Tuesday, February 4, 2014

With The iPhone, In The Conservatory..

The Belle Isle Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
Please respect that this photo is mine and don't use without permission.
 On Sunday, Billy and I took the short drive from our house to Belle Isle. Belle Isle is an island (lol) located in Detroit. It was created by the same person who created Central Park, Fredrick Law Olmstead. Interestingly, Belle Isle is bigger in size than Central Park. Back in the day, it had quite a reputation for crime, and the legends trickled down that to go to Belle Isle was to take your life into your own hands. Since those long ago days of the 1980s, Belle Isle is on the rise and changing its image.

We decided to take advantage of this urban park on Super Bowl Sunday. You can tell we are big football fans. The park was virtually deserted, which may have had something to do with the fact that the roads were pure ice on Sunday. I was only nervous when crossing the bridge to get onto the island; I had visions of plummeting over the side to land in the freezing cold Detroit River, and plunge to our deaths in the deep waters. Thankfully, Billy is a careful driver and we survived. We took a slow drive around, taking in the white magical landscape, and spotting all the birds. I saw a Great Blue Heron standing the water surrounded by ducks, looking for its lunch, and a Cooper's Hawk startle from the branches of a tall tree. There were a few photographers on hand, their long lenses pointed at these birds. 

Belle Isle has a couple of different attractions on the island, including a nature zoo, an aquarium, and Great Lakes museum.We decided that we would save most of them for future visits, and only check out the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, pictured above. (and below!)

The walk up was white and haunting and silent except for our boots crunching over the snow and ice. I felt like we were entering the lab of Dr. Frankenstein, or some other horror story  mad scientist. Billy remembered going there as a kid, once we got closer. It was my first time though, and I was excited. 

Upon entering we were greeted at the door, and then hit with a delicious wave of heat, and the scent of wet rich soil. I took deep breaths, it smelled so good, the scent of spring and green things growing. The warmth felt so good, and being surrounded by so much growing plant life left me feeling happy and dreaming of warmer weather and my garden. 

An orange tree!

Children's Temperance Fountain - if you look closely, you can see a little green plastic dinosaur.

A statue of Dionysus? 

The big show room

Orchids! Not something we usually see in the winter here.

This wall made me think of hobbits.

This room was closed off, which was a bummer. This was as far as we could go. It did make me want to have a room just like it in my future mansion! A room where I could go and read amongst the tropical flowers.  

A cute little rabbit hidden behind this poinsettia. 

Afterwards we continued our drive around the island, through a wooded area. The state has recently taken Belle Isle over, so I am sure there will be some more positive changes on the way, and the island's reputation will become a thing of the past. 

We had a great day at the conservatory! We are definitely going back in the summer as well; there is a lily pond there that was closed for the winter. The best part is that the admission is free! It gave me spring fever in a big way, but reminded me that winter can't last forever. If you are in the area and need a break from the cold and snow, pop in! If you go on a Saturday you can visit the aquarium right next door as well. 

**since my visit, a very small fee to access the island has been implemented. It is for the good the island, and is nominal. 


  1. What a wonderful photo at the top - I love the contrast too between the snow outside and the greenery inside.

  2. Looks like a good way to spend Super Bowl to me!

  3. It's beautiful! The building reminds me a little of the Crystal Palace in Madrid, but the Crystal Palace was empty and a little sad-looking. Here's a link to a Google image search if you're interested. The inside reminded me of the Biltmore Estate conservatory here in Asheville, NC. I don't know how much he had to do with the conservatory, but Fredrick Law Olmstead designed the Estate grounds. :-)

  4. Great shot of the conservatory! It kinda bums me out when I think of all the things we didn't do when we lived there...guess it'll be good reason to explore with the babes on visits :)


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