Cider, bumper cars and sugar in Detroit

It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksmas.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksmas.

It seemed like a simple idea: Have both Caitlyn and my families visit Indy sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year for a holiday extravaganza.

Well, as with most families, nothing is ever that simple. In the end, no one could (or wanted) to come to Indy, so we made the trek to the Detroit area last week with the stipulation that this would be our only trip this holiday season Because of that stipulation, we would be celebrating “Thanksmas” (or, the much less popular “Christgiving”), full of turkey, sides and presents.

Get in my belly!

Get in my belly!

The one thing I HAD to do — besides seeing family, of course — was to visit a real cider mill. None of this Indiana orchard crap. I wanted cider, a babbling creek and fresh, hot deep-fried doughnuts. Thankfully, the Franklin Cider Mill is open through Thanksgiving weekend every year, and it did not disappoint. Bailey even came along, which turned out to be a mistake given the muddy parking lot, but she seemed amped for the cider mill, too — can you blame her?

Doughnuts are a requirement for any quality cider mill experience.

Doughnuts are a requirement for any quality cider mill experience.

The crowds can be a little overwhelming on the weekend, which is why we visited during the day before Thanksgiving, when we pretty much were able to walk up to the counter and get what we wanted.

Hanging out at the Chocolate Bar Cafe during Snow Storm of the Century.

Hanging out at the Chocolate Bar Cafe during Snow Storm of the Century.

After some good grub and gift exchanges with both our families, I took Caitlyn to the east side of town to visit with some friends who were also in town for the holiday. Unbeknownst to me, a little light snow would turn into a disaster on the freeways and city streets, with cars flipping over, smashing into medians and bumping each other. All of I-696 was like one big skating rink. What should have taken 30-35 minutes of driving turned into more than an hour-and-a-half.

Eventually, we made it to Grosse Pointe Woods and a popular upscale Italian chain in the area, Andiamo. I recommend the gnocchi palmina, although you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything on the menu. Friday nights also have live music — the piano and holiday songs variety, not rock and roll — and the trattoria ambiance and friendship made the drive worth it.

Two blocks south is the Chocolate Bar Café, which is open late on Fridays and Saturdays. The café has everything from chocolate (duh), to ice cream, sundaes and cupcakes. We went for the hot fudge brownie sundae, which was delicious, while one of Caitlyn’s friends went for the salty caramel hot chocolate. It was perfect (just in case we hadn’t already slipped into a diabetic coma from the prior day’s feast).

While Caitlyn and I had a blast in MoTown, Here’s to hoping next time it will be a little warmer in Detroit!

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