Grand Rapids is Bursting with Music This Fall

by Kirsetin Morello on September 2, 2014

Grand Rapids’ music fall season is just around the corner and I hope you’re ready! Here is a peek at two of our region’s most renowned musical performance opportunities – definitely add them to your calendar this autumn!

Grand Rapids Symphony

photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony begins its 85th season – and final season with music director David Lockington – on September 19 with Beethoven’s Fifth, part of its 10-performance Classical series. Throughout this symphony season, you’ll enjoy new works, world-famous artists, and an unparalleled musical experience. [read more…]

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15 Fun and FREE Things to do in Grand Rapids

by Amy Busse on August 28, 2014

 

The Power of Three by Bruce A. Niemi Photo courtesy of ArtPrize.org

The Power of Three by Bruce A. Niemi
Photo courtesy of ArtPrize.org

Whoever said, “nothing in life is free” hasn’t been to Kent County, Michigan. The greater Grand Rapids area offers a wide variety of no cost activities to keep you busy throughout the fall. So take out your planner and get moving – here are 15 ideas for fun, free things to do this autumn!

1. One word-ArtPrize! Starting September 24 through October 12 roam the streets of Grand Rapids and experience over 1,500 pieces of art for free

2. Get your disc on at free disc golf courses at Brewer Park, Fallasburg and Johnson Park.

3. Geocaching is a fun, family-friendly activity available in all Kent County parks. And a great way to get out into the fresh air.

4. Take your bike, shoes etc. out for a walk on Kent Trails. Explore 15 miles of non-motorized trails with parking in five different county parks.

5. The Eastown Street Fair September 13 features arts, crafts. music and of course food. Bring the whole family and enjoy the celebration. [read more…]

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ArtPrize2013_Sept22_0119
Grand Rapids, MI has been home to the international art competition ArtPrize® since 2009. For three weeks starting the end of September through the first half of October, Grand Rapids becomes a destination for art lovers and art learners alike. With over 1,500 entries and three square miles to cover it can seem daunting to a first time visitor. But don’t worry, with a little planning and some tips and tricks from seasoned ArtPrize attendees you’ll look and feel like an ArtPrize pro in no time.

So let’s go!

First, check out all 1,536 entries to start making your “must see” exhibits list. Jaenell Ott, public relations manager for ArtPrize wants visitors to know if they have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, there is an app for that! The ArtPrize app lets you search for specific entries or discover art near you when you come to town. “You can also skip the lines and place your votes through the app,” said Ott.

With so much to see, past attendee Laura Henkel suggests planning more than one day to visit if possible. And luckily Grand Rapids has some amazing hotels to make your overnight stay a fantastic experience.

Now that you have planned where you are going and where you might be staying, come on over!

Grand Rapids is easy to get to by plane, train and automobile. By car, the city is only three hours from Detroit and Chicago and a myriad of flights come in and out of Gerald R. Ford airport every day. Greyhound and Amtrak both stop right in the heart of the city.

Whether you take a cab directly to your hotel or drive a car, fear not parking.

“We have found parking to be every easy – especially if you get there early,” two-time patron Dave Serino said. “There is plenty of parking in the downtown surface lots and it is really right in the middle of everything. It is affordable and easy to get in and out.” [read more…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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!

Reserve

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…]

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Hop Aboard: Riding the Silver Line with Kids

by Kirsetin Morello 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 […]

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What’s Your Dining Personality? Let GR City Twist Help You Create Your Restaurant Week Experience

by Molly Crist August 5, 2014

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 […]

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AQS Quilt Week Returns to Grand Rapids with the Young Textile Art Challenge

by Kirsetin Morello July 31, 2014

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 […]

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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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