Vacation in Holland, Michigan

Heading North may seem a little strange at this time of year. After all, it's too early for tulips in bloom, flowering trees, swimming in the lakes, or a good chance of balmy climes. But those were not the deciding factors on this mini vacation. It was scheduled around our daughter's Saturday off work. I threw in a birthday celebration for the children as another good reason to go just now, as we are in between their February and April birthdays.

This is our first Airbnb experience, although we have used sites such as HomeAway or VRBO on previous trips. I found a lovely home in Holland, Michigan, and consider the lodgings excellent for location, price, and charm. The welcoming living room (above) greeted us upon arrival and the kitchen exuded a cheery aura the next morning. A sparkling French press created a strong and bold cup of coffee. We were off to a bright start on this first day of adventure.

One problem we did have (which I communicated to the hosts) was less-than-immaculate furnishings. Dusty cobwebs strung across the light fixtures,  dirty mugs in the cupboard, a pile of soiled dishrags under the sink and not a clean one in sight, and rather grubby carpeting on the stairs. Given the fact that it was advertised as "Immaculate" and had reviews praising the cleanliness, I was rather surprised and disappointed.

It may seem that I'm too fussy on the tidiness part but the rest of the family actually took note of some of this as well. How am I to know whether there is any truth in the ads if this is what we get? It was relatively clean but left me feeling like I have to wash before use. Thankfully, we could throw dirty linens in the washer, scrub a few dishes, and try to ignore the twirling cobwebs overhead!

This is what we were searching for

The shores of Lake Michigan

The Big Red Lighthouse

And dazzling, warming rays of sunshine. Jacquelyn soaks it up while her brother Julian laughs at her!

It's cold but the day is young and we are excited to be exploring a new city. This is the first time I've been to Michigan, probably due to the fact that it's not along the western and southern routes we usually travel. Hurray for family vacation!

This man makes these family excursions possible, enthusiastically endorsing my dreams and plans when it would be easier and cheaper to stay home. I am delighted to be married to a man who enjoys travel. We both recognize the benefits of these opportunities to shift our perspective for a few days.

The sea brings a sense of solace and serenity on a quiet morning. It never ceases to amaze me...

The guys brought their gear and purchased licenses for a few days of fishing.

Dale is gathering information on whether the fishing is any good on this particular morning.

Jacki and I have acres of ground to cover.
Beach. Sand dunes. Landscapes.
Architecture. Coffee shops. Streetscapes.
We are off on a jaunt of our own while the guys are thus occupied.

Downtown Holland has an attractive, vibrant, and tidy appearance. The city was founded by immigrants from the Netherlands and there is a sense of strength, endurance, and order. We loved it! Now to take a longer voyage across the wide seas and experience the original Holland...we dream on!

Holland is known for its sculptures throughout the downtown, which, in my opinion, add a spirited touch of animation to refresh the soul.

We drove to the Windmill Island Gardens, famous for tulips gardens and an original Dutch windmill, but knew it was too early for flowers in bloom. I did discover one little patch of crocuses, but that was it. What a difference a few weeks will make in this garden.

We had hoped to watch the mill in operation and see the process of flour-making with giant millstones, but it was closed up. We comforted ourselves with the fact that we got to walk the grounds free of charge, there was hardly a human in sight, and it was all a bit too commercialized for us anyway. How is that for making the best of it...when I really would have LOVED to see fields of tulips?

Take the barren with the bountiful and you will have a beautiful day! So much of life is about perspective. Am I living selfishly, trying to grasp all I can to please myself, or do I seek to live day by day in the plan of my Father? It makes all the difference between torment or joy, conflict or peace.