Saturday, November 11, 2017

Walking around Lansing, Michigan

When I knew I was going to visit Detroit I immediately thought "I must walk in Lansing!" being as it is the capital of Michigan and just a couple of hours by bus from the Motor City. I am on a quest to walk in all the state capitals in the United States.  I have done this for all the provincial and territorial capitals in Canada and have been working on the capital cities of the United States for 12 years now.  Yes, I'm taking my time.  Lansing was number 33. And yes, it's going to be a lifetime project but that's okay.  I am sure having fun doing it.  I love visiting cities that aren't on the tourist radar and "off the beaten path" so to speak.  Maybe because I live in one such city that people (especially to the ahem..west of here...) tend to sneer at and say "there is nothing there".  When someone says that about a place it piques my interest - there is always something of interest in every place no matter how small or insignificant. 

I took the Greyhound bus to Lansing (felt so good to be back on the 'hound again - how I loved my 'hound trips!) and then a taxi to my Airbnb which was close to the city centre.  The taxi driver sat in her van watching me as I struggled to pull my suitcase onto the back seats of the van...and then struggled to pull it off.  Ah well. Jessica, my host greeted me as well as her adorable doggie Cricket and her little son George.  I was her last Airbnb guest as she was very pregnant and in fact had a  baby girl a few weeks after I left.  I know I have said it over and over again but I do love Airbnb.  It has not only made long-term travel financially feasible for me but I get to meet the locals as well.  Jessica and her husband John are Canadians who are in Lansing temporarily while John goes to university.  We had fun discussing the quirks of Americans and their politics and military...and I will say no more! She made me awesome coffee in her high tech espresso machine.


LOOK AT THAT FACE!!!  I fell in love!

After dumping my stuff I headed out for a walk about the area and to pick up something to eat.  A sub did the trick so I came back and sat on the covered porch to enjoy that and my first taste of coke with pomegranate syrup in it.  Yum!

The next morning after a delicious coffee Jessica (with baby George) drove me to the donut shop downtown called Glazed and Confused.  I had a donut (yes, another one - I should call this one the "donut vacation") and another coffee (one can never have too much coffee in the morning) before heading out to explore.


I can highly recommend the donuts- well the one I had anyway! Yes, only one..I was a good girl!


Yes, I visited the Peanut shop and yes I bought a bag of mixed nuts.  I loved Lansing's small downtown area. 


And then it was time for my first stop - the State Capitol building which was just two blocks away.


Detroit was originally the state capital of Michigan but that honour was moved to Lansing in 1847. This building was opened and dedicated on January 1, 1879.  After a restoration it was rededicated on November 19, 1992.  This building was the first to have the iconic dome on the roof that so many state capitol buildings now have.


As always, I then entered the building to have a snoop around.  I prefer to grab a brochure and walk around on my own taking photographs rather than take a formal tour.  Let's just say I have lots of state capitol brochures in my collection!   The first thing to catch my eye was the interior of the dome.  It's called the Oculus or "eye of the dome" and is meant to provide "glimpse into the vastness of the universe, represented by a starry sky" according to the brochure.  What do you think?



I found it absolutely beautiful.


There are twenty of these beautiful chandeliers lighting the hallways - once lit by gas they now use lightbulbs.


The second floor of the rotunda with the Gallery of the Governors - portraits of former Michigan governors.


The House of Representatives Chamber.  I couldn't go into the Senate Chamber as a session was going on at the time.

Then it was time to head over to the Michigan State Museum to officially sign in for the walk (the person in charge had kindly sent me the walk instructions before I left on the trip) and visit the museum which was so interesting.  I love history and learning more about it so it was fun to learn more about Michigan.  I loved the music section the most needless to say but my photos of that are absolute crap so here's a photo of an automobile instead.  Why I take photos in museums is beyond me as I never look at them again but what can I say...it's just how I roll.


After that measly (but decadent)  breakfast it was time for lunch so I wandered over for a late lunch at the Grand Traverse Pie Company which was on my list to visit.


Salad and kale/veggie quiche.  The pie was saved for my evening meal - it was a combination of berries - yum!

By this time I was getting pretty tired and the rain was pelting down so up went the umbrella for the walk back to the house (via Lansing College where I went inside and had a "sit down" for a while as I was pretty tired) where I relaxed for the evening. (and ate that piece of pie)

The next morning I headed over to Old Town to continue the walk - sticking to the walk route on the way of course.  My Airbnb was just three blocks off the route - perfect!


Loved this old-fashioned water fountain in Durant Park



View of the Grand River from the bridge in Old Town


I ate breakfast at a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed it but I won't show you a picture of my meal as it looks like something someone might have upchucked.  Didn't taste like it though!  There looked to be some neat shops as well as a coffee shop I wouldn't have minded checking out...if I just hadn't had a filling breakfast. 

Then it was time to set off down the path along the Grand River. 





Here is the Brenke fish ladder - now don't you have an image in her head of fish gallantly trying to climb a ladder. .   This helps them swim past the dam (pictured further above) without injury.






I loved this serene walk.


I took this personally as I have done my fair share of whining in the past 7 plus months! 


The Lansing Farmer market - I assume (really hope) that it is busier on weekends!  I did buy myself a jar of cherry ginger jam from one of the (very) few vendors...just because..who knew Michigan was famous for its cherries?  Well I didn't. 


Another great sign along the trail!


Heading back downtown with another view of the Capitol building.


I couldn't resist going back to the state capital to get a picture with the beautiful blue sky in the background - it was a little more crowded today.  Then it was time to head back "home" with a sit down on the veranda with my kindle. 

The next morning it was time to head out to Chicagoland so I needed to get to the Amtrak station which is in East Lansing.  Because of the unreliability of taxi cabs in the city, Jessica advised me to use Uber.  It was my first time and I was impressed as the car showed up in mere minutes with a friendly driver and no cash exchanging hands.  I was able to tip him later through the Uber app. 

I faithfully wore my Garmin watch for those two days and according to that I walked close to 15 km!  I was quite pleased with myself!  I doubt if my travels will ever take me back to Lansing and while I enjoyed it I can't think why I would go back beause after all I still have 17 state capitals left to visit!   However, I will certainly look back on my short time in Lansing with fond memories.

1 comment:

Lorraine Martin said...

Hi Lori Thanks for the lovely blog. I will enjoy following you on your adventure. Lorraine

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