Update: Travel Writer Talks Up Detroit Beyond Fodor's 'Go Right Now' Article

July 13, 2013, 9:18 AM by  Alan Stamm

Globe-trotter Dana McMahan, who touts Detroit at Fodor's travel site as worth seeing "right now," also posts a Facebook album with three dozen photos from a six-day visit with her husband, Brian.

Dana McMahan trains with Khali Sweeney, founder of the Downtown Boxing Gym. [Photos from Facebook]

Colorful images include eight from Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project, plus shots of Astro Coffee, Supino's, Nest on West Canfield, Shinola, Motor City Brewing Works, the Dequindre Cut, the Joe Louis fist sculpture and – who can resist? – Michigan Central Station.

McMahan, a hard-core fitness buff who writes about that topic as well, got jab and uppercut pointers from coach Khali Sweeney, founder of the nationally admired Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program.

The widely published freelancer, who lives in Louisville and has a restaurant column in that city's Courier-Journal newspaper, also shares appreciative words at her personal Facebook page:

It's easy to pick on a city that's had some hard times, especially if you haven't been. I bought the hype about Detroit, completely avoiding it -- until I decided to see for myself and spent almost a week up there last month. Now I can't wait to go back and watch this very cool city as it reinvents itself. 

On her separate professional page, she says:

If you haven't been to Detroit lately you are missing out. Get yourself there now and see why I loved it! 

Consider that meaningful praise from a 38-year-old writer who was in Florence, Italy, in April and is planning a trip to Bali.

Her Fodor's write-up apparently has an impact already. "I have been thrilled to hear from folks who say they are interested in going to Detroit now," the writer says in an email to Deadline Detroit, sent after Wednesday's summary here of her report.

McMahan welcomes tips for off-the-radar spots to hit in September when she returns for a Lions game. "I'd love to have your suggestions on what do see and do beyond the ho-hum," her message says, so we toss it out here.

Post suggestions as a comment below, or on a thread about this article at our Facebook page, and we'll relay them.

Wednesday article:

A new post at the Fodor's "travel intelligence" site has 14 paragraphs of good stuff about Detroit. Any resident, downtown worker or semi-regular visitor likely knows most or all of what's in freelancer Dana McMahan's post.

But if you think we'd bypass an item headlined "5 Reasons to Go to Detroit Right Now," wake up and smell the java at Roasting Plant or Astro Coffee. (Yes, they and nine other places get a shout in Reason No. 5: "The Food Scene.")

Dana McMahan: "I can't wait to go back."

It also hasn't gotten old -- as if it ever will -- to read this echo at a national site, especially one advising tourists:

It's time to replace the images of crime and strife with one of the grassroots spirit sweeping the city . . . [where people] are leading an extraordinary charge to reinvent their town.

Reason No. 4  to check out Detroit is "All-Season Sports," though McMahan must have filed her report before Le Rouge (aka Detroit City Football Club) ascended to the top of minor league soccer standings in regular season play. She does give a travel writer's obligatory nod to feather bowling, though. 

Here are the other categories with evidence of why outsiders should come:

  1. The Art: DIA, Heidelberg Project and the African Bead Museum on Grand River. (Ah, so perhaps you don't know it all!)
  2. Motown and More: Hitsville, U.S.A and Baker's Keyboard Lounge.
  3. Living History: Two Detroit museums and you-know-where in Dearborn.

If that all seems obvious, so will the lone lodging recommendation: the Westin Book Cadillac, rather than Ferry Street Inn or Hostel Detroit as an alternative for young budget travelers who should go to Detroit right now.

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