Ready to head downtown but don’t want to drive? The Rapid Silver Line is at your service!

The Silver Line debuts on August 25, 2014 and will offer riders a new option to get downtown from the suburbs of Wyoming and Kentwood. Transportation on the Silver Line will be quicker for sure (more like an express bus—you can see our post with all the details, here), but also has cool features like free wi-fi and GPS that communicates with traffic lights along Division St, so buses can hold the green just a little longer to keep things running on schedule.

Silver Line bus

“I think that this is a real alternative to driving,” says Jennifer Kulczuk, External Relations Manager at The Rapid. “It’s going to be very convenient.”  [read more…]

Photo Courtesy of Long Road Distillers

Photo Courtesy of Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids has nurtured craft beer lovers for around a decade now, calling all types of beer drinkers to appreciate the subtlety of just four ingredients.  Breweries have covered the region and bolstered the tourism and restaurant industries immeasurably.  Now, the spotlight turns to the next tier of craft beverage production as local businesses like Long Road Distillery come onto the scene to steal the hearts and palettes of Grand Rapid’s west side.

Jon O’Connor and Kyle VanStrien decided to bring the first micro distillery to Grand Rapids to share their own love for high quality spirits with fellow connoisseurs. Long Road is set to open this fall on the corner of Leonard and Quarry, in the heart of GR’s west side.

I immediately asked about the name for their business, and was pleased with how multi-faceted the answer was.  “First, Leonard St is a very long road, running from east of town all the way to the Lakeshore on the West. It also happens to be the longest traditional business district in the City, something we’re proud to highlight.  Second, and more importantly, the name Long Road Distillers speaks to the way we craft our spirits – the right way, taking no shortcuts,” says Van Strien.   “That means we will take the time to source our ingredients locally whenever possible in order to support and highlight the rich agricultural resources of our region. It means we will mill all of our own grain, and mash, ferment and distill all of our own spirits in-house.”

Photo Courtesy of Long Road Distillers

Photo Courtesy of Long Road Distillers

[read more…]

Chefs around town are busy today preparing for the 12-day-dining-marathon that is upon us: Restaurant Week 2014. And I hope you’re grabbing the phone to make reservations, because it’s going to be good. Last night my husband and I embarked on a progressive-style dining experience to sample Restaurant Week menu items at three of our favorite spots. Read on for the delicious roundup.

First Course: Reserve
Beet and Cucumber Gazpacho with St. Vincent Reisling
Pâté Maison with L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc

When dining at Reserve I always forget for a moment that I’m in Grand Rapids. The restaurant’s big-city feel and polish can be disorienting. It’s a treat to dine at Reserve – the ambiance, the food, the service…. the wine!


Chilled Beet and Cucumber Soup with St. Vincent Riesling and
Pâté Maison with L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc at Reserve

I like the freshness of chilled soups and how they capture the season but I’m generally satisfied by just a few spoonfuls and ready to chew. However, the Chilled Beet and Cucumber Soup was refreshing, summery, and surprisingly rich and satisfying. It wasn’t an interlude between courses, as chilled soups often are, but rather a highlight of our dinner. We loved the sweet, lemony St. Julian Riesling paired with the rich and vegetal chilled soup.

We also enjoyed the Pâté Maison, a perfectly sized portion with delicious accompaniments. The best part of the pâté was pairing it with L. Mawby’s Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. The wine is made in the Methode Champenoise process and is, well, extremely bubbly. It was a lovely course, beautifully presented and perfect for a special occasion, like Restaurant Week Grand Rapids. [read more…]

Hop Aboard: Riding the Silver Line with Kids

by Kirsetin Morello on August 7, 2014

For kids, life is one big adventure and when you take them for a ride on Grand Rapids new Silver Line, Michigan’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, you’ll give a big boost to your I’m-a-fun-parent street cred.

Silver Line service begins on August 25, 2014 and they’re making it easy to climb aboard. Start by parking your car at the free park-and-ride lot located at the southern-most end of the Silver Line (60th and S. Division). If you don’t already own a 31-day pass for The Rapid, show how your kids how to purchase a ticket from the ticket vending machine (TVM). Children less than 42” ride free; for $9 you can also buy a 10-ride student pass for kids through college-age (they’ll need student ID). Then hop on and head to one of your favorite kid-friendly locations downtown. Just be sure to check the bus schedule before you head out to see what time the route ends that day! (Click here for a Silver Line route map.)

Children's museum -bubble

Take the Silver Line to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Not sure where to start? Here are a few fun ideas: [read more…]

With over sixty restaurants participating in this year’s Restaurant Week – taking place August 13-24 – we are spoiled for choice. Dining destinations around town are pulling out the stops with three-course menus for $28 per person, or two for $28. Wine, beer, cocktail and coffee pairings are featured to enhance the experience and celebrate the beverage culture in West Michigan.

Grand Rapids Restaurant Week Logo

Last week we turned to the GR City Twist app for inspiration to navigate the dozens of RWGR choices. This week, we’re at it again, combining dining experiences with activities based on personalities and interests. Read on for Restaurant Week outings based on three of the 18 City Twist personalities.

Eco Friendly
You live a green lifestyle and you want your travel experiences to reflect your eco-friendly values as much as possible

Stretch your legs and spend time enjoying nature at Millennium Park, just five miles outside downtown Grand Rapids. Millennium Park is an urban oasis, on completely reclaimed land. A six-acre beach and splash pad, over 20 miles of hiking trails, and wetlands create a great place to relax. Rent ($6/hour), canoe or kayak ($6/hour) or paddleboat ($10) and explore.

Another eco-friendly attraction is the Downtown Market, which combines a 20-vendor indoor market hall, outdoor farmers market, green house, teaching kitchen, and more for a dynamic and fun food destination. The Market was recently awarded a Leed Gold certificate. Enjoy visiting the market but don’t ruin your appetite as we have choices tonight. [read more…]

Imagine strolling through displays of beautifully designed juried contest quilts, hanging like something from a royal palace. Then move in your imagination to the next room and take in the visually stunning Stitch Like an Egyptian exhibit. Next, gape at Canadian artist Esther Bryan’s celebrated Quilt of Belonging. Imagine no more: you can see all of these amazing quilts—and lots of others—on display at DeVos Place from during AQS Quilt Week in Grand Rapids (August 20 –23, 2104).

Canadian artist Esther Bryan’s Quilt of Belonging

Quilt of Belonging by Esther Bryan. Image courtesy of AQS.

This year, attendees can also vote for the winner of the inaugural Young Textile Art Challenge. Textile artists between the ages of 18 – 30 were invited to submit work for this event, which offers more than $3,000 in prize money. In addition to the top 3 entries, which are selected by contest jurors, one entrant will receive a $1,000 award based on public votes. [read more…]

Restaurant Week + City Twist: Personality-Based Dining Experiences

by Molly Crist July 29, 2014

It’s time to head to West Michigan and warm a restaurant seat while soaking up the waning summer, because Restaurant Week Grand Rapids is happening Wednesday, August 13 to Sunday, August 24. If you’re curious, we covered the Restaurant Week need-to-know details on the blog here. Restaurant Week menus (hot off the presses!) and information for […]

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Art Van Sports Complex Opens to Public August 2 and 3

by Amy Busse July 24, 2014

West Michigan is home to many unique and inviting attractions for locals and visitors alike, and one more is being added to the already impressive list. The Art Van Sports Complex (AVSC), a flagship project of the West Michigan Sports Commission, opens August 2 and 3 in Rockford and features eight baseball and softball fields, […]

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Guide to Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2014, August 13-24

by Molly Crist July 17, 2014

Regular Experience Grand Rapids blog readers know we love food, beer, wine, and fun with friends. When I say we, I certainly mean the resident team of bloggers… but I’m also talking about Grand Rapidians. We’re constantly celebrating our city and one of the best places to do that is at the table. It’s the […]

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West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance: 60 Miles of Local Trails, From Riders For Riders

by Howard Meyerson July 10, 2014

More than 60 miles of mountain bike trail can be found in and around Grand Rapids, making this bike-popular city a haven for off-road cyclists. There are easy trails that wander through fields and forests, technical trails to challenge advanced riders, and some that become popular gathering spots for people who enjoy mountain biking. What […]

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