Archive for Clarkston area

Independence Oaks County Park

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 30, 2012 by Pat Hansen

If you are looking for an outing that is not far from home, Independence Oaks County Park is the largest unit in the Oakland County parks system at 1,088 acres with a state-designated Wildlife Viewing Area.  The park encompasses rolling hills, wooded ravines, the headwaters of the Clinton River, and a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer. The centerpiece is Crooked Lake, a 68-acre lake with crystal-clear water that is free from the buzz of motorboats and jet skis.

The park has a 14-mile network of trails with most of it in a rugged, undeveloped area on the west side of the lake. There are three loops that can be combined to make a 3-mile loop that begins near the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center and leads across the park’s highest ridges along Crooked Lake. Cutting across the loop are several connector trails that allow you to shorten the hike.

On the east side of the lake are the paved trails that are popular with inline skaters. They include the river Loop, a paved 2.2 mile loop that includes a stretch though the Clinton River Flood Plain Natural Area, a wetland area, and the All-Visitors Loop that leads to an observation deck on Crooked Lake. The All-Visitors Trail is designed for individuals with disabilities.


  • A boat launch for non-motorized boats, seasonal rowboat, canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals are on Crooked Lake. Catch and release fishing is allowed on Crooked Lake.
  • On east side of the lake are picnic areas, rental shelters, a ball field, sand volleyball courts, playground equipment, horseshoe pits and a beach with a bathhouse on Hidden Springs.
  • In the winter, the park offers cross-country skiing, ski rental, ice skating, ice fishing, and warming shelters. “The best groomed cross-country ski trails in southeast Michigan are at Independence Oaks” says Hour Detroit Magazine’s Best Winter Getaways List!

Nature Center:

  • The Lewis E. Wint Nature Center provides hands-on natural history exhibits and a feeding station viewing area. Year-round educational programs are conducted by the parks system’s natural resources staff. Specialized nature programs include StarLab, Nature Discovery and Scout Badge Days.

Cohn Amphitheater: Offers a shelter and fire circle and accommodates 150-200 guests for events or weddings. Bench seating is available.

Rubach Sensory Garden: Featuring a gazebo and water garden is located near visitor center.

Independence Oaks is just one of the facilities that make living in Clarkston, MI and the surrounding areas a desirable proposition. You can “vacation” after work or on the weekends and never be far from home.

Address: 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston, MI (2-1/2 miles north of I-75 Exit 89)

Phone: 248-625-6473 (Wint Nature Center); 248-625-0877 (Park)

Park Hours of Operation: Approximately 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, or as posted at park entrance. Open year round. Closed Christmas Day.

Fees & Permits: Daily or annual vehicle permit required (available at the park) or online. Oakland County residents $5.00 per vehicle fee, daily, or $25.00 annual fee. Non-Oakland County residents $8.00 per vehicle fee, daily, or $46.00 annual fee.

Olde World Canterbury Village

Posted in Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , , on November 30, 2011 by Pat Hansen

You don’t have to go very far to get into the Christmas spirit. Aldridge’s Always Christmas, in Lake Orion, is one of the largest and most unique Christmas stores anywhere. It is located in the Olde World Canterbury Village, a designated historical site in the State of Michigan, extending over 21 acres.


From I-75, take Exit 83 North (Joslyn Rd).  It is located off Joslyn Rd, north of Waldon Rd, at 2369 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion, just 3 miles from I-75.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 5:30
  • Sunday 11:00 – 5:30

It’s Always Christmas houses one of the World’s largest collections of Department 56 items including the entire seven series. They are showcased on a giant 70’ x 10’ main display. Nearby the Department 56 display is the World’s largest Nativity display featuring a vast Fontanini collection.

In the lower level of Always Christmas, fascinating adults and kids alike, is an amazing selection of licensed sports products including NFL, MLB, NHL and collegiate teams, toys, board and travel games, puzzles, dolls and specialty gift items. There is a large collection of children’s books, battery operated toys and remote-controlled cars and trucks. They also feature educational toys and games, including Educational Insights which is a line of science projects and books. The prices are very reasonable. Santa arrived this weekend and will be at Always Christmas every weekend through Dec. 18th from 12:00 – 5:00.

There are several other gift shops with offerings from greeting cards to home décor and garden accessories. The most fascinating shops are the Celtic Connection with a wide selection of Irish knitwear, Irish linens crystal and jewelry, and its sister store, the Highland Fling which specializes in tartan goods, kilts, skirts, ties and sashes. They will special order any tartan. They are also known as the only kilt rental outlet in Michigan.

If you need to rest and are hungry, The Clansman Gaelic Pub offers a casual dining atmosphere. It is located on the north end of Canterbury Village behind the King’s Court Castle.  The Pub offers home-made soups, sandwiches and a selection of fresh salads. Domestic and imported beers, cocktails and wines are served from the bar. They also offer full service dining along with three plasma televisions where you can relax and enjoy your favorite sports event.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday – Thursday 11:00 – 10:00
  • Friday & Saturday 11:00 – Midnight
  • Sunday 11:00 – 6:00
  • Phone: (248) 391-1900

The King’ Court Castle, located on the grounds, is a magnificent structure built with old world craftsmanship featuring oak paneling and carvings from France, tapestries and an antique stained glass window from Scotland. The antique fireplace in the castle was shipped from England. What a wonderful background for a fairy tale wedding!  There is even a wedding chapel and bridal boutique nearby. The facility is also available for corporate events.  For information on facility rentals, call (248) 391-1900.

If you are looking for a unique gift, Olde World Canterbury Village is the place to visit. You can browse or buy; the employees are very cordial and helpful. It is truly a pleasurable shopping experience.

Dining With Pat – Fall Colors

Posted in Dining with Pat, Lifestyle with tags , , , on October 11, 2011 by Pat Hansen

You don’t have to travel far to see the spectacular fall colors.  The drive along M-15, north of the Village of Clarkston to Seymour Lake Rd. is ablaze in hues of red, gold and yellow on a sunny October day. The drive from M-15, east on Seymour Lake Road is particularly beautiful.

Many people travel this route to get to the popular Cook’s Dairy Farm. . . . but, if you go less than a mile east of Cook’s Dairy, you will encounter a wonderful country farm stand at Ashton Orchards on the north side of Seymour Lake Rd. This is not a U-Pick orchard but the offerings are truly delectable. When you get out of your car, you are greeted by the enticing aroma of apple cinnamon donuts and apple cider. There is even a picnic bench where you can sit and enjoy your treats on a beautiful fall day.

Inside this market the selection of breads, coffee cakes, cookies, pies and strudel rival even the best bakery. You need to get there early for the best selection of goodies as they sell quickly.

In addition to the several varieties of both eating and cooking apples, there are plums, pears, and peaches during the peach season all grown in their adjacent orchard. Sweet corn, peppers and tomatoes are also available. And of course, don’t forget the cider.  The caramel apples are the best, both plain and with nuts or sprinkles. There is also a large display of jams and honey both made on site. The stand is decorated with antique apple peelers and other intriguing items.

This charming country farm stand is a family-run operation well worth visiting. They are open from August through December. During Nov. and Dec., in addition to the baked goods, jams and honey, fresh greens are available for holiday decorating.

HOURS: 10 am – 6 pm Mon- Sat & Sun noon to 6 pm.

3925 Seymour Lake Road, Ortonville, MI 48348

PHONE: (248) 627-6671

Taste of Clarkston – Clarkston’s Signature Event

Posted in Dining with Pat, Local News with tags , , , , on September 20, 2011 by Pat Hansen

On Sunday, September 25, 2011, Main Street in the Village of Clarkston, MI., becomes a pedestrian mall for The Taste of ClarkstonThis popular event has been attended by as many as 20,000 visitors in the past 14 years. The partnership between the Clarkston Area Chamber, Independence Township Parks & Recreation and City of the Village of Clarkston, continues to produce high quality events year after year. The event is structured to be family friendly, providing a safe, fun environment for a community block party celebration.

More than 30 restaurants and exhibitors will be participating this year. A list of restaurant participants and prices can be found online at: Click on Taste of Clarkston > Participating Restaurants > Taste Menu. There is sure to be something tantalizing for everyone, from soup to sliders, BBQ pork to black bean chicken chili, and sweet endings from frozen custard to cheesecake.

Tickets are available in $1.00 increments. They suggest you purchase a pack of $10.00 or $20.00 to get started. Tickets are available at four locations:

  • Taste Entrance: Staffed by Genisys Credit Union
  • Church St. and Main St: Staffed by Citizens Bank
  • Washington St. and Main St.: Staffed by Clarkston State Bank
  • Depot Park: Staffed by Clarkston Brandon Credit Union

Entertainment will be featured on two different stages starting at 11:30 AM. The stages are located on Church St. and Washington St.

Two free KidZones with games and activities are located at Depot Park and Washington St. Parking Lot.

Also happening are:

  • SCAMP Designer Showcase House (44 E. Washington)
  • Clarkston Union Oktober Beer Tent (Union Parking Lot)
  • Clarkston Rotary Club Wine Tent (Clarkston News Parking Lot)
  • NOTE: Separate tickets for these events are available at each venue.

According to marketing studies, Taste of Clarkston is attended by 70% of Clarkston area residents and friends and relatives of Clarkston residents. Merchants and volunteers work hard to promote their businesses and take great pride in their promoting their historic village.

Hours are: Noon to 6:00 PM.  NOTE: Main St. will be closed from Waldon Road, on the south to  Clarkston Road on the north.

Free parking and Free Shuttle Buses are available at these school lots

  • Clarkston Elementary
  • Clarkston Jr. High School
  • Renaissance High or Clarkston High School
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