September 24, 2012

road trip: grand rapids

Last week was one of those rare weeks when all sorts of lovely experiences seem to squeeze into an unbelievably short amount of time. I had the privilege of joining Ryan for a couple of his performances over the last few days, and one of the shows was in Grand Rapids, MI. We arrived in Grand Rapids after a rainy drive, and met up at the venue with our friends Jim and Cherie. While Ryan and Jim rehearsed for the show, Cherie and I slipped out to get coffee. We walked a few blocks through downtown Grand Rapids, where Cherie introduced me to a coffee shop called Madcap Coffee - one of her local favorites. I took her recommendation and got the "Cafe Miel," which is a latte with honey and cinnamon, and it was absolutely delicious. I picked out a bag of their El Porvenir whole bean roast to bring back home, too. I am excited to try this roast as a part of my morning French Press routine. If the Cafe Miel was any indicator, it will be a win for sure! It was a wonderful coincidence that ArtPrize (an art contest based in Grand Rapids) had just started this weekend - there was an incredibly gorgeous art installation, "Perspective Lifters," which filled the entire coffee shop. It was so magical to enter the shop and be charmed by the hanging paper houses, art prints, and ladders mounted and grouped throughout the space. 
As we headed back to the venue with our coffee, we stopped into a stationery shop called 6.25 Paper Studio. I loved this little message posted high on the wall near these pretty polka-dot balloons! And I found some very special treasures to bring back with me. I am especially taken with this 2013 calendar by Smock - it will be such a pretty way to keep track of the year ahead! I adore all things Audrey Hepburn, and I am excited to find a special use for this pink notebook and this darling washi tape, too.
Ryan played the Ladies Literary Club in Grand Rapids once before, and it is one of my all-time favorites! It is such a beautiful, elegant space - open and roomy with its high, formal ceilings, yet still intimate and cozy. Lovely woodwork and moldings are accented by a gorgeous crystal chandelier in the lobby, as well as an original Louis Comfort Tiffany window, commissioned long ago for the space as a gift from one of the Club's members. (Did not get a good picture, I am sorry to say!) I love the idea of the venue's history as a Literary Club - so neat! I am so happy that Calvin College now continues to host music events in the space. It is always SO great to hear Ryan play live, especially with a string quartet!! (He is going to be touring on the East Coast soon with strings, look here for more info...)
Before heading back home the next morning, we joined Cherie and Jim again for an incredibly yummy brunch at Marie Catrib's. We couldn't have been happier with our choices and with so many healthful, delicious menu options, this restaurant received maximum stars from all of us!
On our drive home, we experienced more rain, but in between, we enjoyed the Midwestern expanse of cloudy skies as they put on a show for us, shifting and swirling themselves into one dreamy landscape after another. I am reminded that even the smallest, shortest of road trips can turn your world just enough to grant you amazing new experiences and perspectives. 

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