Memorable Field Trips

Memory is a fickle thing.  There are times I can’t remember what I did yesterday. Other times, I’ll experience a total recall of details from a long-ago meal — like the first time my spouse and I tasted the cuisine of Master Chef Milos Cihelka at the long-gone but still-legendary Southfield eatery The Golden Mushroom. There was this side dish of German spaetzle (egg noodles) in a roux that somehow involved bone marrow.

Certain memories stay parked in deep storage, only to come to the forefront when prodded by a random spark. Some decades ago, our eighth-grade class took a field trip along Canal Road in Clinton Township. The teacher was trying to impress upon us the importance of local history, I guess. Something must have stuck.

Years later when working on a travel magazine, that trip came back to me as I toured the Erie Canal in upstate New York. It got me wondering what Michigan might have looked like if the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal had been built (Big Plans).

Other contributors draw upon memories for several stories in this issue.

Annabel Cohen, food writer, caterer, and chef extraordinaire, remembers fishing the lake behind her parents’ home from the deck of a small sailboat. So in the wake of the Enbridge Energy oil spill, she’s been thinking about the safety and quality of our fish (Don’t Fear the Fish).

Richard Bak spoke with Marilyn (Moore) Meinhard, who was a saucer-eyed 3-year-old when she first experienced the euphoria of flight aboard a small plane at Detroit City Airport in 1935. The now 80-year-old recalls how that early thrill led her to become a pilot through a postwar Girl Scout program (Wings Over Michigan).

Ilene Wolff drew upon the memory of Jo Gingras, whose family has summered in the Rogers City area since 1948, to give a good barometer of how things have changed in the port city on Michigan’s northeast coast (Rogers City Renaissance).

More recent “field trips” help round out our issue. Editorial intern Rachelle Hadley tapped into her experience working at Arbor Brewery to explore the importance of water in the crafting of beer. She also took a side trip to Grand Rapids’ Brewery Vivant, which became the first commercial brewing operation anywhere to receive LEED building certification (Crafting ‘Greener’ Brews).

Speaking of water, we also explore the differences — or lack thereof — between the bottled and tap (Ebb & Flow) varieties. We also show you how to take a working vacation in a lighthouse (Rooms with a View) and learn how a dedicated group of kayakers is celebrating the comeback of the Detroit River (Paddle ‘Strait’).

You don’t have to be a local to enjoy a field trip here in the Mitten. Julie Edgar takes a look at how the Pure Michigan campaign (Smitten with the Mitten) is boosting the state’s economy, enticing residents and outsiders alike to come play in our waters — and make their own Michigan memories.

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