Who says chivalry is dead? Not those of us fortunate enough to live in Grand Haven! Do you want the ‘piece de resistance’ in perfect sites to ‘pop the question?’ Let me show you around our little beach side community!
Grand Haven was founded on the mouth of La Grande Riviera ( the Grand River) way back in 1860’s or so. We boast a lakeshore of poetic proportions! Tiny Victorian cottages dot Harbor Drive and the narrow little streets that wend their way back into the dunes. Lush historic homes restored in opulent splendor provide shelter and food as Bed & Breakfasts.
Our downtown features charming little gift shops, jewelers, sweets shops, coffee houses, bistros, a bakery, wine shops and specialty grocery stores. a beadery, a pottery studio, art galleries, a yarn shop, and several very nice restaurants.
As you stroll the main street, you come to the old train depot which houses a local museum rich with history, artifacts and lore. This is situated on the waterfront along with a lovely boardwalk that takes you out to the lighthouse or to the 1223 Pere Marquette train park.
Now after that little prelude, I will tell you just how to land the girl of your dreams in our little city! My suggestions include a series of clues in the form of ‘key words’ that she has to decipher. You could make a map or scavenger hunt list for the two of you to follow. All of the places are within walking distance so you can park your car in one of the free city lots of from Franklin street.
First, you buy her a gyro from Mr. Kozaks, a little Greek sidewalk cafe. the Greeks sort of invented romance, so this is perfect! This keyword is obvious: you want to be her ‘gyro-hero’. Don’t worry, the clues get harder!
Next, you head to one of the gift shops and buy a her a little souvenir of your day. Tell her to choose a candle; that will be her next clue. My favorite gift shops are Down to Earth and The Calico Cat.
Your next stop will be to The Beadery or The Ceramic Cafe. Here you will make either a piece of jewelry or paint a piece of pottery together, like a plate. This will be a keepsake. The clue will be ‘ encircle’.
You will be hungry after that , so your next stop will be to Great Harvest Bread Company. You can get a free slice of bread there every day except Monday. Her clue here is ‘in sickness and in health’.
Her next clue is ‘a lifetime of happy memories’. This refers to the museum. You will them head down to the Depot museum or the Ackley Building museum which is a restored old Department store right in the middle of town.
This clue may be trickier; ‘sweet and lovely’. This is your reference to your beloved. I suggest a visit to Santa Stefano’s Sweet Shop. Choose from one of the many lovely treats available in this festive Italian candy shop, reminiscent of an elegant little market in Rome. Another wonderful ethnic grocery and sweet shop is Fortino’s family owned for three generations and in the same quaint buidling!
‘Will you come along for the ride?’ is your next clue. Hop a ride on our local trolley for only $1.50 each! You’ll get an open air ride and narrated tour of our little city. Pick up the trolley at Chinook Pier or flag one down anywhere downtown.
Her clue to solve is ‘are you game?’ Your destination is down the boardwalk to the miniature golf park. It is just past Chinook Pier heading north. Play 18 holes for just $4 each and you’ll benefit our local high school’s theater program!
I’m guessing that you will both be tired and ready to relax over a nice dinner. I like the Grand Theater Bar, which features a chic restaurant situated in restored movie theater! You can dine al fresco outside under the marquee and be serenaded by some excellent local talent! Check out my review of this venue right here.
Other great dining establishements include Portobello’s ( great Italian cuisine), The Kirby House and The DeeLite ( a former diner, converted into an upscale retaurant). These all feature live music as well! Order a bottle of chardonnay and propose a toast to yourselves. I would use ‘we make beautiful music together’ as your clue
Her second to last clue will be ‘a beacon’. As the sun begins to set over lovely Lake Michigan, take a stroll together out to the end of the boardwalk to the lighthouse on the pier. You’ll see pastoral scenes of families bathing at the beach, the kids reluctant to start for home, local fishermen angling, and fellow strollers enjoying the view.
As it begins to get dark, you can head back into town to our waterfront stadium, just next to the depot museum for the finale and your perfect place to ask your question. The clue is ‘fountain of youth’. At dusk, Grand Haven’s star attraction, ‘the World’s Largest Musical Fountain’ will display a water, light and music show. During the show, put your arm around her and whisper, ‘Let’s do this more often, like for the rest of our lives.’
After this wonderful day, I think you’ll be a shoe-in for the role of groom!