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EVERY ISSUE 13 67 71 75

Guest Editorial Last Call Guide to Hotel Dining Calendar of Events

FEATURES 30 38 48 58

The Go-Tos Nothing Can Like Cannonsburg Can The Newcomers 118 Ways to Weather a West Michigan Winter

LIFE 17 21 23 27

‘CAUSE, BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

Let's Talk Tacos Stars of Wonder Do the Can-Can Tarry On

VO LU M E 1 0 N U M B E R 2 OLD AND NEW An AHC+Hospitality Publication Editorial Director Dave Kantor Creative Director Wendy Wassink Editor Amy Marinari Design Kantorwassink

O N T H E C OV E R Photography Mitch Ranger Photography Styling Mimi Ray Style: Design

A H C+ H O S P I TA L I T Y Chief Marketing Officer Chad LeRoux Senior Marketing Manager Carrie Kolehouse

Makeup Kathy Price Model Jessica Larusso, Ford Models

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www.customprinters.com

SOLACE™ magazine is published two times per year by Kantorwassink on behalf of AHC+Hospitality. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of AHC+Hospitality. For advertising information, please call 616.776.6980 or visit us online at solacemag.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/solacemagazine and Twitter @solacemag.


DEAR GUEST, Welcome to West Michigan! As a proud Grand Rapids resident and an admirer of the area’s rich history and its unique progress, I would like to welcome you to the Fall/Winter issue of SOLACE Magazine. I am pleased to share with you some of the many facets of our city – both old and new. Both the classic, untouched standbys and the excitingly new spots both help move our city forward, building it layer by layer and enriching the culture that is matchlessly West Michigan. You’ll find an unexpected activity, meal or experience that is both old-school and new cool in every nook and cranny of West Michigan. With so much to experience, let’s start with a singular, simple pleasure that will put pep in your step – a night at the roller rink. Tarry Hall Roller Rink is a must-visit if you are looking to feel the breeze through your hair. This place is happily blurring the lines between the nostalgic and the hip (p.27). Speaking of blurry, we invite you to be our guest for a mini tour of the area’s new craft brews – lovingly packed up in gorgeously designed yet classic cans. Do the Can-Can (p.23). Hungry yet? Read about the wide variety of classic and new-wave taco joints sure to heat up your palate on a cool, crisp day, in Let’s Talk Tacos (p.17) When day turns into night, or when you feel like reliving that summer evening spent sprawled out on your front lawn stargazing, visit the hidden treasure that has been a mainstay in Grand Rapids since the early 1960s – the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium (p.21). Looking for a to-do guide that will surprise you and lift your spirits even as the days get shorter and the nights longer? Peruse our 118 Ways to Weather a West Michigan Winter (p.58); we will surely leave you in awe of all the possibilities right outside (or within a short jaunt) of your

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door. Another classic jewel to be enjoyed in the fall and winter is our local ski resort, good ole Cannonsburg (p.38). Take a trip through the snowy-white Cannonsburg landscape, and you will know why it is considered a treasure among locals and visitors alike. One of my favorite things to do is visit Grand Rapids' iconic destinations that have been around for 20+ years. These places hold a special place in every Grand Rapidian’s heart, and upon visiting, you can’t help but soak up the history and learn about how they are changing and, growing—but not messing with their triedand-true formulas, in The Go-Tos (p.30). And if new is your thing, dive into the profiles of two of our city’s key newcomers, and experience what their personal visions are for the future of Grand Rapids, in The Newcomers (p.48). As Senior Marketing Manager for AHC+Hospitality—the operator of the Amway Grand Plaza, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids and the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott—I’m thrilled to be able to unveil our city. Whether you visit a legendary spot or a brand-new place you have never heard of, we are positive you will be inspired. On behalf of all of us, I'd like to welcome you to explore, discover and revel in the many layers, sights and sounds of West Michigan, brought to you by SOLACE Magazine.

Carrie Kolehouse

Senior Marketing Manager AHC+Hospitality


G U E ST ED I TO RI AL

TO D D NELSO N

Photo by Geoff Shirley

COACH Why the New Head Coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins Is So Hot on This Town After becoming the first player ever signed by the Grand Rapids Griffins, I played the first game at Van Andel Arena during the inaugural 1996-1997 season in front of a packed house. After a 12-year hiatus, I made my return to the Griffins – but this time as head coach – during their 20th anniversary season in 2015. And again, the home opener was sold out. Some things about Grand Rapids, no matter the amount of time that has passed, just never change. That’s not to say things don’t change around here. Grand Rapids is a thriving city that continues to grow daily and in the right direction. As you’ll see throughout this issue, Grand Rapids has reached a unique point where many longtime favorites have been successfully intertwined with new establishments and developments across the city. Looking back on when I first came to the city as a 27-year-old defenseman in 1996, I felt the area was in the early stages of what it has become today. Our world-class arena was cracking open its doors for the first time, which helped usher in a new downtown economy. After retiring as a player and then spending a year as a Griffins assistant coach in 2002-2003, I moved on to other coaching opportunities in the American and National Hockey Leagues. I would occasionally return to Grand Rapids as part of the opposing bench, and even in my brief trips back I caught glimpses of the city’s evolution: a new building here, a new restaurant or brewery there.

I think what I missed most about Grand Rapids after leaving was just all the things you can do. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. I’ve always appreciated Michigan’s four seasons because they fit my hobbies of fishing, hunting and golfing. All of the inland lakes and streams provide a great fishing route, and to tell the truth, I think I’ve hunted more in Michigan than I have back home in Saskatchewan. Now that I’m back in Grand Rapids full time, it has been one of the more interesting points in my career from a personal perspective to be able to see the progression of a city. I'm always discovering new things, like last year when I found out Grand Rapids owns the title of “Beer City USA.” Some things never change. The culture of winning in the Griffins organization remains constant, from back in the late ‘90s when we were an independent International Hockey League club to now in the American Hockey League as the primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings and the 2013 Calder Cup Champions.

In keeping with this issue’s theme of new and old, the Griffins are one of the deep-rooted mainstays in the city but remain one of the hottest tickets in town and a fixture for the future. The Griffins have proudly presented a stable franchise that is committed to winning and serving the community. We also provide a glimpse of future Red Wings, as nearly three-quarters of the Wings’ current roster spent time with us here in Grand Rapids. As a returning newcomer to the city, I am honored to welcome you to Grand Rapids. And, as a personal recommendation, if you are looking for the full Grand Rapids experience and one that encapsulates the past, present and future all in 60 minutes, I’ll see you at Van Andel Arena. griffinshockey.com

Todd Nelson

Head Coach of the Griffins

And let’s not overlook the fan support. It’s not just that they’re loud, but that they are passionate hockey fans who are educated and knowledgeable about the sport and always have been. One of the best things for me as a coach is getting to the bench and seeing a full house. From the fan support to the Detroit Red Wings organization to the Griffins’ front office and support staff, I truly enjoy coaching here.

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TACOS

By Adam Barr Photo by Dean Van Dis

LET’S TALK TACOS Where to Find the Finest Tacos in Town What defines a good taco? Ask the question in a crowded room, and watch friends become foes.

TAQUERIA SAN JOSÉ Tacos worthy of a celebration

Debates may rage over corn vs. flour, authentic vs. modern and which spots are slinging the best, but most agree it’s all a matter of preference.

Christmas lights line the perimeter of its awning, while a festive tree sits on top. The gifts? They come from the kitchen—well-seasoned proteins and classic toppings wrapped with two corn tortillas. Located on Division, just south of Hall Street, Taqueria San José has minimal seating and little standing room to spare—so avoid lunch and dinner hours, or be prepared for a bit of a crunch. Once your order is up, enjoy what many assert are the best tacos in town. Location: 1338 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

It's time we come together as one taco-loving community, because if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s this: Grand Rapids has a solid selection to choose from.

MAGGIE’S KITCHEN A classic spot that never gets old In an area continually sprouting new restaurants and breweries, Maggie’s Kitchen has been a West Side favorite for more than 30 years. This restaurant checks all the boxes—authentic tacos, plenty of seating and service with a smile. The barbacoa taco may be the best of the bunch, but stop by and decide for yourself. You place the order. They call your number. You’ll definitely be back for more. Location: 636 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

DONKEY TAQUERIA Setting the bar in a growing culinary district In both taste and atmosphere, Donkey hits the spot. Located in a renovated service station, Donkey calls the growing Wealthy Street neighborhood home. There since 2013, Donkey embraces classic recipes with a gourmet twist. The dining area has plenty of seating that extends to the outdoors when the weather is right. Tacos come à la carte, so try a few (be sure al pastor and chorizo are in the mix). Wash ‘em down with a michelada. Repeat as needed. Location: 665 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

TACOS EL CAPORAL Real-deal tacos from an authentic Mexican kitchen Head south of the border—the Grand Rapids border, that is—for a frills-free taco experience. The atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about, but the food’s another story. The tacos come with a variety of accompaniments— including radishes and grilled onions—and the red and green salsas have just the right amount of spice. The pollo, asada and chorizo tacos? All good. If you’re up for something different, try the lengua (cow tongue). Then put it on Instagram to show your friends how adventurous you are. Location: 260 Burton St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509

accompanied by a chef’s choice of side. The menu changes with the season, but you’ll have no problem finding something suited to your liking—as long as your liking is flavor-packed and Latin-inspired. Location: 64 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

JOSÉ BABUSHKA'S A modern spot satisfying dual cravings “I’m craving Mexican,” part of you says. “Polish also sounds good,” says another part of you. You strike an inner compromise and head to José Babushka's, where they’re serving dishes inspired by both cultures. Nestled in Gaslight Village, not far from Reeds Lake, José Babushka's offers a menu dominated by Mexican-inspired favorites – tacos included – with a nod toward traditional Polish cuisine. There are umpteen tacos to choose from, ranging from the expected (chicken and al pastor) to the not-so-expected (alligator and BBQ pork). The shrimp tacos are probably the consensus favorite, so swing by for a plate, and pair it with the signature margarita. Location: 2232 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

LUNA A fitting addition near the heart of Grand Rapids New to the scene, Luna fits right in on Ionia Street thanks to its diverse menu and upbeat atmosphere. Residents and visitors are drawn by Luna’s depth of options and popular happy hour—but here, tacos are king. Inspired by Latin America street food, Luna has only a few taco options (quality over quantity), each

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PLANETARI UM

By Paul Flower Photo by Dale Selvius Illustration by Kantorwassink

STARS OF WONDER Shiny Star in the Grand Rapids Culture Scene When West Michigan residents and visitors want to look at the stars, they often head to the lakeshore for a little romantic beach strolling. When they want to understand the stars and the mysteries of the universe, or simply see an out-of-this-galaxy show, they go to the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. There, they recline in comfortable chairs as darkness descends and the domed ceiling comes alive with everything from constellations to a mind-blowing, specialeffects-filled light show set to classic rock music. The planetarium opened in the early 1960s. In 1967, it was named in memory of Grand Rapids native Roger B. Chaffee. Chaffee was among three astronauts killed while training for the Apollo 1 space flight. From the beginning, the planetarium was an exclusive and popular feature of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and it still is, according to Kate Moore, vice president of marketing/ public relations for the museum. “It always has been unique. And that was one of the big reasons for having a planetarium here,” Moore said. The planetarium experience has changed considerably over the decades. The facility originally featured a 30-foot plaster dome and a bulky mechanical star projector. It offered a traditional experience, showcasing the night sky in all its wonder. An early show, "Star of Wonder," which was an attempt to explain and portray the Star of Bethlehem, was a big hit and remained part of the planetarium’s offerings for years.

By 1994, the museum and planetarium had relocated to a new facility. In the years that followed, armed with more-sophisticated equipment, the facility’s personnel developed light shows and other fare, changing with the times to attract visitors.

The planetarium’s ever-evolving programming and facilities should stand out as a good sign to first-time visitors and the scores of locals who have enjoyed it over the years, ensuring the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium is part of the West Michigan scene for generations to come.

In 2014, the museum completed a $1.2 million renovation that literally took the planetarium to the next level. The Grand Valley State University’s Office of Occupational Therapy helped choose everything from colors to lighting, all to create a more immersive visitor experience. And all of the technology was dramatically upgraded.

“I think you have to evolve, especially to continue to be relevant to the audience that is coming into the museum,” Moore said.

The renovation, of course, also meant museum staffers could offer increasingly sophisticated shows, thanks to a new, advanced production system.

If you plan to visit the museum, you can purchase admission to a planetarium show once you’ve arrived. Or you can choose to simply buy a ticket to the planetarium. All shows and schedules are featured on the planetarium’s website. grpm.org/explore/planetarium

The roster of productions has included “Starlight Safari,” which features roaring lions, howling wolves, and dozens of other animals hiding in the nighttime sky; “Dynamic Earth,” which explores the earth’s climate - everything from monster hurricanes to erupting volcanoes - with the voice of famed actor Liam Neeson providing narration; and a big hit, “Dark Side: The Light Show,” featuring the music of Pink Floyd’s legendary “Dark Side of the Moon” album. The Chaffee offers educational stargazing - you can spend an evening under the planetarium's heavens, learning about galaxies near and far. In fact, your virtual trip can now whisk you away to almost any corner of the universe. But as one recent visitor, David Mel-ton of Clarkston, put it, “It’s also a nice place to see a laser show.”

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B EER

By Emily Taphouse Photo by Dean Van Dis

DO THE CAN-CAN The Craft Beer Industry Is Bringing Beer Can Collecting Back The crack of a frosty brew used to be reserved for big beer brands and those of us not so fond of anything over the 4% ABV mark. Well, folks, times are a-changing. Not only has beer in a can taken on a whole new meaning, but some of the biggest and baddest craft brews in the game are now served in a trusty, frosty can. A "growler" to go, straight from the brewery. Or 12 oz. or, better yet, 16 oz. cans at your favorite brew market. You name it. These ain’t your Grandpa’s Blatz cans, and their taste appeal, aesthetic appeal and shatter resistance give bottles a run for their money. Enter Michigan’s outstanding brewery lineup. The Mitten State’s craft breweries are jumping on the can wagon faster than a Founder’s All Day IPA goes down on a hot day. Even the smaller breweries, or those just getting themselves on the map, are able to can thanks to Michigan Mobile Canning. The brewery submits their labels, they come to you, wham, bam, and back out the door. So, with canning continuing to rise substantially in popularity and efficiency, which local brews have their must-haves wrapped in aluminum? I was happy to research and answer just that. Hiccup. 1. Founders All Day IPA I may be a little biased, as this is one of my longtime favorites. But there is something extra refreshing about sipping this delicious, clean and complex IPA out of a freshly cracked-open can. Founders already has a solid lineup of labels, but there’s something about that woody wagon against the shiny green can…

2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale This is a big one. Most craft beer lovers are quite familiar with this hoppy, refreshing IPA. I normally slug one back out of a pint glass, but I far from hated switching to a can. It tasted extra crisp and held its chill. That fishy speaks to me. I’ll have another. 3. Pigeon Hill Oatmeal Creme Pie It’s like all my beer and late-night snack urge dreams came true. You guys, this is to die for. MADE WITH MARSHMALLOW FLUFF?! Now, I realize craft brews that live on the sweet edge aren’t everyone’s cup o’ tea, but seriously– this could be a game changer for those of you pursing your lips. More spice than sugary sweetness, and a subtle oatmeal pie finish. The can art is killer, dripping in vintage feel and featuring a pretty cute lil’ creme pie dude. 4. Blackrocks Grand Rabbits Cream Ale A cream ale with a twist. Features a citrusy, carbonated, slightly bitter (but pleasant) aftertaste. This one threw me off my typical go-to beer type and got me feeling a little adventurous. It fits the cool season to a T and made me want to sit by a fire and toast my tootsies. The can is intensely pleasing to the eye, with its clean lines and soothing colors. And how can you resist a beer with a name like Grand Rabbits?

6. Atwater Brewery Dirty Blonde Wheat Ale We complain about the heat and humidity, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that once the snow hits, we long to have our Michigan summer back. Atwater Brewery’s classic Dirty Blonde is like a little vacay in a can. A little sweet, a little wheat, and a touch of orange and spice. It quenches your thirst, and is full of big flavor. You can tip one back and dream of Lake Michigan, even with frostbitten toes. The label’s artsy blonde babe is the icing on the citrusy cake. Keep your eyes peeled for Atwater’s entry into Grand Rapids territory, coming soon. 7. Brewery Vivant Farm Hand Ale A pal handed me a four-pack of Brewery Vivant’s scrumptious Farm Hand for a housewarming gift, and I would never be the same. This is a phenomenal French Style Farmhouse Ale that is not only delicious, but a lighter-bodied changeup from heavier ales and IPAs. This is definitely a beer I could keep in-house at all times and quite literally never get tired of. sixteen ounces of this delicious brew is served up in a glossy, eye-catching fire-red can, featuring a beautiful line-work image of its namesake. Cheers! experiencegr.com/things-to-do/beer-city

5. Vander Mill Totally Roasted Cider needs love too, and especially this Vander Mill gem. Cinnamon-roasted pecans and vanilla magically meld together straight-up. It will have you yearning for a hoodie and a frisky leap into a pile of leaves. I LOVED sipping this from a can, and the carbonation seemed extra poppin’. Vander Mill cans are classy and sleek, just like their brand, and I’ll definitely be stocking up.

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RO LLER SKAT ES

By Kristen Taylor Photo by Carson Davis Brown

TARRY ON Why Tarry Hall Roller Rink Is One of Winter's Hottest Tickets When you weren’t watching, Rollerblades made a comeback. Remember when traditional fourwheel (quad) skates were cool? You were likely a very young thing, skating to disco in the middle-school gym. That was before their sleek cousins, Rollerblades (née inline skates), were invented and were suddenly everywhere – not just in roller rinks, but also on sidewalks and park pathways and beach boardwalks. It was the 1990s, and we all broke out the wrist guards and rolled, boogied and twirled our way to sinewy glutes and defined calves. Then the 2000s and roller derby happened. Athletic and powerful women with a sense of both humor and competitive spectacle, coupled with displays of aggressive sportsmanship, brought the gladiatorial sport of roller derby to cities across the country. Grand Rapids’ own Grand Raggidy Roller Girls have been skating in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association for over 10 years. Roller derby defined quad skates as the choice of professionals, and burnished their image as the go-to for the casual indoor skater. Quad skates were old-school cool. Cue the 2010s, and it looks like blades are back, and skate choice has become gender specific. On a recent trip to Tarry Hall Skating Rink, just a few miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the manager said that these days, skaters choose inline skates 2:1 over their nostalgia-inducing cousin. And as hockey skates are to figure skates, all the boys and men seem to go for the inline skates, while the girls and women mix it up.

Tarry Hall has been on the scene since 1959, and has kept up with the skating trends, from today’s preferred gear to a 5,200-watt sound system that pumps that bass. You’ll also find an extensive light show that brings on disco fever both day and night. For the young or just the wobbly, there are "skate mate" rolling supports, which are sort of the bowling lane bumpers of the roller rink world. In a city known for its breweries and art, there’s a different kind of good, clean fun to be had at Tarry Hall. Afternoon skating sessions bring out families and school groups for some indoor temperature-controlled exercise and getting their ya-yas out. Tentative newcomers, always identifiable by their tendency to take clopping steps before they recognize how to push and glide, congregate in the center of the rink or along the starscape carpeted outer wall. Older kids will appreciate the pinball machines and vintage games, which offer arcade aficionados and pinball wizards a perfect place to rest their rumps before rounds in the rink, and the oldtime snack bar where Mike and Ike’s and ChicO-Sticks are still considered très chic.

More new-school cool? Friday night skating sessions have faster-paced skaters and a more dance/pop playlist than others, so parents who would like to walk the rink with small children would be wise to stick to other days of the week. If you do head out on a Friday night, you can go for the gusto when the "Couples Skate" sign on the light board flashes. Grab a partner, because who knows: you’ve got a brand-new pair of roller skates ... maybe he’s got a brand-new key. For more information on Tarry Hall Roller Rink visit tarryhall.com.

Inline speed skating is also an actual sport, with experienced coaches, practice times and meets for those who take their roller rink time more seriously. The Wolverine competitive in line speed skating team practices at Tarry Hall, and they have won multiple national and international championships.

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THE GO-TOS

WRIT TEN BY C LAYTON BOOTH E P HOTOG RAPH Y BY A DA M KUEH L

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Touring a museum won’t tell you as much about a city as its most popular restaurants, bars, burger joints and breakfast counters. AS M U C H AS ANYT HI NG, After all, very few of the millions of people OU R FAVOR I T E R ESTAU R ANTS who’ve called GR home during the past 116 AND B AR S GI V E YOU T HE T R U E years have their name etched into a HI STORY OF GR AND R AP I DS – museum plaque. But everybody eats, right? WAY M OR E T HAN ANY M U S EU M For that matter, they do much more than EV ER COU LD. dine and drink in their favorite hometown eateries and taverns. They go to see friends. Chitchat. Hang out. The oldest bars and eateries remind us what life was like here 30, 50 or even 100 years ago – before generations of change turned GR into the very different place it is today. But don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot to like about these Grand Rapids restaurants and bars, whether you’ve lived here all your life or you’re just visiting for the day. You can always count on them for a tasty meal or satisfying beverage – along with a heaping helping of local history, compliments of the house.


Established in 1927, The Cottage – as everybody here calls it – is Grand Rapids’ oldest and perhaps best-loved bar. People come for the half-pound hamburgers and the full bar that pours stiff drinks and Michigan craft beers from all 10 taps. But above all, they come for the iconic experience. Owner Dan Verhil was so taken by The Cottage that he bought it from his dad in 1980 after spending his teens washing dishes in the kitchen. Dan and his wife, Lisa, are still Cottage regulars, often found at the bar chatting with appreciative patrons. Dan tells me that from time to time, customers who haven’t been to The Cottage for many years will drop in during the holidays. And what do these folks usually say? “Glad you didn’t change a thing,” Dan reports with a grin. During Prohibition, the bar stayed open as a speakeasy that also held illegal card games. In the 1950s and ‘‘60s, budding journalist Mike Wallace was known to call in his reports to the Grand Rapids Herald from the bar’s phone booth.

T HE COT TAGE B AR AND R ESTAU R ANT { 1 8 LA GR AV E AV ENU E S E }

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CYGNU S 27

This one-of-a-kind venue offers what many consider to be the { 1 87 M ONROE AV ENU E NW } most innovative and outstanding cuisine in all of Grand Rapids – and the views of the surrounding city are second to none. ON T HE 27 T H F LOOR OF Cygnus27 opened in 1983, then underwent a major remodel, T HE AMWAY GR AND P LAZ A which transformed it from a place reserved mainly for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays into the restaurant and cocktail lounge that it is today. It’s a place where, according to chef Tim Moreno, “both the incredible menu and the unbelievable view come together perfectly.” Today, people come here for happy hour, a date-night, or just to turn a typical Tuesday night into a party for their palate. As for visitors to Grand Rapids, dining at Cygnus27, recognized with the prestigious AAA Four Diamond designation for more than 10 years running, is a must-have experience. There are simply no finer plates, libations and hospitality around – for as far as the eye can see.

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Opened in 1901, Rose’s just keeps getting better. The restaurant sits by Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, with a fabulous deck that was recently enlarged and glassed in for year-round scenic dining. The indoor dining room is plenty spacious and charming, with its tasteful cabin decor and passthrough fireplace in the middle of the room. You can’t go wrong picking off Rose’s adventurous menu. From the gorgonzola tournedos to the cranberry turkey sandwich to the popular peasant salad, every dish here is as unique and creative as it is tasty. Try to save room for one of the house-made desserts – or be content with the perfect little cup of Rose’s famous caramel corn that’s delivered free to each table with the check. Rose’s is the last building standing from Ramona Park, an entertainment complex that featured hotels, a roller coaster, excursion boats, and Rose’s Bathing Beach & Swimming School in the early 1900s. ROS E ’S { 5 5 0 LAK ES I DE DR I V E S E }

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One of Grand Rapids’ longest-open restaurants (est. 1924) offers what many say is the city’s most gracious breakfast and lunch. This Europeanstyle cafe occupies a quaint 100-year-old building with period decor throughout, including the original tin ceiling and Grand Rapids-made Stickley fine furniture. The dining room comprises several smaller rooms and nooks, adding to its ambiance and charm. There are fresh flowers on every table and a fabulous waitstaff led by proprietor Michael Kulczyk, who bought Cherie Inn in 1997 and still serves as its principal host. Finally, the food here is to die for – at very easy-to-live-with prices. Don’t miss the eggs Benedict with thinly shaved ham and house-made hollandaise that at least one globe-trotting connoisseur proclaimed “the best in the world.” Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel was born upstairs. President Gerald R. Ford met his biological father for the first time at Cherie Inn.

CH E R I E I N N { 9 69 CH E R RY STR E E T SE }


“The Pick” is the second-oldest bar in Grand Rapids, in business since 1935 at the same location. This little hole-in-the-wall tavern seats only around 50 people, including four at the bar. Some of the regulars describe this as a “conversation bar,” which seems about right. The tight confines of the tavern combined with the wit and wisdom of the clientele tend to spark spontaneous debates on subjects from philosophy to football. There really isn’t much else to do here anyway. “It’s no-frills. We’re not a sports bar. There’s no Keno,” quipped longtime Pickwick owner John Rusilowski. For that matter, there’s no credit-card swiper either. So when you come to The Pick, be sure to bring cash. The bar is named after “The Pickwick Papers,” the first novel published by Charles Dickens.

PI CKW I C K TAV ER N { 970 CH E R RY ST R EET S E }

Grand Rapids’ quirkiest diner is also its tiniest. (The affable owner saw me counting places and told me the restaurant seats 21.) Housed in a red-brick building no bigger than a caboose, right next to the tracks, Choo Choo Grill serves up some of the best (and sloppiest) burgers in town, and it has a backlit menu board full of bargain-priced breakfasts. Recently named one of the 12 best “Hole in the Wall Joints” in Michigan, the Choo Choo is frequented daily by some longtime regulars. Come in for a dependably delicious meal ... and don’t be surprised if the local historian sitting on the next stool wants to chew-chew your ear off. This little brick building first housed the Shipman Coal Co. before the Choo Choo took over in 1946. Rick Mack, the current owner, bought the grill from his father-in-law in 1957 and has happily run the place ever since.

C HOO C HOO GR I LL { 1 2 0 9 P LAI NF I ELD AV ENU E NE }

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WRITTEN BY CHRISTINE EMMER I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y K AT I E E B E R T S

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For an overly energetic West Michigan child of the 1980s, summer was a breeze. Each day consisted of one simple step: roll out of bed and head to Lake Michigan. After that, just jump into, over, under and through waves until the sun sets. Wrap it up by heading home (inadvertently covering everything you encounter in a thick layer of sand), sleep and repeat. Easy Winters, on the other hand, took skill and strategy. The layers upon layers of flannel, the trek to a snow-covered hill or ice-covered lake, the inevitable white-washing (thanks, older brother), and the celebratory hot cocoa (or should I say, cup of tiny marshmallows melded together in gooey harmony with a drop or two of cocoa on top) all required a bit more. This planning and seeking felt special and added to the sense of adventure.

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Any West Michigan native will tell you the best of our winter season is encapsulated in two beautiful words, best expressed with a shout and a fist thrown into the air: SKI TRIP! I distinctly remember middle-school winter mornings, waking up before sunrise to file onto an irrationally rowdy school bus full of prepubescent peers on our way to ski, snowboard and wreak havoc on Cannonsburg. I’d venture a wager that nine out of 10 West Michigan kids had their first kiss somewhere near the back row of a school bus on a ski trip (don’t fact-check me on that one). Even if you’ve outgrown your middle-school ski trip crush and lost the epic mix tape he or she made for you, West Michigan winters continue to hold a slew of opportunities for adventure. And, heck, we’ve even taken care of some of the planning for you.

W H AT ’ S O L D Cannonsburg was founded in 1965. That’s the year of the Twist, the year Sonny and Cher sang “I Got You, Babe,” and the year the Pillsbury Doughboy was created – clearly, a year of some seriously amazing style. Although it’s been upgraded with modern equipment, Cannonsburg’s main lodge is the original building. Yes, we’re talking wood paneling. Yes, we’re talking taxidermy. And, OH YES, we’re certainly talking massive fireplace. Do you have a “Rustic Cabin Style” Pinterest board (raises two hands)? Prepare to walk into the lifesize version of it. It feels warm, it feels homey, and it feels like stepping into a piece of history.

Along with a vintage ski-chalet aesthetic comes a purposely old-fashioned approach to customer service. Show up more than once, and someone is bound to greet you by name. The staff genuinely cares about how your experience at Cannonsburg goes and takes your feedback to heart. Don’t expect touch screens; do expect great conversation and an Instagram picture of yourself next to the fireplace.

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W H AT ’ S N E W Pretty much everything else. 2010 ushered in a new owner, and with him came a new, more effective use of the space with more beginner-friendly hills, including magic-carpet people movers to get kids up the hill without having to mess with a rope tow and chair lift. This allows kids to put all their focus on learning and takes the stress out of getting up the hill. For more the more experienced, Cannonsburg added an award-winning terrain park with an arsenal of rails, boxes, etc. Brave riders looking to get a little playful on the hill flock here from all over the Midwest to get their adrenaline dose. All of this, of course, requires fuel. This summer, a new executive chef was brought in, and it’s been a whirlwind since. They have a brand-new kitchen, a revitalized menu and some seriously delicious cocktails (do yourself a favor and get a Moscow Mule). Oh, and you might want to get out your bucket list. Cannonsburg has added ZIP LINES. 2015 was the inaugural year of their canopy tour and a smash hit. Now, they’re up to 14 zip lines, including a 10-station zip line canopy tour. On the full canopy tour, you’re cruising high above West Michigan for all 10 zip lines, gleefully sweeping across the sky from platform to platform (platforms are anywhere from 15-40 feet in the air). Another new feature as of 2016 is their racing zip line – four lines positioned next to one another so friends and family can hop on and laugh, yell or high five one another as they cruise above the treetops. The zip lines are situated high above the chairlifts and will stay open until at least November (and potentially all winter!), making this the perfect spot to admire the changing leaves and autumn scenery. Sign up for GoPro footage of your trip and brag to all your friends about your adventure without ever stepping foot out of West Michigan.


We got the scoop from Alycia Choroszucha, Cannonsburg's resident ski bunny and PR whiz, on the perfect Fall and Winter days at Cannonsburg.

P E R F E C T F A L L D AY “Kick the day off with a locally brewed beer and some fantastic food from the new menu at our grill. As a pseudo-vegetarian, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m obsessed with the chicken and pulled pork. Once you’re settled in and ready for adventure, the fun begins. Hop on the full adventure tour, which is over a mile of zip lines, and soak up the gorgeous experience of flying high above the changing leaves and amazing fall colors. In the evening, head into Cannonsburg village and grab some dinner. Honey Creek Inn is a particular favorite.”

P E R F E C T W I N T E R D AY Alycia continues, “I work all the time, so when I come out here to play, I want to get as much snowboarding time as possible. Start by grabbing something warm from Starbucks on your way in. Once you get here, strap your boots on, bundle up, head outside and ride for about two hours. When you are good and chilly, head back inside and warm up with some great coffee. If you’re here on a Saturday or Sunday, you MUST (I repeat, MUST) indulge in one of our to-die-for cinnamon rolls. With that beautiful postpastry glow, ride for a few more hours. When you’re spent, head up to the Cedar Lounge for warm food (did someone say chicken and waffles?) and incredible drinks.” cannonsburg.com cannonsburgvillage.com/honey-creek-inn

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the newcomers

These Grand Rapids newcomers add life and vitality to our city. Both vastly different, one can soothe your soul with symphony music, and the other can save your life. Either of them can cook you a great meal. Consider this your introduction.

WRITTEN BY TERRI FINCH H A M I LT O N P H OTO G R A P H Y BY JA M E S L AC R O I X

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grand rapids fire chief john lehman

Hopefully, the first time you meet Grand Rapids Fire Chief John Lehman, it won’t be because your house is on fire. See you around town, he says. At the symphony? A baseball game? The beach? “I could easily be any of those places,” Lehman says cheerfully. “I’m a complex person. You might run into me on a Monday night listening to jazz at Ah … An … what’s the name of that park? I can’t say it.” (Ah-Nab-Awen.) Don’t sweat it. Half of us still can’t say it. Lehman, 51, took over as chief of the Grand Rapids Fire Department in June after 29 years with the fire department in Aurora, Illinois, and the past three as chief. He’s an outdoorsy guy who chops down trees from family property in Wisconsin and dries the wood to make tables and cabinets. He simmers up hearty stews and soups packed with Italian sausage, okra, tomatoes and plump dumplings. He loves using a smoker to flavor meat. This guy’s guy is the father of four daughters. Marin, 24, is in dental school in Chicago. Brynn, 22, works at a bourbon distillery in Kentucky. Jillian, 18, is headed to the University of Kentucky. Anya, 15, is the only one living full time with Lehman and his wife, Rebekah, a speech pathologist. “I’ve loved walking around with my wife and four daughters,” he says. “I always had my chest sort of puffed out; I’m so proud of them. That was also to ward off the boys.” His friends are used to him blowing out the candles they light around the house. He’s seen too many tragedies because of them. More community education is on his to-do list, including bilingual fire safety instruction, fire safety for older adults and education about carbon monoxide poisoning. “We can sit in the fire station and wait for the alarm to go off, or we can take responsibility to educate people so we can avoid tragedy,” Lehman says. He hopes you don’t need him. But he’s ready, along with the city’s 199 firefighters. “When you call us at the worst moment of your life, we’ll show up,” he says. “And make the situation better.”

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“Grand Rapids has a great orchestra,” Lehninger says. “It’s in such a great moment, both artistically and financially. Good things are happening.”

MURAL FOR GRAND RAPIDS by Jeff Zimmermann SW corner of Division and Pearl

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marcelo lehninger grand rapids symphony music director

When Marcelo Lehninger’s wife, Laura, plays popular music in the car, their 4-year-old daughter, Sofia, protests, “No, I want Papai’s music. “Papai” is Portuguese for dad. Dad’s music is classical. You can tell Lehninger, a father of two daughters, gets a kick out of this. Lehninger, 36, is the new music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. When he takes the helm for the 2017-2018 season, he’ll plan concerts, choose the music, select guest artists and lead a majority of the symphony’s classical series concerts, and some other concerts too. A native of Brazil, Lehninger is the son of a German violinist and a Brazilian pianist. He has a captivating accent and a warm, affable manner that should charm the tuxedo pants off of Grand Rapids. It doesn’t hurt that he says stuff like this: “Even if I’m conducting 100 concerts a year, I want to be as passionate as if I were conducting my very first one. My father always told me, never just perform. Make every concert a special event.” When you add up his actual jobs with his guest conducting gigs, you realize Lehninger has led these “special events” all over the world: Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., Brazil, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Argentina, Uruguay. Up next: Australia. The list actually goes on. His latest gig was four years as music director of the New West Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles. When he made his Grand Rapids symphony debut in February 2015 to lead a performance of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World,” Lehninger brought the house down. “It was an expression of magic and passion that reached new heights,” says Mary Tuuk, co-chair of the symphony’s search committee. He can’t wait to make that happen again. Lehninger swims every day. He loves good microbrews, fried yucca and the movie “Somewhere in Time.” He might finally get to visit Mackinac Island. He thinks his youthful energy will attract a younger audience to the symphony. Expect some lively South American music mixed in with your favorite classics. Conductors are known for their black jackets and bow ties, but Lehninger might surprise us. He’s got style. “I have red shoes,” he says. “And some other colors too.” He laughs. “You’ll see.”

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We canvassed West Michigan to find some of the best sights, sounds, sledding, skiing, stargazing, dining and drinking to help you recapture that warm, fuzzy feeling you used to have for Old Man Winter. So if you’re tired of hibernating your way through winter, we’re here to help you find everything that’s cool when everything gets cold.

TO WEATHER A WEST MICHIGAN WINTER

WRITTEN BY K A N T O R WA S S I N K

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HI T T HE BE ACH

GET FIRED UP K N O W W H E RE TO G O FO R A F I RE S I D E CH AT.

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Like a moth to a flame, follow the flock to the outdoor fire pits on Founders year-round patio. Tuck in to what many consider Grand Rapids' best Friday happy hour in front of the fireplace at the Grand Woods Lounge. Head to Blue Water Grill, where you can enjoy the warmth of the fire while you watch winter through the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired windows. Swirl your snifter as you sink into an overstuffed club chair in front of the elegant fireplace at the Lumber Baron Bar.

GO CUCKOO FOR COCOA

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W E’RE N OT TA L K I N G S W I S S M I S S M I X H E RE ; W E’RE TA L K I N G S E RI O U S LY H A U T E H O T CH O C O L AT E .

HIT THE SLOPES

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You don’t have to go far to find downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross countryski trails and an après-ski scene that would make a Colorado ski bunny blush: the well-groomed, much-loved local favorite Cannonsburg; a little further "Up North" is Caberfae; the legendary Nubs Nob, where the sport of snurfing – now known as snowboarding – was invented; and further north but worth the drive, the spectacular Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. And while crock-pots and coolers abound in these familyfriendly ski lodges, Cedar Lounge in Cannonsburg’s Lodge, complete with its roaring fire, is a perfect after-slope stop.

Try a cup made with steamed organic milk, California cocoa powder and raw cane sugar at Rowster Coffee. Order up a cup from Madcap that one reviewer on TripAdvisor gave five stars because it “tasted like a melted chocolate bar.” Have one of the baristas at Lightfast Coffee Bar + Art Collective make you a hot chocolate made with their La Marzocco espresso machine from Florence, Italy. Get one to go, or sit and stay, at Early Bird in Eastown.

A summer day at PJ Hoffmaster State Park is a surf worshipper's dream come true. But hike up one of these massive dunes on a winter day and prepare to be blown away – by both the view of Lake Michigan and the wind blowing off the greatest of all the Great Lakes.

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SEE COOL COUTURE Step out of the cold and into the Grand Rapids Art Museum for an in-depth look at the work of Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, whose cutting-edge designs have been worn by such style icons as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Björk. Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion features 45 haute couture outfits from 15 of van Herpen’s collections, 18 pieces from the designer's most recent lines and a selection of shoe designs, and 27 pieces from her solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands.

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SIP SOME CIDER W E’ V E TA S T E D D OZE N S – T H E S E A RE O U R FAVO RI T E S .

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Bourbon Barrel Cider by Peoples Cider Company of Grand Rapids. Percheron Cider and The Mitten Cider, made by Greg Hall formerly of Goose Island fame, currently making famous his newly founded Virtue Cider. Besieged and Bon Chrétien by Vander Mill Cider.

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LUGE LIKE AN OLYMPIAN

Snowsuit up and try out one of only four winter luge tracks in the entire country, and the only one open to the general public at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Luge. Keep in mind, five-time Olympian Mark Grimmette got his start here, so this is slightly more serious and certainly steeper than sledding down your average toboggan hill.

GO F ISH

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Walleye, northern pike and pan fish offer icefisherman plenty of action in Snug Harbor on nearby Muskegon Lake. Drop a line through a hole in the ice on Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids for crappie, bluegill, perch and bass. Reel in a real lunker right downtown, fishing for salmon almost anywhere along the ice-free Grand River. Go big and get a professional guide like Drew Johnson to take you out on the Pere Marquette River and up your odds of hooking one of Michigan’s mighty steelhead.

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SHARE A SHOWER

West Michigan skies will be ablaze on December 13 and 14 with the Geminid meteor shower, which most meteor experts put at the top of their "to see" lists, because as many as 120 meteors an hour will streak through the sky.

SCRE A M FOR ICE CRE A M

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Check out some of these melt-in-your-mouth flavors at these locally favored ice cream parlors. Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles are two serial cereal favorites at Furniture City Creamery. Visit one of the Spoonlickers locations, where you can decorate and design your own favorite frozen yogurt. Fall in love with Love’s Ice Cream in the Downtown Market, where some of the friendliest ice cream scoopers on the planet are waiting to fulfill your frozen fantasy.


HAVE A HOT TODDY There’s no big secret to making a perfect hot toddy; it’s hot water, honey, whiskey and lemon. It’s where you toddle to toddy that makes it special. Here are a few of our favorite spots. Watch snowflakes fall and the icy Grand River roll by from the bar at six.one.six in the JW Marriott. Belly-up at Divani on Ionia Street. Choose from dozens of different whiskeys at Reserve Wine and Food. Watch the snow fall on Wealthy Street as you stay warm and toasty with a toddy at The Winchester. José Babushka's proves tequila takes to the toddy with its José Babushka's tequila toddy. Make your own with a bottle of Grand Rapids’ own Long Road Distillers Rye Whisky.

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GO WEST

Find out why West Michigan’s West Coast really is the best coast by road-tripping to one of these winter-friendly coastal towns.

GRAND HAVEN Grand Haven’s charming main drag, Washington Street, is filled with shops like Fortino’s and Mackite; an unbeatable bakery, The Baker’s Wife; a cozy B&B, Lakeshore Bed and Breakfast; Plus some amazing little restaurants: The Toasted Pickle, Morningstar Café, Fricano’s Pizza, Snug Harbor and Tip-A-Few, one of the wettest little holes-in-the-wall you’ll ever hole up in.

HOLLAND

WATCH THE PUCK

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The Grand Rapids Griffins are the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. They play at Van Andel Arena all winter long, where you can catch some of the best hockey in the country and scout for yourself who's going to be the next NHL superstar. (Insider tip: Friday night Griffins games are also $2 beer and $2 hot dog nights.)

Though the unofficial town motto is "if you ain’t Dutch you ain’t much," you’ll feel welcome every time you walk through one of these doors on 8th Street in Holland: Fabiano’s Peanut Store, the greatest candy store on earth; New Holland Brewing Pub, where you can try one of dozens of drafts and cocktails on tap, and its tasting room, Sidecar, right next door; Warner Vineyards and Butch’s Dry Dock also inhabit this Michigan Main Street that looks like George Bailey’s beloved Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

SAUGATUCK & DOUGLAS Saugatuck isn’t just a summer town - it’s a winter wonder. Start your day with a caffeinated cup at Saugatuck Tea Company, Uncommon Grounds or Respite Cappuccino Court. See why they call it the Art Coast of Michigan, with a visit to one of a dozen local art galleries – Water Street Gallery, Armstrong DeGraaf Fine Art or LaFontsee Galleries right across the river in Douglas. For food there’s Phil’s, Wally’s Bar and Grill, Everyday People Café, The Saugatuck Drug and Soda Fountain (founded in 1913) and The Southerner – where the fried chicken is finger-lickin’ GREAT!

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LOOK AT LAKE MICHIGAN’S FAMOUS FROZEN PIERS

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During the winter the piers and lighthouses of Lake Michigan become encased in ice, creating spectacular frozen formations that look like otherworldly ice sculptures. Be careful, of course, but be sure to see the South Haven Lighthouse in South Haven; The Grand Haven Lighthouse, South Pier and Grand Haven Pier in Grand Haven; the St. Joseph Lighthouse, North Pier and South Pier in St. Joseph; and Holland’s Big Red Lighthouse.

SK AT E I T OU T

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Ice-skating under the lights in Rosa Parks Circle is a Grand Rapids tradition, so sharpen your blades, lace up your skates and hit the ice.

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WA K E & BA K E

There’s nothing like walking into a bakery on a cold winter morning to warm your heart. Try a fresh-fromthe-oven croissant from Nantucket Baking Company. Dawdle through the Downtown Market as you nibble away on one of Shelby Kibler’s Field and Fire doughy delights. Head to Cakabakery and taste why The Food Network’s "Cupcake Wars" featured Cakabakery owner Jason Kakabaker ( Really, that’s his name, we kid you not).

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DASH THROUGH THE SNOW

Snowmobile beneath the pines of the Manistee National Forest near Baldwin. Choose from hundreds of miles of groomed trails that take you cross-country and, more often than not, past neon signs reminding you to stay well hydrated along the way.

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WINTERIZE YOUR WARDROBE Most people think fashion-forward in West Michigan means owning a pair of camo coveralls from the new Cabela’s store. But before you fly off to Paris, Google some of these fashionable favorites from right here in Grand Rapids: Pamella Roland’s platinum fox mesh cape, any pair of boots from the Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection, the Silversun featherless puffer made by Merrell or, if you’re escaping to the beach, Ghost Bag #1 from the Benjamin Edgar Cruise Collection.


SNUGGLE UP WITH A CHEF

‘CAUSE, BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

Photo by Kara VanderMolen

GE T RE A DY FOR

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You can’t cook every night, so it’s a good thing these five chefs are currently keeping the Grand Rapids culinary scene hotter than it’s ever been: Tim Moreno at Cygnus27 atop the Amway Grand Plaza; chef Justin Large at the recently opened Vander Mill Cider on Ball Avenue off of Michigan Street; chefs Zachary Pisciotta and Lucas Verjulst of Reserve Wine and Food; Italian-trained, locally loved Jenna Arcadiacono of Amore Trattoria Italiana.

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Heritage Hill is one of the largest urban historic districts in the country, with one of the finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century houses you’ll see anywhere in the world. A few of the finest include The Meyer May House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Queen Anne at 535 Fountain NE, Voight House and Keyhole House. But all 1,300 homes and buildings are beautiful, especially beneath a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

We asked wellness expert Chris Emmer @sweatywisdom and for her recommendations for staying fit when the snow flies: Head to PJ Hoffmaster State Park’s Gillette Nature Center to rent a pair of snowshoes and snowshoe through 1,200 acres of wintery woods. Skate your way through the woods, day or night, on the incredible ¼-mile loop at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. Thaw out with heated yoga at Rootdown Yoga in Muskegon where, as luck would have it, you can take a class with Chris. Or for a more local warm up, visit AM Yoga studio or locate them on Facebook to find out where their weekly pop-up and in-studio vinyasa classes are being held in Grand Rapids.

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WINTER SURFIN'

Winter waves on Lake Michigan were not what inspired the Beach Boys, but thanks to thicker thermal wet suits and steely nerves, the "unsalted" surf scene is thriving. Visit Wet Mitten or Third Coast Surf Shop to find out where today’s surf’s up.

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L AST C A LL

H E M I N G W AY D A I Q U I R I

NIGHTCAP

Before you call it a night, call on any one of the talented bartenders at any one of the six unique bars inside the Amway Grand Plaza. Or, step across the street to Reserve for a final-final. While each bar is wildly different, each features a long list of local beers, fine wines and incredible cocktails like The Lucky 13, a Pisco Verde or Michigan's favorite son's favorite cocktail, The Hemingway Daiquiri.

The Hemingway Daiquiri LIME WHEEL FROTH ½ OZ. SIMPLE SYRUP 1 OZ. + 1 TSP. LIME JUICE 2 OZ. RUM

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine 2 ounces light rum, 1 ounce plus one teaspoon fresh lime juice and ½ ounce of simple syrup. Shake vigorously, then strain into cocktail glass and garnish with a wheel of lime.

Better still, have one of our bartenders do it for you.

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SOLACE Fall / Winter 2016 - 2017