Summer amusements for the urbanite

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Growing up in Southeast Michigan, I am accustomed to going Up North during the summer months. Landlocked seas of pavement give way to green fields, tall pines and beautiful bodies of water. I drop my bags off in the cabin and head out to the beach with a book and a raft, and I’m set for the week.

As I grow older and my immediate family grows, it has become harder to vacation as a family. The last time I went fishing with my dad and sisters was probably 10 years ago. But I don’t have to wait for the next chaotic vacation or drive hundreds of miles to spend some quality time fishing with family. Fish Headz Sport Fishing Charters and Mr. Muskie Charters of St. Clair Shores offer fishing charters on Lake St. Clair where bass, muskie, perch, sturgeon and walleye are abundant.

paddleThere are other watersport opportunities nearby, like taking standup paddleboard lessons with St. Clair Shores-based Great Lakes Surf Shop. Lessons are on Thursday evenings at Lake St. Clair Metropark. They make it easy for you, providing the board, equipment and experienced instructors.

You can also rent paddleboards, Jet Skis and kayaks at Simple Adventures. They have a location on 9 Mile Road but will deliver anywhere in Macomb County. Rentals include delivery and pickup, life jacket, paddle and safety kit. You can even book a kayak and be on the Clinton River in downtown Mount Clemens for the fireworks tomorrow night!

Detroit River Sports is another kayaking or paddleboard option. In addition to rentals, they offer kayak tours on the Eastside Canal, Detroit River and to Belle Isle. Being in the water with the Detroit skyline as a backdrop can be just as peaceful and inspiring as a view of the pines.

With so many options, and babysitters, close to home, there’s no reason not to get out on the water and enjoy nature in an urban setting.

DRS+kayaker+downtown

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Dig into music this summer

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Take a break from spring cleaning and yard work to indulge in your musical side. Explore your local music store, splurge on an instrument upgrade or invest in yourself by developing new talents through music lessons. To give you an idea of what’s out there, here is a brief look at three independently-owned music stores.

ArdisOwned by Mark Kunnert, Ardis Music in Mount Clemens has been open since 1972. Located in the county seat, a notable portion of their customers include judges, attorneys and sheriff officers. Kunnert says when kids take music lessons at his shop, often parents do too as a way to become involved. When asked what instrument Kunnert recommends for a beginner, he said to go with the child’s choice, or you’ll never win.

“Make them stick to it,” said Kunnert. “Practice is the key.”

A full-line music store, some of the most popular items at Ardis Music are guitars, books and reeds, but they also carry unique items such as bagpipes and gongs. They also pride themselves on providing personalized service.

Huber BreeseLast month, Huber Breese Music on Groesbeck in Fraser celebrated 44 years in business. Some of their most popular products include guitars, drums, keyboards and amplifiers. Their guitars start at $99 and top out at $50,000 – a limited edition Epiphone Texan signed by Paul McCartney. In addition to unique and collectible guitars, Huber Breese Music also carries all the major brands such as Fender, Gibson, Martin and Taylor. When asked what makes his store unique, owner Paul Huber says longevity.

“We offer sales, service and lessons. Many employees have been here for 40 years and are extremely knowledgeable.”

And Huber’s favorite part of owning a music store? Teaching people to play. Originally started as a teaching studio, Huber Breese Music has helped thousands of students learn to play over the years.

Joe's Music BJoe Pistorio owns Joe’s Music which has been on Gratiot in Eastpointe since 1980. While they sell everything from keyboards to drums and horns, their specialty lies in carrying guitar brands you can’t find everywhere else, such as Reverend, Heritage and CMG. Joe’s Music also offers a variety of music lessons and has a large repair shop.

“We can fix pretty much anything and can answer any question as well,” said Pistorio, crediting his experienced staff who have been with him for many years. “I’m fortunate to get to do this every day and make a living talking to people who play instruments and showing them how to be better players. It’s very rewarding.”

There are many great music stores located throughout metro Detroit, packed with shiny new instruments, durable gear for rent and passionate staff who want to guide you to achieve your musical ambitions. And each store owner I talked with said the same thing – they offer music lessons to a wide spectrum of students. It’s never too early or too late to learn!

Ardis Music
49 North Walnut St., Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 468-0282
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Huber Breese Music
33540 Groesbeck Hwy., Fraser, MI 48026
(586) 294-3950
Monday – Friday noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Joe’s Music
24525 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe, MI 48021
(586) 777-2333
Monday – Tuesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Sunday

A version of this article was posted on The Make Macomb Your Home Blog.