Holland, Michigan

Weekends with family are always special. There's a safety and comfort in being around people who have known you forever. This weekend was one for celebrating (my cousin is engaged!) and relaxing. Of course, we all miss what was an hour between us, but Michigan has proved to be a wonderful place for our family to meet up, watch old home videos, and consume copious amounts of watermelon.

Here are some of my favorite parts of Holland, minus the people that really make it feel like home away from home.

Reader's World

Finding the local bookstore is always my favorite activity when traveling. Spending an hour or so in Reader's World is always my favorite part about Holland. The store is a great place to discover new, local magazines and their art book collection is really impressive. There is a lot other than new novels and I'm always sure to leave with a few reads for the drive home. 

Alpen Rose

Friday morning came and after some coffee and work on summer classes, we all piled into the van for a late morning downtown. Alpen Rose proved to be the perfect breakfast for lots of different palettes. The atmosphere was incredible, a sort of chalet feel. I loved the French crepe I ordered but mostly just being at the same table as the people I love. 

Holland Farmers Market

Those accustomed to the Des Moines Farmers Market understand what I mean when I say the experience is less than relaxing. On Saturday morning, some of us picked up coffee from Simpatico and popped over to the market. Smaller, with more variety and more plants, the Holland Farmers Market was a dream. Someone was playing a violin, no dogs were allowed, and produce from blueberries to potatoes were on display. Inspired, we picked up basil, tomatoes, and sourdough for an appetizer on Sunday. Some fresh flowers and donuts before we left, I was basically on Cloud 9.

Livingston Trail

My favorite part of the weekend was the hike we embarked on to the beach. My aunt and uncle's adorable puppy in tow, we made our way to the water. Soon the boys were filming dramatic runs down the sand dunes into the water and I was finishing a novel on the sand. The weather was a dream. This is my favorite part of Michigan, and the part that really puts Iowa to shame.