Monday, October 10, 2011

Marcy's Travel Blog- Wandering Memory Lane in Holland, Michigan (Part 2)

   Continuing from yesterday's post, daughter-in-law Mia was giving me a tour of Holland, a very special place in her heart and childhood memories. Mia's mother and father are from Holland. They met when they were 15 years old. The story goes that Mia's mom was working at a soda fountain. Mia's father came in, bought a soda for 5 cents, and left a 25 cent tip. That was the beginning of their long lasting love affair. After high school, Mia's mother enrolled in Henry Ford Nursing school in downtown Detroit. Mia's father enrolled at Eastern University in Ypsilanti. The rest, as they say, is history!

Future vacation home? On never knows!
   We had gone by the lovely Victorian cottage that Mia vacationed in as a child. Set close together, these beautiful old Victorian cottages are always at risk of fire leaping from one to another to yet another. If there is a fire here, the fire department is hard pressed to get any fire fighting equipment down here, since there are no roads! Yet many of these stand, preserved since the mid- 1800's! We wandered in the opposite direction, and came upon a lovely old cottage for sale! (Hmmm!) Though probably out of my price range, we talked about what fun it would be to have an family summer cottage here. There is a small airport here. My son Steven has his own private plane now, so it would be an easy access from the area he , Mia, and the kids live. Well, everything starts with a dream, right?

 We next wandered 8th street, the main avenue in Holland. We came upon the New Holland Brew Co., where they brew my younger son's favorite beer! (Dragon's Milk!) Needless to say, I had to purchase a couple of bottles for him.

    Mia had read about a restaurant called the "8th Street Grill". So decided to have lunch there. It really is more of a bar than a restaurant, with a long bar, an area of high tables and chairs, booths, and some table seating. Our waitress was Ryann, who seemed pleasant enough. Unfortunately, the food seemed to take quite a while. In speaking to Ryann about it, she said it took 20 minutes from the time she put the order in, which I guess was just about it. All in all, we weren't very impressed, so probably won't be back.
   Our next stop was a MARVELOUS place called The Peanut Store! Walking into this store blew me away. Candy, candy, and more candy! Candy as far as the eye could see! I was pretty concerned to walk into this place with a two year old. This was not going to be good. It was a "fit" in the making! O.k., I will warn you ahead of time. I'm going to sound like a proud Nonna! (Italian for Grandma)
Her first choice was a little sucker. Mama Mia, being wise, suggested she get something "bigger". Her choice? A envelope size bag of jelly beans. On we walked through rows and rows of yummy delight with Payton clutching her bag of jelly beans. No "I wants", no fits, no "Gimme more". Mia and I headed for the chocolate counter. The owner, Mr. Fabiano was there, wrapping chocolate delights for his customers. I purchased a small box of milk chocolate almond clusters. Mia purchased a few things. I was still waiting for two year old Payton to let loose with the "I want!"- but it never came! What a good girl! (Nonna says, smiling proudly!)

   Our next stop was the farmer's market, where Mia said her maternal grandparents use to come to sell flowers and produce. Back then people simply backed their trucks into a line and sold items from the back of their vehicle. Now there are pavilions and a walkway with a long row on each side displaying the bounty of nature. I couldn't resist temptation and purchased fresh green beans, a couple of squash, and some red bell peppers. The prices were wonderfully affordable, and the quality was as good as the price!

   Mia wanted to stop at the gravesite of her paternal grandparents. The cemetery was on the side of a creek. After our visit, Mia told me that her paternal grandparents lived just on the other side of that creek. In the winter she and her brother would slide down the hill, coming to a stop just short of the creek. (On one occasion, the sled did NOT stop, and into the creek they went, sled and all! Can't remember if it was both of them or just her brother - but it's a good story)  Our next stop was the paternal grandparents home where her Uncle now lives. Unfortunately, he was not at home.

   We then stopped at the DeGraaf Nature Center. This center includes nature trails, a little log cabin built to the size of the average log cabin the average settler would have, and a DeGraaf shop and learning center. Walking into the center, we were surprised to find live animals, much to Payton's delight. There were bunnies, snakes, turtles, and a very large cocoon. They also had a large glass bee hive, but the bees have left for the winter. Payton chose a stuffed blue bird that tweets when you hug it. Mia found some really beautiful geodes and rocks for my grandson Evan's rock collection. The gentleman who was at the nature learning center was friendly and helpful. Thank you for all the information, Sir! (I failed to get his name, so now give my apologies!)

   Before heading out of town, Mia showed me where her Maternal Grandparents had lived, where they retired to, and where that Grandmother lived after the Grandfather passed away. We next went to the cemetery where they are buried. All the stones here are flush with the ground. We saw that the grass was growing up over the marble portion of the headstone, so pulled grass and cleaned the stone a bit.

Mia's childhood vacation spot- note the turret!
   As we headed out of town, Mia said she wanted us to return with her mother during the Tulip Festival next spring. Yes! The ladies let loose in lovely Holland for a long weekend. Sounds like fun to me!
   As we drove home, Mia noted that there are ways that my Granddaughter and I are alike. I'm more of a mover and a shaker than a sitter, and so is Payton. As we rode in the car, I eventually started tapping my foot. Mia said Payton was doing the same. Payton's car seat was directly behind Mia's, and she could feel the tapping, and it was almost in sync with mine! Oh my! Genetics! I had to smile. Perhaps this little mover and shaker will someday also love to travel, and even write about it! Who knows! Any thing's possible!

   Starting tomorrow I will be exploring Livingston County. I've lived here for many years, but realize there are many gems of interest out there to be explored. I hope you will follow along for my next set of adventures! Until then, smile often, love much, and forgive easily!

                           "Life is an adventure, even when it's a bumpy ride!"

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