Last week, I was in Michigan to spend my birthday with family and friends. My cousin lives there, and has the cutest daughter ever! We went for a fun lunch, and fun dinner.
I also decided to treat myself to a show – I got swept away in the world of magic and wonder- Aladdin is a highly recommended show- go for it. And if you don’t want to spend loads of money, go buy tickets at Hottix. I got lucky with a pretty good seat.
Anyway, for the weekend, we decided to drive out to Holland, Michigan.
I am not sure if Ive told you, but Michigan is quickly becoming my go to vacation state – probably, I’ve just visited in the right months, but I am really loving the green, and the relaxed environment.
Holland is on western Michigan, not on lake Michigan, but on Lake Macatawa – which is connected to Lake Michigan. It is about a three hour drive from Chicago – with moderate stops.
The purpose of out trip was relaxation, so we had a late start – around 10:30 from the city. We loaded up the car- my cousin, BIL, little baby princess and us – and off we drove. When the four of us are together, we are always, always, always hungry. So out first bite stop was at this amazing bakery –Harbert Swedish Bakery. My cousin had the donut, and I have some cookies. YUMMMM
We also stopped at Baguette de France, St Joseph for very tasty sandwiches. But the highlight of this drive was The Chocolate Garden for the most sumptuous truffles. They have many many flavors – I loved the Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, The Dark Chocolate Orange and some more- I was on a chocolate high by then.
I must say, they are on the pricier side, so we bought only four truffles, and did two tastings, which we shared amongst four of us. For the tasting- you can choose 3 flavors, and they will give you about half a truffle for each flavor. But the truffles are so rich, that you really can’t eat more than that at a time.
We finally made it to Holland by about five in the evening. We were staying at the Marriott Courtyard, which is a brand new hotel, and pretty nice I’d say.
A little bit of history before we get on: The Dutch Calvanist Separatists,under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte, emigrated to Holland Mi, from the Netherlands in 1847, when economic conditions were getting worse back home. Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte. The religion influence is very strong around town. So much so that, even some coffee shops and restaurants are closed to observe a day of rest. Read more.
My first impression of this little town – it’s am eclectic town, clearly filled with out of towners – mostly from Chicago, I presume. There are plenty of eating places. and yet, it managed to maintain a small town feel.
After a quick freshening up, we decided to walk to Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant, on Lake Macatawa. It was about a 20-25 min walk. Half of which was through the downtown- a few blocks. The second half of the walk made us slightly uncomfortable because the roads were completely empty, and the homes didn’t seem to have lights on as yet. But I think we were being extra careful because we had a little baby with us.
Boatwerks is clearly a very popular dining place – we realized that as we walked into the full parking lot, and immediately regretted calling ahead of time. The wait for sitting inside was about forty five mins, and the wait for outside tables (which we would have loved) was two hours. We decided to actually wait instead of walking back for 25 mins and looking for another place.
The sun was getting ready to set, and the twilight hues were soothing. people were just enjoying this beautiful summer evening. There were jet skiers on the water, some boats too. families on the banks. And as a bonus- a HUGE cargo ship was making its way.
We noticed that across the lake there were huge mansions nestled by the banks. However, right close to the restaurant, there was some sort of a gravel plant. Apparently, one side of the lake has caught the attention of million dollar home owners, where as the other side is more of a poor cousin – leaving a less than pleasant view from those homes. Wonder why?
Dinner was just fantastic. My cousin had a bean burger with house chips. My BIL had a chicken burger – very tasty too. It came with sweet potato fries. My husband and I shared vegetarian Moroccan tagine and a plate of bruschetta with bakes goat cheese and a smoked red pepper relish. Everything was perfect. And surprisingly very well priced. It is also very important to note that the service was great too. The restaurant was clearly busy, but the wait staff was welcoming, and prompt.
The walk back was strangely less uncomfortable- houses had lights. and since my BIL is an architect, we started discussing homes, architecture and dreamt of life in a town like this.
Next morning my husband and I woke up pretty early. He decided to head to the gym, while I decided to explore the area on a walk. It was seven in the morning, and you will not believe how quiet it was- almost like a ghost town. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it. There are plenty of churches and church buildings. The landscape is gorgeous, and very well kept. The library is very grand. I did not take my phone, so no photos I am sorry.
I had already identified the coffeeshop I wanted to explore – but it opened only at eight! No problem, by then, my husband was done with the gym, and the little princess and my cousin were up too. There is nothing like sitting by a small quaint coffeeshop and catching up on a Sunday morning. One of my most favorite things to do!
Lemonjello’s is a great coffeeshop. Their cinnamon roll and blueberry muffin were super fresh and super tasty. Coffee was great too. I do not remember what they served – but it was refreshing. They also sell cool paintings – my cousin bought two for her daughter’s room.
Breakfast was an expedition. Firstly, there are few places than I would expect in a touristy town. I really liked a place based on Yelp reviews. Biscuit was a mile away 0 so about 10 mins by car. The wait was 45 mins! We did put in our names, but we weren’t so sure we wanted to wait. So, as we meandered around town looking at gorgeous homes, we decided to go to the other side of town to another yelp based breakfast place. This is where the Walmarts and TJ Maxxs are located. Even though we had called ahead of time, we needed to wait for our table, so guess what!!!! we decided to drive back to Biscuit as it looked a million times better and we figured that by the time we got back, our change would be up. This plan worked out perfectly. As soon as we parked, they called our name.
The Biscuit is one of the major reasons I would go back to Holland!!! It is a gem. Every Thing tasted fantastic.When food arrives at the table, and everybody stops talking – its usually a great sign. The food was soooo good. The namesake biscuits were soft, the raisin and cranberry bread was great. I had the mediterranean scramble. I think a visit to The Biscuit is a must, while in Holland.
After this heavenly breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, walked around town a little bit more, and then, headed back. On the way, we stopped and picked black berries, which I carried back to LA, and turned into a cobbler!