Three days, three cities in Southwest Michigan

This past weekend we did a 3-day tour of southwestern Michigan, which included St. Joseph, Saugatuck/Douglas, and Grand Rapids. The trip was put together by our friends Jon & Meagan who are Michigan natives, and they truly outdid themselves on planning the weekend’s activities.

Day one started late but included a trip to Saugatuck for some shopping, dinner at Mermaid Bar & Grill, and a LOT of singing at The Annex Piano Bar at Coral Gables Resort. We stayed at the quaint Pines Motor Lodge which had a great retro motel feel without any of the filth or questionable clientele. Plus if you’re like me and prefer to sleep in a freezing cold room this place really delivers on the AC.

After a complimentary breakfast at the Pines we jumped in the car and headed to Grand Rapids where we checked into the classic Amway Grand Plaza hotel. The hotel was in pristine condition and offered all of the modern amenities one might need though it had very classic decor and ambiance due to its 1913 build-date. The staff was friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable about the history of the hotel and the art and artifacts contained within. We spent the day visiting various Grand Rapids staples such as the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Grand Rapids Art Museum before returning to the rat-pack inspired Lumber Baron Bar located in the hotel. For dinner we chose SIX.ONE.SIX located at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. The food was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who may have the chance to visit (the outdoor river seating is great if the weather is cooperating). We finished the night at The B.O.B. which is a completely insane 4-story nightclub/bar/restaurant which offers something for everyone — all kinds of music, comedy, food, and any kind of drink you could possibly imagine (which leads to some great people-watching). We got home at around 3AM and crashed. Hard.

Coming from Chicago I didn’t know what to expect of Grand Rapids, but this is a big-boy town with amazing hotels, culture, restaurants, and nightlife. I’m already planning my next trip.

On our final day we drove back to St. Joseph to spend some time on Jon & Meagan’s boat. On the way we hit Crane’s Pie Pantry and left with some delicious apple butter bread, apple donuts, Cherry Pie, and various jams. We then stopped at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park to enjoy the weather and take in some scenery. Once back in St. Joe we made all the appropriate boat preparations and headed down the channel to the lake, only to immediately be denied entry due to near 8-foot waves and rip currents on mighty Lake Michigan. The lake wasn’t having us, but that didn’t stop us from throwing the most killer 4-person boat party imaginable. We parked in the slip and let loose with some drinks, snacks, and music, taking a short break in the middle to go watch the gorgeous St. Joe sunset. Despite our loud music and even louder voices, we made it to 3AM again without police intervention and then retired to the air-conditioned boat cabin for some much needed rest.

Huge thanks to Jon and Meagan for putting together this amazingly fun non-stop weekend. You guys outdid yourselves and I can’t wait until next time!

Larger images available here.