Happiest Seaside Town

Recently two of my favorite things came together in a most unexpected and delightful way. My absolute favorite magazine – Coastal Living – announced that my favorite town in Michigan – Grand Haven – had been named the 2017 Happiest Seaside Town in America!

Grand Haven beat out nine other cities across the country and was the only town on the list that isn’t actually anywhere near an ocean. Coastal Living ranks each town using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which includes percentage of sunny days, healthiness of beaches, walkability and more.

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When the contest was announced back in September, I shared the link on Facebook and must have voted a thousand times. Although not technically a seaside town, Grand Haven rests on beautiful Lake Michigan, which looks like it could be the ocean (minus the salt and sharks). And Grand Haven has plenty of “coastal vibe,” one of the traits Coastal Living looks for when ranking. Plus the community has fun activities all year long, great restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating, some awesome fireworks displays, and of course we can’t leave out the one-and-only musical fountain.

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You’re probably wondering how these two things all came together in my little world. On Friday, January 27, Grand Haven was announced as the winner of the Coastal Living contest, which was of course very exciting and wonderful. But it just so happened that Rich and I were spending that weekend at the lakehouse because we wanted to check out some of Grand Haven’s Winterfest activities. However, it was bitterly cold that Saturday morning, and there were WAY more people going to the event than we expected, so we opted instead to spend some time shopping in downtown Grand Haven.

While we were in one of the local shops, we overheard a group of women telling the sales clerk they were from Coastal Living magazine and were in town to spread the news about the win. I immediately beelined over and butted into joined the conversation.

Well, they were as friendly and enthusiastic as I could have hoped, and we had a lovely chat. Rich and I were about to leave and then I decided I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for a picture. Naturally, they were totally game and we all grabbed Stormy Kromer hats from a display and gathered around for a photo.

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The editors of Coastal Living and me modeling Stormy Kromer hats in Buffalo Bob’s

I wish I’d thought to give one of them my business card. But I did meet the director of the Grand Haven Visitors Bureau, and now we’re friends on Facebook. Coastal Living is returning to Grand Haven in late July to participate in Coast Guard Festival and I’m already fantasizing about having them join us for a ride on the Just Like Heaven and then all of us becoming lifelong friends. ❤

To read the Coastal Living story, visit here. And be sure to look for the feature story on Grand Haven in the May 2017 issue of Coastal Living.

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Mopedin’ Around Town

When Rich first brought two brand spankin’ new Mopeds home to the lake house, I was less than thrilled. I guess I’d been damaged from our scooter rental experience in Key West. It SEEMED like it would be fun, but I had a difficult time controlling mine and almost steered into oncoming traffic several times. Plus I’m not a big fan of speed, loud noises or adventure in general. But it turns out, there’s nothing to be scared of on these little puppies! I mean I definitely would not want to be on one in heavy traffic, but they’re perfect for tooling around town. And Spring Lake has lots of little side streets and cute neighborhoods, so it’s really an ideal place to have them.

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On this particular outing, we decided to take the scooters over to Spring Lake’s popular dive bar, Stan’s. This little watering hole is a favorite among the locals. Plus you can order a pizza from the nearby pizzeria, Mamma Mia’s, and they’ll deliver it to you right in the bar!

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The rear entrance to Stan’s. I didn’t notice the “in-out” sign when I took the picture, but I see now that it’s pointed directly at Rich’s head. I think it’s referring to his listening skills.

But I think my favorite thing about Stan’s is the wine pours. None of this fancy pouring until the wine hits the proper spot on the bowl of the wine glass. No, Stan’s bartenders take special pride in pouring to the very top of the glass.

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It may not be particularly good wine, but you’re going to get a lot of it!

Though summer is drawing to a close, I think we still have a good month or so of Moped time left. I definitely want to explore those little lakeside streets and take some pictures, which I will share here. In the meantime, cheers to the wind in your hair, summer days and good pours!

 

 

The Big Lake

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(Heads up: going into Pure Michigan public relations mode here) Did you know that Michigan, with more than 11,000 inland lakes and touched by four of the five Great Lakes, has more freshwater shoreline than any other state in the country? In Michigan you are never more than six miles from a lake or stream, or 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. Michigan truly is a water wonderland.

And we are especially fortunate to have our vacation home on Spring Lake, because it is one of Michigan’s few inland lakes that has the added bonus of Great Lake access – in this case, to spectacular Lake Michigan.

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The Great Lakes are an absolutely incredible (and underrated) travel destination. First-time visitors to Michigan are always blown away by the Great Lakes and how similar they are to the ocean, except they have, as the ubiquitous sweatshirts proclaim, “no salt, no sharks.”

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If you’ve never visited one of the Great Lakes, consider making your next getaway to Michigan. From festivals to camping, from long days on the lake to wine tasting, from lighthouse tours to lounging on one of Michigan’s stunning beaches, an abundance of activities await you. Need more information? Your trip begins at michigan.org.

For some amazing fun facts about the Great Lakes, visit here.

The Reading Glasses

imageThis guy fought reading glasses forever. He tried reading stuff at arm’s length for a while, then went through a phase where he’d just give up reading something and blame it on the size of the type. He finally caved and bought a few pairs. He actually tried sneaking them into the house and hiding them from me, but of course that didn’t work. He thinks they look dorky but I think they make him look distinguished.

 

Artichokes as art

This post has nothing to do with lake life. I just wanted to share a few photos I took while on a recent work trip to Italy. We were soooo incredibly busy the entire time there was barely a moment to do anything non-work related. One day in between meetings I attempted to find my way back to a shoe store we’d passed on our way to dinner the night before, but that turned out to be an exercise in futility. Between my completely pathetic lack of direction, the illegible street signs, the crazy street formations and the lunatic Milanese drivers, I had no hope whatsoever of making it before they closed.

The only shopping I ended up doing was at Eataly, an upscale Italian market where we were having an event. I bought a few token items (pasta, of course, and chocolates) and took a few pictures. This one was my favorite. I especially like it because we were practically running out of the store on our way to the next meeting and I just snapped this on the fly.

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If you ever get a chance to visit an Eataly market, I highly suggest you take an hour or so to stop in. You don’t even need to cross the ocean, because they have locations in New York and Chicago too. I doubt they’re coming to Michigan anytime soon, but you never know!

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Just one view of the incredibly lush produce section. I wish I’d taken more close-ups.

Here are a few more photos to give you an idea:

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Pasta, as far as the eye can see.


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Wine, as far as the eye can see!


Boat dog

We’ve never been able to take our lovable pooch Dagny on the boat, mostly because until this summer we were renting and couldn’t bring her with us to our little rented beach bungalow. This summer we’re able to have her with us, so it seemed more feasible. We weren’t sure though – she has a tendency to get carsick so that was a concern. She also has ZERO interest in going in the water. We finally took her out for a no-wake cruise last week and she boated like a champ! Actually she made herself right at home on the seat and pretty much chilled the whole time.

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I don’t think we’ll be taking her out on the big lake any time soon, but she’s definitely going to be joining us on future Spring Lake jaunts.