Under The Stars
By Tracey Moro
Continuing your routine of outdoor walking throughout the winter can be difficult, especially here in Michigan where our temps will average in the below freezing category. However, when we add a bit of fun and delight to our walk, it somehow becomes a little more bearable. In years past, Macomb Now has suggested places such as our many parks and trails to go walking during the wintertime here in Macomb. This winter we are suggesting you add some evening walks to your outdoor walking adventures. Yes, walking in the dark.
Ford House, Grosse Pointe
Available through January 9, 2022, the Ford House is hosting Starry Lights, a winter holiday light self-guided walk through the 87-acre historic estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford located on the shore of Lake St. Clair. This all-new winter attraction features an immersive and interactive light display on the estate grounds from the new visitor center to the house, past the playhouse and gate and back to the visitor center. Inspired by the Ford family’s love of winter fun, the displays draw on the beauty of the night sky in the winter. Walkers will follow the 3/4-mile pathway experiencing a wintry starry-sky themed show including projected animations, interactive light features and even vintage home videos of Edsel and Eleanor’s family in the wintertime. It’s projected onto the facade of the Ford’s home. “We’re excited to bring a new holiday attraction to Macomb County that’s really like nothing else in the area. The experience will take advantage of the beauty of the historic home and lakefront property, and draw its inspiration from the starry sky we see over the lake, which is especially beautiful in the winter,” said Mark Heppner, Ford House president & CEO. “Starry Lights is a safe, fun outdoor light experience designed to celebrate the holidays with exploration, beauty and awe.” The show will be offered Thursdays through Sundays through January 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at fordhouse.org.
Huron Clinton Metroparks Wolcott Mill Metropark – Farm Center
Nighttime fun can also be found at our Metroparks. Now considered their largest nighttime event of the year – Holiday Lights at the Farm – returns to Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center for two consecutive weekends: December 9-11 and 16-18. “Holiday Lights at the Farm is a great nostalgic event for families. As you get in the spirit of the holidays, you have the chance to enjoy the farm all decked out in lights. Bring some hot cocoa and just enjoy being with family and friends under the glow of the moon, stars and twinkling holiday lights,” said Danielle Mauter, chief of marketing and communications. Families can stroll through the farm and enjoy traditional holiday decorations and thousands of sparkling lights while listening to holiday music and visiting the farm animals. There’s even a tractor drawn wagon ride around the farm fields. “With shorter days in the winter, visitors have more opportunities to explore the parks after the sun sets and experience the quiet crispness of a winter night,” added Mauter. Although dates haven’t been set yet in January and February for the Metropark’s nighttime events they do plan to have both guided Owl Prowl and Full Moon Hike programs. “Attending a guided night program is a great way to feel more comfortable and still get that unique experience. Plus you might get the opportunity to see an owl or nocturnal resident of the park.” Pre-registration is needed for most these events. Visit metroparks.com/events for details and to pre-register.
Sterling Heights Nature Center
Knowing how fascinating it can be walking under the stars through nature, the Sterling Heights Nature Center, located on the banks of the Clinton River, has become a starting point for three organized wintertime walks. On December 11 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. families can enjoy a self-guided journey along an illuminated path running right along the Clinton River. The After Dark Illuminated Walk is under one mile and starts at the Nature Center, taking about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Families are separated by about three minutes with the last group leaving at 7:15 p.m. Scattered throughout the path will be stations with guides sharing nature facts making it a fun and educational activity for all ages. “We usually get a pretty good sized group to do this walk, so we have it self-guided, with people as guides on the course,” said Brenda Suchenek, Sterling Heights recreation specialist/naturalist. Sterling Heights has two other nighttime walks each with naturalist guides, guiding the way. Known as Winter Solstice, December 21 is the shortest day of the year with the sun rising at 7:59 a.m. and setting at 5:02 p.m. This Winter Solstice Walk goes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. along the Clinton River Park Trail System, beginning at the Nature Center. And, if walking in the crisp winter air is easy, why not walk during the snowiest month of the year – February? A Winters Walk-About is planned for February 15, 2022 to listen for night creatures that may be out before the February Snow Moon presents itself the following day. Also starting at the Sterling Heights Nature Center, this walk will also be under one mile and weather and snow conditions will determine how far and where the walk takes place. A naturalist will guide the group pointing out nature as it pops up. Of course it’s always recommended to dress for the weather when walking outside – any time of day. Layers are a great idea and for the February hike you may want to wear boots. All Sterling Heights Nature Center activities are open to residents and the public. Registration is required, and fees apply. You can find more information at myshpr.net