The American Golf Cup tournament was held in Traverse City, Michigan back in September or in the Fall as Americans would say, I was delighted to be taking part in such a prestigious event. My friend Ann and I were booked into the fabulous ALoft boutique hotel at the historic The David Witney Building right in the heart of Downtown Detroit.
Chris from Visit Detroit who was also playing in the tournament met us in the lobby the next morning to drive us to Traverse City in the Upper Peninsula. Before leaving Chris took us on a whirlwind tour around Detroit. This was my first visit to the Motor City and I really looked forward to seeing it. As we drove along the wide open streets, Chris proudly tells us the story of the rejuvenation of Detroit. As it turned out we could not have had a better tour guide for Chris knew everything there is to know about his town! a
Our first stop was the historic district of Corktown. A tall vintage style street sign tells that you have arrived in Detroit’s oldest neighbourhood. Some of Corktown’s earliest residents were Irish immigrants who fled to Detroit after the potato famine in 1849.
All along the streets are signs of its proud link to Ireland, it was interesting to learn that Henry Ford’s parents had emigrated from West Cork and settled in Detroit in 1830.
Looming over the Corktown neighbourhood is the old iconic and abandoned Michigan Central Station. The station which was once one of grandest in the U.S. was bought by the Ford Motor Company, who have plan to restore it to its former glory and build a campus on the site.
The decline of the car industry in the 70s and 80s left many people out of work, sadly people moved away leaving affluent neighbourhoods to fall into ruin. Many of the old derelict buildings have been restored or are in the process of, such as this magnificent Beau Arts Michigan Station.
[The original Ford Model T]
From Corktown to Rivertown and a short stroll along the riverbank, this is definitely a must place to visit, by now people were up and about either walking, cycling, jogging or just sitting enjoying the view across the beautiful Detroit river to Canada.
Time was limited so we were back in the car and off to visit Motown. We arrived to find lots of people mulling around, there were some friendly Detroit cops on horseback and some on bicycles just observing. It was the 60th anniversary of Motown and our visit luckily just happened to coincide with the weekend celebrations. As we walked towards the Hitsville museum the place suddenly came alive, the beat was on and so was a party. It was 10.30 in the morning, well it was Motown!
While posing for a quick photo. outside the famous Hitsville museum, this gentleman came up the steps and boldly stepped into my picture. Ann was about to ask him to wait, but something held her back, thank goodness, as it happened this gentleman was non other than thee Motown legend Brian Holland. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. Brian with his brother Eddie and Lamont Dozier were the famous team who wrote, arranged and produced songs in the sixties for Diana Ross, The Supremes, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, it all began at here at Hitsville 60 years ago and we were at the party.
Within minutes the music started and we were dancing to Martha and the Vandellas ‘Dancin In The Street’.
But unfortunately for us the party was over for us and we had to hit the road.
Detroit, ‘You really got a hold on me’!