I am here to tell you if you haven’t taken a trip, just you and your partner sans kids, ever or in a while, do it now. My soul and marriage need these trips with my husband to rest and reconnect. For us, we enjoy checking out new cities neither of us has been to and soaking up all the local fun. It doesn’t have to be a plane ride, and it doesn’t have to be long in terms of days away.
Last spring, we drove about six and half hours northeast to a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan known as Holland. The overall trip was just a long weekend away (Friday to Monday) which was enough time to recharge. The town caught my husband’s eye for its annual tulip festival, one of my favorite flowers. We had no idea what to expect, nor did we know anything about the town, but it became one of our favorite trips.
Holland is rich in Dutch history, as you’ll see throughout the town. It is also located along Lake Macatawa, which makes for excellent dinner views at Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant. The Tulip Time Festival is an annual event that started in the 1930s when 250,000 tulips were planted. Today, over 6 million tulips line streets, parks, and driveways of Holland. The festival, done at the beginning of May, usually includes a 5K race and art show, but given the pandemic, those were virtual.
Having never been to the town, I grabbed a brochure from the hotel lobby that recommends places to see and restaurants to check out. One of the main attractions to see tulips upon tulips is Windmill Island Gardens. And just like the name suggests, there is a 251-year-old windmill to explore and learn about its history. The park isn’t large, but with its walking paths and hundreds of rows of various tulips to see, you can spend about an hour and a half to two hours enjoying the view.
Holland has more to offer than just tulips. You can take a scenic 20 minute trip to the shores of Lake Michigan at Holland State Park. This is also home to the Big Red Lighthouse.
If you’re breakfast fans like we are, there is no other place to go than a small diner in the middle of downtown, Windmill Restaurant. You cannot make reservations, and they don’t do a waitlist. You simply show up and wait in line to enter this yummy eatery. The cinnamon rolls are a must!
I wanted to check the sand dunes along the lake. After a quick Google search, we drove about 30 minutes south to Saugatuck, nestled next to Lake Kalamazoo. Saugatuck is smaller but in full view of the water, with plenty of shops and restaurants to walk around and check out. After setting the GPS, we were off to Saugatuck Sand Dunes next to Lake Michigan. The park has trails and golf frisbee to play. The trek to the water, which we didn’t know, was about a mile and a half over a couple of steep hills. But, upon reaching our destination, it was worth it. The water, while cold, was gorgeous, as was the sand. We have every intention of a future trip to stay in Saugatuck.
This was one of our first trips away from our son together. We had overnights in town, but never where we both traveled away from him. I know a solid and healthy marriage is needed for our son too.
For us, it’s seeking out a new place to travel where we share experiences, and we don’t worry about what time we eat, nap, or if we have a plan for the day. We take a much-needed pause in everyday life. This might be an unpopular opinion, but our marriage comes first. There will be a day when our kids will be grown and out of the house, leaving us with each other. The stability starts now with kids, so we don’t wake up one day not knowing each other.
There will always be reasons for work, appointments, games, meetings and so much more. Book the trip. Don’t put it off.