Day Trip: Grand Rapids Mi

I have traveled more in the past year then I have in my entire life. I’m going to make it a point to think back and write about each of those experiences as time goes on but todays topic is about a more recent trip to Grand Rapids.

The original plan was to travel to G.R. for the weekend because Betsy was supposedly given a free entry into the Iron Warrior Dash in exchange for her blogging services. Somewhere along the road there was a mix up and she was never entered, in  fact the guy who promised it no longer even worked for the company. This was just fine because she was going to decline anyways as she was not feeling adequately trained for it. BUT, we had already planned a whole weekend around this race and I really had my heart set on a nice weekend away. She, on the other hand, was fine with staying home. Not me though, no way. So I threw a temper tantrum calmly discussed the finer points and benefits of such a nice weekend and she had no choice agreed with my rationale. We settled on a day trip, after all GR isn’t really that far away, and we set our alarms for 6am bright and early on our day off.

Our first stop was to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. We had been to the Vizcaya gardens in Fla (a story for another time) and absolutely loved it. Let me tell you this place did not disappoint. For one, it is WAAAY bigger then we had figured it would be and that in itself was impressive. It is exactly how it sounds… long winding paths through gardens with large sculptures dotting the landscape. We got there just after they opened so it wasn’t very busy with allowed us to stroll hand-in-hand in solitude for the most part. There was a nice kids-themed area with large tree houses, a cabin, maze, and a giant water feature in the shape of the great lakes. Having no kids in tow we decided to go in anyways. Now, we have this thing, or rather I have this urge to do inappropriate things to sculptures and such and photograph it when we are out and about. In the “senses” part of the children’s garden they had sculptures representing sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. There were a handful of kids around but when the coast was clear we got a good shot of the “taste” sculpture licking my butt. I very much wanted to get a photo of the “touch” sculpture cupping my balls (with clothes on I’m not THAT demented) but I didn’t want to run the risk of scarring some poor kid for life. After returning to the world of adults we tried to explore every nook and cranny we could find. Unfortunately the Japanese “wing” of the garden was completely fenced off which was disappointing so there was a very large chunk that couldn’t be seen but overall it was well worth the trip. We found some good picture spots and I even balanced my camera on a park bench to get a nice waterfall shot of us which got the GF feeling all mushy towards me.

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On the drive up thanks to the magic of social media, we found a great place to stop for lunch. Betsy posted where we were going for the day and several of her friends, with great enthusiasm, told us we needed to have “crack fries”. Now I tell you what, ANYPLACE that has “crack fries” listed on the menu is a must-stop place in my book. So we passed up the countless other restaurants in the area and headed straight for Hopcat. This was a nice little place with loads of charm and a spunky waitress to boot. She wasn’t all professional with a “may I take your order?” its was more of a we’ve-known-you-forever kinda deals, very warm and friendly. (plus I think she liked me) Idk if that’s how they all are there or not but I liked it. So I decided to go with the “Grand Royale” which was a giant sloppy joe with crack fries and jalapenos in it then the whole thing is covered in cheese! um fuck YEAH! That. Thing. Was. Awesome. I would have ordered more if only we had the time but there was much more to see.

hopcat crack grand royale

Unbeknownst to us there was this event called ArtPrize that took over the entire city while we were there. We didn’t know much about it but more or less it was a giant art fair and the art was EVERYWHERE: in the streets, in the businesses, even in the river. It was a small walk from Hopcat to the GR Public Museum so we decided to take in the sights. Some of the stuff was incredible, some just so-so, and others just meh… I guess that whats one should expect right? The streets were getting more and more crowded by the minute and the best stuff you couldn’t even get near due to the massive flock of people everywhere. I snapped a few pics of what I could but we didn’t stay to browse very long.

river flags big fish grpm

Now the Grand Rapids Public Museum was right in the thick of ArtPrize so there was just a huge mass surrounding the building. Fortunately for us they all stayed outside, and the museum was offering half off admission so it was a win-win situation. Most of the exhibits were a bit small, we cruised through them and found the occasional interesting spot. There was a nice carousel that I had Betsy ride for a buck. Some of the exhibits we had them all to ourselves as there was not a single other person around… I was loving this I am not a crowd person. It didn’t take us very long to go through everything so after seeing all we could see we decided to leave and head on home.

big old whale bones arrr carousel

All in all the total cost of the trip was one tank of gas, one meal, and about $40 total for parking and admission charges. In the end, Betsy thanked me for a great day and was glad that I talked her into going. 🙂