Holland is an easy Labor Day getaway

Our fourth article in a series on West Michigan Pike beach towns visits Holland, a town that appreciates beer and everything Dutch.

Visitors can tour a real, working Dutch windmill in Holland, Mich.

Visitors can tour a real, working Dutch windmill in Holland, Mich.

About three hours from Chicago if driving and about half an hour from the Grand Rapids, Mich. airport if flying, Holland’s beaches, restaurants, shopping and attractions make the town a good choice for the long Labor Day weekend.

Where to stay

There are several B&Bs in Holland but another choice is City Flats Hotel. A Leed gold certified hotel with every room sporting a different décor, City Flats is a block off the main downtown street and an easy drive to Windmill Island, a top Holland attraction.

The rooms have wonderfully high ceilings and windows and the City Vu Bistro, the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, has good flatbreads, small plates and an excellent beer and wine selection. Plus with 56 rooms, it is definitely a boutique hotel although the description is over used.

What to do downtown

Shopping

Downtown Holland is pedestrian friendly with bricked crosswalks that drivers observe and loads of stores to visit.

Downtown Holland is pedestrian friendly with bricked crosswalks that drivers observe and loads of stores to visit.

Just walking 8th street, Holland’s main downtown shopping avenue, is fun. The problem is there are so many good stores to browse for home accents and food stuff you might easily forget you also want to go over to Windmill Island or Tunnel Park Beach. Be sure to stop in at Teerman’s of Holland, a multi-space home, clock and whatever store where you can find absorbent bamboo dishtowels.

Eating

The Alpen Rose Café on 8th street is perfect for a coffee or tea and nosh break although breakfast here is also wonderful.  For an upscale meal check out Butch’s, also on 8th street, where you may bottles of wine and beer to take home.

Alpen Rose is a popular stop for a coffee break or breakfast.

Alpen Rose is a popular stop for a coffee break or breakfast.

Go into New Holland Brewing. It is so popular you might have to wait to be seated but you can also sign up for a tour. The downtown also has other good bakeries, pubs and restaurants.

 

What to do nearby

Windmill Island

It is not very commercial but it is very Dutch. You can go up inside the Windmill which is real and was imported from the Netherlands where they took it apart, numbered the pieces and put it back together in Holland, MI. A working mill, you can buy its flour.

Small buildings on Windmill Island have interesting Dutch culture exhibits.

Small buildings on Windmill Island have interesting Dutch culture exhibits.

There are also interesting small buildings to visit and photograph and a carousel to ride.

Tunnel Park

The park’s beach is fun to visit because access is through a short tunnel under  a sand dune to protects fragile plants. The beach is family friendly but usually not overcrowded.

Other places to play

Holland has other beaches, an inlet from Lake Michigan with a lighthouse on the lake and charming areas to drive.  So go exploring. Once you find Holland, Mich., you are likely to put it on your places to stop whenever traveling the western part of the state.

Tunnel Park protects the sand dunes with an interesting way to access the beach.

Tunnel Park protects the sand dunes with an interesting way to access the beach.

All photos (c) Jodie Jacobs

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