Hotel at a Glance: Main Street Inn
With its craft breweries and booming arts scene, Grand Rapids, Michigan was recently named the "#1 U.S. Travel Destination in 2014" by Lonely Planet. Less than 20 miles east of Grand Rapids, situated on the Flat River in Lowell, sits the charming Main Street Inn. Once on the brink of being demolished, the historic building was saved and restored by current owners Greg and Deb Canfield. Today, the quaint inn is a welcome respite for travelers in western Michigan.
- In-room amenities: While each guest room is different, most come with a balcony, flat-screen TV, Keurig coffeemaker, robe, and views of the Flat River; the Honeymoon Suites also features a jetted tub
- Rent a kayak or canoe to paddle nearby rivers when the weather's nice; included with the price is shuttle pick-up and drop-off
- Beach bound: The sandy beaches of Michigan's "Gold Coast" are just 50 miles away.
- See the remnants of a 19th-century village at Fallasburg Covered Bridge and Village, home to a one-room schoolhouse, house museum, and historic covered bridge.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Booming Arts Scene and Craft Breweries Near Lake Michigan
Grand Rapids has surged in popularity in the past decade, blossoming into the second-largest city in the state after Detroit. It's an arts mecca, home to Grand Rapid Arts Museum—which plays host to a massive annual art competition called Art Prize—and the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, where larger-than-life outdoor sculptures are on display. You'll likely notice another sculpture on your visit: "La Grande Vitesse," known to locals as "The Calder." The orangish-red sculpture is designed to mimic the swift currents of the Grand River, which courses through downtown Grand Rapids. The Calder has towered in front of City Hall since 1969, and has become emblematic of the city's progressive arts culture.
Grand Rapids is also a fine place to toss back a brew or two. The city is known for its craft breweries, which number in the mid-twenties. Stop by Founders Brewing Company to sample their award-winning Scotch-style ale, Dirty Bastard.
Even in the colder months, it's still worth it to visit Michigan's "Gold Coast," a 30-mile picturesque stretch of smooth beaches and rolling dunes. The coast is speckled with quaint beach towns, historic lighthouses, wineries, and U-pick orchards.