Toledo, Detroit, & Maumee: Great Company, Zoos, & Art!

     We had planned this week's post to be a flashback about an Infant Session, but we've decided to save that for another time for various reasons. This week we wanted to share our recent spontaneous (days ago) trip to Ohio and Michigan just a couple hours away!

     One of Jenny's friends from college is an amazing fine artist in Pennsylvania who shows at galleries in NYC ( and had made a general statement months ago that if anyone could make it to her hometown of Toledo to see the first museum survey of Kehinde Wiley's 15 year fine art career they SHOULD! Well, Jenny noticed that upcoming on her calendar said "Kehinde Wiley show closing at Toledo Museum of Art" so we decided we were going to head to Toledo and Detroit for the weekend and started searching for AirBnBs.

     Since Jenny's friends live in Maumee- a city in Ohio about 10 minutes from Toledo- she reached out to them to let them know that we were planning on heading in to Toledo on Friday or Saturday and wanted to catch dinner with them if possible. We'd previously visited them one year ago exactly for their housewarming party (from their move back from Colorado), to photograph Caitlin's dad's company for him, and to re-visit their pets, so we were familiar with the area. Friends from living in Columbus, Ohio dating back probably 8 or 9 years ago, these two allowed Jenny to stay with them in their new place in Colorado (Colorado Springs) for a night as she drove across the country to California for her MFA in Fine Art Photography back in 2012. Shortly after (3 months later) Jenny flew back for their Maumee, Ohio wedding at the end of 2012 and then in 2015 they came out to California to visit twice while they were in for work and a trip. Jenny was actually looking at the AirBnB that she stayed at back in late 2012 for their wedding in Toledo when they told us they wouldn't be in town Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, but that we could stay at their place and feed the cats (including their new kitty Sabrina) and probably hang out with them on Sunday!

     Everything worked out amazingly well. We arrived in Maumee Friday evening after having booked an art class at the Toledo Museum of Art and brought our dog along. We helped our dog meet the 2 cats (which went better with one than the other), settled in, and set her up with her dog crate. We then headed to the museum to check out the Kehinde Wiley exhibition then created our own glass donut art! The exhibition was mind-blowing, but we only had about an hour and a half to check out the work before sculpting our first glass art, so we decided we'd come back Saturday morning right when it opened to view more of the art as well as the rest of the museum. 

     The glass sculpting was harder than it looked. We'd both seen glass sculpters and blowers work throughout the years at art festivals from Boston to California, but never had we tried to make anything at this scale and it was addicting. We were very happy with our end products, but definitely humbled. After leaving the museum after 9 p.m. (they're opened late on Thursdays & Fridays) we headed off to grab the most amazing dolmades, shawarmas, & falafel at Shawarmaholic before joining all of the animals again in Maumee. 

     Saturday we woke up, had some leftovers for breakfast, re-found the cats, fed the animals, hung out a bit, and then headed back to the museum to check out more art. We stayed and looked around for about two and a half hours before heading out to the Detroit Zoo just about an hour away. Neither of us have really spent time in Detroit (Jenny just passing through while visiting Canada back in 2012), so we used our Indiana annual zoo passes to get 50% Off tickets and check out our third zoo in the past year. Last year when we'd visited Dan & Caitlin in their new place we all went to the Toledo Zoo in Ohio which consistently ranks in the top 3 zoos in the nation. Oddly enough, Ohio holds 3 of the top 6 zoos in the nation: the Columbus Zoo (Jack Hanna's home base), the Cincinnati Zoo (Jenny's sister worked there for an internship), and the Toledo Zoo! The Detroit Zoo was a great time and we welcomed the unexpected quick drizzle of rain.

     After the museum and zoo we headed to The Heidelberg Project. The Heidelberg Project is a community art project created by Detroit artist Tyree Guyton in 1986.  It consists of a city block of creatively painted houses surrounded by many "pieces of art".  The Project works as a means of revitalizing an area of urban Detroit that was once dejected and left in great disrepair. In recent years, many of the iconic houses featured in the project have been victims of arson attacks.  Even the burnt remains of these houses have been reclaimed by the artist and have been admonished by many donations of "building materials". We spent a few minutes walking amongst the houses to get a feel for what the project was all about.

     While exploring around there was a group of teenage girls running around and snapchatting/ instagramming themselves posed upon many pieces of art together which really reminded us of the pop culture view of this place.

      After that we headed to the suburbs of Detroit to grocery shop at Trader Joe's. Both of us lived by Trader Joe's for at least 6 years, so we were a bit desperate for our favorite things (mushroom tarte, savory popcorn with spices, amazing spinach carrot polenta, the best honey greek yogurt in existence, juicy dehydrated mango (better than ANY other brand), chocolate covered honeycomb, etc). We genuinely needed to go grocery shopping anyway, but we just grabbed a few bags worth of our absolute favorites. Afterward we headed back to downtown Detroit and had the best coney dogs (which Detroit is known for) at Layayette Coney Dogs (established in 1914). It was amazing, family owned, and the workers cussed at/ joked with each other which fondly reminded us of parts of Chicago. Afterward we drove to the Ambassador Bridge and stared longingly at Canada since we didn't have our passports (Jason's never had one and Jenny's has expired). It was Jason's first view of Canada and we can't wait to go back and feast on the best poutine ever. Jenny knows and went to a great place literally just over the bridge that we plan on going there and then exploring Canada on our next trip! 

      After we returned to Maumee we fed the animals, played with them, and hung out with them as we watched SNL before heading to bed. The next morning we made some of our groceries for breakfast, fed the animals, and welcomed Dan, Caitlin, & pup Baby back to their house. We had an awesome adventure day jeepin' with the roof and doors off to the dog park with our dogs, headed to the infamous Village Idiot for beer & pizza, hung out in their yard talking about gardening, and walked to their local ice cream shop! It was by far the best day and our dog was wiped out when we got home (and slept most of the following day until meeting her new 9 year old brother: Marco the rabbit). 

     Thank you SO much Dan & Caitlin for hosting us and showing us an amazing time with you and your pets! AND thank you to Jenny's parents for saving Jill's rabbit of 7+ years and passing him on to us! He's doing very well and the animals are finally not terrified of him <3