A Few MUST Dos Outside This Summer

“The summer night is like a perfection of
-Wallace Stevens

sweet idyll of summer, we can feel you inch closer.

We’ve gone a long time without you. It feels like years.
We here in the Midwest have turned into one of those sun-starved plants
that stretches itself impossibly toward any stray shaft of sunlight. And
while enjoying your golden warmth is hardly rocket science, we may have
gotten a bit rusty while holed up in our igloo-like existence this long

So forgive us, dear Summer, if in anticipation of your
arrival we take a few moments to consider some of the best ways to enjoy
your splendid offerings.

Defying the Law Bike Club (Ferndale)

Marlon Brando in The Wild One got sick of motorcycles, got a
bike and developed a taste for garage sales and microbrews, he would so
be in this club. It’s a cool mix of professionals, students, blue
collar, and artsy types who meet up in Ferndale every Saturday to bike
around and see what they can find going on or going down, whatever the
case may be.

Worried you’re not exactly in shape for a bike
club? No worries. “If anyone wants to ride, they just have to show up,”
says Mike Kawamoto of Berkley, who has been a member of the group for
three years. “It’s usually a pretty casual-paced ride.”

By day,
Kawamoto is a mild-mannered engineer, by noon on Saturdays, he’s “Mike
Club,” the baddest club secretary there is. Or something like that.
Kawamoto says the Club will typically stop at local garage sales, shops,
or anything interesting along their bike routes. The Club was started
four years ago by local friends Carey Gustafson and Eugene Strobe, who
wanted to create something like a motorcycle club, but without the
motorcycles and studded leather. The idea is to have fun, meet new
people, explore the area, get a little exercise, and maybe fit in a bike
ride or two somewhere in between.

Kawamoto says bike riding in groups just makes good safety
sense, since it makes car and truck drivers more aware of your
presence. Recently, the Club has been trying to get more structured, and
is planning more elaborate rides as the summer goes on. For now, you
can join in every Saturday at noon. Meet with other riders at the Mobile
station at Nine Mile and Woodward. For more information, visit the
website here. They
also have a page on Facebook with information on “special event” rides
and a list of the Club’s officers.

(Bloomfield Hills)

You have to have a garden walk in
the summer. And you can’t do much better than the 40 acres outside the
majestic Cranbrook mansion in Bloomfield Hills. A self-guided tour will
take you through formal gardens, as well as gardens centered around
bogs, herbs, wildflowers, and Oriental themes – all punctuated by
sculptures, streams and paths. The gardens are open to the public Monday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
through Labor Day. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $15
for families. Season passes are available for $25 for individuals, and
$45 for families. For more information call (248) 645-3147.

The Detroit Zoo (Royal Oak)

lemurs! Sleeping tigers! Those gorillas that moon your children!
Seriously, did you really think we could exclude the Zoo from this list?
There’s a reason voters in three counties approved a millage to support
it. The Zoo is a gem. You can feed giraffes or watch polar bears swim
over your head. The Zoo is open seven days a week, rain or shine, from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. (Wednesdays in July and August it’s open until 8 p.m.).
Call (248) 541-5717.


strawberries at Middleton Berry Farm in
Ortonville are typically ready for picking in mid-June. The farm also
offers tomatoes and raspberries to pick later in the summer. The farm is
located at 4888 Oakwood Rd – five miles east of Ortonville, MI, between
M-15 and M-24. For information, call (248) 628-1819.


It’s not summer until an elephant ear’s been eaten
or beer’s been consumed out of a plastic pint cup. Yes, it’s time for
outdoor gatherings. Here are a few favorites in the area:

July 15-18
Quake on the Lake (Waterford): The “Quake” has become a “must attend” event for North American Inboard Hydroplane owners and drivers; and since its inception, nearly 350,000 people have witnessed world-record racing performances from the top teams in the business. 
August 21 – Woodward Dream Cruise: Enough said.
August 28-29Great Lakes Bat Festival (Bloomfield Hills): Yep. Exactly what it sounds like.
Bat experts, demonstrations, kid’s activities, live music, family
barbecue (!), and bat science evening.
Sept. 3-6Arts, Beats and Eats (Royal Oak): Summer Festival Celebrating Art, Music, Cuisine and Humanity will offer more than 200 performances on ten stages, a highly ranked Juried Fine Arts Show, and local restaurants with some of the finest cuisine in metro Detroit.
Sept. 17-19DIY Street Fair (Ferndale): A
three-day extravaganza of handmade talent, crafts and general
eco-friendly vibes.

Pennefather is a Royal Oak-based freelance writer. Her previous feature
was “Welcome
to the Velodrome”

All Photographs © Marvin
Shaouni Photography

Contact Marvin here

This story originally ran as a longer story in Metromode.com.