Exploring Michigan – Belle Isle

It’s been 18 months since we arrived in Michigan.  I’ve been hearing about Belle Isle since we got here (it’s an island sitting off the coat of Detroit in the Detroit River) but we haven’t made it down to visit before now.

Detroit River Belle Isle CanadaAfter those first few snowy months, we spent most of our time trying to get settled into our new house.  Outside of work, we frequented Home Depot, Menards, Walmart, Meijer and Kroger.  We didn’t do much else.  Before we knew it, Winter was here again.  Winter is hibernation season.  People go to work, people go home, and (unless you’re into snowmobiling or bowling) you stay inside.  By the time March rolled around, we were stir crazy.  We packed up and drove through the snow to spend the weekend in Traverse City, we’ve been to St Louis, Indianapolis, a tiny town in Ohio (Xenia), North Carolina and now we’re settling back into Michigan.

Our trip to Belle Isle wasn’t very well planned.  That’s usually how our trips are though.  We got up Saturday morning with every intention of driving into Canada and exploring how our neighbors to the North (technically, since we cross at the Ambassador bridge, they are our neighbors to the South) live.  We found a great little bar (The Barrel House) and had lunch on the patio.  The Seared Ahi Tuna Salad, while simple, was delicious!  It was dressed with a super light vinaigrette and it really was a perfect light lunch.

Seared Ahi Tuna SaladAfter finishing lunch, we had planned to hit up Ceasar’s Windsor.  The main road through the area we were in was closed, so we did some weaving around and made our way back over to the riverfront.  After driving toward Ceasar’s, I caught sight of Belle Isle and mentioned how we still hadn’t visited.  We quickly decided that we would abandon our original plan, saving the casino for colder weather.

I’m a little bummed that I only had my phone to take pictures.  There were so many beautiful things on Belle Isle to photograph!  The first photo in this post is from Belle Isle, looking at the Canadian shoreline across the Detroit River.  We saw one huge cargo ship, several larger private boats and a slew of smaller craft.  It was clear that people were out to enjoy the sunshine.

Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse Belle IsleWe found a spot to park and walked our way up to the Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse.  It’s constructed of Georgian marble and absolutely gorgeous.  Based on the condition of most of the island, beautiful but abandoned, I didn’t expect to see the lighthouse working, but it was!  If you read my post on Traverse City, you might remember that I have a thing for lighthouses.  They are one of my favorite parts of the beaches back in North Carolina and I miss them terribly.  There’s tons of carved detail that I just couldn’t get a good picture of with my trusty iPhone, but I do plan to visit again with my “big” camera.

Blue Heron Lagoon Belle IsleThis little puddle is Blue Heron Lagoon, one of many smaller bodies of water on Belle Isle.  The island itself is just over 900 acres, and these little guys are scattered around.  I saw canoes at one of the other little lagoons and wanted to go explore, but my husband wasn’t feeling that adventurous.  Something about me flipping him out and the water being cold…

We didn’t get to Belle Isle until around 3 pm, so we didn’t have as much time to explore as I would’ve liked.  We did get to hit up the Nature Center, but missed the deer feeding (bummer!).  We stopped and checked out a few of the abandoned buildings, drove by the abandoned zoo made it through the parking lot of the aquarium (it closed at 4 pm – noted for next time).  There is also a driving range, a gorgeous fountain (I’ll grab a photo next time), soccer fields, playgrounds, fishing areas, stable buildings (which are currently undergoing restoration) and immense amounts of open space.

Belle Isle is amazingly gorgeous (so much that it was no surprise we saw a bridal photo shoot happening) and is definitely a spot we will visit again.  If you live in/near Michigan, have you visited Belle Isle?

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One Response to Exploring Michigan – Belle Isle

  1. Belle Isle looks amazing! I think I’ll have to go, just for some of that Ahi Tuna Salad. It makes me want to grab a boat and catch some of that deliciousness. Blue Heron Lagoon is a mighty nice looking little puddle, too:) This would be the perfect weekend getaway during the summer. Thank you for sharing!

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