My family spent the day at Belle Isle yesterday, and I took plenty of photos, not only of the kids but of the island itself. There are scenes in Hidden that take place on Belle Isle in Lost Girl, Broken, and Strife. I thought it might be fun to share the actual place that inspired a few scenes from the series.
What is Belle Isle?
Belle Isle is an island in the Detroit River. It is connected to the city of Detroit via the MacArthur Bridge, and is owned by the City of Detroit. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York’s Central Park — in fact, this was supposed to be Detroit’s Central Park). The island encompasses 1.5 square miles of wooded areas, golf courses,water slides, beaches, and other attractions. It recently came under the supervision of the State of Michigan, and has been added to our MetroParks system.
Belle Isle Places
So, you get onto the island via the MacArthur Bridge from Jefferson Avenue:
Once you get there, you can take a scenic route along the water, or you can make your way to the interior of the island where you’ll find the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which opened in 1904 and was designed by Albert Kahn. It houses one of the world’s largest municipally-owned orchid collections.
There are several different “rooms” in the conservatory, with certain ones devoted to particular climates, such as tropical or desert.
Next door to the Whitcomb Conservatory is the Belle Isle Aquarium, which also opened in 1904. I absolutely adore this building. It’s not large, but every part of it gives you something amazing to look at:
Driving around the island, you see several fishing piers, beaches, and lagoons.
And then, driving a little further along, you see this area, along the waterfront.
There are benches here, and parking on the street. This is the exact spot I envisioned Molly and Nain sitting during the scene in Lost Girl after they face the pyro and Molly steals his powers. The scene in which Nain realizes how well the two of them could work together.
I loved writing that scene. Sigh.
It’s also the spot Molly goes back to visit in Broken, when she’s screwed up over the feelings she’s developing toward Brennan.
So all of that is awesome. And then, there’s the abandoned zoo.
It’s been abandoned for over ten years. And it sits there, going feral. This location is pretty significant in book four. Here’s a peek at the exterior of the zoo. I’ll be writing more about this after Strife is out.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek at another prominent location from Hidden. I remarked to my husband that it’s funny: I have almost as many fiction-based memories of Belle Isle as real ones.
Thanks for reading!