We reached Holland, Michigan by lunchtime and enjoyed a midday repast at the Wooden Shoe Restaurant and Antique Mall (42.781040,-86.079948). If Ohio is (as we discovered last fall on our way to the Feast) the State of People Yelling at Each Other, then Michigan is the State of Do It Your Own Self. When we showed up to the Wooden Shoe, we were confronted by a podium with instructions to sign ourselves in.
The members of the wait staff were friendly, though, and we didn’t have to wait very long. Chris was excited to see a Reuben on the menu, while Katherine opted for an “olive and Swiss deluxe,” which was a beef burger served with Swiss cheese and an olive tapenade. Both were good, though Chris was stunned to realize that the Reuben was served with no thousand island dressing.
After lunch, we had a few minutes to look in the antique mall. Katherine found some Victorian earrings and some old books. Chris hurried her out before she could do any more damage to her credit card, and they headed to Windmill Island Gardens.
Before entering the park, they encountered a strange sculpture of a man holding a pipe and tulips (42.791294,-86.097008).
Despite the rainy skies, we wandered on into the park and sat down for the short video about Windmill Island Gardens. The presentation focused a great deal on wind, water, and Dutch children, but seemed to be a bit lacking in audio quality and explanations of exactly why it was decided to move a windmill from Holland to Holland, Michigan.
The rain seemed to have quelled most visits to the park, so we only saw a few other tourists besides us. We made our way across the bridge (modeled after a drawbridge but actually fixed in place) and meandered to the windmill, De Zwaan, which actually does still work. We got a tour of the mill and then stayed to see the World’s Least Enthusiastic Dutch Dancers (as we dubbed them) all but yawn their way through a set of dances, accompanied by a relentlessly-snacking and disinterested employee with a portable CD player.
We managed to contain our excitement and wandered around a bit more, picking up some odds and ends at the gift stores before heading for the car once again. On the way to the parking lot, Steven and Katherine paused to play checkers with their feet, astounding themselves and the family by demonstrating the ability to leap while holding a checker with their feet.