Sitting in the Detroit river between Canada and the skyscrapers of downtown Detroit, Belle Isle provides a respite from an urban landscape. Initially designed by famed urban park planner Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1880s, the island features a beachfront, boathouse, acres of open land, beautiful fountains, botanical garden and aquarium. Although only portion of Olmsted’s plans were implemented, Belle Isle is a truly remarkable. A few weeks ago a friend of mine and Maggie decided to visit the aquarium and botanical garden to take some photos and explore. The aquarium has recently been restored along with other portions of the park. For years this island was abused, neglected and even housed the lawn furniture of the former mayor. And although Detroit has a long way to go, the bankruptcy has brought some positive change and has transferred ownership of the park from the city to the state park system. For now, it will be protected as a place for people to enjoy and will be invested in as a gem of Detroit. On a sunny Sunday morning, I got to see how Detroit is being brought back to a new life, one fish and flower at a time.
It was a fast trip to Boston for work. However, we had enough time to head over to Harvard and grab coffee while preparing for a meeting. We even snuck into a classroom to see how these smart kids learn. To be honest, I have always wanted to go to Harvard, who knows – maybe I will still try to get some grad work done there. From the time we landed, I fell in love with this city. The history, the academics and the architecture. We had a great meeting and I look forward working with some new clients and exploring more of this great city!
I have been traveling for work alot lately. It seems that I am in the airport almost every week. I absolutely love airports. Perhaps it is because my dad was a pilot, or maybe it allows me to do people watching at it’s finest. I often imagine the stories that accompany the different people coming and going. Some are on their way to a big pitch. They are preparing for a meeting that could help define their career. Others are emotional, they have just left their loved ones. Their tear filled eyes remind me of all the times I have had to say good-bye to my parents. Then there are the ones headed off to find an adventure. Maybe they are visiting a new country, backpacking through Europe, flying for the first time or traveling as a group. Whatever their stories, in Detroit a special thing has happened. People began sharing their journey on the stones that surround the beautiful fountain in the mcnamara terminal. There are messages shared between travelers. Some mark where they are coming from, others communicate their next adventure, or even tell a secret. It is an organic storytelling gallery. So what story will you share? Bring a sharpee and be sure to tell your story in DTW.
So technically this post would be a staycation – but when you have such an outstanding art museum within an hour drive – there really is no excuse. I love to visit the museum on cold winter days. On days when my creativity is feeling a little grey the work inside always inspires me to think beyond my mind’s capabilities. My first real connection with art was at the Dayton Institute of Arts when I was in high school. Most Januarys I would spend almost every day after school walking through the galleries. It was there that I first understood the meaning of modern and post modern art. As I get older, I struggle to appreciate this art even more. Perhaps it is because I have embraced logic too much or that simplicity feels like a luxury in life. Either way – I can’t wait to start seeing art through the eyes of Maggie. We have a treasure in Detroit with the DIA and I think an afternoon off and a creative session at the DIA is in my near future.
Perhaps the greatest thing I love about my job is that I get paid to learn more about humanity. What people care about, what drives them and the choices they make. When I travel, I often try to explore the city I am communicating to. I will try to discover the neighborhood diner that has 4 stars on yelp, the treasured museum or the historical site that defined the city. On a recent trip to Philadelphia, we found a small restaurant (that may have had only 15 seats). The couple sitting next to us knew the owners by name and lived their entire lives in this city. I find that exploring the restaurants and landmarks of a city help me understand the soul of the people. Philly is proud and I think it is part of it’s history. This city was built by passionate people and their dreams helped to form a nation. We only had 45 minutes to explore, but we visited Constitution Hall and walking through those walls gave us a deep sense of legacy. I was reminded that it takes great courage to dream.
Take the time to explore – even 45 minutes can help inspire you to dream.