January 2011 - GRM
Featuring the "Best of Grand Rapids" readers poll results!
237 things you love Celebrating City life www.grmag.com Best of GR ReadeRspoll Results January 2011 $3.95 The immigration baTTle � pg50 The area's premier dining listings � pg58 two plate: Tre Cugini Exceptional Thanks! On behalf of the management and merchants of Woodland Mall, we are grateful that you voted us the #1 mall in Grand Rapids! We are proud to bring you exceptional shopping at your favorite stores, including Apple, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Brookstone, Coldwater Creek, J.Crew, Swarovski, Williams-Sonoma, Barnes & Noble and our newest store The North Face. Thanks for shopping with us! E X C E P T I O N A L S H O P P I N G A Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust� Property Shop 100 stores including Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Apple and The Caf�s in the Woods Food Court. Monday-Saturday 10am to 9pm, Sunday Noon to 6pm 28th Street and the East Beltline, West of I-96 616-949-0012 � shopwoodlandmall.com Find us on Facebook A Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust� Property A NEW DIRECTION IN QUALITY & STYLISH FURNITURE 637 Leonard NW � Just West of US 131 � Grand Rapids 616.454.4439 www.nwhomefurnishings.com January 2011 BEST OF GRAND RAPIDS IMMIGRATION Volume 48 number 1 A record number of votes in the 2010-2011 Readers Poll resulted in new winners in numerous categories. ...... 40 While an estimated 70,000 people residing in Michigan came to the U.S. illegally, critics of proposed legislation argue that the issues of families already living here are not being addressed. ............... 50 2 Grand rapids January 2011 A Resolution worth keeping! New SLIMLipoLifeSculptTM � Next Generation FDA approved Laser Liposuction Technology New West Michigan's only Vectra3-DImagingandSimulationSystem New TransforMDSkinCareandLaserCenter with exclusive treatments & products New IPLLaserTechnologyfor treating wrinkles, brown pigment, redness, acne, stretch marks and fast efficient, permanent hair reduction Brad Bengtson MD, FACS bengtsoncenter.com 616.588.8880 � Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery � A Leader in breast aesthetics and body contouring surgery � Member: American Society of Plastic Surgeons � Member: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery � Member: Allergan Medical Facial Aesthetics Speakers Bureau � Sought-after resource for national media on all topics of cosmetic procedures � A Lead Investigator in the United States for the 410 cohesive gel "gummy bear" implant � Listed as one of the Best Doctors in America in plastic surgery as voted by his peers, 1996-2012 � Recipient of two prestigious Tiffany Awards by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for innovations and research � West Michigan's only Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon National Trainer for BOTOX� & Facial Filler's �VotedBest of Grand RapidsforPlasticSurgery,2010-2011! Women's Health Center Bengtson Center Design 1 555 Midtowne Street, Suite 110 4693 Wilson Avenue, Suite G Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 Grandville, Michigan 49418 56 January 2011 on the Cover: Volume 48 number 1 Photography courtesy istockphoto.com/ Thomas Vogel 14 24 in EvEry issuE Life & StyLe Carol Roeda; mymac wellness.com; Kurt Dreyer Acting Studio; Green Dog Pet Accessories. ............ 10-13 ProfiLe spEakinG up etC. By Carole Valade .................... 7 traveL Frank DeVos knew nothing about the floral industry when he purchased Eastern Floral in 1950, but he nurtured it into a blooming success. ............. 20 DeSign By Matt Baker The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. ...................... 14 granD timeS By Gordon G. Beld Saddlebag Swamp was located just beyond the southeast corner of today's Meijer Gardens. .................. 18 CritiC'S ChoiCe When designing a home or business, Jeffery Roberts finds ways to reuse materials and incorporate reclaimed items. ....................................24 City guiDe By Mark F. Miller Lots O'Pots Pottery on the city's west side. ...................26 art aPPreCiation Jeff and Jerry Spruit of Swan Inn profiled; complete dining list; Stella's Lounge and The Viceroy. ......... 55-96 Calendar of Events. ...........83 By Joseph Antenucci Becherer GRAM's 100 Years � 100 Works of Art. ...................... 28 Dining review By Ira Craaven Angel's Thai Caf�. ..............56 granD vine By A. Brian Cain Wine and beer at Salt of the Earth. ................ 71 freSh hoPS By Jon C. Koeze No sake without koji. ......... 76 4 Grand rapids January 2011 Spectacular Waterfront Dining For business luncheons, intimate dinners or appetizers and cocktails with friends, Charley's Crab is dedicated to ensuring that your visit is excellent. Join us in our Lounge for HAPPY HOUR Monday-Friday 4:30-7pm Fabulous $3 � $4 � $5 Cocktail, Wine & Martini Features & Delicious $3 � $4 � $5 Appetizer Specials Check out our exclusive on-line offer -- Three courses for $25.99! muer.com � ON-LINE Reservations Now Available 63 Market Street SW � Grand Rapids, MI 49503 � 616.459.2500 Covering Grand rapids Since 1964 www.grmag.com PuBLiSher email@example.com John H. Zwarensteyn: firstname.lastname@example.org eDitor Carole Valade: email@example.com managing eDitor Marty Primeau: firstname.lastname@example.org CoPy eDitor Donna Ferraro: email@example.com ContriButing eDitorS Matt Baker, Joseph A. Becherer, Gordon G. Beld, A. Brian Cain, Ira Craaven, Mark F. Miller, Jon C. Koeze ContriButing writerS Julie Burch, Kimberly Monaghan, Tricia van Zelst eDitoriaL internS Nick Capisciolto, Colleen Keehl, Candace Price DeSign PaneL Joseph A. Becherer, John Berry, Kevin Budelmann, Jim Caughman, Timothy Chester, Sam Cummings, Oliver Evans, James Ludwig, Ray Kennedy, Henry Matthews, Wayne Norlin, Wayne Visbeen DeSign & ProDuCtion manager Tray Coffee Table Scott Sommerfeld: firstname.lastname@example.org aSSiStant DeSign & ProDuCtion manager Chris Pastotnik: email@example.com art CoorDinator Harbour Bay Furniture Co. Stuart, FL and Holland, MI Kelly J. Nugent: firstname.lastname@example.org DeSignerS/ProDuCtion aSSiStantS Melissa Brooks: email@example.com Robin Vargo: firstname.lastname@example.org ContriButing PhotograPherS Downtown Holland � 212 S. River Ave., Holland � (616) 395-5554 Open Mon.�Sat. 10:00�5:30 www.harbourbayfurniture.com Michael Buck, Jim Gebben, Jeff Hage, Jack Poeller, Johnny Quirin generaL SaLeS manager Randy D. Prichard: email@example.com aDvertiSing SaLeS ConSuLtantS General Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Marie Barker: email@example.com Kathie Manett: firstname.lastname@example.org John Olsa: email@example.com Jan Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org aDvertiSing SaLeS aSSiStant/CoorDinator Karla Jeltema: email@example.com Thank you. From the day we formed Kuiper Orlebeke PC, it has been our motto to do our best, to work smarter, harder and better than everyone, every day, for every client. We're honored and humbled that Grand Rapids Magazine readers voted us "Best Grand Rapids law firm." Get to know the attorneys at Kuiper Orlebeke. You'll get our best. Every day. CirCuLation & marKeting manager Scott T. Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org CirCuLation & marKeting CoorDinator Jocelyn Burkett: email@example.com CirCuLation & marKeting aSSiStant Shane Chapin: firstname.lastname@example.org finanCe & aDminiStration manager Pamela Brocato, CPA: email@example.com aCCounting & CreDit aSSiStant Bev Horinga: firstname.lastname@example.org aDminiStrative aSSiStant Tina Gillman: email@example.com reCePtioniSt/CLeriCaL aSSiStant General Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Alyson Mabie to orDer rePrintS Karla Jeltema: email@example.com (616) 459-4545 Grand Rapids Magazine (ISSN 1055-5145) is published monthly by Gemini Publications, a division of Gemini Corporation. Publishing offices: 549 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 201, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1444. Telephone (616) 459-4545; fax (616) 459-4800. General e-mail: grminfo@grmag. com. General editorial inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org. Periodical postage paid at Grand Rapids, MI. Copyright � 2011 by Gemini Publications. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Grand Rapids Magazine, 549 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 201, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1444. Subscription rates: one year $24, two years $34, three years $44, in continental U.S.; Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and U.S. possessions, one year $35. Subscriptions are not retroactive; single issue and newsstand $3.95 (by mail $6); back issue $6 (by mail $7.50), when available. Advertising rates and specifications at www.grmag.com or by request. Grand Rapids Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited contributions. audited by 180 Monroe Ave. NW Suite 400 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616 454-3700 www.kuiperorlebeke.com www.geminipub.com mediamark research inc. (mri) 6 Grand rapids January 2011 Etcetera But wait, there's more! BY CAROLE VALADE THE NEW YEAR BEGINS with some excitement in Grand Rapids, as seeds planted in 2010 continue to reshape the West Michigan environment. The community can be grateful that I-196 is "fixed," though Ottawa County residents will suffer the new U.S. 31 bypass construction. Still, for every minute not spent waiting for the Grand Haven drawbridge, there is some thanks. The downtown Grand Rapids Medical Mile developments finish up this month with the opening of the long-anticipated Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, after last fall's celebration of the completed Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. This month, as Grand Rapids Magazine celebrates its readers' Best of Grand Rapids choices, there is even more to look forward to: Grand Action philanthropists are ready to begin construction of an urban market, and the Gilmore Group will begin expansion of the Big Old Building. HopCat owners Mark and Michelle Sellers have enjoyed the fruits of their entrepreneurial spirits with notoriety as the planet's third best beer bar with food, but they also last year opened The Viceroy and Stella's at 53 Commerce. And the couple is expanding again, into the former McFadden's Restaurant, just up the street from HopCat on Ionia Avenue. And while they wait for a liquor license transfer, they are making additional plans with another beloved entrepreneurial couple, brother and sister Jeff and Tamara VandenBerg, who own the Meanwhile Bar on Wealthy. The VandenBergs and Sellers will join to open The Pyramid Scheme at 68 Commerce next month. More than a bar or restaurant, it is morphing into a venue for bands drawing from 400 to 500 people. The moniker may raise an eyebrow or provoke a chuckle, but consider Mark Sellers' comments, as reported in sister publication Grand Rapids Business PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL BUCK Journal: "When I traveled extensively, I was always interested in going into breweries and interesting bars. ... When my wife and I moved to Grand Rapids, we immediately noticed that the bar scene here was incredibly generic and boring ... so we decided to change that." Sellers added, "It seems like in Grand Rapids no one starts bars for fun. They do it for money ... and nobody takes any chances. One exception is the Meanwhile. ... What makes a city unique and interesting is entrepreneurs starting businesses as much for fun as money." While there is more to look forward to, GRM readers returned a record number of ballots for the Best of Grand Rapids Readers Poll, voting for 237 individuals and establishments as unique as Marie Catrib's or Marge's Donut Den -- and 212 of them are locally owned. Happy New Year! Letters We welcome letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please send letters in care of: Editor, Grand Rapids Magazine, 549 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503, or e-mail to email@example.com. Letters may be edited for reasons of clarity and space. Name change: Karen Gillion, interviewed in the "Ghost Whisperers" article in the October 2010 issue, has a name change to Karen Hays. She can be reached via her website at www.serenitybykaren.com. JANUARY 2011 GRAND RAPIDS 7 Together 30 Pounds we loST Get Fit. Have Fun. MVPSportsClubs.com Grand Rapids | Downtown GR | Holland | Rockford Fitness/ nutRition YoGa / Boot Camp GRoup RiDe / ZumBa BasketBall spoRts ConDitioninG GRoup tRaininG swimminG / tennis RaCquetBall kiD's pRoGRams and MORE! Life & Style "Hardly a day goes by that I don't get a request from customers for a new embellishment. It's like scrapbooking for home d�cor." -- Carol Roeda � pg10 photography byJIm gebben InsIde � Carol roeda 10 � mymaCwellness 11 � kurt dreyer 12 � kelly Boos 13 � travel 14 January 2011 Grand rapids 9 life & style Creating a folk art empire Carol Roeda calls herself "The Queen of Magnets." It's a perfect title for the creator of decorative folk art, whose newest store at 1005 Lake Drive SE, next door to Marie Catrib's, is chock full of magnetized boards and frames that can be embellished with her whimsical adornments. "I've always had a great love for craft," said Roeda, a former school teacher who started working with clay in the mid-1980s. Later, as she and a few friends opened Art Folk, a 29th Street studio, Roeda experimented with metal, designing silhouettes of dancing children for home and garden. Along the way, she discovered magnets and created a whole system that allowed customers to mix and match their own creations, starting with a base and adding colorful, hand-painted pieces, from words and phrases to seasonal decorations. The icons also can be used on doors, lamps, refrigerators, mirrors -- just about anywhere, she said. "I even put flowers on my husband's black VW Beetle." The magnets make it easy to change designs to reflect the seasons, holidays or celebrations. And she's always coming up with fresh ideas. "Hardly a day goes by that I don't get a request from customers for a new embellishment," she said. "It's like scrapbooking for home d�cor." the walls in Carol roeda's Lake Drive store is covered with examples of her designs. Roeda has three retail stores, the original in Breton Village, a second in Ann Arbor -- "my kids talked me into opening that one when they were all living on the east side of the state" -- and the new East Hills store, complete with a work table for customers. She also sells her products online at carolroedastudio.com. Most of her time is spent in the "down 10 Grand rapids January 2011 PhotograPhy by Jim gebben and dirty" studio where she handles the initial designs and oversees a small staff of artists who do the bulk of the painting. Two years ago, she decided to license her designs to Demdaco, a Kansas company that manufactures gifts and home d�cor. "It wasn't an easy decision," Roeda said. "But in 2008, the economy was terrible and business was bad for everybody." She'd also been diagnosed with breast cancer. By January 2010, Demdaco launched Embellish Your Story in 3,000 stores nationwide. Luckily, she said, expanding the line hasn't hurt her local business. "Happily, we're all thriving." Roeda said she likes to find opportunities to link up with nonprofits to raise money for special causes. And for ArtPrize 2010, she assembled seven 9-foot towers of her colorful icons outside Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. "It was a rewarding experience," she said. "Even the patients were painting flowers." --MartyPriMeau life & style A little help from your friends gettIng In shape tops most people's new year's resolution list. Figuring out how to do it is the hard part. Consider group exercise, says Dr. michael Kwast, a spokesman for the michigan association of Chiropractors. "People who exercise in groups -- especially if they are with friends or have an accountability partner -- are much more likely to follow through with exercise activities than if they are trying to do it on their own," he said. "Stuff comes up and you get busy, but if someone is counting on you to be there, it helps keep it a priority." to make things easier, the michigan Department of Community health partnered with the michigan association of Chiropractors to launch mymacwellness.com, a website with information about free and low-cost fitness activities. on the homepage, visitors can click on locations around the state to find out what's going on locally, from yoga classes to walking trails. the website also has videos of new types of exercise -- and visitors are invited to send in their own. nutritional advice is provided by the michigan State university extension Service, and there's even a place to enter information to receive a personal health plan. Living in michigan can make it difficult to get outside and exercise during the winter months so Kwast said mymacwellness.com offers creative ways to enjoy the season while staying in shape. "it's giving people options and it's no cost," Kwast said. "you can receive an assessment and advice by going through the website." --NickcaPisciolto at the David D. hunting ymCa, Katie horbogen works out; a group fitness class stretches. PhotograPhy by miChaeL buCK "People who exercise in groups -- especially if they are with friends or have an accountability partner -- are much more likely to follow through with exercise activities than if they are trying to do it on their own." -- Dr. michael Kwast January 2011 Grand rapids 11 life & style Learning the acting craft At one time, Kurt Dreyer's physique was plastered on every major billboard in Times Square. The tall, blond Holland native was modeling for the likes of Giorgio Armani, Versace and Ralph Lauren, often jetting around the globe to pose in exotic locations. "It was great," he said. "The money was good and I got a taste of the celebrity life. But artistically, it was pretty lonely." He turned to acting in 1994, studying with renowned teacher Howard Fine in Los Angeles. Since then, Dreyer has been writing, acting and producing films, including "Underestimating Jake," an Indie film that earned several awards. Now he's opened the Kurt Dreyer Acting Studio in Holland and Grand Rapids, teaching his craft to teens and adults. Dreyer said it was Michigan's tax incentives that lured him home to produce "Blue Sky," a film he'd written. But as the recession hit and his budget escalated, Dreyer put the project on hold. That experience inspired him to try something new. "When I was casting `Blue Sky,' I advertised in local papers and had more than 200 people come to audition," he said. "They had great faces and personality, but when it came to discipline in the craft, they were lacking. Some even had a hard time focusing on a line." 12 Grand rapids January 2011 "i love working with actors who want to learn. i'm really passionate about the craft. it's not about being the next Lindsay Lohan. it's about understanding what acting is." -- Kurt Dreyer The three-month series of classes will give acting students the tools they need and an appreciation for the hard work required. "I love working with actors who want to learn," Dreyer said. "I'm really passionate about the craft. It's not about being the next Lindsay Lohan. It's about understanding what acting is." Dreyer and crew will be auditioning this month for Actor's Scene Study at the Park Theatre in Holland and at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids. The studio also will be offering "Comprehensive Techniques for Stage and Screen." Visit www.KurtDreyer.com for information about the classes. --MartyPriMeau PhotograPhy by Johnny Quirin Life & Style Her business is going to the dogs When Kelly Boos discovered her black lab was fetching balls that might contain lead, the dog lover was dismayed. After doing some research, she learned that not only do some tennis balls made specifically for dogs have unsafe lead levels, but also some imported chew toys are made with harmful dyes. No way, Boos said. Not for her beloved Bodie. She decided to make pet products and treats using all natural, safe materials and ingredients. The Walker resident launched Green Dog Pet Accessories in March 2009, and her online business has been growing steadily ever since. "I just wanted to make sure the dog accessories were of high quality and that I knew where the materials were coming from," said Boos, who makes everything at home using her commercial sewing machine. For large orders, she enlists help from her mother and a few local seamstresses. She rescued Bodie from a West Michigan shelter when he was 5 months old. "I called to ask about him, and they said he had one day left," she said. "I told them, `Don't do anything. I'll be right there to pick him up.'" "my inspiration comes from being a pet owner and making better products for bodie and other pets." -- Kelly boos Bodie has become an amazing friend and companion, she said. Now she relies on him to test her products. The black lab and his buddies chew the toys, eat the organic treats and wear the leashes to ensure everything is dog friendly. Other fun items include the Cool-Drool Bib and Wool Ball Wraps made from natural, undyed wool. Boos also volunteers at the Humane Society of Kent County, which receives a portion of Green Dog's proceeds. "I try to be involved as much as possible," Kelly said. "If an event is going on that promotes the wellbeing of animals and creates hope of them finding a home, I'm there." Visit gogreendoggo.com. --Nickcapisciolto VOTED BEST DELI & BEST SANDWICH 8 YEARS IN A ROW! ~FRE SH ~ ~HOMEM ADE ~ ~FROM SC RATC H ~ ~THE B E ST~ ORIGINAL SCHNITZ DELI 1315 E. Fulton/Grand Rapids PhotograPhy by Jim gebben Starting a business venture is nothing new for the 43-year-old entrepreneur, who founded Black Dog Productions in 2008. The company specializes in trade show, showroom and special events management. But Green Dog Pet Accessories is more than just a business. "My inspiration comes from being a pet owner and making better products for Bodie and other pets," she said. 451-4444 SCHNITZ SOUTH 1529 Langley SE / 44th & Kalamazoo 281-5010 SCHNITZ EAST 597 Ada Dr. / Ada 682-4660 www.SchnitzDeli.com January 2011 Grand rapids 13 CATERING AVAILABLE life & style: travel Wizarding World secrets by matt baKer i should warn you that what you'll really want in the gift shops is what's not for sale: Props include a full Quidditch set, "the monster book of monsters" (which will bite), and the oeuvre of gilderoy Lockhart. 14 Grand rapids January 2011 PhotograPhy CourteSy KriSten Dunn To commemoraTe The 2004 release of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (for those of you who aren't fanatics, that's the third film -- Daniel Radcliffe was still young enough that we could blame his deplorable acting on his age), Celebration! Cinema held a Harry Potter banquet. No one I knew was invited. Passes were for sale, but even parents couldn't afford them. I, however, had the good fortune of being an employee of Celebration! Cinema Catering (before this, I had always considered that to be my bad fortune). And so I was at the Harry Potter banquet, restocking the pork kebabs, green tortellini and bins of marinara. It was, quite simply, one of my wildest dreams come true. Wizards milled about. Auctioneers in striped hats hawked Harry Potter movie memorabilia. Stacks of "The Daily Prophet" were piled about. I figured it was the closest to Hogwarts I'd ever get. But I was wrong. Thanks to the folks at Universal Studios Orlando, now everyone can go to Hogwarts. I have been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and yes, it was magical -- but I'm also a bit of a Weasley, which means that while I was there, I discovered a "secret passageway" or two. Consider this article your own Marauder's Map. Before disclosing my secrets, I have to recommend the Hilton at Bonnet Creek Resort ($200 per night). Somehow -- despite its location in downtown Orlando, only three minutes from Disney World and 10 minutes from Universal Studios -- the resort is tucked into several acres of what appears to be pristine wilderness. The Hilton sports three pools connected by lazy rivers, where servers offer you complimentary platters of frozen watermelon and grapes. If there's a heaven for Dumbledore, I like to think it looks a lot like this. Now on to the Marauder's Map. Secret Passageway No. 1: When you first get to Hogsmeade, you'll spot a number of familiar shops: Ollivanders wand shop, the Owl Post, Honeydukes Sweet Shop (where you can buy fudge flies, cinnamon imperials, pear drops, whipped caramels), Zonko's Joke Shop, and Dervish and Banges (in a back alley behind Ollivander's). You may have heard that the line for Ollivanders wand shop is several hours long. And you've heard right. But here's something nobody realizes until they're inside: The wand shop is actually connected to Dervish and Banges. So it might be possible -- if, say, you were a bit of a Weasley -- to wait in the Dervish and Banges line instead. All I'll say is that I bought a wand and waited only 20 minutes. I should warn you that what you'll really want in the gift shops is what's not for sale: Props include a full Quidditch set, "The Monster Book of Monsters" (which will bite), and the oeuvre of Gilderoy Lockhart. Secret Passageway No. 2: You'll buy a chocolate frog from Honeydukes. You'll buy a cup of butterbeer (on the street, pumped from the butterbeer wagon). You'll buy a pumpkin juice. Then you'll realize, alas, there is nowhere to sit. Hogsmeade has two taverns -- The Hog's Head and The Three Broomsticks -- but their tables are reserved for wizards who've actually ordered food (you'll see kids licking huge tur- life & style: travel a true love story Meeting that special someone starts with us meeting you. At Two of Us, we excel at connecting you with the perfect match. With over 20 years of matchmaking experience and over 40,000 exclusive members, Two of Us is the perfect choice for you. Call today to schedule your appointment. 616-285-6046 www.TwoOfUs.com Voted "Best Retirement Community" SIX Years in a Row! 616-949-4975 4450 Cascade Rd SE, Ste 200 Grand Rapids, MI 49546 16 Grand rapids January 2011 www.porterhills.org PhotograPhy CourteSy KriSten Dunn Community Living At-Home Care Rehabilitation All-Inclusive Care key drumsticks as if they were ice cream cones). Others often end up sitting on the street near the Hogwarts Express. But you don't have to sit on the street, because The Three Broomsticks has a rarely used back patio. You don't even have to go through The Three Broomsticks to get to it. Just look for the alley with the Gringotts ATM; follow it to the shaded patio overlooking Hogwarts castle and a tiny creek frequented by (real) herons. It's the perfect spot for a chocolate frog. (Incidentally, I got a Salazar Slytherin card in mine -- the shame of it! Nobody would trade with me.) Secret Passageway No. 3: When you're waiting in line for the Dragon Challenge, at a certain point you have to choose whether to ride the Hungarian Horntail or the Chinese Fireball. Choose the Chinese Fireball; you'll wait five minutes instead of 60. Not that waiting is awful -- you'll spot the Goblet of Fire, Hagrid's hut, enchanted paintings, a life-size (meaning hippo-sized) Buckbeak, a Sorting Hat as lifelike as in the films, and the Weasley's automobile (post-Whomping Willow). Secret Passageway No. 4: If any line can rival Ollivanders', it's the one outside of Hogwarts castle for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. Inside the castle, however, you can step out of line to put your belongings in a rented locker. These lockers also are connected to the ride's gift shop. So it might be possible -- if you were really a Weasley and had zero ethics when it came to cutting -- to sneak through the gift shop into the lockers and then (as if you had been in line all along and had just stepped out to rent a locker) sneak into the line itself. I'm not saying I did it. I'm just saying it could be done. I leave you here. Mischief managed. Matt Baker is a freelance writer based in Grand Rapids (and a Weasley who loves to travel). excellence in plastic sugery When you're passionate about what you do, it shows in the results. Plastic Surgery Associates. Always striving for excellence. From left: John D. Renucci, MD, Douglas L. Vander Woude, MD, Marguerite E. Aitken, MD, David R. Alfonso, MD, W. David Moore, MD for six consecutive years plastic surgery associates 616 451 4500 p s a - g r. c o m Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel History: Grand times Saddlebag Swamp by gorDon g. beLD 18 Grand rapids January 2011 PhotograPhy CourteSy iStoCKPhoto.Com/StePhen StrathDee the swamp was a popular destination for wildflower admirers in the spring, berrypickers in the summer and hunters during autumn. IN The dayTIme IT waS PLeaSaNT. At night it was scary. On one occasion it was hungry. And now it's gone. To Grand Rapids area pioneers, it was known as Saddlebag Swamp, a name derived from its shape -- much like the twin bags that were slung across the backs of horses behind their saddles. The several hundred acres of soggy terrrain was located just beyond the southeast corner of today's Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Soon after settlers from the east moved into the area, the swamp was a popular destination for wildflower admirers in the spring, berrypickers in the summer and hunters during autumn. In the dark, however, the area had best be crossed with caution. An early volume of Kent County history tells of the experience of a doctor returning from a house call and passing the swamp at midnight. "As he was meditating on his home and a bed," the book says, "the horse became frightened, shied at a huge panther which crossed the trail and tossed the man of medicine from the saddle." During daylight the principal threats were snakes, according to Grand Rapids mayor and congressman Charles Belknap. He recalled in his book, "The Yesterdays of Grand Rapids," that when wildflower lovers went to the swamp, many wore hipboots "more as a protection against snakes than water, for everything in the line of wiggling serpents, from the harmless little garter snakes to the black water snakes, rattlers, and blue racers might be encountered there." Berry picking at the swamp enabled Belknap to enjoy a memorable Independence Day during his childhood. Going downtown for the parade, fireworks and other festivities required a bit of money, and he had none. His mother suggested that he go to the swamp and pick berries to sell. "I fought snakes and worked until dark," he said, "but I got enough ripe berries to fill the basket and my hat." He sold the berries to the cook at the National Hotel and enjoyed a happy holiday. The swamp's gluttonous appetite became apparent in 1858 to crews laying track for the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad, which would soon give Grand Rapids residents their first taste of travel by rail. As they moved westward from Detroit and reached the edge of Grand Rapids Township, the workers began to place rails through the Saddlebag area. However, one day they were astounded to discover that the swamp had swallowed the locomotive and cars of their construction train. The equipment and track had sunk out of site into an underground lake 60 feet below ground. The company decided to alter the route, according to historian Arthur Scott White, and the rails were laid in a half circle around the swamp. As the tracks extended westward, Grand Rapids residents first heard the sound of a locomotive whistle June 27, 1858, when a construction train neared the northeastern edge of the city. Less than a week later, the locomotive Empire steamed past the station just south of Leonard Street and Plainfield Avenue and continued on to a dock on the river at Pearl Street. It was carried across the river on a scow and placed on rails being extended to Grand Haven. Regular service between Grand Rapids and Detroit began July 13 and, according to historian Albert Baxter, newspapers pointed out that local residents "for the first time could leave their homes by a conveyance other than river steamer or stage coach." Trains finally were able to cross Saddlebag Swamp about 20 years later when the route was altered after the 60-foot-deep morass finally was filled with sand, gravel and timbers. Gordon G. Beld has written more than 250 historical features for newspapers and magazines since the 1960s. Special rates for hotel, dining and show tickets! AmwayGrand.com/Packages.html Or Call (616) 774-2000 For Details, Visit Profile: Influential Flower power FranK DeVoS Knew nothing about the FLoraL inDuStry when he PurChaSeD eaStern FLoraL in 1950, but he nurtureD it into a bLooming SuCCeSS. by alexandra Fluegel O 20 Grand rapids January 2011 PhotograPhy by Johnny Quirin ne man's trash is another man's treasure. Almost. For Frank A. DeVos, a newspaper clipping he crumbled and pitched in the wastebasket became the catalyst for a multi-million dollar company whose business is beauty. When DeVos purchased Eastern Floral in 1950, he didn't know anything about the floral business. "I wasn't trained for it really, other than gardening," he said. After being drafted for WWII at 18, DeVos returned home and earned a teaching degree from Calvin College "I was going to be a high school biology teacher, but when I got out, the market was flooded. There were no jobs," DeVos explained. With a wife and a new baby to support, DeVos decided to start his own landscaping business. "It was going well, but it was only summer work. I was really getting worried," he said. When he saw an ad in the local paper for a business opportunity -- a flower shop -- he cut it out. "I put the ad under my telephone for two and half weeks," he said. And then he threw it away. But later that night, DeVos plucked the ad from the trash and called his realtor. "It's almost a miracle how the whole thing happened," he said. "I didn't even have a truck. I thought, FrankDeVos `What am I doing occupation: retired owner here?'" of eastern Floral He stuck with it, Family: wife, esther, and three emphasizing qualchildren: david devos, nancy ity and service, and stehouwer and Julie vander woude. the company found residence: Grand rapids its niche in floral communityinvolvement: Inducted design. "Our experinto the michigan Floral Foundation's tise was designing. It Hall of Fame. maintains gardens at wasn't just a bucket shawnee Park Church and raybrook of flowers. We took manor Holland Home. a great amount of pride in putting out a quality piece of work," he said. Eastern Floral grew year after year, and DeVos learned early on that the key to long-term success was to evolve with the industry. "(Shipping via air) changed a tremendous amount of things," he said, noting that Eastern Floral now receives product from as far away as South America and The Netherlands. Before World War II, according to Rod Crittendon, executive vice president of the Michigan Floral Association, "sources were local, attached greenhouses, but now, with overnight shipments and planes flying in and out, flowers are bought and sold worldwide every 24 hours." At Eastern Floral's peak, it employed 100 full-time and 100 part-time staff members and a fleet of 27 delivery vehicles. At that point, at age 73, DeVos was still working full-time. "I did not have any idea it was