… on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
It was a picture-perfect morning on Saturday, September 11, 2021, mirroring the early a.m. weather on that fateful day exactly 20 years before.
I decided to visit Ford Field Park and head to the Rouge River Gateway Trail in Dearborn, Michigan after a quick, one-mile walk at Council Point Park to feed my furry and feathered friends. I aimed to clear my head of cobwebs and also to bulk up my walking miles.
The Dearborn venue was a good choice as it was Day #1 of the “Old Car Festival” at Greenfield Village (rebranded “The Henry Ford” in 2003 – most people still call it “Greenfield Village”), so I was sure to spot a Tin Lizzy or two rolling along Michigan Avenue enroute to this Festival, as the event is just a stone’s throw away from the Gateway Trail. One day I hope to visit this annual fun and historical event, where owners of hundreds of vintage vehicles, circa 1890s through 1932, travel across the country to congregate. The atmosphere is similarly vintage with period costumes and even food and games reminiscent of a bygone era. This event is really a big deal in Dearborn, so it seemed appropriate to top off my journey with a visit to the estate where Henry Ford and his wife Clara lived for over thirty years.
I visited the Ford Manor on three occasions in 2021, so over the Winter I’m going to spin those photos into a few posts … there is lots to see, especially if you love old architecture, a bounty of flowers and a picturesque view of the Rouge River. I went to view the blooming lilacs in the Spring, the rose garden at its peak mid-Summer and on this particular day, I photographed multiple flower gardens and the buildings. I visited once in 2019 and had a treasure trove of photos, but the mansion and various buildings on the property have been undergoing renovation since 2014; there was outside scaffolding present in many of the photos, so I have better photos with no obstructions now, so stay tuned.
A journey through Downtown Dearborn and into the woods.
I parked the car at Ford Field Park. There was a nip to the morning air, a subtle reminder that Fall was not far off, despite a prediction for temps to climb to near 90F (32C) over the next few days. Unfortunately I overdressed and within fifteen minutes my hoodie was looped around my waist.
On my 10-mile road trip here, I had been listening to a recap of the events that transpired 20 years before, on September 11, 2001. The sky was similarly bright blue, the sun was shining, just like that morning, a late Summer day that began so beautifully and seemingly normal, yet ended so tragically.
After a quick stop at the wooden covered bridge to peer at the roiling Rouge River from either side ….
… I then walked up Brady Street, and, by 8:46 a.m. – the time of the first strike into the World Trade Center, I passed this house with a huge American flag. I stopped to take a photo from the right side.
I took another photo from the left side as there was quite a breeze. The homeowners’ entire front lawn consisted of wildflowers and several tall sunflowers seemed to secure the flag as the breeze stirred it gently.
Once out of the ‘hood, I headed along the usual route, crossing the overlook where the now-closed Andiamo restaurant, shuttered as a result of the pandemic, juts out. The venue at this primo location will now re-open in May 2022 as “Boardwalk Eateries” a 24-hour establishment which will feature many types of ethnic food in various stalls, a cigar bar, a speakeasy and conference rooms for meetings.
I was looking at the scenery when out of the corner of my eye, I saw an antique car rolling down Michigan Avenue; I fumbled getting the camera ready and managed to get this shot.
Too bad my view of the highway was gone now that I’d be entering the woods.
On the Trail in the shady woods, the mosquitoes were horrible! Thankfully I was wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, but the little buggers mercilessly honed in on my hands, neck and face – yikes! I returned home with a mild sunburn and mosquito bites galore.
As I walked along the Trail, dribs and drabs of color perked up the forest floor.
I stayed on course, eager to get out of the woods and far away from these annoying, biting creatures and in the distance I could see an opening. Yay! Meanwhile, I racked my brains trying to think if there was another route to take back to the car from the Estate, but couldn’t come up with a Plan B.
Suddenly, in the still morn I heard a noise, a birdcall I was unfamiliar with. I looked up, then against my better judgment, I traipsed off the Trail and headed through the brush to investigate (thus inviting a few more mosquitoes to feast on me in the process).
In the end it was worth the effort AND the mosquito bites. I’m no birder, but this was a first for me and it wasn’t even on my “Birdie Bucket List” so I eagerly took a ton of shots, lest this bird should fly away. So was that sound a mating call? Or was it shrieking in fear from the tall stranger who gawked at it, then lingered on, lurking in its personal zone? Who knows, but I spooked it and it flew across the narrow Rouge River to safer territory.
Dejected by the bird’s rebuff, I returned to the Gateway Trail and crossed the picturesque walkway; it is still the Rouge River here, just calmer and not churning.
Just moments later I heard another birdcall. Through the bushes I saw its mate, or maybe a pal, but likely it was the same bird as it glared at me intensely. Naturally, there were more photos. I’ll keep you guessing and the mystery bird will appear in this week’s Wordless Wednesday post.
I went to the Fairlane/Ford Estate and walked around the grounds. It was peaceful and I was the only one there.
Not quite the “Motor City” … but motoring along nevertheless.
I headed back to the car, once again meandering along Michigan Avenue, where most businesses were flying the flag at half-mast – this huge flag was flapping in the breeze.
All the while I was eyeballing that busy street for antique vehicles. Well I hit pay dirt as one zipped past me, then pulled into nearby Westborn Market’s parking lot. I crossed the street to get a shot of that vintage car, then the owners came out toting a few bags of ice. I said I was going to wait and take a few shots as they pulled away. They both smiled and gave me a toot on that rather tinny horn, which reminded me of my tricycle horn, a very long time ago.
While I was at the Market I got shots of the many mums they had in the parking lot, which I used for a Wordless Wednesday post back on September 29th.