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Solutions: Plenty of design ideas in Detroit trips

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

You don’t have to pack your bags to have an adventure. Because Metro Detroit and its surrounding areas have so much to offer, all it takes to experience a change of scenery is a day trip with family and friends.

Each destination has its own distinct flavor and a number of cities boast unique venues like popular restaurants, quaint shops and other area attractions.

Needless to say, there’s plenty of design inspiration to be discovered along the way.

Some of the places I’ve frequented recently include Berkley, Northville, Ann Arbor and Detroit. My friends and I often take our daughters along, which makes it fun to see their reactions to everything from an exceptional restaurant to the latest in home and garden decor.

One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how often you visit a particular city, there’s always something new to see or do.

In Berkley, I bought some unique hostess gifts and other fun finds.

During our trip to Northville, I found a small garden urn that I plan to use as a candy dish. A stop for lunch at the Garage Grill & Fuel Bar got my creative juices flowing from the cool environment with restaurant booths upholstered in old jeans.

Despite the fact that we didn’t hit Ann Arbor at the right time, we were able to do a little shopping and show our girls the quintessential college town. It was later in the day, when some stores were already closed and the best restaurants had exceedingly long wait times. This just gives us a good excuse to go back again in the near future.

A recent excursion to Eastern Market with some of my friends and our daughters was a ton of fun. Though I can’t imagine being able to handle the driving and parking myself, I feel fortunate to have friends who have what it takes to make their way around the crowds.

Though my daughter was more taken with the baked goods we bought than with the fruits and vegetables, she did appreciate the glorious flowers and plants. We even took home a succulent to see how long it can survive in our hands, which reminds me that we need to water it.

A bag of miniature wicker baskets we bought will be put to good use to hold candy and other little giveaways like gift cards.

While we can never control the temperature when we head out and about, it’s easy to get distracted by all the intriguing sights and sounds. Some of our excursions happened to coincide with extreme heat or cold, but we managed to make the best of the situation.

Though these day trips only last for a few hours, they feel like a mini vacation as you enter another world. So go out and explore all that the area has to offer. And don’t forget to bring something back for your home to remind you of your journey.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at