Travel Diary: Detroit - Back in the Motor City

Detroit continues to win me over with something new every time I visit. My recent trip was less than 48 hours long but jam-packed with super shopping and dining experiences. I love that I get to visit this city as it's having its renaissance. Detroit is a major metropolitan city and one that few of us would have thought about visiting a mere five years ago. Today, this downtown is bustling, vibrant, clean (!) and there is a sense of city pride here that I can't say I feel in many other cities, Nashville included. The people of Detroit are excited for their city. They wear it with their "Detroit is The New Black" tees and they're happy to talk to you about it. It's easy to get swept up in the scene here. And there is a "scene."

My work colleague and I got a glimpse of it the first night we were there when another work friend took us to a few of the bars and restaurants around town. We started our night at the chic Apparatus Room inside the new Foundation Hotel. This old fire station has been transformed into a modern boutique hotel and cocktail/dining spot which capitalizes on the unique framework of the fire station while adding warm and modern accents. It's very vibe-y here, and I mean that in the best way. I can't wait to go back next month. We moved on to dinner at Republic, an old tavern inspired experience that did not disappoint in the food department. I'm still dreaming about that charcuterie plate. From there, I'm not even sure of our next stop, but it was a street not unlike Printers Alley in Nashville, full of bars and restaurants, many with outdoor seating. It was a bustling and eclectic scene. Hipsters, artists, models, tourists were all pleasantly co-mingling. It was great to see Detroit this alive.

On the shopping front, I've been dying to get to the Shinola flagship store located in the Midtown neighborhood. Boy, oh boy, that store did not disappoint. This shop was bustling at 10am on a Saturday morning. We could have spent hours there. There is truly that much to see and do. Grab a delicious cup of coffee or espresso, pick up your fresh cut flowers, get your custom Shinola bicycle worked on and then proceed to drool over the gorgeous watches, jewelry, stationary products and leather goods thoughtfully displayed around the store. I settled on a 2017-2018 planner that I was able to have embossed with initials (in rose gold of course!). Honestly, I bought that because 1. I needed a new planner and 2. it was about the only thing I could afford in the store. Ha ha

That being said, these are investment pieces so when you're ready, take a good hard look at these products. Shinola invested in Detroit. They invested in the people and in turn the city. They created jobs and they created a community that fosters creativity and quality craftsmanship. It harkens back to a day when American luxury goods were actually made in America. It may be one watch and one bicycle at a time, but Shinola is working hard to bring this era back. 

As my friend and I walked from our breakfast spot to find Shinola, we stumbled on another powerhouse leather goods manufacturer, Will Leather Goods. Will Leather Goods is a family-owned lifestyle brand started by Will Adler in Eugene, OR. Their dreamy Detroit store has that magical fresh leather smell. The focal point of the shop is a giant red teepee which I can say is the only camping experience I would ever want - on that was inside a leather goods store. There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore here. While a lot of Nashville boutiques stock Will Leather Goods, it was nice to see their full line which included everything from gorgeous wine bottle carriers and coasters to sporty ping pong paddles and volleyballs. 

The evening called for a quick stop into John Varvatos, which anchors the first floor of a gorgeous historic building that also housed our dinner destination that night (Wright & Co. YUM!) John Varvatos is a rock 'n rollers dream. Feeling like a jam sesh? Good, because there is a stage with a drum kit and guitars ready to rock. In the market for vintage amps and a few killer coffee table books? Head upstairs. Gorgeous leather jackets, the softest tees, sneakers and sunglasses were tucked in and around the store. This store is more like a rock museum. The attention to detail is truly incredible. There was so much to see in this small space, that as decadent as it looked, it never felt overdone. The enormous chandelier that hangs over the store was a piece I didn't even notice until I went up to the mezzanine level. "How did I miss that?!" I thought as I snapped the photo. This shop is a feast for your eyes, so don't forget to look up. 

More to come on my InstaStory in a few weeks as I head back to Detroit for another event. It's a quick 24 hours so not sure I'll get much shopping in, but brunching will be a must! 

Next stop is a long weekend in Chicago with my Mom! You can bet there will be some power shopping involved. I learned from the best.