Weekend Getaway in Holland, Michigan
Savor a little European flavor in the Lake Michigan shore town of Holland, Michigan—no passport required.
In 1964, the city of Holland (30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids) purchased what turned out to be the best landmark this Michigan town of 33,000 could hope for: a Dutch windmill built in 1761. Today, visitors can watch it grind grain into flour at Windmill Island Gardens, a lush 36-acre patchwork of canals, dikes, wetlands and gardens. Nearby, re-created Dutch shops sell wooden shoes and delftware, as well as imported foods. Want even more European charm? Have lunch on a patio at Alpenrose Restaurant and Cafe, or stop by DeBoer's Dutch Brothers Bakery, a family-owned business with 200 years of experience baking traditional crisp, buttery krakelingen cookies.
Later, take a tour of New Holland Brewing Company. Then for dinner, order a potato-bacon pizza and a pint of brown ale at the brewpub's restaurant. The brewery stands just a block from the chic new City Flats Hotel, an ecofriendly boutique property with bamboo-fiber bed sheets and recycled-glass bathroom counters.
It's worth getting up early to savor a quiet morning on the golden sand beach at Holland State Park, 8 miles west of downtown. You could spend the day here-changing in the park's pavilion when the day warms up, snagging a hot dog at the concession stand, snapping photos of the picturesque lighthouse-or venture back into town. Pick up a bottle of wine at Butch's wine shop or grab a bite to eat: sandwiches, soups and salads at lunchtime and a fine-dining menu in the evening. Be sure to save a few hours to shop. The Holland Peanut Store sells an array of candy and nuts; Tikal draws women with gauzy sundresses and chunky jewelry; and SandCastle for Kids offers a great selection of timeless toys. End your weekend getaway with dinner at the hotel's CityVu Bistro, a rooftop restaurant serving flatbread pizzas, steak, seafood and pasta. Its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the spinning blades of Holland's iconic windmill.
For more information, contact the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 506-1299; holland.org