We're finally settled in and comfortable after De and I took a couple of days of rest and relaxation. We spent the better part of two days, with one night in between, in Holland Michigan midway up the eastern side of Lake Michigan. Mostly we were just looking for the two of us to get away, and it didn't really matter all that much where we went. Thursday morning we drove up (we're about 2 1/2 hours away) and started with the "touristy" things. We first went to Windmill Island Gardens.
This is a pretty little park with a working wheat-grinding windmill imported many years ago from The Netherlands. (They are now considered national treasures and they have not allowed export of the genuine articles for a long, long time.) It's a six story structure to the top of the building (with something like 15 foot stories) and you can get a tour of the first four. The upper two stories are too filled with big ironwood wooden gears and such to safely allow the general public to crawl through.
There are a small handful of touristy exhibits and shops on the property. During tulip season there are several acres of tulips in bloom, but we missed that by over a month. It took about 2 hours to go through the whole place and it was well worth the $8 ticket (each) at the gate. I wouldn't drive 2 1/2 hours just to see it, but if you're in the area, I'd consider it a "don't miss" destination.
The next touristy place we went was a place called Nelis Dutch Village. It turned out to be a tourist trap in the worst sense of the word. For a $10 entrance fee (each) you get to see some truly run down 60s era exhibits, a petting zoo with a small flock of caged silky chickens, a couple of goats, an ancient white turkey, and a few rabbits. (The other animals are plastic!) You get to shop in their gift shop plaza and, if you have little kids, risk their lives on some run down looking kiddy rides.
We stayed at a wonderful little bed and breakfast called The Crimson Cottage. After checking in we went into the Holland downtown district. By chance, Thursday nights in the summer is their 'happenin' night and over a 4 or 5 block stretch there were a dozen or street performers doing their thing. We had a nice traditional Irish meal at an Irish Pub there, and just strolled around occasionally walking through some of the interesting specialty shops. That evening we stopped at Tunnel Park on Lake Michigan just a couple miles from where we stayed and watched the sun go down over the lake.
Friday we did some antique shopping, and visited a very nice little dollhouse miniature place called Wee Dollhouse Shoppe. We had a wonderful visit with the owner and De bought a few hard to find items. Check out her blog at De-Lightful Minis (I have a link on my sidebar) to see some very cool work. She's currently working on a project commissioned by a cousin for her daughter.
It was great to get away, even if it was for just one night. It helps you disengage from the daily grind and 'reset' your perspective on what is really important: The God of all creation, the mate He gave you to bless your life, your family, and just how nice it is to get back to a place of your own. I am blessed!