Merry Meters

For the Ford Arts, Beats and Eats celebration, the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts launched a project called Meters Made Beautiful, sponsored by Flagstar Banks, designed to celebrate the arts.

Royal Oak has done a number of projects to raise awareness of the arts from the 11 Mile Road Public Art Program which installed art pieces along the 11 mile cooridor, the Art Commissions Painted Pianos downtown which I mention here, Sweet Music in Royal Oak, and the DIA’s Inside/Out art installation around town.

I found some just outside the Royal Oak Theater and Metals in Time on Fourth as well as a long stretch of Washington Ave.


I believe this one was in front of the American Apparel near Washington and 4th.
On Washington, out front of Moti Mahal one of my favorite Indian restaurants.


Set between the Thai Café and OUR Credit Union, just north of Lincoln Ave on Washington.
A Michigan tribute by OCC across from Jimi’s restaurant.


My personal favorite, also parked outside of OCC

There are plans to spread the art next year to cover more meters, these are expected to last for a least 5 years, looking forward to next years exhibits.



Little Free Libraries

Little free libraries are popping all across the nation.  The little libraries are small little boxes set up in both public and residential areas to give access to books and promote reading.

I’ve discovered several in Royal Oak, erected by both private residents and local community groups, filled with wonderful books.

The above pictures were taken at Realtor.  This little free library was donated by the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors and built by Transitions Remodeling.

Two local residents, one on Sunnybrook and the other on Wilson right by Jim’s Frosty Treats, have each added libraries to their front lawns.


This library is located on Sunnybrook


This cute set up is on Wilson Ave

One of the best ones I’ve seen is located in Royal Oak’s VFW park at Lincoln and Campbell Road.  As I was taking pictures a little girl ran up to pull out a book.  This little free library was done by Dalton Cymbal, troop 1629 as an eagle scout project in September 2016, way to go.


VFW park in Royal Oak



Anyone can take a book or two, leave a book or two to help keeping reading alive and accessible to all.




Party Time

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in Royal Oak and we had a favorite party store we called the “Little Store” around the corner from us. The “Little Store” better known in those days as the D and D Market run by Desi and Don on 4th street between Campbell Road and Stephenson Highway, it is now the 4th Street Stop.

The tiny building was built in the 1920’s and some friends have talked about remembering a time when Anna was the proprietor.  Back in my day there was a stripped awning over the front façade and the beer, wine and kraft beer signage advertised Coca Cola.


D and D Market back in the day



My friends and I would bike there countless time through our childhood to buy penny candy and other treats which stretched along the long front counter.  We made regular visits for Marathon bars, Swedish fish, rabbits feet, Ring Pops, candy necklaces and of course Charlie’s Angels and Battlestar Galactica trading cards.  While there is no longer penny candy I do stop in now for my Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

When I lived near Kimball, now Royal Oak, High School, I sometimes stopped into the Starr Market on 13 mile just west Crooks, seems like it has been there forever.


The Starr Market near the corner of 13 and Crooks

Another cool old party store that I have never visited but have often driven by is the Late Nite Party Store on Main, just south of Lincoln.


The fantastic façade of the Late Nite Party Store

These little gems are slowly disappearing but I’m happy to see Royal Oak still has a few cool little mom and pop markets, tucked into neighborhoods, that have survived.



Love in Bloom

Many years ago I purchased a tree for my front easement from the City of Royal Oak.  The City planted a beautiful Japanese Maple for me replacing a tree that had been removed many years before.

I was looking again at the Royal Oak Tree Planting Program for my current house and noted this time a section regarding memorial trees.  With the purchase of a memorial tree through the program, the city website notes, they will work to accommodate planting requests as well as provide a wooden block on which you can purchase and mount a plaque.  In driving around I noticed several memorial trees gracing the city.

In Barton Park South

The tree above, is planted in Barton Park South, tucked between the Emagine Theater and Barton Tower Senior Building on Troy street.  I found another in the median on Fourth Street,  and several others at the Royal Oak Arboretum connected to the Royal Oak Senior Community Center on Marais just north of 13 mile.

In the Fourth Street Median

Information on the City website states you can call for a list of trees available and planting takes place late April.  The trees are discounted so you will pay less than purchasing directly from the nursery and trees designated for city easements are planted by the city.  Trees purchased for private property are delivered and planting is up to the purchaser.  Here is a link to the city information on the tree planting program Royal Oak Tree Planting Program.

In honor of a teacher at the Royal Oak Arboretum




Sweet Music in Royal Oak

This summer Royal Oak was blessed with the gift of pianos.  The Royal Oak Commission for the Arts rolled out the 2017 Public Piano Project in the business district.

Donated pianos were turned into works of art and placed around local businesses for everyone to enjoy.


Beautifully decorated piano outside Ideation on 4th street


I spotted pianos at Holiday Market on Main Street just north of I-696/10 mile.  The newly created Eagle Plaza on Center Street next to the parking structure.  Main and 3rd were gifted two pianos on at Qdoba restaurant and the second out front of the Bright Ideas store.  A piano graces the west porch of the Farmer’s Market as well.  And last but not least our favorite, if not just because of its location, Gayle’s Chocolate.  Gayle’s piano was decorated by students at Keller Elementary.  Strange to type that, I’m a Helen Keller Junior High alum.

The pianos were fun to see and to play around on but while at Gayle’s I did hear someone quite talented indulging which was a treat.  What a great summer experience, I look forward to seeing what the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts has planned for next year.


The piano at Bright Ideas on the corner of Main and 3rd