Winter Solstice Wonders

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The arrival of astronomical winter, the Winter Solstice that occurred on Saturday, December 21st at 11:19 p.m. EST, reminded me that the phrase, “the dead of winter” is an oxymoron. Winter is never dead, a fact that comes to life with excitement for those that make an effort to enjoy the wilder side of our county during the days of diminished daylight, days when even those that do not arise early can watch spectacular sunrises at 8 a.m. Winter brings treasures of nature to be discovered, from sparkling ice under clear blue skies to eastern bluebirds fluffed up against biting winds, and of course the deep soft hoot of Great Horned Owls, sometimes accompanied by the yips and howls of our “song dogs,” the eastern coyotes that have colonized our county.

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Meet the Wary and Watchful Red Fox

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Winter’s approaching and with the changing season, a seldom seen predator with luxurious fur, a large bushy tail and a reputation for “craftiness” accelerates its stalking of fallow farm fields, meadows, parks and yards in its endless hunt for mice and meadow voles. Easily recognizable by the stunning contrast of its rusty-red coat against snowy meadow backdrops, the red fox is well adapted to life in Oakland County. Over the years I’ve captured a few photos of red fox in the wild, as well as images on my trail cameras, but none are even remotely as stunning as the image above. It was shared with me by Ann Brokelman of the Coyote Watch Canada Outreach Team who photographed this beauty at Algonquin Provincial Park in the wilds of Ontario. Continue reading

The 2019 Merry Mitten Classic with Oakland County Olympic Snowboarder Danny Davis

Danny Davis, a professional snowboarder from Highland, is returning home to Oakland County to host The Merry Mitten Classic on December 21st, 2019. For the second year in a row, he’s teamed up with Burton Snowboards and New Belgium Brewing Company to put on this Modified Banked Slalom Event for all ages and skill levels at Alpine Valley in White Lake. Danny, an Olympic athlete, has competed at the highest level while keeping things cool by focusing on “fun, friends, and new experiences.”

Check out highlights from last year’s Merry Mitten Classic with Danny Davis:

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2019 Meadow Brook Hall Holiday Walk

Experience the wonder at Meadow Brook’s Annual Holiday Walk! Spend the most wonderful time of the year at the Great Estate for self-guided tours through the decorated rooms of the mansion now until December 23rd.

“Landmark in Lights” features more than 50 glittering trees—including an all-new artist designed ice castle tree and a 10-foot tall Poinsettia tree created by 150 live plants—hundreds of feet of garland and thousands of twinkling lights. A trip to this signature holiday event in Oakland County is something you won’t want to miss!

Preview Meadow Brook Hall’s Holiday walk before you go:

Meadow Brook Hall During the Holidays

Meadow Brook Hall is bustling during the holiday season. In addition to their signature Holiday Walk Tours, Holiday Lights and Winter Nights,

Holiday Walk Self-Guided Tours

Visitors can enjoy a walk through the mansion’s grounds and halls, as well as two events for kids of all ages: Cleo’s Candy Adventure and Letters to Santa.

Daily tours take place now till December 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with extended evening hours until 8:00 p.m. on select nights.

The Final Weekend

The Final Weekend of festivities takes on a magical new atmosphere with a visit from Santa and two of his live reindeer! Guests will also have the chance to see the lights at night, while warming themselves by the bonfire and sipping seasonal adult beverages until 8 p.m.

Admission

Reservations are not required for Mead Brook Hall Holiday events. Tickets can be purchased the day of your visit in the Holiday Shop at Meadow Brook Hall and are valid for the entire day, but re-entry is not allowed. Visit Meadow Brook’s website for prices and special rates. Advanced tickets are not available.

For more information about these Holiday events or special group tours, call Meadow Brook Hall at 248-364-6200.

The History of Meadow Brook Hall

This 110-room Tudor style mansion was constructed from 1926 to 1929 and was once the home of Matilda Dodge Wilson. She loved spending her time filling Meadow Brook Hall with lavish furniture, paintings, and art from around the world spanning several centuries. Her collections are still kept in the home today and reflect the elaborate lifestyles of the American Industrialists of the early 20th century.

Fun Facts

For ticket prices and more information on the Great Estate, visit the Meadow Brook Hall website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.


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A Magical Wintery Morning

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

December 1st, Sunday morning at 7:30 – Misty rain was falling across most of the county, but in the higher elevations of northernmost Oakland County, snow was winning out over the hail pellets that bounced off my porch railings. Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers switched into a feeding frenzy mode at my window feeder in response to my offering of sunflower seeds. They were restless and so was I. I am an unabashed partisan of hiking in almost any weather, even when others would rather stay home. With that thought in mind, I called a friend who would likely be up for an early morning snowy adventure. Forty-five minutes later we were en route on back roads through a world of swirling white to the Lost Lake Nature Preserve, a 537-acre sanctuary that encompasses sections of Oakland County’s Holly Township and Genesee County’s Grand Blanc Township. It first opened to the public in the fall of 2015 and I had been there three times since then, but always as an attendee at official events sponsored by Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy (SMLC) and never in wintery weather. Continue reading