Friday, August 16, 2013

[HOT LIST] Dream Cruise avoidance guide

Much like snow in the winter, every year at this exact same time the Dream Cruise happens and every year everyone who isn't an eager cruiser seems equally surprised and annoyed by its existence.

Look, if you live in downtown Royal Oak/Ferndale/Birmingham, it sucks. I get it. And if you live on one side of Woodward and need to get to the other, it sucks. I get it. But for everyone else, even those who live in the middle of it, there are ways for you to find relief. And that is by avoiding it. Entirely. Here's how: pick one side of Woodward and stay on it for the next three days. And here's where to go to do that.

#1 Visit the breweries of Warren
You know what isn't on Woodward? Warren. And for east- and west-siders alike, Warren is pretty easy to get to (696 runs right through it). Spend the weekend on a makeshift local brewery tour of Kuhnhenn Brewing Company, Dragonmead, and Falling Down Beer Company. Try the award-winning beers and meads at Kuhnhenn and Dragonmead (Falling Down is still too new to have those kinds of distinctions), and get some good eats from Detroit BBQ Co. at Kuhnhenn and at Falling Down, where there's a serious chef running the show in the kitchen. And Mo Pop is happening in Sterling Heights which isn't too far from there, and there will be food trucks. I know how much everyone loves food trucks.

The patio at Palate. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

#2 Go west - really far west
You know what else isn't on Woodward? Milford. Milford is very, very much not on Woodward. In fact, the whole western Oakland County lakes area is pretty far removed from Woodward. Been meaning to check out the Root in White Lake for dinner? This would be a great weekend to head out that way. Another cool spot to check out is Palate in downtown Milford, with a great beer list and fantastic patio. You can even make a whole day of it by starting with hiking, biking, fishing or kayaking at Kensington Metro Park - there's also a nature center and splash park for the kids.

#3 Really far west
And by that I mean Ann Arbor, which sometimes seems so far it might as well be Chicago. Really it's only 45 minutes and I just like to complain. There's plenty to do and see and eat and drink in the old Ace Deuce - there's the Hudson Mills Metropark and the Dexter-Huron Metropark, both of which offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, BBQing, and more. Right in downtown Ann Arbor there's the Nichols Arboretum, with more hiking and biking trails. There's the University of Michigan Museum of Art, which is a small but great museum on the U-M campus which is pretty much across the street from Ashley's, one of the top beer bars in the country and a place I recommend heartily for both beer and pizza. Plus the kids are not quite yet back in school which makes doing anything in downtown Ann Arbor during the summer about 100 times better. (Less people = better.) And also Jolly Pumpkin.

#4 Or go north
Take I-75 straight up to hit Clubhouse BFD in Rochester Hills, another one of the best beer bars in the country, Rochester Mills Brewery in downtown Rochester, and the recently-opened 51 North Brewery in Lake Orion. Basically what I'm saying through all of this is go drink beer somewhere not near Woodward.

Houndstooth Craft Hot Dog Co. at Downtown Detroit Days.
#5 Or south
Because the Dream Cruise does not actually happen in Detroit, the entire city of Detroit is safe. Mostly. The Tigers are home so there's that to contend with. And I won't have been the only person to make that realization that the Dream Cruise doesn't happen in Detroit. But Downtown Detroit Days is this weekend, a Dan Gilbert Joint with Tashmoo Biergarten and Alley Wine pop-ups because pop-ups, and also Guns + Butter is happening this weekend in Eastern Market because pop-ups.

Also there's the first-ever Zombie Con in Troy.