we had one of the best vacations of my entire life last year. we went to disney and then drove up the coast stopping in Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington until we arrived in Southern Shores, NC. seriously an amazing time. we had such a good time we stayed in vacation mode all summer long and went on a number of staycations. we wanted to keep the good times rolling, so in the spirit of our beach vacation and my desire to save money, we chose Holland, MI for our vacation this year. it’s about a 5 hour drive from home, and it’s situated right on Lake Michigan so all of our beach attire was prepared!
because our AirBnB experience was so wonderful last year, i felt really great about the home we found to spend our week-long holiday in Holland. i would have liked to only spend three days, but this listing required a minimum stay in order to reserve, so we went for it.
it was a pretty home, and it was well situated to access the farmer’s market, a park with a playground, and a view of the lake all within walking distance. but there were some drawbacks, for instance the neighbors were less than savory, and i was awakened at the crack of dawn every morning by the sound of bumping rap music coming from across the street.
the pictures and description of the home were lovely. the owners of the home indicated that they raised their six children there, so i definitely expected a kid-friendly location. but that spiral staircase really threw us given the children’s beds were situated right off the stairs, with no door, no nothing but some rinky-dink twist and snap baby gate. generally the stairs were a nightmare, and we couldn’t get comfortable for fear our two year old would find his way to them and come crashing to the ground. needless to say, this was the latter of our two AirBnB experiences thus far.
this was by far the highlight of the trip as far as outings. the kids had a blast exploring the Dutch Village; riding the giant swing, petting the farm animals, and seeing the Dutch dancers. it was really a nice way to spend the day. so much so that the kids asked to go back every day thereafter.
Grand Rapids Zoo
we spent another day exploring the grand rapids zoo, which was quite nice. the habitats that they have created for the animals are especially elaborate, and they are able to change the animal’s access to different areas of the zoo through a series of tunnels and pathways. neat-o.
another family favorite activity on this trip was picking strawberries fresh from the farm. this made for a sweet little treat to bring home to our families too.
Hiking the Dunes
hiking the dunes was the last activity of this trip. perhaps you’ve noticed, perhaps not, but i haven’t mentioned a single meal that we ate on this trip because quite frankly all of the food was terrible. people in these parts must have different expectations of food, because we used our traditional method of research and reviews to drive our decisions. i suppose it’s neither here nor there, but between the stress of the staircase, and bad food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, hiking the dunes set us over the edge.
we prepared and entered the hiking trails as we would for any other hiking occasion, snacks, drinks and camera in the stroller—tennis shoes on and headed for the path through the woods. upon reaching the path entrance we see a large and scary sign warning us of ticks falling from the trees. great. not a one of us has a hat, and it’s hot as balls.
we went ahead down the path, checking our heads every few feet. the further we got into the woods the more the path started to become sand and not a path. so here we are pushing a freaking stroller through the sand, up monstrous hills with serious drop-offs, kids on either side whining the entire time about how much it sucks.
there’s this sense of accomplishment when we finally reach the “top” and see the lake, but really the journey is only half over. we have to hike a half-mile up the beach to get back to the sandy woods entrance that’s going to get us back to the car.
we snapped these pics, miserable and dripping sweat. when we finally reached the car, removed our socks and shoes, and poured water all over our feet and faces, we decided it was time to go home. who cares that we had another two nights in our uncomfortable house. we packed up and hit the road. best decision we could have made.
if you know me at all, you know i’m no stranger to seconds in any of my circles, but i can’t recall a single meal in Holland that i finished. oh wait, the Taco Bell on the way home, and i do not eat Taco Bell or anything the like EVER!!!!
so i can happily live the rest of my life and never go back to Holland. upon research and review it appears a lovely little town, a great place to holiday with the family…but this trip definitely had us longing for home. so goodbye Holland. until never.