With Dave taking classes last summer we didn’t get out and enjoy the season together as a family like we wanted to. He’s taking classes again this summer, but we’re not letting it get away from us this year. Dave’s schedule makes it difficult to go away on vacation, so we’re taking a summer long Stay-cation by setting aside at least one day a week to get out and do something together.
West Michigan, where we live, is a great place to travel. We have some of the best beaches in the country. Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids are fabulous cities. You might be surprised by the many museums and cultural opportunities available here. The lake shore is dotted with beach towns filled with antique stores, boutiques and restaurants. We have lots of festivals too.
Tulip Festival Holland, Michigan
I know technically it’s not summer yet, but the weather if finally getting nice. We take advantage of the warm weather when it arrives at last after the long winter. So today after David got home from kindergarten we kicked off Summer Stay-cation ’11, and headed to Holland, home of the world-famous Tulip Festival.
Planning to travel to Michigan? Schedule your trip during Tulip Festival. There are tulips everywhere, and loads of cute photo opps.
When you have two rambunctious little boys there’s no such thing as tiptoeing through the tulips. It’s more like trampling. I think we managed to get out of there without causing any actual damage.
If you’re not familiar with Holland, MI it was settled by Dutch immigrants from the Netherlands. The city is very proud of its Dutch heritage, and celebrates it every year with the Tulip Festival. There are a lot of attractions in the town that highlight Dutch history and culture. We spent most of the day at Windmill Island.
Let’s talk about those pictures up there for a minute. The windmill is 250 years old, and was brought over from the country of Holland in the 1960’s. It still operates today, grinding grain into flour for local businesses and sale in the gift shop. See the photo on the top left? That’s the miller, who’s a woman, standing on one of the windmill blades adjusting it. How would you like that job?
That picture of the boys top middle sitting on an old grind stone? I don’t know how we got lucky enough to get that great shot.
Middle left David is crouching by an old metal beam that was once part of the windmill. If you look closely you’ll see bullet holes in it from WW II. Windmills were used in Holland as lookouts, and hiding places. Millers even communicated through secret code with locals about the Nazis by placing the blades in different positions. It’s one of the reasons why Holland was one of the last countries to fall.
Bottom left Wade is riding on an old carousel that’s also from the country of Holland.
Bottom right we finished off our afternoon with an authentic Dutch dinner. It included Pigs-in-a-blanket – I didn’t know those were Dutch – Pea soup – surprisingly tasty – and something that looked liked doughnut holes filled with apple. I think they’re called Oliebollen. The Dutch are often credited with inventing doughnuts, and for that I am eternally grateful.
The Tulip Festival ends May 14th, but Windmill Island and many of the other tourist attractions are open all summer. Holland sits right on Lake Michigan, and some of those world class beaches. It’s a nice place to visit for a day or a week.
So that’s our first Stay-cation day of 2011. Check back next week to see where we go next!
Disclosure: We’re stay-cationing in West Michigan all summer. Michigan is a great place to travel. Come visit!
All the posts in the West Michigan Staycation Series: