Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shout-out to our town...

Every year, National Geographic Adventure puts out an issue that highlights the 50 best cities in the country to live, work, and play. That stupid issue always gets my travel bug buzzing, and this year is no exception. I LOVE adventure. I love the thought of going to a new place and not just being there but BEING there - know what I mean? I want to hang out at the coffee shop that only the locals know about, make friends at a church, hike the trails that are off the beaten path. Just soak in the local-ness of a place.

In my short stint of gypsy-ness I've been able to cover a lot of ground. Between last year's "best cities" issue and this year's, I've racked up a few National Geographic points in my life and covered a lot of ground they've recommended (either in living or spending a lot of time in): Denver, Pagosa Springs, and Durango, CO; Flagstaff, Sedona, and Tucson, AZ; San Francisco, CA; and Traverse City, MI.

But I'm sorry, National Geographic dudes. You dropped the ball this year. You totally overlooked Holland, MI. I'm dead serious. You think, "Holland! Puh! Michigan! Puh!" But we seriously live in one of the Midwest's best-kept secrets. Matt and I have said before, if we could create a perfect town to live in, what would we want? Hmmm...a college town, because all that youth and activity brings in a lot of enthusiasm and life and creativity...water or mountains, for sure, for fun adventures...small but not too small, big but not too big...a great church...lots of community involvement and activities...and then we were like, HEY!! We already live there!

Holland totally rocks. The downtown is artsy and hip and funky and cool, and there are always tons of people milling around, drinking coffee and eating ice cream. Twice a week we also have a farmer's market; I was there yesterday and there was a string quartet playing bluegrass AND the fiddler was tap dancing! So fun! On Saturday mornings Matt and I love to walk downtown and eat at the Windmill, your quintissential always-been-there, everybody-knows-your-name type of diner, where you can eat an awesome breakfast for $3 per person. The beach is totally sublime; the water is warm and usually calm in the summer, the air is clean, the sand is soft, and the sunsets are perfect. And there's always something to do: every Thursday evening there is an art festival of sorts downtown, with dancers, acrobats, singers, and every type of street performer you can think of. On Tuesday and Friday evenings there are free concerts in the city parks.

So here are a few pictures of the fun place where we live. It's been such a great summer, not too hot and humid (usually), tons of fun with friends, and having fun fixing up the house (we'll get some pictures of that out soon).

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