Comeback Towns Worth a Second Look – Part 1: Detroit & Lima, Peru

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September may be back-to-school time, but we think it’s also a great time to plan a getaway.  Beaches are less crowded, lines at popular attractions have vanished and deals abound.  In this month’s series, we’re giving some love to comeback towns.  Get ready to change perspective and take a second look at places, like Detroit, the Jersey Shore, Helen, Georgia, Lima, Peru and more.

Detroit, MI

Detroit Skyline, Photo: (cc) Bernt Rostad

Detroit, Michigan

Once a booming city, thanks to the auto industry, today, when people hear the name “Detroit,” vacant homes and a dwindling population typically come to mind, but the people of Detroit have begun to turn the tide. Artists and entrepreneurs are flocking to Detroit, due in large part to the low cost of living and abundant space in which to work. This influx of transplants has spurred the beginning of a flourishing art scene with folk art spots like Hamtramck Disneyland and The Heidelberg Project gaining traction in the community. But Art is just one small fraction of Detroit’s appeal.

Located right on the banks of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, the natural beauty of the Motor City is something to behold, yet rarely lauded. And, according to roadtrippers.com, a not-to-be-missed attraction sits right in the middle of the Detroit River — Belle Island, the largest city island in America. While you’re there, Belle Island’s Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory boasts an oasis of flora and fauna in stunning contrast to the city’s rugged landscape.

For the curious, there is an eerie mystique and other worldliness associated with the sweeping rows of abandoned buildings that fill parts of Detroit. Different than your average tourist attractions,  the once majestic Michigan Central Station now sits empty and forgotten, but still manages to hold on to some of its former grandeur, and the abandoned Belle Island Children’s Zoo,offers a creepy look back at what used to be a bustling park.

For more information on Detroit’s reemergence as one of America’s finest cities, go to visitdetroit.com.

Miraflores District, Photo: Paragon Expeditions

Lima, Peru

During the 1980s, at the height of the Shining Path movement, Lima, Peru, was not the safest city in the world. Even after the war ended in the 1990s, travelers and tour companies continued to bypass Lima for a number of years and headed straight to the Andes to visit Machu Picchu and other Inca archaeological sites.

In recent years, the Peruvian economy has improved significantly, political stability has returned, and the country is doing better than ever. According to Ryan Weaver of Paragon Expeditions, Lima, in particular, has seen significant growth. “With almost two decades of political stability under its belt, travelers are returning to Lima and discovering what they’ve been missing for all these years. In fact, a number of tour companies and travel agencies – ours included – have started adding Lima extensions to their programs before or after the Andes.”

The city as a whole has a seemingly rejuvenated atmosphere, and each district has its own distinct flare. The food is absolutely incredible. With the cold Humboldt Current running along the coastline and a rich marine life, Lima is blessed with some of the best ceviche in the world. Delicious local Peruvian restaurants abound, and there seems to be an exquisite “Chino” (a mix of Chinese with Latino/Creole/Spanish food) restaurant around every corner.

The Miraflores District is a must-see. The pool at the top of the Orient Express Miraflores Park Hotel boasts absolutely breathtaking views of thePacific Ocean and surrounding city. Weaver says, “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to have a cocktail and watch the sunset.”

The Barranco district has a good, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and features a number of spunky coffee shops, clubs, and colonial buildings. The recently opened Hotel B, is a restored colonial mansion that was built in 1914 and formerly served as a seaside sanctuary for Peruvian politicians. The nearby Bridge of Sighs and the recently opened Mario Testino Photography Exhibition are both worth visiting as well.
Learn more about Lima here.

Check back next week for our second series installment, when we’ll spotlight what to do and where to go in two more terrific comeback towns, the Jersey Shore and Helen, Georgia.

 

 

 

2 Comments on "Comeback Towns Worth a Second Look – Part 1: Detroit & Lima, Peru"

  1. Jane says:

    I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you regarding the re-emergence of Detroit as one of America’s finest cities. Former Mayor Dave Bing wanted to get rid of some of the area that makes up Detroit since they couldn’t provide resources to the city and because of the severe urban blight. Half of th homeowners haven’t paid their property taxes and the city has files for bankruptcy. Not sure that this is the time to call the city in re-emergence – I think it is still in the decline.

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