Midwest Mondays: No Place Like Home

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Mondays from here on out have been upgraded to “Midwest Mondays.” Here you will find awesome stationery shops, creative companies thriving in the midwest, local brews, well-designed spaces, and events that should not be missed. Also, every 3rd Monday we will feature a Day Date in the Midwest,  giving you ideas for a mini-adventure, exploring a new town. You will agree, Midwest is Best.

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Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse helped revitalize Grand Rapids’ ailing downtown. It was the initial project of the NEA’s public art initiative that awarded $15 million to help create almost 700 works.

To start this series off we thought we’d introduce you to our hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are perched right on the Grand River (which may be getting its rapids restored soon!) and just a short 30-40 minute drive to the banks of beautiful Lake Michigan. We are home to companies such as Meijer, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Amway, Bissell, Wolverine Worldwide, and ahem 6.25 Paper. Grand Rapids is known for being Furniture City because a bulk of the industrialized furniture designs in the last century came from here. We can thank the forests north of us for this. Now we are better known for being Beer City USA and also for the largest populist art competition in the world, ArtPrize, which brings over 140 thousand people downtown every fall. We have a thriving local food scene featuring stellar plates from every ethnicity, and because of our proximity to farms and orchards, there is a heavy emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine. A neighboring town, Sparta, is actually the 3rd largest apple producer in the country, so we are in no shortage of fresh, delicious produce (in the summer and fall anyway!)

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The image on the right is our shop along Monroe Center, which has historically been the shopping district for downtown. On the left you can see, looking West down Monroe Center, the history of shopping in our special area of Grand Rapids.

We often think of our city as a mid-size city with a small town feel, it seems you always bump into someone you know while you are out and about. Overall, its people are helpful and friendly. The city is easy to get around with great public transportation, home to nationally ranked hospitals, and you can be home from a hockey game or a play downtown in 15 minutes. We are also the hometown of President Gerald R. Ford, so his presidential library and museum are here, which is worth a visit for history buffs as well as anyone who wants a flash-back to the 70’s. Grand Rapids has gardens, museums, a tree-canopied zoo, markets, concert venues and plenty of cultural festivals and events.

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Our city, built around the conveniences of the Grand River. Photo source, mlive (click on photo for source).

Hands down, we love it here. Come visit us soon!