We recently went for a mini-vacation weekend in Grand Rapids. It’s not a long way from where we live, but we haven’t made the time to head over there in quite a while.
We went in with a goal of visiting several museums and we met that goal! Our first was the Grand Rapids Public Museum, which had a special exhibit of LEGO buildings. There weren’t as many buildings as we’d hoped to see, but the ones in the exhibit were indeed impressive and, as you can see, on a pretty large scale.
Having been through the standing exhibits in the not too distant past, we just visited a few highlights including their collection of American toys throughout history. This ST:TNG scene is terrific.
In addition to cultural stuff, we also made time to experience a few recommendations from friends, including happy hour at the Pyramid Scheme. It’s a bar and performance venue with a pretty decent collection of pinball machines. Continuing my fangirl appreciation, I did the best on the ST:TNG machine and spent most of my time playing that. After this we walked over to HopCat for a delicious dinner and brews. Best of all, we were seated right away when we arrived and noticed that a large line formed practically moments later, so we super lucked out on that.
The following day we went to the Grand Rapids Art Museum after an amazing breakfast at Sundance Grill and Bar. They offer Tex-Mex food that was SUPER delicious and the portions were huge. We definitely felt well-fueled for a day of walking around. The Art Museum was showing works from last year’s ArtPrize, which was cool since we didn’t make it over to see anything during last year’s competition. This painting is Sojourn by Andrea Kowch. There’s at least one Margaret Atwood novel in which a woman paints things that this made me think of – I may be thinking of descriptions from more than one story.
The last couple of pieces we came to happened to be the thing I am most interested in: art quilts! This one is BodyMap by Elizabeth Brandt. The vibrant colors she used are really appealing and really highlight her construction. I like that she used different stitch techniques on different sections of the quilt.
This, Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore by Ann Loveless, was almost the last work we saw, and it was a great finale. It’s really four large pieces, framed and hung in a sequence that creates one visual whole. This was the first place people’s choice grand prize winner in last year’s ArtPrize competition.
The detail she put into this piece is really impressive.
I love the colors and how well she captures the look of a sunset.
We also visited Frederik Meijer Gardens for the first time. It was SUPER hot and muggy by the time we left, but we still quite enjoyed walking through the greenhouses and the grounds. There were a ton of weddings happening that day (I’m sure it’s a popular summer wedding spot) and I felt thankful that I wasn’t enduring the humidity in super dressy clothing.
The outdoor pieces are really nicely arranged with walking paths and frequent benches that are placed so that you can appreciate whatever piece of sculpture is nearby. We didn’t take time to sit as the humidity was making us feel as though if we stopped, we’d never get started again. This piece, Neuron by Roxy Paine, was one of our favorites. There are lots more pics on my flickr of the various artworks we saw on this trip.
With a well-formed appetite after that exercise, we headed over to Founders for lunch. Sitting in the beer garden, we met some nice folks from downstate with whom we enjoyed our sandwiches and brews. Following that, we visited with some dear friends we haven’t seen in far too long, and of course we were having too much fun to remember to take any photos. We had dinner at Brewery Vivant, which was decadent and delicious – duck nachos! – and then listened to our pal Dan play dueling pianos at the BOB. It was a jam-packed weekend but totally fun and really refreshing. And almost everything was within walking distance of our hotel! We’re such homebodies a lot of the time, so it’s good to be reminded of how refreshing it can be to find some new surroundings every now and then.