Just 30 minutes outside of Detroit, in the suburb of Bloomfield, there’s an escape from the city that’s affordable, great for couples, intriguing for history and architecture fans, and enchanting – for those just looking to get away.
Explore art and nature at the Cranbrook Institute, near Detroit. Nestled among green fields and lush gardens, the Cranbrook campus (39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills MI) used to be a run-down farm. Purchased by the Booth family in 1904 (George Booth was born in Toronto and owned an iron-working company when he married Ellen Scripps, daughter of the founder of The Detroit News), it now houses the Cranbrook House, a graduate Academy of Art, a contemporary Art Museum, Institute of Science, among other impressive institutions.
Here are four great reasons to visit Cranbrook:
- An escape form the city: the 319-acre campus includes playing fields, woods, rivers, lakes, and gardens. After purchasing the property, the Booth family built roads, graded hillsides, created lakes, and planting over the rolling, barren terrain. An afternoon hike can reveal sculptures, wildlife, beautiful gardens, and even an old Greek-style theatre.
- A romantic day trip: Cranbrook House’s grounds have the romantic appeal of a secret garden. The home is the oldest remaining manor in southeastern Michigan, and it is carefully maintained and decorated, but the best part is to get immersed in the scent of flowers extending through the lush and colorful area. Sculptures meet visitors around any given corner – and the sound of frolicking water emanates from the fountains. Cranbrook House itself is located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Check the House’s website for details on self-guided tours.
- History and architecture: The grounds showcase the work of renowned architects Eliel Saarinen, Albert Kahn, Steven Holl, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Rafael Moneo, and Peter Rose. In 1989, Cranbrook was designated a National Historic Landmark. Bonus if you are a ‘Downton Abbey’ fan: check out this article by CNN on grand US manors. There is also an outdoor Greek-style theatre in a secluded spot surrounded by trees.
- Art and science: The campus includes a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, and Institute of Science. On the ground are found works by sculptors Carl Milles, Marshall Fredericks and others. The Institute of Science holds a T. rex skeleton cast and a life-size mastodon, and a planetarium.
Photo Credit by Cranbrook
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