If there ever was a city that has survived itself like a Phoenix, it may be Mt. Clemens, Michigan. When I was a kid, I used to hear tales of my Grandfather walking across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan and catching an interurban line to Mt. Clemens. Back in the day Mt. Clements was known for their mineral baths and at one time there were eleven bathhouses and several hotels to cater to this industry. Not only my Grandfather, but celebrities from Burlesque, the Silver Screen and the Sports world traveled there for the therapeutic values of the waters. I have read, never having been there, that even today there are villages in Europe that still draw people for the spas. Of course back in the day, the city was also known in whispers for the card games that went on, and of course there was even mention of ladies of easy virtue that plied their trade as well. Through the years this part of Mt. Clemens has all but disappeared, and there is only one bathhouse left and it is a private concern and it may even close or be closed. The city has been rediscovered and has a life of its own with a strong night life.
As they used to say in Journalism class, I may have dropped the “lead,” because what is Feather Bowling? Feather Bowling is this unique “sport” that is kind of a cross between Bocce Ball and Shuffleboard, with wobbly wooden wheels that look like a cheese wheel or a malformed disc in Curling that is rolled down a long valley of dirt and at each end is a feather and the goal is to get the ball closest to the feather. This game originated in the Flanders area of Belgium and for years the only place one could go to play it was at the Cadieux Café in Detroit. We had a group of forty-two getting together during the holiday week, and this venue would not be able to handle our crowd plus their usual crowd and that is how we ended up in Mt. Clemens as there is now another venue that is huge and has three carpeted alleys for Feather Bowling.
We ended up at the Bath City Bistro and had rented an alley for three hours with this crowd. While this building was not originally a bathhouse it had many pictures of Mt. Clemens in the heyday of the bathhouses. There were numerous tables to handle all of our group, and I know that just at our table we had dishes of steak bites, chicken tenders, botanas, burgers, salmon, perch, ribs, pizza and of course an obligatory tub of mussels that should be the “official” food for playing Feather Bowling. The food was excellent for this type of party, and all of it went. I can only speak of the table that I was at, but there were some enjoying beer and cocktails, but at our table there were a couple of bottles of wine as well. We had a bottle of William Hill Estate Winery Chardonnay Central Coast 2013. The label said everything about this California wine, and I have had some of their “library” collection wines in the past as well. We also had a bottle of Llama Old Vine Malbec 2013. This wine is a blend of grapes from Alto Agrelo Valley and Lujan de Cuyo and the winery is in Mendoza, Argentina. These were two better than average wines to be found, and were enjoyed by the wine drinkers at our table as we watched the bowlers, and by the end of the night, some of them were getting quite good at the sport.