There are so many places in the world, and country, that I would like to see, so, I made myself a rule in January, that I would only travel to places I had never been this year. My attempt at being wise about my time off and finances towards travel. So, when I made a new friend who lived in Grand Rapids, I cashed in my skymiles and took off for a quick little weekend adventure!
Landing in Grand Rapids definitely felt like I was “somewhere in middle America”. But then, at the same time, had these hints of what a southerner assumes Michigan looks like – industrial. A little rough around the edges. You can tell that the city is growing and changing, as evident by old factory buildings being reconstructed into condos and restaurants, or an old multilevel school being converted into apartments. That passion and investment in the community, their community, is there. And you get the feeling that something is happening there. They are moving towards something.
And then, in the middle of this town, that really, I had never heard of before, is a flourishing brewery movement! Who knew?!
So, obviously, a brewery tour was in order…lingering over beers and conversation!
It was a glorious “ale trail”. And Grand Rapids will officially go down as “Beer City, USA” by me, and the Beer City contest. (Grand Rapids tied with Ashville, NC back in 2012, but won the title by 27,000 votes in 2013. With the contest having now been retired, the Grand Rapids title stands.)
Don’t worry, I was also able to see other things during my short 36 hour trip! A visit to Holland. To one of the Great Lakes. Tried Turkish coffee and Poutine for the first time. Oh, and I had the most glorious gin and tonic that used Jack Rudy Tonic. Oh my, it was so delicious.
It is always fun to get out of town and experience a new town. But, the thing I love most about traveling, is always, the coming home.
PS. Thanks to those that made this weekend happen. Paul for his hospitality. The Js for watching Page. The GR Ale Trail map. All the Michiganders who use their hand as a map. And their other hand as the UP. And Tony, at Our Brewery, who told me a Kid Rock story. Because, would it really be a trip to Michigan without one?
PPS. Yes, the blog is back! We are just going to pick up from here with life and stories! I’ve missed you guys!!