Tag Archive | Marshall Michigan

MI Road Trip: Marshall, Michigan

After we left Dark Horse Brewery, we spent a little while wandering along the main street of Marshall, with its quaint historic downtown, poking into antique stores and shops along the way.  On our way into town, we had driven by some of the large, historic homes that line the older streets.  It is evident that Marshall had some big money at the turn of the last century.  Marshall has over 850 historic buildings that are included in its National Historic Landmark District; it is one of the nation’s largest districts.  So here’s a bit of history…

In a twist of irony, the residents of Marshall were so convinced that it would win its bid for Michigan state capitol that they built a Governor’s Mansion! In the end, it lost by one vote to the current capitol of Lansing. Marshall was known for its patent medicines industry, and was also a hotbed for civil protest and participation in the Underground Railroad.

Do you think there might have been a dentist’s office here at some point?

Do you think there might have been a dentist’s office here at some point?

Escaped slave Adam Crosswhite settled in Marshall in 1843 with his wife and children; he was discovered to be living there in 1847 by his former master. When a posse of slave catchers arrived at the Crosswhite home to take the family back to Kentucky, residents of Marshall surrounded the house and prevented the posse from taking the Crosswhites.

After a tense standoff, deputies arrested the slave catchers; by the time they posted bail, the Crosswhites had fled to Canada. The former master sued the residents of Marshall, and eventually won a judgment that included payment for the value of the family and court costs. In a sad twist of events, the events in Marshall were a major catalyst for the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which made it extremely risky to help fugitive slaves.

Storefronts in Marshall, Michigan

Storefronts in Marshall, Michigan

The first railroad labor union was formed in Marshall; it eventually became known as the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers – it was founded in 1863. All that in the history of one small town!

The Stuart Building – The Stuarts have operated businesses in this building for over 160 years!

The Stuart Building – The Stuarts have operated businesses in this building for over 160 years!

Marshall is also active in community events, with an organized historic home tour of several homes (love those!), Bluesfest, classic car show, Christmas Parade, and an Annual Crawfish Boil (at the Dark Horse Brewery!). It would be nice to spend a bit more time there someday. However, our time there on this trip drew to a close.  It was freezing cold that day, even in early October, so we didn’t linger on the streets too long.  Not to mention, Jon and I had a date to get to at my Grandmother’s house!

Have you been to Marshall, Michigan?

MI Road Trip: Starting Michigan with a Beer!

In October, Jon and I took a week off of work and spent 8 full days in Michigan. The trip was dual purpose; a family visit primarily, but we were also able to take a couple of days touring part of the northern area of Michigan’s mitten – the most northern part that isn’t the Upper Peninsula.

Jon and I arrived in Michigan on a red eye flight on Saturday morning. We were both a bit bleary eyed when we wandered into the car rental place that morning, and more than a little confused when the agent told us that he didn’t see our reservation. It took me a minute, but then I realized my mistake (and accidentally let a curse word pop out as I was marveling at my stupidity). We had booked our flight to depart from Seattle on October 3rd, so I booked the rental car for an October 3rd pickup. What I hadn’t paid attention to was the fact that since it was a red eye, we wouldn’t arrive until October 4th. Ooops!

Fortunately, there were still cars available, and he didn’t even charge us for the extra day.   Alamo rocks! We just had to pick a car. Jon was kind of interested in trying a Prius, but that gave me flashbacks to all my government travel, so thankfully I was able to talk him out of it (I think the backup beeper helped him realize how annoying Prius’ are).

Soon we were on our way to a Cracker Barrel breakfast to load up on coffee. After breakfast though, even the coffee couldn’t keep us awake and we ended up settling down for an hour long nap in the car (not while driving). This red eye was much more difficult than the one we took in 2012 – I guess we are getting older!

Jon had big dreams of stopping in Ann Arbor to check out the city, and to stop at a record store, but in the end neither of us had the energy for it.

So instead, after driving about 90 minutes, a tired, un-showered and slightly groggy couple stumbled into the Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, Michigan (population about 7,000) about 2:30, hoping to get a bite to eat and a brew. The joint was jumping! We were able to snag the last open table – a table for 6 near the door. We ordered our beers and an order of nachos. My beer, the Raspberry Ale, didn’t exactly hit the spot, which was kind of surprising since that is normally exactly the type of beer I would like.  It just didn’t come together on the palate. Jon’s beers were amazing. He had two while we were there; a Double Crooked Tree IPA and then the 4 Elf Winter Warmer.

I especially liked the Winter Warmer, with a great balance of spice on a dark winter ale. YUM! And the nachos, although simple, were sinfully good. Chunks of chicken, tomatoes, olives, shredded lettuce and pepperoncinis, smothered with that fake Velveeta cheese on tortilla chips. Jon prefers a bit more upscale nachos, but I dug right in and was happy with our choice.

Terrible picture, great nachos!

Terrible picture, great nachos!

If you are a regular, you can get into their mug club, with handmade ceramic mugs hung all over the ceiling for loyal customers.  I loved the look!

Mugs hang from every inch of ceiling space

Mugs hang from every inch of ceiling space

After we had been at Dark Horse a little while, we invited a couple who was waiting for a table to sit down and join us. It turned out that they were from Grand Rapids, down for an afternoon beer tour of Dark Horse. They had rave reviews about the tour, offered at noon on Saturdays – next time Jon and I are in Michigan, hopefully we will be able to check it out. They explained to us that Dark Horse is also featured on a reality show on the History Channel (I’m not sure what is historical about a relatively new brewpub but…) about life in a brewpub. We hadn’t heard of it, but my mom had (she knows all sorts of random trivia). We still haven’t seen the show.

Finally we pulled ourselves away, bought some bottled beer to go, and took our leave of Dark Horse. We will certainly be back again.  Please promise me that if you visit, you will check out the crazy toilet in the ladies’ room!  That thing had a panel on the side with all sorts of buttons!  I’m really not sure what it did!

I have no idea what “features” this toilet offers

I have no idea what “features” this toilet offers

Have you had Dark Horse beer?  Have you seen the show?