Monday, May 28, 2012

Grand Weekend

Anyone who follows this blog, knows that it's been a little overwhelming around these parts lately.
My sister is out of the hospital and under 24 hour supervision (by family). My oldest sister volunteered to take my father with her to Alabama so we could concentrate on recovery and get some other household issues cleaned up before he comes back home. Of course we just passed the anniversary of my mother's passing and that was a little rough on many of us. And just for fun, my niece decided to get married on that same weekend. Yes, if you recall, the weekend of my birthday. 

I had made plans in advance and desperately needed to keep them. 

This get-a-way took us to the West side of the state of Michigan to a city called Grand Rapids.

 My birthday was on Friday and we both had to work Thursday night/Friday morning. After a quick nap, we loaded up the new car and got our butts out of town. We were there before we knew it. We got a nice room with a private access to the pool and hot tub.

We spent the evening wandering around downtown seeing what we could see. We were not disappointed with our choice of destinations. While Detroit is a pit of poverty and dis pare, Grand  Rapids seems to be thriving. The temps were warm in the high 80's / low 90's and everything was clean and beautiful.

We strolled along the Grand River's edge enjoying the sights and sounds.

Everywhere you looked there was something to catch your eye. We felt safe and comfortable at all times.

There seemed to be a beautiful mix of old architecture and new standing proudly side by side.

Older bridges have been preserved for pedestrian traffic and newer bridges now carry the autos. Anyone that's been to Detroit knows that it's all about the cars here. Pedestrians venture out at their own risk. Not the case at all in Grand Rapids.

Being a Friday night in May, there were no shortages of young students all dressed up for their prom and romantic carriage rides to show them around the town.
 Everywhere we looked on the sidewalks, someone had written out encouraging words and short sayings in chalk.

Our former president Gerald Ford was from Grand Rapids and after his Presidency, he returned home and opened the Museum you see here.
We walked along in front of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, dipping our sore feet in the fountain.
 This wouldn't be "The Brighter Side of the Grave" without a little bit of grave, so here we have the final resting place of President Ford and his wife Betty Ford. Located along side the museum and just steps away from the river right in the heart of downtown. A beautiful and peaceful spot.
A little further up the river, we found the fish ladder. You can't see them here, but there were fish using this to go up stream. My question is how do they know to use the ladder instead of trying to navigate the small water falls?

 It was getting late, so we made our way back to where we had left the car along the riverfront park.
We stopped again in front of the Presidential Museum as the sun went down and the city lights began to glisten off the water.

It was a great start to an even greater weekend where I got to achieve a life long goal.

Stay tuned.


MorningAJ said...

That looks like an amazing place and it seems you had lovely weather for your trip. Happy birthday!

Mitchell is Moving said...

Wow! I had never heard anything about Grand Rapids. It looks absolutely beautiful. You should represent the tourist bureau. Great photos and a great peak at a beautiful place.

Stew said...

As you can tell, I was very impressed with this city. I've been here on business many times but never took the time to look around. I love Michigan, but this didn't seem like it was even in Michigan. It seemed better. I can see why people on the West side like it so much.

Stew said...

Still to come is a walk through history and a visit to something that I've always wanted to see.

All of which took me by surprise.

JustinO'Shea said...

Stew, you are so creative. . .always fun to wander along with you thru your Blog. .the style/layout is gorgeous, nice colors, shades and shadows. . .and interesting comments as we walk among the photos. NOICE, as the Olde New Englander might say. . .noice. .

Good to hear that some of the "family sitzes" are kinda 'smoothing out' some. . .may this continue. . .your plate has been rather full this year. . .AND thanks for Grand Rapids. . all the best to both of you. . . .Justin

Stew said...

As always, you are too kind.
I just spent the day with my sister and she is doing remarkable well.
I came back from Grand Rapids completely refreshed and ready to take on whatever life moite throw me.

Jim said...

So this is Grand Rapids, Michigan! Thanks for the tour Stew and it looks like you couldn't help but have a good time there. A change is as good as a rest! You said that? My grandmother did all the time!
Now for your discovery?......

oneSAHDdude said...

Cool trip; can't wait to hear the rest. Glad the storms didn't spoil your trip!

We went to Grand Rapids for the first time last year for a conference and stayed at the Grand Plaza across from the Ford Museum. I spent a lot of time with Emma wandering around but missed the fish ladder! At night there was a group of people lighting little paper hot air balloons in front of the museum and watched them sail away.

Stew said...

I like your Grandmother's saying there.

Stew said...

There always seems to be multiple things happening at the DeVos center. And such a friendly place, the whole city.