Saturday, July 14, 2018
Hipcamp and Food Field
I was looking for a place to stay close to downtown Detroit when I saw Hipcamp mentioned on CRVLing. The concept is similar to Airbnb but rustic – tent camping, primitive RV camping, yurts, and cabins, Every site is different so you must check carefully before booking. Prices run from inexpensive to more than we’d ever pay. :-D
There aren’t many camping opportunities close to Detroit but I found a nice place on Hipcamp that is only 4.5 miles from the Cultural Center Historic District where all of the museum are located and about 8 miles from the center of downtown. It’s an urban farm started by a couple of young guys in 2011. It’s shady, green, peaceful, and somewhat isolated from the neighborhood streets by tall maple and oak trees. There's a little traffic noise from the freeway. Some streets in the surrounding area have empty lots and boarded up houses but on other streets, the houses are all occupied and well cared for.
The hosts are friendly and busy with the farm work. Most of the produce is already promised to customers who participate in a weekly food box program but we did buy some fresh zucchini and lettuce. The parking area is small so our 25’ motorhome is about the limit.
We drove through Detroit a few years ago so the deterioration of the neighborhoods north of downtown didn’t shock us too much. It’s a problem with no easy solution that started in the 1950s when the big auto companies moved to the suburbs. White workers moved to the suburbs. Black workers were unwelcome in the new communities and stayed in the city. The population of the city dropped by 2/3 from a high of 1,800,000 people. Houses and businesses were abandoned. Many of them were set on fire. The city has torn down others but clearing out all of the abandoned buildings is a huge job that will take years. That being said we drove all over the city for four day using surface streets between I – 96 and I-75 and didn’t feel unsafe. We would definitely visit again and stay on the farm again too. Food Field 42.38532, -83.1033