I think that as I get older, I have become a tourist. Years ago I never really did much sightseeing and that is starting to change. I live not far from one of the finest collections of historical buildings in the country, namely Greenfield Village; of course as a kid I used to ride my bike with friends and we would spend the day there, but it was more a museum. We just took a day trip to Marshall, Michigan which at one time was in contention to being the capital of this state, but that did not occur. Marshall is what one would call a quaint city and they have capitalized on that trait. The National Park Service calls Marshall “the best virtual textbook of 19th Century American architecture in the country.” There are over 800 structures in the National Historic Landmark district. One of the ways Marshall has capitalized on this, is by having different color dots painted on the sidewalk to allow people to have self-guided walking tours and there are maps at different points that show the routes and the special key points of interest. There is the Historic Homes Walk, the Downtown Walk, the Historic Capitol Hill Walk, the River Walk and the Oakridge Cemetery Walk. Then there are also five Museums that one can tour along the walks. We did the Historic Homes Walk and the Downtown Walk and that was about four and a half miles of walking.
We also did one of the museums, which is the famous Honolulu House. The house was built as a private residence for Judge Abner Pratt who came to Marshall in 1839 and became a successful attorney and ended up serving as chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and then he was appointed as U.S. consul to the Sandwich Islands in 1857, which is now called Hawaii. He had to leave the islands because of his wife’s poor health and he returned to Marshall and built his new home that reflected all that he came to enjoy about his life on the islands. This home has to be seen to truly appreciate his vision and the splendor. The house has had a few owners and some of the wall paintings have been changed, but they are magnificent, at first I thought it was wallpaper, but the walls and ceilings are hand-painted and they not only have texture in the paints, but they have a three-dimensional quality. The guided tour we had lasted about an hour and our guide was just perfect with all of his knowledge of the house and of the town and of its history.
The most famous restaurant is the over hundred-year-old establishment of Win Schuler that is in its fourth generation of a family owned business. My Bride has eaten there long before I came into the picture and she was told about a new restaurant that we had to try. We went to Zarzuela, a tapas-style restaurant and though it was small, they offered plenty of choices to select, and we were stuffed, even with sharing these small plates of food. The food comes out rather helter-skelter at these types of restaurants, so one just goes with the flow. In no particular order we had Chorizo stuffed Mushrooms and they were a big hit. My Bride went crazy for the dates stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon and fried, she was concerned that it might have been greasy, but she was assured that it was not, and it wasn’t. We shared the Grande Mixta salad which was fresh greens, hearts of palm, asparagus, beets and a creamy garlic and cilantro dressing, we were a bit displeased that the dressing was lacking in more flavor, but the salad was enjoyable on its own merits. We also had Lobster Macaroni and Cheese and while it was good and filling it could have used a bit more zing. As for the wines my Bride had Segura Viudas Cava Brut NV. Cava is becoming a powerhouse wine in recognition for Spain, and this wine from Penedes in the Catalonia region is a great choice. When France started flexing their muscles about protecting their famed Champagne, the Spaniards created a new name for their wines and called it Cava, because the wine is stored in caves while the wine is fermenting and this wine is made with the designation “Metodo Tradicional” or better known as the Traditional Method. The wine is a blend of Macebeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes and we have had that wine several times before. I had a glass of Echeverria Reserva Unwooded Chardonnay 2015, which actually had five percent Viognier blended in. This Chilean wine is from the Curico Valley and the grounds there are so respected that there are more grape varieties grown there, then anywhere else in Chile. This wine spent twenty-five days fermenting in Stainless Steel, and then an addition six weeks aging also in Stainless Steel, hence the unique term “Unwooded.” My Bride enjoyed my wine even more than her choice. I think that another trip to Marshall may be in store for us, maybe next year for some more walking, and to try Win Schuler.