30 May 2011

A day at the Henry Ford

Sunrise over the Maumee River

A distinct advantage to being in a hotel -- on the 8th floor with an easterly view -- and to being up early for the re-packing, check-out routine is the opportunity to see a sunrise.  We were rewarded brilliantly this morning with this glowing scene of the sun through low clouds and the cable array of the Veterans' Glass City Skyway. 

After breakfast I had a few minutes to explore the Promenade Park which runs along the Maumee River and all but surrounds the hotel.  It seemed a shame to miss it, just out the door of the hotel as it was, no matter how short our stay.

Our hotel reflected in the side of the Fifth Third Center at One SeaGate

Propylaea by Dimitri Hadzi
This granite sculpture/fountain stands in Maritime Plaza's reflecting pool between our hotel the Fifth Third Center.  Its name, Prophylea, is the Greek word for "gateway."  In its position it marks the entrance to SeaGate and Toledo, the city having been the gateway to exploration, invention, transportation and industry which helped forge the nation.  It was good to recapture a hint of our trip's theme just under our window! 

View downstream from the hotel with the Promenade Park waterfront and
the Anthony Wayne Bridge (aka the "High-Level Bridge") in the background

View upstream from the hotel
The bridges in order are:
Cherry Street Bridge, Craig Memorial Bridge (both Bascule deck drawbridges),
the new cable-stayed Veterans' Glass City Skyway.

It was a short ride from Toledo to The Henry Ford Museum (referred to as The Henry Ford these days) and Greenfield Village -- about 50 miles.  We arrived very early and were free to explore for the day.  Here again, I was transported back to childhood and wonderful family activities, having visited this Dearborn attraction with my immediate family and with aunts, uncles and cousins in the 1960s.

Even though we would have enjoyed wandering the village, it turned out to be the warmest day of our trip -- very hot even to us southerners.  That coupled with the fact that it was Memorial Day and the place was over run, the Civil War was being reenacted, complete with scruffy, wool-clad soldiers -- Rebel and Union -- in the mix between battles.  And, believe it or not, campfires burned cheerfully at every encampment.  It looked hot in addition to being hot.  We made for the shade of the museum -- spacious, cool, interesting and not nearly as popular as the village.

Tail light detail of Regan's
1982 Lincoln
Transportation, of course, is pretty much the name of the game at The Henry Ford.  The exhibit of presidential limousines was front and center.  The 1982 Lincoln is the last of the national cars that will be preserved.  Later cars have been and will be destroyed at the end of their service to keep their construction and component information secure.  The line of cars was a great spot for photographing specific characteristics of each vehicle.

Hood ornament , 1950 Lincoln, the Eisenhower "Bubbletop"

Door handle detail, "Bubbletop"
Looks like an intense pair of eyes to me ...

Having been introduced to DeWitt Clinton's strategy for getting the Erie Canal built, it was fun to see the reproduction of the 1831 train bearing his name.  Essentially, it's a stagecoach on rails.

The 1939 Douglas DC-3 

Our accommodation for the night is at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, a huge hotel overlooking Ford's world headquarters, the distant Detroit skyline visible from our room.  Dinner at the hotel, with no food service except in the bar, was a long and tedious affair.  Seems the manager had closed all the restaurants for Memorial Day even though there was a fair number of guests and our group had been issued dinner vouchers.

The situation reminded me of a sign someone put up on the Grande Mariner's bulletin board after the announcement was made that we'd not finish the waterways excursion on the ship.   It's true, I know, but I do sigh anyway.

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