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Grand Rapids-- The flowers are blooming!

910 Views 39 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  awnja
Happy Spring, everyone! Okay, to get the ball rolling...

Where are your favorite places to go when it's nice out?

We have a new park right around the corner. It's Wahlfield Park on the corner of M-37 (Alpine) and 8-Mile. It has a nice playground and some beautiful nature trails.

I also like going to Frederick Meijer Gardens with my mom (she has a membership, so it's free). The children's garden is a lot of fun, and then there's lots of walking trails (I like to combine playtime for Aaron with walking for me so I get some exercise, too).

The White Pine Trail through Rockford is great for biking, and there's a nice playground just off the trail.

Share your favorite spots!
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We spend a lot of time at Blandford Nature Center when the weather is nice. Great walking trails AND bathroom facilities!

We also love Fredrick Meijer Gardens and are planning on getting a membership this spring.
I am new to the area, so I don't have any favorite spots. I will have to steal everyone else's.
We are looking for some beautiful places to hike, preferabley shady for the babies. Any suggestions?
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Favorite places....Hmmmm. I don't have any yet. I like the playground by East Beltline and Knapp. It is very toddler-friendly. We've also been to Blandford. VERY nice there! We normally stay close to home though. As the weather is gotten nicer and nicer, we have been out and about more often.

I, too, would like to hear of good hiking spots (preferably stroller friendly).

Melissa, you really aren't that far from me. Maybe 10-15 minutes? I didn't realize. It was good to see you at the LLL North meeting! I'll be coming to the Tuesday morning meeting as well. See you then.

Hmm- sounds like everyone is on the north end of GR? Smile- if you're ever on the road try these spots: 1. Ideal Park in Wyoming. It's off a side road from 54th St. between US 131 and Division. It is so quiet and nice you would never know it's there. It has two playgrounds and the creek runs through it with a little bridge. 2. Pine Creek trial in Holland- off Lakewood Blvd. , it has paths for walking by the river and benches to relax on. 3. Colin Park in Holland is right on Lake Macatawa. The usual playground equipment. Hope it helps.
Hi --

I am a homebirth midwife in Ann Arbor. There is a small chance that my family will need to move to GR. My dh is an architect and there is a lot more work there for architects than there is here. My parents are also retiring to Frankfort (on Lake MI about 2 hours north) so we would be closer to them.

I am pretty happy living here in Ann Arbor, but I seem to form instant community with my birthing moms, so I am not worried about finding like-minded people. I have lived in K'zoo before and liked the snow, the rural beauty outside the city, the proximity to the lake, and the low cost of living. I would think that GR would have many of those things.

I am totally a city person. Does anyone live in GR itself? I was looking at East GR as well. We would probably buy a house right away because I wouldn't want the kids to have to change schools multiple times (I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old). We have a $200k house now and would be able to handle about $150-$250k or so, I think.

Some things that I worry about -- Ann Arbor is pretty racially/economically integrated. There are people of every color, economic status, and age within a 10 block radius of my house. My older son's kindergarten class has mostly Asian-American kids with whites, African-Americans, & hispanic kids all substantial minorities. I think of GR as pretty segregated. It is important to me that my kid grow up (or at least go to school) with a diverse group of kids. Is that possible anywhere in GR? (We are white/Native American btw)

I have been to downtown GR (like near the BOB) but are there any more walkable areas? Ethnic groceries/restaurants, etc.? Any areas with lots of public parks/playgrounds? We are pretty spoiled in my neighborhood. I live about 12 blocks from downtown AA, but have 5 hiking trails within walking distance of my house. There are also two playgrounds and I feel that I might go crazy if I didn't have a playground nearby.

I hope that I haven't offended anyone. I am prepared to love GR if we move there -- I am just nervous about the possibility of going to a new place.

Take care,

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GR has a lot of good points. There are some really nice areas in GR to live. My mom lives in a nice neighborhood on the north side of town. She loves being able to walk or bike everywhere. There are quite a few great parks, and some nice biking trails. They are working on getting all the biking trails linked up. There are trees and ravines all throughout the city, so it is quite pretty. My mom also lives near a swamp area with walking trails. I don't know about extensive hiking trails, but a lot of the parks have walking trails.

There's a wide range of price ranges for the houses in the same neighborhood. You should be able to get more house for the price here than in AA. Easttown is probably the crunchiest area, but I don't think it's very ethnically diverse. Two area homebirth midwives do live there, though!

I don't actually live in town, and dh will not eat ethnic food, so I don't know about ethnic restaurants and groceries. There some good whole foods groceries around, and also lots of farmers markets.

This area IS a lot more conservative than AA, which can take some adjusting time. But, there are a few of us liberals who band together, lol!
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Well, I've lived in Grand Rapids my whole life (all 24 years of it lol) and some days I love it, some days I hate it. A distiction to note however: East Grand Rapids and Eastown are very different. EGR is well for lack of better words, rich, snobby and conservative/traditional (no offense!!!). Eastown on the otherhand is laidback, hippy-ish, and has more diverse lifestyles (but not ethnicities) (no offense here either!).

But the other problem is to find anywhere that has nice, safe playgrounds, trails and greenspace, you almost always have to go out to the suburbs, and there of course you lose out on your diversity factors...

Of course, a lot of what I'm saying has been feed to me by living here my whole life, and that's hard to get past. In fact, right now I'm living in a place that I was always told was a 'bad part' of town, and I feel safer here than in some of the 'safe' places.

I'm sure that if you move here, your family will find the home and neighborhood that you are meant to be in. Yes, Grand Rapids as a whole is very conservative and not very diverse, but, there are smaller pockets of people like us
Really, it's a good spot to be (biggest perk for me- being close to Lk. Michigan)
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Yeah, I guess I was just sucked in by the tudors I saw in East GR. I really can't live in a wealthy/exclusive area. I am much too messy for that!

What about Heritage Hill?" I saw some pretty awesome houses there, but I keep on reading about it formerly being crime-infested. Being a city person, I have a tolerance for minor stuff, but I want to feel like I can walk to the corner or sit on my front porch without feeling unsafe.

Conservatives don't scare me. Rich conservatives might, though. I grew up amongst working-class conservative people and got along just fine. I just can't tolerate snobbery.

The funny thing is, that after all of this city talk I will probably say chuck it and move to a nice 5 acre farmette with some goats and chickens

So, I know about Yolanda Visser, and I know about Patrice Bobier, who lives somewhat north of GR but comes down close to it. Is GR homebirth midwife-infested? Do the midwives there seem busy? I don't mind having a small practice, but I would like to work a little bit.

Looks like we would be moving in the spring of next year if at all. I have to time the selling of my house for the incoming university folk.
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We live in Ramblewood north, so we walk the Kent Trails often, its paved and quiet! We love Lemery park, Byron Center btw 44th and 36th, Hagar Park in Jenison on 28th Ave, and Millinium Park with the beach and splash park, oh and Frog Hallow down on Gezon near Byron Center.

I gather with LLL friends about once a week once it warms up and can post here for anyone on the south west side of town, or wherever, so anyone else can join us!
i've lived in NE GR for most of my life but am currently in IL with my dh for his job. all our family still lives there though. i graduated from Creston in 2000. i love the beach and walking the pier in Grand Haven. i also like Hoffmaster State Park. i come up to visit family about every other month or so. it would be awesome to get together!

EGR is gorgeous, has great schools and a cute downtown area, but as other posters have said, it's pretty exclusive and not very ethnically diverse.

Heritage Hill is fabulous. I'd love to move there. I don't think the crime is as bad as it used to be, but it is right downtown and bordering some not so nice areas. I have a friend (in EGR actually) who says she could never live there because she wouldn't feel safe, but I'd have no problem with it. One of the DH's coworkers has lived in HH for ages and he and his wife love it there.

Another nice area in Grand Rapids is the Ottawa Hills area. It's older (75ish years old or so) homes, mostly brick and they start around 200K. It's just a little south of Eastown (we're about a mile out of Eastown and we drive through Ottawa Hills to get there) and borders the west side of EGR. It's not super diverse, but more so (I think? More democrats, anyway!) than EGR. Our neighborhood is fairly diverse and we're right there.
Hey I graduated from Creston in 94! Hi!

And happy spring to all! We are back from Washington DC and I have a ton of chores to do. yuck. I'll stall online for a bit...

I now live RIGHT by Creston and boy do we have diversity here! Not just racial diversity but a wide range of family types, world views, etc. I'll do my job to sell my hood to Stacia. Some of us spend all spring and summer working on our gardens and others mow our lawns maybe once a year. (OK I'm exagerating but there are some serious slobs down the hill -oh well.) I think this spot's walkable for little errands. I have a park right across the street, a library down the hill, a small grocery store, a very cool bar and a smokey coffee shop all within walking distance.. but I drive to get groceries at Meijer once a week. There are nice and not-so-nice pockets in this neighborhood. It just takes a couple blocks to get dramatic differences. There are nice neighbothoods along the river - by riverside park. If you have a dog, bike or kyack, that place is heaven. It has a few playgrounds and is well used and loved by the community. And those houses across the river - not just on that street but tucked in too - well maintained and have large yards and stuff. Not as AA feeling as, say Eastown, but clean. Then you are close to the Cheshire business district, which again has a few things like a stores, restaraunts, chocolate... but you'll still want to use your car. The buses here are a pain, fyi. It takes forever to get anywhere by bus, except downtown - then it's worth it. I used the bus when I had classes downtown and when I worked down there, but that's mostly it.

It's definitely a buyers market around here. It was rather depressing seeing all the for sale signs going up these last couple of years, but some of the bad ones just got some great owners finally, so I'm hoping things are looking up. HH is georgeous and close to downtown. I worked for EGR schools and its difinitely quality education. But I didn't grow up in that environment so something about it always creeped me out.. Like we hired a new black woman and a kindergartener talked to her as if she were the same black woman we had working for us for a year... and these women looked NOTHING alike. Little things like that, but that was really MY lack of understanding, I guess. Just kind of reminds me of Edward Scisorhands' neighborhood.
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There are a few nice Vietnamese markets and a restaurant. Good Indian food as well. There's a German deli and a Bosnian restaurant/deli (if I remember correctly). Rockford has a nice place to get good teas. I think someone mentioned ethiopian food in town as well (yum!) You can get some great Mexican food in GR and north of town. If you move to GR and want someone to eat ethnic food with- count me in!

If you have any interest in co-housing in Grand Rapids, check out this site: We are members and we are SO excited about it!

Hi everyone! There are a few new names here, so I thought I would introduce myself again. I'm Melissa. I'm married to Tom and we have two wonderful boys, Aaron who is 2 1/2 and Kian, who will be 7 weeks old tomorrow.

I would like to get a local AP group going, so if you are interested, please pm me with your email address and I will add you to my list, so you'll get information about meet-ups. There is also an online GR Yahoo AP group:
Tomorrow should be a beautiful day here in GR! I am heading to Frog Hollow park off Gezon and Byron Center tomorrow about 10am. Hope to see you all there.

You will recognize me as a full figured red head with a blonde 5 year old, Konur, and a 2 year old Mali.
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