Tips for visiting Birmingham:
- For breakfast options while visiting Birmingham, try Toast for a dinner type experience. La Strada for pastries, coffee and light breakfast. For a more refined decor and menu (and a delicious coffee), try Commonwealth. They also serve lunch. Try Beyond Juice for healthy lunch options and fresh juices. As for dinner, Bella Piatti is a must!
- More good coffee spots include Birmingham roast and Svenska coffee.
- Walking around Birmingham is very enjoyable and easy. You will find a lot of cute shops and restaurants.
- Shain Park is a nice little park if you feel like reading a book or just being outside. If you want more of an adventure, explore Lower Baldwin and Linden Park.
- Townsend Hotel is a wonderful place to stay. As you walk into the lobby, you can feel the warmth and coziness of the place. The Afternoon Tea lounge is lit by a fireplace, comfy couches, fresh flowers and a huge chandelier. The rooms are as equally plush with the marble-like bathroom and the high bed.
- If you’re visiting this area during apple season, I suggest visiting a cider mill. Expect crowds!!
- Franklin cider mill– outdoor music and market. Cash only. Line up for some cider and donuts!
- Yates Cider Mill– outdoor market including fudge, apple tent, a mini zoo, etc. Line up for cider, apple tart, donuts and many more goodies located in the mill.
- Blake farms Apple orchard was also recommended by a friend. You can pick apples and they have a winery/hard cider house.
- If you want to explore a beautiful kept outdoor space, visit Cranbrook House and gardens. The admission is free and you can walk (or run) around the property.
- I’d like to come back here and explore the Cranbrook Art Museum. It looked like there was a cute restaurant on site too.
- Stoney Creek has a loop around the lake and would definitely want to check this place out next time!
Impressions of Birmingham:
As I typed Birmingham, Michigan in Google, I found charming pictures of the town, restaurants and shop. It looked like a cute town to explore and I was secretly excited to spend a whole day there even though the weather forecast indicated fog. We landed late and checked into the hotel. Everything about the Townsend Hotel makes you want to never leave. The older but very clean decor, the massive chairs, the wonderful rooms, etc.! I slept so well and woke up very refreshed. I pulled the curtains open and the sun was shining. I got dressed and headed out the door! I had googled restaurants in the area that I wanted to try so I headed towards Toast. I sat at the table in the window and ordered the French Toast topped with yogurt, granola, fruit, and honey… and I ate all of it! After the calorie overdose, I walked around town. The downtown area is very small, so after an hour and a half I had gone down most of the streets and wandered into a few shops. I was feeling a bit tired and the sky was starting to get gray. I ventured into Commonwealth and settled down with a cappuccino and my computer. My only complaint about this place is it gets very loud around lunchtime when the crowds come in!
I walked back to my hotel room and hung out there for a little while. It was so nice out that I decided to put my running shoes on and go for a little run. Everyone assured me it was a very safe town. With the help of Google, I spotted a park not too far from the hotel. This park, Lower Baldwin Park, was around a small lake called Quarton Lake. It was very pleasant to run here as the path was smooth and bouncy for my feet and the view was beautiful with the birds on the water, the people walking their dogs and the huge houses along the park. After exploring this area, I decided to venture down a little bridge, which brought me on a peat moss trail along a river into Linden Park. I was immersed in mother nature, but houses weren’t too far. It was another beautiful trail that led me to the golf course. All in all, I ran 10 km because I was so inspired and stimulated by my environment!
The boss invited us for dinner at Bella Piatti, an Italian restaurant located right across the street from the hotel. We devoured an incredible meal and had the chance to meet and dine with the owner, Nino and his wife! I strongly recommend stopping here for dinner and ordering some of the following dishes: Penne with Italian Sausage Cream Sauce (it has truffles in it!), Calamari in Zimino, Tagliatelle Bolognese, Risotto d’Asparagi, Pollo al Limone, Involtini di Melanzane, Insalata di Arance and Carpaccio di Polipo “Dama Bianca”. I couldn’t get enough of this last dish, the octopus carpaccio. As a main course, I was recommended the ‘special steak’ that is not on the menu. It was a huge piece of steak seasoned and grilled perfectly! We topped off this delicious meal with some Italian wine and desserts.
The next morning I walked to La Strada to grab a cappuccino and some pastries (the croissant& Nutella was divine). I sat down in the park next to the hotel and enjoyed the peacefulness of this town and the sun that was warming me up. I decided I still had time for a run around Quarton Lake before we had to leave so I got ready and ran out the door. This run was more difficult because of all the food I had the night before and the soreness in my legs from the run but it was still very enjoyable.
My second visit to Birmingham was also quite enjoyable. I explored the outskirts a little bit more and it was apple season, one of my favorite times of the year, so I indulged in some sweetness. I did also enjoy another refreshing run around the town parks and a fabulous meal at Bella Piatti.