2017-05-13 (Day 3/9) Trip to Michigan-Holland and Mackinac Island.

(Note: I use the ‘gallery’ feature of wordpress to organize and display pictures. To see the complete picture, click on it and use the left and right arrows, in the middle of the enlarged picture to view the pictures.) 

In the morning, we went to the Windmill Island Gardens. Sue and I walked to the windmill (named “De Zwaan” and is 250 years old) and were among the first groups to tour. The windmill is the only one in the United States and was imported from Holland. Many windmills in Holland were destroyed during wars, but this one was the only one allowed out-of-the-country before a law was passed to not allow any more to leave. The city promised Holland that they would refurbish it and have tours to help preserve the culture. In addition, they have a millar, who is one of the few certified in the country to actually mill grain. They sell the grain that is used for making dough that is incredible. A very good tour – up several flights of stairs and great view from the platform at the top. After the tour, Sue bought a cloth bag to help pack her items on the trip. As we walked through the tulip gardens, we remembered that the bus was expected to leave in a few minutes and we hurried to meet the group. We returned just-in-time and had wonderful memories of our visit. We shopped at the De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory – wonderful stuff.


We next went to Nelis Dutch Village which was near our hotel. It was a beautiful morning and this was the re-creation of a Dutch Village. They had a carousel which we rode – just because we could. We sampled the cheese and looked at many gifts in the shop. We had an arranged lunch at a nearby restaurant – a fast, and uneventful meal (many meals were included in the tour price). We had a slice of ham, some green beans, mashed potatoes and some local bread. It was good and they restaurant was able to serve us quickly as the meal was pre-arranged. The bus was able to park in a special area near the viewing stands of the Muzienparade=Tulip Parade and we had a wonderful seat. We totally enjoyed the parade and it was beautiful weather. The parade started about 1:30 and lasted over 2 hours. We saw many floats, bands, and local company entries. (4,000 participants, 170 units on the longest parade route in Michigan.) I took many pictures and have included some here: (Note: the Michigan Band performs “Tiptoe through the tulips” as they march in their wooden shoes. Additional note: our bus-tour-guide explained that you had to wear many pair of socks with the shoes to pad your feet. She had on seven pair and said that others wear about nine pair. One more note: I wasn’t expecting the end of the Holland band and stopped the video and missed the picture. A person followed the band pulling a wagon containing a cardboard box with writing telling everyone that the wooden shoes may break during the parade and they pick them up and put them in the box. I presume that they also carry several pair of ‘spare’ shoes for band members.) The band was outstanding.

 

Youtube.com link to video: 

(1) Holland, Michigan High School Band – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejeSTpu2od8

(2) Holland, Michigan Tulip Festival costumed dancers (short video)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHkOz6EqSvE

(3)  Holland, Michigan Tulip Festival costumed dancers – (Short Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXXe7DvOYBY

(4) Steel Drum Band (double-decker bus float)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-93p8rAD3s

After the parade, we went to the cultural building of the city and saw someone making wooden shoes. There were vendors selling local products and a local biologist who told about the tulips that are used by the city for planting and how they are grown. Very interesting information.


After the cultural building, we had a tour of “Coppercraft Distillary”. We were beginning to get weary and the tour didn’t include seating, so many of us returned to a nearby chair. We heard about the company and their making the products that they sell. We also had a sample of the gin and bourbon. Some of us bought gifts and the owner included a glass ‘gift’ to each attendee.
After the tour, we went to a local Methodist church who had a fundraiser of serving dinner to groups. We had a buffet line to serve lasagna. The church volunteers helped serve us drinks and had set-up the room. The tables were decorated with wooden shoes and had a flag for its ornament. We were the only group there for dinner, but it was apparent to us that they were prepared for a much larger serving. Someone asked about their efforts and were told that the church had previously served 1200 meals there. I guess that we were the last group and they would take-away the tables and prepare the room for their Sunday events after we left.

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