Day 4: Just Another Weekend in the Big D

Eastern Market, Detroit

Eastern Market, Detroit

Everyone told me “Be sure to visit the Eastern Market while you’re there.”

And if you know me at all, you know I love a good farmers’ market. (It was one of the big disappointments of moving from Ventura (where they were great) to San Jose (where they pretty much suck).

This one? Well let’s just say I was lucky to find my car again after wandering around for a little over an hour.

It’s really an outdoor farmers’ market in the middle of an entire food district. Permanent shops selling everything from freshly butchered meat to local cheeses and beer surround the sprawling produce and flower stands.

I didn’t take enough pictures, but this should give you a teensy idea of what’s available on any given Saturday:

I stopped at one of the food vendors called The Mac Shack (their menu board appears in the video). I only had enough cash for the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but it was delish! (The egg was fried and not all the way, so just enough runny yolk to keep things moist.)

Since I couldn’t eat and walk at the same time (it’s a problem, I know), I sat down next to a couple and their two young daughters.

Me: “You come here often?”

The Wife: “Not really. This is our first time in a loooong time.”

Me: “What brought you today?”

The Husband: “We just moved back here after living in Orlando for almost 10 years.”

Me: “Really?! Wow – why’d you move back?”

The Husband: (Laughing) “We’ve been asking ourselves that same question.”

The Wife: “Actually, we thought this would be a better place to raise the girls. More midwestern values. Orlando has such a transient population.”

Me: “Ah. Well, I’m thinking of moving here myself.”

The Husband: “Be sure to spend a winter here first to be sure you can take it.”

The Wife: “Yeah, we grew up here and we thought we remembered what the winters were like. But we totally forgot.”

And before you knew it, my sandwich was done. I thanked them for sharing their space and then was off to explore more of the market.

In one of the stalls, I found a man named Ron, his wife and their good friend Cynthia offering free samples of fresh bread.

Free samples! Fresh bread! (Two combos nearly impossible to resist.)

So of course, I had to ask them about the market, “Is it always like this?”

Ron told me it was Flower Day, so there were a few more people than normal; but yes, pretty much the market offerings were there every week.

And then, because they were raising money for a food bank, I bought a loaf of their awesome rosemary and olive oil sourdough bread.

Consider me duly impressed by the Eastern Market.

***

The rest of the day I spent driving around Detroit looking at neighborhoods (my realtor gave me a list of properties to drive by so I could see which ones I might want to see inside).

Keep in mind, I was looking at things $20K and under (mostly under $10). But out of 70+ listings, I only found two that I thought looked promising. And these were just in the five zipcodes I’d picked (out of about 20).

My criteria? The street needed to have 20% or less abandoned/dilapidated houses. Unfortunately, most of the ones I saw had over 50%. Sometimes closer to 90%. Truly very sad.

You just can’t imagine the sheer number of fixer uppers here. It boggles the mind.

And probably less than 5% of them are listed on the MLS.

On the agenda today: lunch with a colleague (I’ve been promised a Coney Island dog) and then meeting the agent to look at those two properties.

Here’s one of them:

Grand Blvd, Detroit

Grand Blvd, Detroit

This is a 5 bedroom brick Colonial owned by Fannie Mae. The offered price is $21K.

The other house is listed at $7200, and it apparently needs a lot more work. But it’s in the right ‘hood.

Until tomorrow, my friends…thanks for reading!

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1 Comment

Filed under Business, Food & Drink, Travel

One response to “Day 4: Just Another Weekend in the Big D

  1. You’ve escaped normal and gone to adventure island. I wondered what you were doing, but only happened on the story tonight. Fabulous!
    Love your images and the tours.
    Can’t believe the prices – are you sure that’s not per month?
    Loved the Green Garage. I want this kind of space for us – move from traditional offices to co-working, mentor young entrepreneurs, have fun with start ups…..

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