyasa classes focus on the inhalation of oxygen with each movement, creating a coordinated dance between breathing and posing. Traditional ashtanga yoga enhances concentration and calm with a series of linked postures, whereas hot vinyasa yoga places students in a heated room to release toxins, increase flexibility, and keep ice-cream trucks in business all winter long. Because there are no prerequisites for any of Serendipity's classes, the expert instructors will tailor each movement to the individual student's level. Check out the schedule for class times.
The Detroit Opera House sprawls across an entire city block, its imposing size and elegant design belying its circuitous history. Originally opened in 1922 as a vaudeville palace—and designed by the renowned architect behind the city's Fillmore and Fox theaters—the space played host to live music and recorded films. But despite the venue’s remarkable acoustics and cheery demeanor, it sat abandoned for long stretches of time over the next few decades. Luckily, fate intervened in 1988 when the opera acquired the building, starting an ambitious remodeling project that culminated in an opening gala featuring Luciano Pavarotti. The opera house’s modern iteration mimics the design of Europe's greatest performance spaces, with an the ornate main hall adorned with vaulted ceilings and sumptuous red curtains.
What was once the meeting spot for the Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit now hosts the hottest live acts and dance parties, including performances by Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Iggy Pop. The Main Ballroom sports a tricked-out sound-and-lighting system, a VIP balcony, a hardwood dance floor, and a bar more than 35 feet long. The lower level of The Shelter lives up to its name, as red curtains and a cabaret offer an escape to mellower pastures. Upstairs at The Burns Room, patrons chill out on lounge furniture under chandeliers while savoring views of Congress and the RenCen.
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