Parks, Outdoor Dining Provide Family-Friendly Fun This Season

By: Karen Dybis | December 18, 2020
Family Activities

Photo Courtesy of John F. Martin Photography.

As the old cliché goes, we live in interesting times. Yet there are many opportunities in the area to have delicious carry-out meals, to come together in a heated igloo to enjoy a beverage and toast the season, to enjoy a holiday light show or to perhaps honor the time with a unique photograph that makes you smile when you think of this highly unusual year rather than grimace. 

That is exactly what John F. Martin is going to do and, as a Metro Detroit photographer of note, what he hopes the rest of the world will do as well. Martin is a Grosse Pointe Woods-based photographer who specializes in family “porch” photo sessions during the pandemic, but he works with huge Fortune 500 companies and many others for the rest of his business life. 

In other words, when he’s not shooting pictures of CEOs and boards of directors, Martin loves to take portraits of his family, his dog, his community and of nature. He is scheduling special photography sessions for the holidays as well, hoping to bring families together through his lens in a new and interesting way. 

“I always book a lot of family sessions around the holidays. It’s often the only time of year when kids come home from their other lives. And sadly, I’m often thought of because elderly or sick family members might not make it to the next year’s gatherings,” Martin said. 

With best-in-class cargo space, top of the line safety features, and cutting edge technology, the Chevy Suburban is perfect for any family. See the Suburban's available features that can keep up with your family's lifestyle.

This year, for the first time ever, he will be offering holiday porch sessions. These outdoor-based sessions let people assemble more casually but also bring everyone into focus in a way that is both important and timely. He hopes families look at getting their picture done together as fun rather than a chore, like having to put on a suit and tie rather than their everyday wear. 

“People always ask me what to wear and I always tell them not to tie themselves to a theme or holiday wear. The images should be timeless, not ‘time-y.’ Of course, If someone wanted to do an ugly Christmas sweater theme or other goofy idea, I’d be game,” Martin said. 

He’s also open to trying to find a new place to take a family portrait within reason this season, so his work will be all over the place, so to speak. 

“Locations are tough during times of Covid, so we will be doing our best to stay safe and distanced when required. Outside is always preferable and thankfully there are many public spaces that are decorated well for the holidays,” Martin said. 

Here are some other family-focused activities you may want to try together as a group this holiday season. 

Winter hike

Before Metro Detroit’s weather becomes too frightful, get everyone into their favorite winter boots and head out to a local park. There are beautiful hiking trails around the Metro Detroit county parks, including short hikes around Stoney Creek, are a great way to get some exercise and work off all of that tasty holiday baking. The Detroit RiverWalk also has great activities planned in the Robert C. Valade Park.


Light shows

Metro Detroit has some amazing light shows around downtown Detroit as well as in the suburbs. One nationally known show is the Big, Bright Light Show in Rochester. The lights on all of the downtown storefronts are dazzling, making the whole area feel like something out of a Hallmark movie. 

Outdoor dining

If you seek a pleasant igloo, look around you. There are many outdoor dining options around Metro Detroit for people in a socially distanced pod together to enjoy a meal. For example, Bobcat Bonnie  in Detroit has winter igloos where you can dine in style while enjoying drinks and a full dinner.

Dog parks

Your favorite pooch will never say “no” to a long outdoor walk. Find a day that has some sunshine and head out for a walk that gives both of you new energy. Dog parks also are a great way to socialize while keeping six feet apart. Your dogs will thank you with a long nap when they get home. Check out the dog parks in Midtown or Capitol Park for a great place to meet new pets and their friendly owners.