The City of Grand Rapids has 74 parks totaling around 1,200 acres of land in the city limits! There is so much to love about each and every one of our city's parks, from splash pads to playgrounds and more! Grand Rapids has an amazing parks system thanks to our wonderful city workers, community support groups, and special organizations like Friends of GR Parks!
While all of our parks are a hit during warm weather months we wanted to give a little extra love during Fall/Winter and highlight our top 3 park picks. Why? For their trails that are so beautiful to hike on in Fall & Winter, also perfect for snowshoe/cross country skiing... and our most favorite activity with the kiddos after a heavy snow - sledding!
What is the Parade of Homes?
Presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids, the Parade of Homes is an event that showcases our best builders in West Michigan. You don't have to be a home buyer to join in the fun either! Purchase a ticket ( $10 here ) & tour any of the homes in the Parade! This is a great way to get an inside look at current building trends, interior design, and local craftsmanship. If you're in the market to build a new home but don't know where to start, this is also a great event to meet local builders & interior designers. OR if you're like us and just love to get out and enjoy some real life home & garden/HGTV type of stuff, this is a perfect event for you too ;)
The Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids (HBAGGR), is a professional nonprofit trade organization. Its members are committed to providing quality homes, buildings, renovations, products and services for the entire region through adherence to ethical practices, community involvement, advocacy and education... click here to learn more.
Good to know:
Make sure to download HBA’s Parade of Homes App! I used this to map out my desired route... it gives more up to date directions than most GPS systems... new construction or development with new addresses can sometimes throw off outdated systems + maps ;) So avoid driving around in circles and use the app!
Scroll down to see a sneak peek of our tour...
Spoelma Builders LLC
Few things I loved... The open kitchen with clean and sleek design, the spacious walk in pantry, custom cabinetry and features like the wine drawer pictured below! Craftsmen style details thorough out the home, and unique detailing in master suite ceiling.
This Mediterranean style home was built around their customer's specific wants and lifestyle needs. So many amazing and unique details in this home like the hand-split stone hood over the kitchen range, large open spaces with arched doorways, and their use of extra space. We really liked the small "bonus" area tucked away between the home's laundry room & entry to the garage, a perfect area to hold odds and ends as you come and go ... or to use as a small work station.
Miles Builders LLC
Located in Byron Center, just 20-30 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, this farm house sits on 52 beautiful acres! The features of this home that we fell in love with include the custom trim through out, tall ceilings, exposed beams, and the mix of modern with country charm in their overall design and layout.
Homes by Gary Byker
If you are a fan of lake living you'll want to check out this home located on private Lake Summerwood in Hudsonville. A perfect set up for hosting friends or dinner parties with a large butler pantry, open kitchen and dining area that looks out onto the lake. This home also offers a beautiful master suite on the second level with same water views... and we love the his & hers bathroom vanities.
Don't miss more awesome homes and builders in this year's parade! Make sure to check it out before it ends on June 9th! And remember to use our discount link for a >> $10 ticket! <<
We are excited to welcome Creston's first large scale event space - Golden Age! Brought to us by the owners of Creston Brewery, this venue has so much to offer on their second floor of the iconic 1920s DeKorne building located at 1504 Plainfield Ave NE.
The event space mirrors similar charm of their main level taproom with large, almost floor to ceiling windows & tons of natural lighting. The main room features a beautiful hand crafted bar where all 20 beers will be on tap. Creston Brewery will be offering full service catering including custom menu options. Accommodating both small and large groups with a main room capacity of around 175 and a second smaller room that is perfect for gatherings of around 25 people or less.
They will offer a separate entrance off Plainfield Ave for larger groups to enter and exit, and are also handicap accessible from the main taproom. Parking is available on street or in two city lots conveniently located just steps away from the venue. One lot located South of the brewery off Quimby Street & Buffalo Ave, a second city lot is located across Plainfield by the intersection of Quimby Street and Coit Ave.
The event space isn't just for large celebrations like weddings but will also be home to many community focused gatherings. The brewery aims to offer hosted events in their second floor space like beer dinners & pairing events which will be open to the public. A true community gathering spot, Creston Brewery is known not just for their amazing atmosphere, friendly staff, and great beer/food, but also known for many fun happenings in their taproom like open mic nights, trivia, & live music.
In celebration of their event space grand opening, Creston Brewing has donated the space to Art Bash happening on Thursday, May 24. Find more information on this event here. Participants can purchase tickets at the door for $15, proceeds to support the Creston Neighborhood Association.
For inquiries on this event space please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also - make sure to like and follow them on Facebook! #SupportLocal
Homes for sale near Creston Brewery
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Whether you're in for a quick stop or a casual dining experience, Marie Catrib's has a decadent variety of fresh, flavorful foods in combination with exceptional service. With knowledgeable, kindhearted employees and a warmly inviting environment, checking out this restaurant is a must. As Marie Catrib herself established it, there lies a history in the restaurant. Born in Lebanon, moved to the U.S., where she did at-home experimenting in the kitchen, expanding to local entrepreneurship and eventually this fabulous dining experience of Grand Rapids, Marie never gave up her dreams. The passion is evident in every bite of the food, and attention to detail surely is put first at Marie Catrib's.
We dined in for breakfast on a rainy morning, and enjoyed the warmth and light of Marie Catrib's despite the dreary skies. With our moods lifted, we thoroughly enjoyed even our beverages while exploring the menu. One beverage being their freshly brewed iced tea with mint and lemon infused throughout, the flavor was unbeatable and refreshing. This restaurant makes a fine pot of coffee as well, and offers many dairy/non-dairy options for a creamy cup of joe. Even better, if you love your beverage so much you want to enjoy it from home or on the go, Marie Catrib's offers a take-home iced tea or coffee--- just another reason their service is personable and unique.
One dish we chose was their Parfait, artistically presented and hard to take the first bite it was so beautiful. The Parfait includes homemade honey yogurt, bananas, strawberries, Marie's granola, and can be enjoyed with toast or one of their fresh muffins. This time, we gave one of their gluten-free muffins a try, topped with honey butter to your liking. Absolutely amazing and perfectly crumbly. The muffin offered this day had a lovely vanilla flavor swirled within, and went great with the Parfait, which was a perfect size to start your day off right. The strawberries bordered around the bowl and bananas hidden beneath came together in a spoonful for a phenomenal breakfast bowl.
The other two dishes carefully picked together were a great combination of a creative breakfast and an early lunch. First was the Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Pancakes, also offered with their tasty honey butter on the side if desired. These not so traditional pancakes are made of sweet potatoes as well as dried cranberries and are accented with true maple syrup. Next to these fun flapjacks was their Breakfast Burrito, specially prepared as a taco by request. Again offered gluten-free, this dish begins with vegan hash and is topped with avocado, shredded greens, and garlicky veganaise. It is available on a Las Brazas corn or flour tortilla. Colorful, flavorful, and everything you dreamed of, the Breakfast Burrito was a spicy spin on a sweet breakfast, tying all the plates together.
All in all, you're missing out big if you haven't checked out this convenient, reasonable, local business. We encourage you to enjoy a unique experience where every detail matters. Enjoy Marie Catrib's like we are confident you will. You won't regret it!
Where is East Hills?
Nestled between Heritage Hill and Eastown you will find the East Hills neighborhood and its distinct shopping district off Cherry Ave, running along Eastern to Diamond... if you're foodies like us, then you'll know this area by it's popular eateries: Brewery Vivant, Maru Sushi, & The Green Well.
Birthdays, holidays, or "just because," here are some fantastic local boutiques for all of your gift shopping needs...
At this locally owned shop, you can find unique handcrafted jewelry for your loved ones. With the work of both local and national jewelers available there lies opportunity to find whatever you're looking for including unique, custom designs.
Adored Boutique gives back a portion of their proceeds to organizations with missions they believe in. This company strives for synergy and the empowerment of women and offers home goods, clothing, and accessories. Even better, this shop was recognized as the Neighborhood Business Alliance "Outstanding New Business" of 2017!
Offering Michigan Made & USA Made products, Hopscotch provides items for children up to 12 years old! From games to books to clothing, this shop is perfect for finding gifts for the darling kids in your life.
An outstanding neighborhood bookstore, Books & Mortar has a great selection of must-reads. With an emphasis on encouraging community, the owners have a passion for their store's shoppers. This charming bookstore is identified as "Grand Rapids' proudly progressive, consciously curated, and fiercely independent neighborhood bookstore." Plus, Books & Mortar is open 7 days a week, making your shopping convenient!
A very chic shop, Iris Boutique offers a variety of accessories for personal styling. The owner of Iris aims to assist customers in self-expression and confidence by offering her product line. Scarves, shoes, and more from this darling boutique will make the perfect gift!
Family owned and driven by passion, get your loved ones a sweet treat from Le Bon Macaron. You will be amazed by the tasty, decadent French desserts offered in a seemingly endless list of flavors. Be it Salted Caramel, Lemon, or Green Tea, these cookies are irresistible. Plus, the macarons can be beautifully packaged--- great for gift-giving!
Find more gorgeous and affordable ways to accessorize at Lennon & Willow! Online purchases can also be madehere, making it extra easy to get your gift shopping done! Check out their beautiful interior if you can!
As homeowners we understand your yard and driveway require maintenance. Here's some of our top local service providers to help you out, coming from Grand Rapids and its surrounding cities:
These companies should have everything you need for adjustments to seasonal transitions as a homeowner. We are happy to help!
Attention GR foodies... GR has a tasty new spot downtown called New Hotel Mertens!
Named after the hotel that opened in the building in 1914, New Hotel Mertens is a French Brasserie with a relaxing but elegant setting. The restaurant serves traditional French cuisine, French vintage beer & wine, as well as a large selection of Michigan beer & wine. Their express service features coffee, espresso, & pastries made locally by Field & Fire. They look forward to being open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.
I dined with them during their soft opening... and here's what you need to know about it!
Honoring the building's history, the first element that immediately popped out to me was the original flooring which is full of vintage character & charm. A popular installation in the early 1900s, the complex mosaic pattern flows throughout the entire restaurant beginning from the moment you enter the main door.
Restoring many features of the original hotel's interior, such as the beautiful tile floor, you also see many areas of exposed brick and raw plaster that has aged over time. The mix of old and new filled me with a warm feeling of nostalgia. I couldn't help but envision what the busy city center of Grand Rapids was once like as I sat in the very same space that had once welcomed many patrons & travelers years ago.
With so much history in the details surrounding the space it was a challenge focusing on the menu... BUT trust me, it was an amazing menu! Let's now dig into the food part of the evening! :)
The first course consisted of PEI mussels in a white wine sauce with shallots & herbs, and a side of Field & Fire bread. I also tried the braised pork belly served on top of macerated plumbs and wild endive. The bitter crunch of the endive paired with sweet notes of plum and the crisp & buttery pork belly melted together so well covering the palate with layers of amazing flavor. The mussels were perfectly steamed in a broth so delicious one would think picking up the bowl and guzzling down the broth was totally acceptable! I typically always order seafood over pork, but this pork gave the mussels a run for their money, even with the best broth I've ever tasted... I will surly be ordering both again, very very soon, and yes I will continue to keep my table manners in check :)
The main dishes included a French classic, coq au vin. A red-wine braised chicken with roasted mushrooms & young potatoes. And the steak frites. The flatiron steak was perfectly cooked to order and topped with their in house butter, served with house-cut frites, and an arugula-herb salad. Both dishes were melt in your mouth amazing, upholding similar layers of rich flavor that I enjoyed in the first course.
And last but not least, for dessert their chocolate torte and croquembouche for dessert. Yes that is a tower from dessert heaven made up of vanilla-bean cream puffs placed together with crispy caramel. Both rich in flavor without an over the top sweetness.... the perfect ending to a wonderful dinning experience at The New Hotel Mertens.
Next time you're out for a foodie adventure filled with local history and classic French cuisine, this IS your spot. Located at 35 Oaks (on the corner of Commerce Ave & Oaks Street) this location is perfect for pre or post dinner & cocktails when you're downtown for events at either the Van Andel Arena or 20 Monroe Live, both venues are within a 5 minute walk! Or if you are looking for a date night destination, a cozy dinner spot with friends, or just foodies like me who like to explore the GR food scene, New Hotel Mertens staff is welcoming for anyone who walks in. We promise you will get a unique and delicious experience like no other in GR.
Follow NHM on Facebook & Instagram to keep up with the latest foodie news and announcements! And stay tuned with more GR happenings here!
A peaceful and beautiful environment, instantly welcoming as you enter Mazzo Cucina D’Italia of Grand Rapids. Self proclaimed culinary and cultural experience like no other... as your Grand Rapids living specialists we certainly agree with them! Offering both outdoor & indoor seating options, our go to pick during warm weather is the patio and during cooler months we like to sit inside and warm up with a nice glass of red ;) Located off Monroe Center across from Rosa Parks & The Grand Rapids Art Museum this location is the perfect spot to immerse yourself into the buzz of the downtown Grand Rapids city scene!
With an entire side of the menu dedicated to wine and spirits, we enjoyed crafted beverages & specialty wines to start. For appetizers we ordered the brussels sprouts with a blood orange gastrique - a caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar. The arugula salad with gorgonzola, fig, & red onion, and a half a dozen oysters. Hands down some of the best oysters we have had in town, paired with the caramelized brussels & perfectly dressed salad our meal wast a hit right out of the gate.
For our main courses we ordered two Italian staples, spaghetti with meatballs and wood fire pizza! Both were amazing, the spaghetti topped with the mother of all meatballs which was flavorful and cooked to perfection! The Nduja pizza was topped with a spicy sausage spread, prosciutto, capicola, salume, and fresh mozzarella. If you're a meat lover who enjoys a little spice to your life this is the perfect pie for you!
Ending the night with tiramisu and a double espresso ....
Quick foodie tip, if you dine here Monday-Friday between 3-6pm and 9-11pm, as well as Saturdays from 9-11pm, enjoy $5 select wine and beer, $4 appetizers, $10 wood-fired pizzas, along with weekly features and cocktail discounts!
One of my passions besides real estate is exploring our beautiful city spaces, supporting our small businesses and advocating for our local organizations.
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