Be a tourist in your own hometown

Jackiesweb
By Jackie Lovejoy
President
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce

Quote of the month that has inspired me:
“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
— Robert Orben

Snow days, cold days, cold and flu days, they abound this time of year. Friends and coworkers as recently as this morning bemoaned being “stuck inside” and having cabin fever. This article I’m going to go out on a limb and promote being a tourist in your own home town this winter!

Even though my mom is 77 (and will be horrified when she reads that I’ve published her age), I distinctly remember learning early on to never say, “I’m bored!” within earshot of her. Shortly after proclaiming this, my wonderful mother would say two guaranteed statements. First, “If you are bored, I will find something for you to do” which usually entailed sweeping the driveway or shoveling snow. Her second statement expounded on that, telling us “Smart people are never bored. They find things to do, like volunteer, read a book, ride a bike, explore their backyard for artifacts. That is how they became smart!”

Needless to say, from an early age, I always had a book, project, idea notebook, sketch pad or camera with me. Anything to avoid sweeping the driveway!

In my role I have the opportunity to show off Dearborn to upcoming conventioneers and tourists. I did this again last Friday. Here are a few great ideas, civic, social, and otherwise to help you beat cabin fever.

Have you been to the Arab American National Museum lately? Chock full of history, celebrities and immigrant stories and art, it’s a great way to explore the world right on Michigan Avenue! Admission to the museum is a mere $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and students to the age of 12. They also have a great library and research room that is open to the public free of charge. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, check out www.arabamericanmuseum.org for all the info!

If you are civic minded and want to shape the agenda for upcoming political candidates, join us at 9 a.m. Feb. 6 for another popular forum, Community Conversations. The Center for Michigan, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-and-do tank, strives to be the state’s “Citizenship Company.”

They never endorse political parties or candidates for office. Instead, they seek to frame public issues with public input and outline for public leaders what the public wants. This open forum is one of the center’s leading “products.” Since 2007, more than 20,000 Michigan residents have participated in Community Conversations. Michigan’s elected leaders are listening. Thanks to Henry Ford Community College for hosting; RSVP at the chamber website, or call us at 313-584-6100 to save your spot for this free event.

The city of Dearborn has gems that all residents can take advantage of and utilize on boring winter days. Check out the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center! Besides a calendar chock full of affordable entertainment, the health club and public swim pool are very appealing on these cold winter days. Go to www.dearbornfordcenter.com for all the details or call 313-943-2350.

Another great resource you can explore is Hype Athletics! From organized sports to tutoring help, Hype has stepped up and into the lives of our youth and neighborhoods. Their website, www.hypeathletics.org, showcases their complete calendar and daily offerings. They are child-oriented and seek to be another resource for those of us stuck inside. Branch out of simple “snow shoveling” fitness, and visit their stellar facility on Warren Avenue near Ann Arbor Trail in Dearborn Heights.

Have you popped into our own Glass Academy? On Trowbridge west of Telegraph, just south of Michigan Avenue at Gulley, experience ovens and glass heated to 2,400 degrees! That will certainly keep you warm on these frigid days. You can register for a class or just shop their expansive space and enjoy the heat and glass blowing. Open Wednesday through Saturday, there are classes on glass bubble and icicle blowing, ornaments, coffee nights, and custom mug nights, besides a variety of one day classes. Go to www.glassacademy.com to register and find specific info, or call them at 313-561-4527. Support small businesses, shop local, it’s a great way to keep warm!

We have oodles of attractions in Dearborn, including local eateries by the dozens for any taste and budget. At the least, try some new carryout on these cold nights. Our own Fairlane Town Center and mall circle attract not only the University of Michigan-Dearborn students housed nearby but all our residents and area shoppers. Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is a world waiting for you to discover the events and collections that 1.8 million international visitors venture to Dearborn for each year. Featuring their own myriad activities too numerous to mention here, I would be remiss by not mentioning this local star in our backyard. My husband, Joe, and I are there through the year. Come, wander and shop history. Check out the things that bring the world to Dearborn, and be a tourist in your own home town this month!