Holland is the largest city in the area that is located on the shore of Lake Macatawa just north of Saugatuck. Its much-photographed Big Red Lighthouse stands by the channel that connects the Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan. It has a nice downtown area with a large number of restaurants, shops, galleries, high end boutiques and brew pubs. I went back recently after many years and enjoyed my time exploring downtown. My recommendations include:
Butch’s Dry Dock: Butch’s has a formal dining room and adjacent casual pub featuring traditional fare plus an extensive selection of wine and beer. This is a fun spot for lunch downtown. I loved the reuben sandwich! 44 E. 8th St.
Alpen Rose: Located in downtown Holland, Alpen Rose features a casual cafe and bakery as well as more formal dining rooms where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with many European dishes in a classic, European setting. 4 E. 8th St.
Hops at 84 East: This is a fun, casual brewpub featuring brick oven pizzas and a large selection of craft beers from Michigan and around the US. 84 E. 8th St.
New Holland Brewing Co.: New Holland is a local craft brewery that makes a number of beers including porters, ales and stouts. They also have New Holland Artisan Spirits which features their Beer Barrel Bourbon from aged beer barrels, a Zeppelin Bend single malt whiskey, a Zeppelin Bend Reserve which is aged in sherry casks and a Beer Barrel Rye. I loved the Beer Barrel Bourbon and bought a bottle to take back to Chicago. It excellent!! You can visit their New Holland Pub at 66 E. 8th St. downtown like I did and enjoy food as well as taste one of their whiskeys or craft beers. They also have the Knickerbocker brewpub at 417 Bridge St. NW.
Next time I hope to visit the Coopercraft Distillery. Located at 184 120th Ave., this is a local distillery offering rum, gin, vodka and citrus vodka along with several varieties of whiskey, with a focus on bourbon. They also feature a seasonally changing cocktail menu with ingredients sourced from local, independent producers and growers.
I would also like to visit the Kruizenga Art Museum at Hope College located at 271 Columbia Ave. The museum features a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.
Boatwerks: For waterfront dining, this is a fun spot that gets good reviews at 216 Van Raalte Ave. It has a great outdoor patio in the warmer months.
Throughout the year there are summer concerts, parades, farmers markets and art fairs plus Fall Fest, Tulip Time Festival in May and a Holiday Open House downtown in December. Make sure to check out the online calendar.