Meandering Michigan Series: Grand River Avenue Towns, Howell, Michigan

The third stop on the Michigan Meandering of Grand River Avenue is Howell, Michigan.  While Howell is home to the Annual Melon Festival, it is also home to a charming downtown that's great for shopping, eating, and meandering around.

Downtown Howell
Of course, we have to highlight the Heart of Michigan Store first.  So far, in all our Meanders, this store has one of the best selection of Made in Michigan products. Products include clothing, jewelry, home décor, bath & body, books, food, treats, pet products and one of our favorites, Lake Art.

If you visit the online store, they offer lots of fun Michigan gift baskets and boxes which include famous brands like Faygo, Jiffy, Better Made, Win Scheulers Cheese, Vernors or sports themed gifts with MSU, Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and others. You can also select sets that include Michigan cutting boards with cheese and sausage, nuts, popcorns, jams, jellies, or maple syrup. You can make your own gift box too.

In addition to selling Michigan Products, the store also bakes Pasties fresh daily and sell Michigan Brews and Wines from these Michigan vineyards:  Howell's Main Street Winery, Black Star Farms, Leelanau Cellars, Chateau Grand Traverse, Burgdorf's Winery, and Tabor Hill Winery.

Encore 118 is one of our new favorite stops in Downtown Howell. Tom and Cathy Bateman are the owners and they previously owned a similar store in Holly, Michigan. In addition to paints and furniture, Encore 118 offers a variety of home décor, clothing, accessories, jewelry and soaps. Many of the products in the store are made in Michigan.  Encore 118 sells Kid Rock's Made in Detroit Brand, as well as products from Detroit Scroll, and cards by Frank and Funny, cards by stand-up comics.

Much of the furniture in the store is repurposed, found at garage sales or estate sales. We could spend all day reading and looking at the fun painted signs. They have very unique and interesting sayings. We took lots of pictures. The Bateman's also offer painting workshops in the back of the store.

The Carriage House is a long-time favorite of Michigan Girl.  If you are looking for something unique, fun, or to give as a gift and you can't figure out what to give, this is the place for you. Although I was unaware, Carriage House also offers flower arrangements and based on reviews from many brides, prices are affordable and the arrangements are beautiful.

Carriage House offers cards, recipe books, wedding gifts, candles, novelties, jewelry, home décor, and things you just don't find elsewhere.  They also sell Michigan Home products from The Home T.

Zen Artisan Boutique
The Zen Artisan Boutique sells home décor, gifts, and their own spa products. While there we purchased handmade soap and a fibromyalgia tea for family member.  Zen also sells products from Kerns Wood Works, Alphabetical Architecture, and Clayton Hill Studio Kiln Fused Glass.

 Whether you are looking for cupcakes, cannolis, cheesecakes, chocolate popcorn pizza, smores on a stick, other tasty chocolate treats or maybe chocolate shaped like a high heel stiletto, a curling iron, a baby rattle, or any other occasion, The Chocolate Boutique is the place to go.

The Roost & Company is a unique Antique & Vintage store that also sells handmade  gifts. You can find  furniture including their own custom made furniture, glassware , handmade scarfs and jewelry,  signs, and more.

Jerry, one of the co-owners, started and sells Rat Rod Art, furniture and home décor created from automotive pieces and parts. This line started when a customer asked him to make a coffee table out of an old truck tailgate. The Roost & Co. has a second store in Stockbridge, Michigan.

If you are an avid knitter, you may have heard of Stich in Time in Howell. Owner Charlene Hatfield is a certified instructor from the Yarn Council of America and has been in Howell for over 25 years. She teaches classes in knitting, tatting, needlepoint, crochet, cross-stitch, and weaving. The store offers a wide variety of quality yarns. 

Diamonds is known for steak, seafood, and cocktails as well as an award-winning Executive Chef and award winning Bartender. Diamonds won the 2015 Livingston Daily's Top Eatery Worth the Drive award and the 2014 First Place for Taste of Livingston by the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce award.

With so many awards, you'd think the prices would be outrageous, while we wouldn't say it's cheap, the prices are realistic for this type of menu. Our favorite items on the menu are Spinach Dip and the Mac N Cheese, both are hot, cheesy, creamy and very satisfying.

While dinning, be sure to look at the unique pictures on the wall, like this one from the early 1900's showing patients of Dr. Erwin.

If you are looking for an authentic Irish Pub, a relaxed place to have a drink and burger, fried fish and chips, or lobster mac n cheese, Cleary's Pub is a great choice. Every Friday and Saturday, Cleary's has live entertainment.  Also, when the weather is nice, Cleary's sets up tables out front so you can relax and enjoy downtown Howell.

Mr. B's is great place to get a salad, burger, sandwich, soup as well as beef stroganoff, braised pork shoulder, perch, salmon, or mac n cheese with add ins of pork shoulder or Maine lobster.  Like Clearly's, Mr. B's also sets up tables out front.

Unfortunately, one of our very favorite stops for dinning, the Copper Pickle, closed a few years ago. It was a deli style restaurant. One of the best things there was the homemade butter. We've been told that the owners still sell their butter at the Howell Farmers Market from time to time.

Other notable places to eat are the 2 Fogs Pub, Block Brewing Company, Hog Wild BBQ, Mexicalli Allies, and the Uptown Coffee House.

Historic Attractions

As we travel Michigan, we really enjoy seeing all the historic train depots. Howell's Train Depot Museum and Caboose are great stops with plenty of history and through restoration, are a beautiful site.  The Depot was built in 1886 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the State of Michigan's Register.

Howell's Carnegie District Library is also a Historic Michigan Site, not to mention a beautiful building. The original architect for the library was E.E. Myers who also designed the Michigan State Capitol. He was contacted in 1902 to design the Library, and it was officially opened in 1906. The library build was funded by Andrew Carnegie. The Library was restored and expanded in 1989, the process took three years and it was re-opening in 1991. The expansion took the building from 8,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet.

Outside of Town

Even the novice antiquers will spend a good hour walking through the building making it to all the booths.  One of the most interesting and unique booths we found had women's hats, clothing and jewelry. The hats and clothing were in great shape and were being sold for very reasonable prices.

To see all of the pictures from our Meander around Howell, see the full album on the Michigan Girl Facebook Page.

More to come from the mind of ...

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