Weekend update – Christmas kick-off…

November 30, 2013

Today is the Christmas Parade in Downtown Milford. The parade is organized by the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce (HVCC) and is one of the “Big 3” parades in Milford during the year. The other two are the Memorial Day Parade and the 4th Of July Parade.

I’ll be in the parade today as an honoree, having been named the HVCC Ambassador of the Year. That means riding in the back of a convertible, which will be a very chilly, albeit, at a parade-time temperature of about 30 degrees, still a heartwarming experience. The parade steps off at 10 am and winds through the downtown. Afterwards stick around in Milford and shop the local shops on Small Business Saturday. They have some great sales going on today.

santaSanta will arrive in Milford at the Christmas Parade to officially kick off the Christmas season (notwithstanding the fact that many stores had Christmas stuff on display before Halloween). Santa will be a busy guy with many personal appearances in the Milford area.

On Dec 5th the downtown merchants will host an open house with visits to Santa for the kids, strolling music and refreshments.  Santa will also be holding forth on Dec 7 and 15 at the Pettibone Creek Powerhouse on West Canal Street (north end of Central Park) for Pet Pictures with Santa. A donation of pet food to Community Sharing is all that’s required to get your pet’s picture taken with Santa either day. You’ll get the picture on thesanta-paws spot. Click here to view the poster for this event. Santa will also host Snacks with Santa out at Kensington Metropark at the Farm Center at 10 AM, noon and 2 PM on Dec 7 & 8. Tickets for that event are $10. Preregistration Required Call 810-227-8910 to order your tickets.

Speaking of pet pictures, the 2014 Pet Calendar, also sponsored by the Community Sharing Pet Pantry makes a great Christmas gift that will bring a smile to the face throughout the year. The calendar is only $10 and you can buy the calendar at several locations in Milford. Click here for the flyer with locations.

The gallery opening of the fourth annual Festival of Trees Holiday Artist Market, presented by HVCA’s The Art Shop, opens with a reception Friday, Dec. 7; it will start at 7 p.m. with the Kettle and Friends holiday concert running simultaneously at Huron Valley Council for the Arts, 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland. Tickets are $15; purchase them online at huronvalleyarts.org or in person at HVCA. Guests will have the chance to enjoy wine and appetizers as well as the concert’s holiday selections and get first crack at the holiday market’s wares. Click here for more information about the event and the market. The market will be open until 9 p.m. and during regular gallery hours through Saturday, Dec. 21. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the concert. Gallery hours for Festival of Trees Holiday Artist Market take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call HVCA at 248-889-8660.

HVCA Holiday Pops COncert posterOn December 13th the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra comes to the area for a Holiday Pops concert at the Walled Lake Northern Center for Performing Arts. Click here for more on this event. General Admission tickets are $15 for this concert with starts at 7:30 PM.

As always, to stay up to date on all of the events in the area, check in often at www.movetomilford.com where the calendar of events is updated daily.

Small Business Saturday in Milford…

November 29, 2013

Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a relatively new named shopping day – Small Business Saturday. This Shop Small day was originally an American Express promotional idea that has taken on an identity of its own. The basic idea and thrust behind this can be summed up in another oft heard phrase – Shop local or there won’t be any local.

The danger to small local businesses has never been greater. The small retail shops that make up the Main Street stores of America are under tremendous pressure from both the big box stores and from the Internet. There is just no way for your local toy store or clothing store or shoe store to compete on price with the big box stores. Instead many emphasize that they have products that you just won’t find in the big box stores or they may have more selections of specific brands. They also provide much more personalized service and in most cases are closer and easier to get to than the big mall stores.

Milford has one of the few remaining small town downtown areas that is still full of useful stores – Main Street Signstores that sell things other than knick-knacks or antiques.  One can still shop in Milford for clothing and shoes, in addition to toys and jewelry and candy and furniture and more. Sure, we have some nice knick-knack stores, too; but the point is that the downtown still provides a good, diverse shopping experience. The same cannot be said of many of the small towns on this side of Michigan.

The big box stores most often came in and positioned themselves just outside of the towns and villages, most of the time between two or three. Once they took hold, local downtown areas withered and many gave way to the trend to turn the quaint old downtown buildings into antique stores or knick-knack boutiques. Milford was far enough away from the I-96 highway that the big box stores chose to congregate around to avoid some of that impact, but they still had and have an impact.

I think that the attractiveness of many of our restaurants also helps. When you have 2-3 destination restaurants (restaurants that people will drive for more than 5 miles to get to, because they are so good) it helps draw people to the downtown. They walk up and down the street, sometimes visiting the shops and sometimes just making note of shops that they want to come back and visit. It helps.

So this Saturday, Nov 30, after the Christmas parade at 10 AM, plan on staying in Milford for some santashopping. Many of the merchants will have special sales going for Small Business Saturday. Plan on coming back on December 5th when the local merchants will host a Christmas Open House, with strolling entertainment and refreshments provides by the stores. Bring the kids, because Santa will be here too. Get in the spirit of Christmas in small town America – It’s a wonderful life!

Things to do, things to do…

November 20, 2013

There are lots of things to do in the Milford-Highland areas over the next few weeks as we move into the Christmas Holiday season. Here’s a sample of the upcoming events -

Nov 21 –    Milford Historical Society General Membership Meeting – At the Milford United Methodist Church starting at 6:30 pm. Speaker. This is our favorite Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner. The MHS Board will be supplying the turkeys. Members are asked to bring a side dish , a salad or a dessert to share. Guests are welcome and should bring your own place settings, utensils and drinks. Our guest speaker will be retired Post Master Michael Schragg speaking on antique postal memorabilia. Mike brings a trailer full of antique postal items for us to learn about and I think you will truly enjoy this talk.

Nov 21 – The Big Reveal in Downtown Milford – 6 pm – Kids are welcome to help tear down the wrapping paper on the store windows of Milford’s downtown stores to reveal the festive holiday window decorations put up by the local merchants.

Nov 30 – Gobbler Gallop - 1 mile fun run at 8:00 am and 4 mile run at 8:30 am. The courses will wind around the streets and trails of the Milford area, starting and ending on Main St. All proceeds go directly to the athletic programs for Huron Valley Schools. Register online at www.gobblergallop.com.

Nov 30 – The Christmas Parade in downtown Milford – 10 AM – Bands, floats and dignitaries ride in this annual parade to kick off the Christmas season. Santa will be in the parade, too.

Dec 5 –  Milford Business Association Christmas Open House – Get in the spirit of the eventsseason. Enjoy the hospitality of the downtown merchants, the strolling entertainment and the special promotions and refreshments. Santa arrives at 6:00 PM.

Dec 7- Holiday Concert with Kettle & Friends – doors open at 6:30 pm – part of the Kettle Concert series presented by the Huron Valley Council for the Arts. Performance at the HVCA building at  205 West Livingston Road,  Highland, MI. 48357 – Tickets $15 at the door. Advanced tickets available at Milford Music, Milford Feed, Hartland Flowers and at the HVCA Gallery.

Dec 13 – Holiday Pops Concert at 7:30 pm – The Huron Valley Council for the Arts presents the Michigan Philharmonic with Music Director and Conductor Nan Washburn at Walled Lake Northern High School’s Center for the Performing Arts 6700 Bogie Lake Rd, Commerce, MI. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $30 for Conductors Circle seating and $10 for youth. Tickets available at the HVCA.

For all of the events and activities that I could find to do locally, go to my Web site – www.movetomilford.com. I may not find everything that’s going on locally, but I try to.


Bits and pieces from the weekend…

November 17, 2013

My wife and I tried the new Smoke Street restaurant in Friday night. It seems to be off to a great start, as it was packed by 6:30 that night. The food was great and the atmosphere better that many places locally and quieter, too. You could actually carry on a conversation without having to shout at the other person to be heard. We certainly appreciate that. Obviously one visit isn’t enough to form a real strong opinion, but that one visit convinced us that we’ll need to go back and try more of the menu. We met manager/owner Greg Mitchell while we were there and he indicted that he is very happy with how things have gone during opening week and the reception that the local restaurant crowd has given this new place. Milford needed a good BBQ place and now it has one. This is sure to become another destination restaurant for Milford. Click here to view their menu.

We went out to the Livingston County Animal Shelter on Saturday to take one of the new Pet Calendars to them. We adopted our little dog Skippy from there and wanted to share his appearance in the Calendar (he and our other dog, Sadie, are the October dogs in the calendar. We are fortunate in this area to have Michigan’s only Pet Food Pantry for people who just can’t afford pet food anymore. The Pet Pantry is part of the Community Sharing food pantry service for needy families in this area. If you haven’t purchased your Pet Calendar yet, you need to go find one. They are only $10 and all of the proceeds go to support the Pet Pantry. Calendars are on sale a various retail stores around the area and at the Digital Document Store. They make great Christmas gifts that will bring joy the whole year. Community Sharing is much more than just a food service for people and pets. To read about the full spectrum of services that they offer, click here.

On our way back from the Livingston County Shelter we noticed that  new store has opened in Highland Station – Odds and Ins. This is a resale and consignment shop and has some really interesting stuff. They are having a Ladies Night Out on Wednesday, Nov 20, from 5 – 9 PM. If you bring a can of food to donate you will receive 10% off any purchase. Kathy Mika is the owner. The shop is located right on Milford Rd at 144 S. Milford Rd. There is parking in the rear and to the side. They have some real quality stuff on consignment there and you’re sure to want to come back often to see what’s there. Kathy told me that they turn over the merchandise quite rapidly, so there is always something new.

Yesterday was the Fall Tea at the Mary Jackson house, sponsored and put on by the Milford Historical Society. The Tea was a great success and sold out two weeks ago. The Milford Historical Society inherited the house when Mary Jackson, an actress in movies and TV and a lifelong Milfordite passed away. Mary played one of the Baldwin sisters in the TV series Walton’s Mountain and was in many movies, including Airport. Mary was born and raised in the Milford area and went to school in the Milford schools. She bought her early childhood home on Canal Street  in Milford and used to come back every summer to renew old acquaintances. The home is kept pretty much as Mary left it and is used by the Historical Society for meetings and special events.

Today is the Hunter’s Ball at Colasanti’s in Highland. This is an annual charity fund raising event that is held to give the ladies a shopping event to go to while the men are away at deer camp. Funds raised go to help women who can’t afford mammograms pay for that service. The program is administered through The Botsford Foundation. Click here to view the event poster.

As usual, there are lots of things to do in the Milford area this month and next. To keep up with all the events that are going on in the area be sure to check in regularly at www.movetomilford.com . There is a poster window there with as many of the event posters as I can find. It is available also formatted as a mobile site for smartphone users.


Reading the histories of lots of Milfords

October 23, 2013

Did you ever wonder every now and then about other towns around the world that have the same name as the town that you live in? I do. So below is a collection of links, admittedly hastily compiled,  that will lead you to several other places named Milford. I live in Milford, Michigan; which is a relatively young iteration of Milford, given the oldest Milford on this list goes back to about 500AD in Wales. The newest one on this list is out in Utah. There are several in the New England area, as you might expect. Some of these are fairly dry accounts and some have very rich histories to relate.

The histories of other cities, towns, boroughs and villages called Milford. Arranged generally in chronological order of when the places were established. As one might expect there is a common thread through all of these histories, since all of the locations were on rivers or streams where water power could be used for transportation or harnessed for power.

Milford on the Sea , Wales, United Kingdom – http://www.milfordonsea.org/#/the-village-history/4533907218

Southwest Wales, Milford Haven – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Milford_Haven

Milford, Delaware –  http://www.cityofmilford.com/index.aspx?NID=166

Milford, Massachusetts –  http://milford.ma.us/pages/boards-committees/historical-commission/milford-history.php

Milford, New Hampshire –  http://www.milford.nh.gov/about-milford-nh/history/how-milford-came-about

Town of Milford, New York – http://www.townofmilfordny.org/town-history.html

Milford, Ohio –  http://www.milfordhistory.net/slide-view/slide-5/

Milford, Pennsylvania – http://www.milfordtownship.org/2009/mt_hist/history.html

Milford, New Jersey –  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milford,_New_Jersey

Milford on the Delaware, New Jersey – http://visitmilfordnj.com/Our_Town.html

Milford, Maine – http://history.rays-place.com/me/milford-me.htm

Milford, Michigan – http://www.milfordhistory.org/milford_history.html

Milford, Utah – http://www.onlineutah.com/milfordhistory.shtml

For much more on the history of Milford, Michigan, please visit our Historical Society web site – www.milfordhistory.org


Lots to do in October

October 9, 2013

There’s certainly lots to do in the Huron Valley area – Milford, Highland White Lake and Commerce – in the month of October, much of it to do with pumpkins and hayrides and  little ghosts and goblins. To check out the events in this area go to my Web site – www.movetomilford.com I try to keep up with the posters that pop up around town and the events that various groups and organizations are running during the month.

If your group or organization has an upcoming event that you’d like to see posted in the calendar or a poster for the Poster Wall on my site, please send me an email – normwerner@comcast.net If you have a PDF file of your poster or flyer that would be great.

One of my favorite annual events is coming up near the end of the months – the Milford BOO Bash. There is nothing that epitomizes small town America more than this parade of costumed kids past the doors of the downtown stores and businesses. Merchants and restaurateurs hand out candy to the kids as they pass by. I’m sure that Mayberry probably had something like this, too; or they wish that they had.

Looking further forward there’s an interesting Survival Training weekend at Kensington Metropark on he first weekend in November. Participants will learn how to find their way out of being lost on Saturday and how to build as shelter (I guess if you can get out) on Sunday. Also on Sunday is an event in Milford at the Hibbard Tavern commemorating the 120th birthday of Edsel Ford. See  more about all ofth is on the calendar at www.movetomilford.com

Featured Business of the Month

August 8, 2013

This month on my web site www.movetomilford.com I’m featuring the Blue Grill restaurant in Milford.

blue grill logo

Milford has long been known as a town with several “destination restaurants” – eateries that attract people from fairly far away because they are so good. The list of places that might fit that category changes over time and is rather electric. There are fine dining establishments and very casual places. One of those very casual restaurants, which has now been open for a little over a year, is the Blue Grill. This is a casual dining place without beer and wine or liquor; but one that has earned a reputation for really good food and good service. The Blue Grill specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and emphasizes its fresh foods and raw juices. You can find out more about its menu at

http://www.thebluegrill.com/.  Owner Dimitri Mansour visits Detroit’s Eastern Market several time a week to buy the freshest produce and fruits to serve in the Blue Grill. If you like Mediterranean food this is the place to go in Milford and the surrounding area.

Food like that served at the Blue Grill is something that you develop a taste for. I lived in Iran in the Middle-East for a couple of years (many, many years ago) and can attest to the great differences in foods and preparation and the tastes involved when you experience a completely different culture. Some of our favorite foods even today are receipts that my wife Carolyn picked up in Iran and brought back. They aren’t things you’ll ever see on regular restaurant menus.

Mind you that Mediterranean fare isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t like hummus and farfelle and shwarmas and it may seem that there is always lots of garlic; however, for those with a taste for something other than American comfort food and something made fresh every day this is a great change of pace. Their salads and rice bowls are great and the pitas, made to your specifications are always very good. There is also a large body of evidence that Mediterranean foods are healthier for you than most of the standard restaurant fare and certainly better for you than almost all of what is served at fast food places.

The real proof of the pudding for any restaurant can be found in its customer reviews. There’s no way to really fake it for long when then Internet supplies people (customers) with such an easy way to share with others what they liked or didn’t like about a place. The Blue Grill has marvelous reviews and this year won the Talk of the Town 5-star award for customer service. You don’t get 5 stars unless you provide satisfying food and great service. In addition, the Blue Grill is rated as Milford’s top restaurant on the TripAdvisor.com site. There are many other sites that rate local restaurants and I visited a few. The Blue Grill gets those consistently high marks from the most important reviewers – its customers.

So, don’t go to the Blue Grill expecting elegant sit-down dining. There are places to sit, but you move through a line “Subway-style” to order and get your food and there are only a few desserts if you are into dessert. Drinks I already mentioned are restricted to pop or water.  The reward is when you do sit down (inside or outside in the summer) and dig into the generous helpings that you have carried to the table – really good food at really good prices and served in really generous portions. What more do you really go out to eat for than that?

Today I march in Milford…

May 27, 2013

marching troopsThe annual Memorial Day parade in Milford Michigan happens today, starting at around 11 AM. The first ½ hour of the parade is devoted to things like bands and military vehicles and boy scout troops and other crowd pleasing stuff, and then we get to walk by – the active duty troops and veterans of various wars. We are usually lined up 2-abreast and with 700-800 marchers, it takes a while for everyone to pass by. The crowds lining the streets stand and applaud the whole time, many shouting out “Thank You”. Along the route there are children handing out flowers that are supplied by the local florist.


Whether you are a marcher in the parade or a spectator it can be quite an emotional moment and is certainly a lot different than when I returned from my tour in Viet Nam. We had to sneak back into the towns and villages that we can from back then, hoping no one would recognize us as soldiers in that very unpopular war

When they line us up for the parade they put the ranks in order of the eras of the wars that one might have been in at the time. So, the WW II and Korean War vets go before the Viet Nam vets. Both their ranks and our group are fast thinning, as we age. I suspect that out group will be at the head of the parade before too long. At the head of each marching group a banner proclaims the era and the number of Americas who died in that war or conflict. Some marchers are not vets themselves but march carrying pictures of family members or loved ones lost in the various wars.

So, today I march. Today, unlike those many years ago, I get to hold my head high and accept the applause that was missing back then for a service that I accepted and rendered for my country. I’m thankful for all of the people who come out to line the streets and I’m thankful for all of those who gave so much more than I to defend our country and our liberties so that we can have days like today. I’ll see you there.

Museum Open House this Saturday – May 18

May 13, 2013


If you haven’t been to the Historical Museum lately (or maybe ever), you’re in luck.  Our museum opened for the season on May 1st and will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In honor of our opening, the Historical Society will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, May 18th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.   This family friendly event will allow guests to visit our museum and see displays depicting Milford over the years.  Demonstrations will be on going thru out the day.  On our front lawn, you will be able to see candle dipping, woodworking, yarn spinner, and basket weaving demonstrations throughout the day.  Kids of all ages will be able to participate in games from long ago.

We will also have a special guest in the Parlor.  Wife of the 16th President, Mary Todd Lincoln will greet guest and give a glimpse of live in the White House.   Also on hand will be the Huron Valley Numismatic Club that will be able to answer questions from coin collector eMilford Museum interiornthusiastic. Hands on demonstration will take place in our log cabin display where kids will be able to make a cornhusk doll and in the kitchen see how butter was made.

It will be a day full of fun activities for the whole family! Admission to the museum is free and open to all; you do not need to be a member to attend. Bring the whole family out and see what life in Milford used to be like. The Milford Historical Museum – our very own time machine into the past.

Little League Parade Day in Milford (and probably in Mayberry too)

April 27, 2013

This afternoon, right around what passes for a “rush hour” in Milford the local Little League baseball teams held their annual march down Main Street. I’m sure most of the people who were scurrying along trying to get home at the end of the week didn’t appreciate it as much as those who participated and those of use lucky enough to live here.

The only way this scene could have been quainter would have been if Sherriff Andy had been leading the parade in his police car and Deputy Fife was directing traffic, while Aunt Bea handed out cookies. Were Norman Rockwell still alive this would be a Saturday Evening Post cover painting for sure.

We have lots of parades and events in Milford that close down Main Street for a few hours, almost one event or -parade a month throughout the year. In addition to our big street festival – Milford Memories – which takes place in August; we have three major parades – the Memorial Day Parade in May, which honors our military men and women; the Independence Day Parade, which usually takes place on the 4th of July and celebrates the birth of our country; and then there’s that  Christmas Parade, which is on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

There are also the minor parades and events, like, the big, summer downtown shopping event – Summer Palooza.  In the late summer Milford also hosts the Milford Criterion (aka. the Milford Crit), which is a sanctioned bicycle street race that takes place down Main street and around a course that closes off several other streets. In the fall there’s the Homecoming Parade for Milford High School. All summer long, starting in May there is a Farmers Market on Liberty Street, just off Main Street, every Thursday evening.

Then there is the Milford Car Show in September that closes all of Main Street and Central Park. Of course we also have an event downtown for the kids at Halloween called the Boo Bash, where the local merchants stand in their doorways and give out candy – got to close Main Street for that.

So you can see why our Department of Public Works (DPW) and the local police have become quite good at the exercise of closing off Main Street for whatever event is going on. I suppose the people who pass through Milford everyday aren’t really all that surprised when they encounter the detour signs – they know something in happening in Milford on Main Street and that’s a good thing. That’s what makes it Milford.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 724 other followers