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.
The Holland Farmers Market happens May through December each Wednesday and Saturday. They also have Monday night market in June, July and August. Since 1954 Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market is the spot for great blueberries in season along with raspberries and strawberries. 15793 James St.