Tulip Time 2019

It rained all last week, we received several inches of rain and spent our days indoors. But thankfully, fantastic weather arrived with the weekend. This past Sunday was a beautiful day in West Michigan and it was the perfect opportunity to check out this year’s tulip festival in Holland, MI. You can learn all about it here.

We live about an hour and a half from Holland, definitely a doable drive but also far enough that we tend to make the trips over there a day long event. We arrived in Holland, along with what seemed like the entire population of Grand Rapids, at about 10:30 in the morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was super pumped to spend some time outdoors with my sweetheart. It was the first weekend of Tulip Time, so there were several activities happening. There was a artisan market in Centennial Park (and at least one proposal of marriage), dancers, live music, a carnival,  food and fun. Hope College was even celebrating graduation that day. We normally go the last day of the festival as a Mother’s Day outing and it’s a much quieter affair; so it was fun to see what it’s like when things have just kicked off.

Tulip Time is a celebration of Dutch heritage; there are windmills, baked goods, wooden shoes and of course the tulips. We spent most of our time walking around town and the parks looking at all the different varieties that were on display.  Many of the residential streets are planted too, so there are a lot of tulips to look at.

img_0204For lunch, we got some take out from Crane’s. It’s a local cafe that has delicious and fresh salads, sandwiches and baked goods. My salad came with grilled apple butter swirl bread. The nice gentlemen sitting next to me on the park bench while I ate seemed a bit envious.

After lunch, we walked around the artisan market and down a few more streets. Then we decided to walk over to the park on Lake Macatawa. On our way to the park, we stumbled upon the Holland location of HopCat. It is a restaurant/beer bar that started in Grand Rapids and now has several locations. They serve the most AMAZING fries. I got them loaded with cheese sauce, onion and jalapeno…sooo good! They also have an impressive tap list (about 77 in all), and to top it all off (for me), they serve the Impossible Burger.

If you don’t know what an Impossible Burger is, it’s a meat-free burger that looks, feels and tastes like the real thing. A while back I developed an allergy to red meat, so I can’t eat lovely things like burgers and steak anymore. This vegan burger patty makes me feel like I’m getting away with something. I’ve really missed the joy that comes from eating a hamburger and fries. Don’t get me wrong, I love black bean burgers but it’s just not the same. Here’s a link to their website, in case you are curious: Impossible Foods Okay sorry, I got really excited about food there for a minute…back to tulip time.

img_0228After the beer and food  pit stop, we finally made it to the park. One of the reasons we went, was to see the tall ship that was docked at a nearby restaurant. The ship is called Friends Good Will and is a Great Lakes sloop that was built in 1810. It is owned and operated by the Michigan Maritime Museum. We weren’t able to get a very close look at it (Primarily because sometimes I’m a cheapskate and didn’t want to pay for tickets, perhaps another time.) but it was still pretty cool to see. There weren’t many tulips at the park but it was nice to be by the lake and just enjoy being alive for a bit.

After the lake, we headed back toward our car. It was about a 2 mile walk so we got to see more tulips, more adorable children dressed in Dutch costumes and hear more music and laughter along the way.

It was a lovely way to spend a beautiful Michigan spring day. If you’ve never been, I would encourage you to check it out for yourself. If you have been to Tulip Time, what did you like best?

Oy! The Weather Up Here!

I love Michigan (*whispers to self repeatedly*).  Seriously, I do love it here and I love the fact that we experience all the seasons nature has to offer. However, riding out the transitions between them can be a little rough. We get what I would call “teasers”, when it comes to our daily forecast, during these transition times. It’s kind of like someone starting to tell you a really, really exciting story and then just saying, “oh never mind, I don’t feel like talking about that right now” and then going back to whatever tired old conversation you were having before.

This is me on April 7th, laying out on my deck:

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BTW: My shirt says, “Lions, Tigers and Beer, Oh MI! I love that shirt.

Don’t I look happy? The sun is shining, I’m not wearing a coat and I have that big, goofy,  “yeah Spring” smile plastered all over my face. But I was deceived. Spring lied to me.

Here is what that same deck looks like today:

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There is no smile on my face today….trust me.

I can certainly complain (obviously), but I shouldn’t be surprised. It happens EVERY year, and if I’m honest that happy lady laying in the sun knew it wouldn’t last…at least not for long. Spring rarely comes and stays on the first visit around these parts. It dips it’s toe in the water a few times before it jumps in all the way. So yeah, that chick on the deck knew, even if she didn’t want to admit it. She was just soaking it up while she had the chance.

Maybe this crazy weather is part of the reason most northerners seem to be so happy go lucky. We know that, in time, even bad situations usually get better. So we are patient and find our joy where we can. Life is just like our weather; if you don’t like it, wait half an hour, it will change.