Anyway, on Labour Day I flew from Vancouver to Grand Rapids (of all places). A flight I might add that took some 15 hours of travel (with kind thanks to Air Canada) [rolls eyes]. I am often in Grand Rapids (meaning, I’ve been so many times I’ve actually now lost count) and I do very much enjoy the city. It has a ‘rapids’ (of sorts) but whether one could term them ‘grand’ is altogether another matter (see picture below).
1) a ‘grand’ rapid? … you decide; 2) the GRAM
Grand Rapids is a moneyed city by-and-large with a decent downtown core of refurbished heritage buildings and a thriving arts scene. Yes, thriving! In fact the world’s largest art competition, ArtPrize, is held here each September. The prize is funded by one of Grand Rapids famous families, the DeVos’ … who you might know better by the company they created, Amway. Wealth often births artsy-fartsyiness. ArtPrize is unique thanks to its method of voting (public) and it’s winning prize of $200,000. While I was in the city I had a chance to see several of the ArtPrize installations being constructed.
Grand Rapids is also home to five of the world’s leading office furniture companies and is nicknamed the “Furniture City”, and, as a devotee of modern furniture, is a bit of a mecca. While in town I visited GRAM (Grand Rapids Arts Museum) to see its collection. Interestingly, GRAM was also the world’s first LEED certified art museum. And, of course, it goes without saying that Grand Rapids was also home to none other than Gerald Ford.
What you may not know is that Grand Rapids has one of the most well developed groupings of microbreweries in America. No small feat since we all know the best microbrewery culture is out here on the northwest coast (BC, Oregon and Washington in particular). I drink beer so I do know of what I speak. And HopCat, a bar in downtown Grand Rapids – should you ever visit – is ranked by Beer Advocate as the 3rd best beer bar IN THE WORLD! I would concur having drank there.
3) HopCat … worth a visit
So culture, furniture, arts, and beer … see why I visit!
Onwards from Grand Rapids I flew to London for dinner … well, that was the plan at least. A quick getaway to Riverside to celebrate my folks anniversary with a family dinner and see my grand, Lady Kay (who I note shall turn 101 in October!). Bless her. Dinner out at Michael’s for reasons I shan’t bore you with here was a wash but we cobbled together a nice meal at home nonetheless with me pitching in a spicy gazpacho and sis, a fabulous lasagna. From there it was onto Toronto for some Toronto International Film Festivaling (the premier of Dangerous Liasions, in particular), visiting friends and a little work.
4) moi and Lady Kay in London; 5) a rare double rainbow just outside
6) my gazpacho with fried shallots and pickled carrot
7) such a pretty group – moi, sis, ma and papa in the garden at Riverside
8) Lady Sarah and Sir Phil; 9) their wee one, Annabelle
10) Blee!; 11) Ironwoman Judy’s kitty greets me
I flew back to Vancouver on Friday, September 14, landed around 7:30PM and promptly moved home the next morning! Something I would certainly recommend one not do. It was all a little too harried me thinks. Granted we had movers doing all the work but still. The move went well and G and I are nicely settled into our new condo some 40-odd stories up in the Vancouver sky. We’ve a 180 degree view from downtown, Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge to the west, across through the northshore and then all the way up Coal Harbour to Burnaby. It is, literally, the million dollar view and we’re so blessed to enjoy it each morning. Through the move we did lose some plates, a favourite Nigella Lawson bowl and a beautiful lamp but when you consider all this stuff came 4000kms across the country, that’s not too bad. Kudos to our movers!
12) a panoramic shot of our new view (sigh)
So it’s time to settle in amid the boxes and ponder why we shipped so much stuff west! ….