In 1898, an amusement park was opened on Bois Blanc island — proprietarily Ontarion — on the far south end of the Detroit river. The park closed in 1993, and the island is now fancied as some highfalutin, marina resort.
Access to the park was via steamer — the SS Ste. Clair and the SS Columbia. Those over 30 reminisce fondly of the experience, the excitement boarding the ship, finding a seat, watching the massive engines work. Enthusiasm tempered as the hour trip wore on, but re-engaged on sight of the island.
The park was old, rides smaller than most, these days; perfect for young families. Near the main dock were the swan boats, bumper cars, giant swings, carousel, old-timey cars you could “drive” around a track and something called Kiddie Land, designed just for the little ones. When we were young, we got a kick out of sitting in the driver’s seat of the cars, pretending our actions had any influence on the direction or speed of the vehicle.
One time, as we three antagonists argued over seating, Grandpa Loy settled the matter by taking the reigns himself. Then, as we travelled around the track, he suggested we take turns! So three skinny kids and their Grandpa spent the trip around the track, clambering over the seats, rotating and cracking up, one of them worrying we were going to go to jail for the hijinks…
The roller coasters were just big enough to be entertaining, and the perfect entry-level coasters — a small, typical, wooden hill type, later, a small corkscrew and a weird, haunted house ride, of itself not scary, though the jerky cart motions were a bit. There was also a log ride that was a blast; the lines were always long.
Bumper cars, the scrambler, octopus, the spinning thing where the floor dropped out. Those were good — not so much the ferris wheel, the falling star, pirate ship…
There were typical carnival games and typical carnival food; usually we brought a picnic lunch.
At the end of an exhausted day, anticipation of the long boat ride back was welcome. The ride in was marred by impatience, running deck to deck, bow to stern, in and out, anxious to get to the island. Heading back was more mellow and seated. It was a nice way to end the day; good time to relax back in a chair and watch the scenery pass, or maybe read a book — though, the hum of the boat dumbed senses and could easily lead to heavy eyelids.
You could cut the travel time significantly by driving to Amherst, but a lesser experience.
Onion, roughly chopped and sautéed, then chopped greens added with several T of butter or salted oil and cooked for around 15. Garlic powder, tarragon and a chopped orange plus queso fresco. Wrapped and baked at 475f for 20.
Perched on salad dressed with Persian lime oil, cider vinegar and a bit of Braggs. Adorned with strokes of Sriracha.