Alex’s Top 10 – April Edition

Honor and Folly - The Awesome Mitten
Honor & Folly. Photos by Alex Beaton.

It’s that time again, time for another Top 10 list from yours truly! As usual, the list is a hodgepodge of things from around our great state I’ve found over the past month that I think you will enjoy. Like my February Top 10, there is a giveaway hidden somewhere in this list (yes, it’s a shameless ploy to force you to read EVERYTHING). Have a suggestion for my May Top 10? Tell me in the comments!

1. Honor & Folly Back in November, I visited Detroit for a weekend. It was the first time I visited the city as a true tourist, with the idea in mind to explore new places for three days straight.  I loved it so much, I immediately began planning a return trip. On my November visit, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, where the staff was friendly and helpful to an extreme and the room was very comfortable.  This time, we decided to look for something that felt a little more local; enter Honor & Folly. H&F is a two bedroom loft above Slow’s BBQ in Corktown owned by Meghan McEwan, a freelance writer who also runs the website DesignTripper.  The place is amazing, with decor to die for.  Best of all, you feel like you’re living in Detroit for a weekend. I can’t express all that I loved about H&F in a short little blip, so stayed tuned for a full feature soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some pictures.

2. Chit Chat Chit Chat is a band out of Ann Arbor that everyone needs to start listening to right now. I suck at writing about music, so I’ll keep this brief: these guys have a sound that reminds me of the 1960’s. I want this on vinyl. I instantly picture songs like “Communication” on a soundtrack to a movie or a commercial. Make it the soundtrack to your summer.

Michigan Revolution Pleasant Peninsula Shirt - The Awesome Mitten
Pleasant Peninsula Shirt. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Revolution.

3. Michigan Revolution Michigan Revolution makes some pretty awesome t-shirts. Their mission? “Creating unity and awareness amongst the people of Michigan”. Whatever their purpose, I’m loving their Michigan Revolution State Motto V-Neck.

The Wafel Shop - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of The Wafel Shop

4. The Wafel Shop The Wafel Shop is new to Ann Arbor and I’m dying to pay them a visit. Besides the fact that they had a fundraiser for 826Michigan (which is awesome), I like them on Facebook and they are constantly popping up in my news feed and tantalizing me with photos. The Wall Street Journal just said the gourmet cupcake craze is coming to an end – are waffles the next big thing? I hope so.  I don’t have any trips to Ann Arbor planned in the near future, so will someone please pay The Wafel Shop and visit and let me know how it is? Take pictures, lots of them, since I will be living vicariously through you, and perhaps trying to recreate the magic I see in my own kitchen.

5. Leelanau Peninsula Wines – Yes, I’m aware this is a broad category of wine, considering Leelanau Peninsula is home to more than 25 wineries! The good people at the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association are kind enough to host us this weekend to show us the lay of the land, and I expect to have more than a few favorites showing up on May’s Top 10 list. Coming from Traverse City, I’ve certainly visited some of the wineries before, but I have never taken a guided tour or followed any of the trails that the LPVA has mapped out on their website. I’ll be joined by Awesome Mitten Managing Content Editor Erin Bernhard, and Feature Writers Jennifer Hamilton, and Jake Cagle. Follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to keep up with all of the fun!

The Great Lakes Book Project - The Awesome Mitten
The Great Lakes Book Project

6. Beer the Change Event Beer the Change is an event happening Wednesday May 1, 2013 from 4-9pm at The Crooked Goose in Grand Rapids. Brewery Vivant is taking over the taps at the Goose and 10% of all proceeds from the evening go to support Feeding America West Michigan. If you’ve never been to Crooked Goose, check out the Lumberjack burger; it’s the best burger I’ve ever had. This is just another reason I Love Brewery Vivant: they are constantly finding ways to give back to the community. See you there!

7. Great Lakes Book Project – The Great Lakes Book Project was a Kickstarter which achieved funding spearheaded by Walter Blake Knoblock. The book, edited by Knoblock, is a collection of creative nonfiction from writers in the Great Lakes region. It even features The Awesome Mitten’s Aram Mrjoian, who writes a monthly column called “Michigan Books”. GLBP has been generous enough to let us give away two copies of the book! To enter, let me know where your favorite coastline destination is here in Michigan in the comments! Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, April 24th at 12pm.

Michigan My Michigan - - The Awesome Mitten
Michigan My Michigan – Photo Courtesy of

8. FoundMichigan.Org – Found Michigan is a nonprofit website that has some awesome tshirts and even better articles. Features are a little bit lengthy, but worth it, and the photographs that accompany them capture Michigan’s unique culture. One of my favorites is the ABC’s of Michigan in March – go read it. This not-for-profit site is funded by sales of their tshirts; I did my part and bought the Michigan, My Michigan shirt and love it! I would also encourage you to like them on Facebook, so you don’t miss a thing!

9. 7 Monks – Guys, if you are ever in Traverse City, go to 7 Monks. A taproom with 46 beers on tap and a phenomenal menu (get the sweet potato fries!) that brings new meaning to pub fare, 7 Monks is just what Traverse City needed. The tap list features Belgian beers, Michigan beers, hard cider, wine, and mead, and a plethora of bottle beers are also available. Wondering what beers are on tap before you venture over? Check out their Apple & Android apps developed a familiar Traverse City name, Nick Perez.

10. Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company’s Midtown Coffee Bar – Great Lakes Coffee Bar is a cozy corner on Woodward where you can go to enjoy premium coffee, beer, wine, cocktails, and food. Exposed brick and vintage rocking chairs mixed with modern wood tables with benches create a space that welcomes community. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of coffee, I love the idea that I can get the coffeehouse atmosphere while drinking a cold Michigan beer. I hope to see a bigger variety of businesses embracing their roles as community gathering spaces in the future!