Spend 24 Hours in Midland with Kevin LaDuke

Kevin LaDuke, who serves as communications officer for the Midland Area Community Foundation, loves Midland - and he isn’t just saying that.

“How great is it to live somewhere where you can have a great dinner, watch a minor league baseball game and have drinks afterwards, all within walking distance?” he says.

After growing up in Beaverton, Kevin graduated from Delta College with degrees in electronic media broadcasting, film, and creative writing. After that, he spent a few years working as a video production assistant for MCTV before landing his current position at the Community Foundation.

In these roles, Kevin has been witness to the exciting changes that are made possible with a collaborative approach to community development.

After years of working and living in Midland, Kevin has honed in on his favorite spots across town, which he feels that any 24-hour visit to town should include. Here are his suggestions:

9 a.m. Coffee at Live Oak Coffeehouse

Coffee, black at Live Oak
After walking the half mile distance from his home, Kevin places his regular order at Live Oak - a simple black coffee. But he visits the shop just as much for the atmosphere as for the food and drink. “I’m big on places that are built for people to gather,” he says.

He holds a special appreciation for the business Renee and Aaron Deckrow have built at Live Oak. “It’s been a major catalyst for everything that’s happening in Midtown,” he says.

10 a.m. Walk along Rail Trail, Visit the Tridge

Morning walk on the Tridge
Kevin likes to spend as much time traveling on foot as possible, and this often includes a walk along the Rail Trail. And no matter how many times he stops at the Tridge, he still finds himself returning to take in the view of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers as they converge.

Another spot to visit along the Rail Trail is the M-20 bridge mural, which was completed in July of 2021. The project was commissioned by the Midland Area Community Foundation, and Kevin is thrilled with the way the piece turned out.

11 a.m. Retail therapy

Browsing at Little Forks Outfitters
Just a short walk from the Tridge, Kevin likes to pop into Little Forks Outfitters to see what’s new. “If I want to buy a new Patagonia jacket, I’ll look at Little Forks before looking online,” he says.

12 p.m. Lunch on Main Street
Fresh pizza @ Pizza Baker
Pizza Baker is his recommendation for a delicious downtown lunch. He likes to order the Heat Wave, a pie featuring tomato sauce, crushed red pepper, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, garlic, jalapeño, and hot honey drizzle. He also asks for added sweety drop peppers.

1:30 p.m. Workout at Community Center
New Midland Community Center under construction
Fueled by the power of good food, Kevin recommends making a trip to the Greater Midland Community Center for a game of pickup basketball. He says he looks forward to seeing the new look of the Community Center, once its current construction project is completed.

3 p.m. A feast for the eyes
Center for the Arts
After a great workout, it’s the perfect time to take in some great art, and there’s no better place to do so than the Midland Center for the Arts. And for the younger ones, the Center is currently offering interactive and hands-on STEM Exhibits to stimulate their curiosity and sense of exploration.

Evening-Dinner at the ballgame
Loons Opening Day is on April 8.
Kevin loves walking over to Dow Diamond after work to take in a Loons game. “We’re so lucky to have our very own minor league baseball team,” he says. While you’re there, you might as well order some great ballpark food for dinner. What’s Kevin’s go-to meal at Dow Diamond? A Stadium Dog and popcorn. “If it’s a close game and I need something to calm my nerves, I’ll also make a trip to the Dippin' Dots,” he adds.

Time for a night cap
Three Bridges Distillery opened in 2022.
And after dinner and a game, a short walk will bring you to one of downtown Midland’s newest businesses - Three Bridges Distillery. Kevin likes to stop in from time to time, and his usual order is a bourbon, neat.

That’s how Kevin LaDuke would recommend you spend 24 hours in Midland, though there’s even more to explore. As Kevin puts it, “It really is a great place to live.”

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Read more articles by Katy Kildee.

Katy Kildee, a Flint native, is a freelance photojournalist and she teaches part-time at her alma mater, CMU. She was the staff photographer for five years at the Midland Daily News. She hopes to further develop her passion and skill as a visual storyteller while continuing to learn as much as she can about the world around her.