Greetings From the West Coast…

West Coast of Michigan

…of Michigan.

West Coast of Michigan

You know what?  I was raised on the West Coast – of California, that is.  I had never visited any of the Great Lakes before.  It has been a wonderful treat visiting the West Coast of Michigan.

My mother and I are in the midst of a Midwest road trip.  We have not really spent any time in this area and want to get to know it better.  So on Friday, we boarded an airplane from Phoenix to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As we got off the plane, it was a bit of a shock because the trees were leafless and the weather was cold.  It was like winter back home.

We spent our first two nights in Holland, Michigan, which is a Dutch settlement and home to Hope College.

Our first full day was spent going to a tulip farm, visiting the coastal town of South Haven and then back to Holland to explore the downtown area.

Holland, Michigan

Holland, Michigan

The tulips, daffodils and hyacinths were just beautiful.

Holland, Michigan

I don’t see many (okay any) tulips where I live and I just love their vibrant colors.

Holland, Michigan

I do love daffodils, and they do grow where I live, thankfully.

Holland, Michigan

The fragrance of the Hyacinths was just intoxicating and I just love the color blue in the garden, don’t you?

Holland, Michigan

The gardens were just beautiful.  They also had bison on the property, which I thought was kind of unusual.  They sold bison meat in the garden store (I passed on the meat).

There was a Dutch shop next to the garden that we explored…

Holland, Michigan

There was a huge display of Delft porcelain as well as wooden shoes…

Holland, Michigan

They aren’t as comfortable as my mother’s regular shoes.

Our next stop was about 25 miles south at the town of South Haven.  It was a lovely sort of beach town and the downtown was a great place to shop.  

town of South Haven

It was a very blustery day and a storm was blowing in.  But, the beach was beautiful.

The store owners were more then ready for spring to arrive and it has been unusually cold for this time of year.

They had quite a few chocolate shops and we walked into three of them, smelled the delicious fragrance of chocolate and then left before we were tempted to buy anything.

That is until we walked into the Chocolate Cafe…

Chocolate Cafe

We were ready to leave without buying anything until we saw this…

chocolate cake

A six-layer chocolate cake.

Now believe it or not, we didn’t eat a slice of this cake, but it certainly made us want to give into our craving for sweets.  So we bought a large muffin and split it between the two of us 😉

We had a lovely day of shopping, but the storm clouds started to approach so we decided to leave and head back for Holland.

Holland, Michigan

Holland, Michigan

Once back in Holland, we made a stop at the Holland Museum, which was having a Dr. Seuss exhibition.

Holland Museum

The walls were painted in red and white stripes like the “Cat in the Hat’s” hat.

We had a lovely time in Holland and the surrounding area.  Our next stop will be in Amish country in Indiana, which we will reach by driving through small towns in lower Michigan.


Our fun was just beginning.  Our next stop…Amish Country.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Rohrerbot
    Rohrerbot says:

    Fun fun fun!!! It's still cold there hence the reasons I moved out here!:) But it's beautiful in the summer and fall. Have a lot of fun….there's too much to see. PS. That chocolate cake looks delicious!

  2. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    What a joy to be able to travel with your mom and experience these things together. I'll be traveling to Michigan at the end of the summer for my nephew's wedding. Thanks for the preview of the area!

  3. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Hello Noelle, i missed visiting you for a while, but am happy you covered 2 countries in one travel ticket, haha! The tulips are great, miniature plantings compared to Tatyana's tulip posts. I love most those miniature Dutch house porcelain. You look beautiful and recharged now!

  4. plumbing
    plumbing says:

    Love your post specially the flowers,they look fresh and beautiful.Hope I will have them in my garden.It seems that you are a sweet person because you stay in place with a nice view and love to eat chocolate.

  5. Msrobin
    Msrobin says:

    Noelle, I'm so pleased to see you have discovered the charms of my home area of SW Michigan! Holland is one of my very favorite towns, and hubby and I often visit there in the summer. South Haven is also charming, but I am from St. Joseph! You probably passed right by it, and it is yet another cute tourist town on the shores of Lake Michigan, with it's own lovely lighthouse.

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