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Of Vacations and Death

A planned 8 day vacation and my father’s death all in one week ~ not quite the combination I was looking forward to.

Let me start with the vacation ~ the happy part of our 8 days.

After attending my aunt’s 80th surprise birthday party we headed to Gary, Indiana and visited with an uncle I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.  Since my father didn’t play a large part in my life neither did his family but this uncle kept in touch with me and he told me that my father was not well.

After the visit, we stopped at the Indiana Sand Dunes on our way to northern Michigan. The dunes were quite different than how I remembered them as a child ~ they looked a lot smaller. (haha)

Indiana Sand Dunes

Indiana Sand Dunes

A busload of students were also at the dunes and since it was a tad chilly most were sitting around or playing a game of football.

Indiana Sand Dunes

Indiana Sand Dunes

The view of the Chicago skyline was in the background ~ a bit foggy but still a nice picture.

Chicago Skyline from Indiana Sand Dunes

Chicago Skyline from Indiana Sand Dunes

Our next stop was Holland, Michigan where we would spend the night at the Hampton Inn hotel. The breakfast here was not great ~ just okay. So, we grabbed a quick bite then headed over to a coffee shop named Lemonjello’s which is close to Hope College and had good reviews on TripAdvisor.

After a wonderful hot chocolate, we decided to visit the Windmill Island Gardens.  The gardens feature a 250 year old Dutch working windmill. The tour through the windmill was very nice but does not accommodate people with disabilities because of the stair climbing one has to do to get to the top of the windmill.

Windmill Island

Windmill Island

It was simply a perfect day.

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

The windmill is approximately 125 feet from the ground to the blades.

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Flour is ground at this windmill and is said to have less gluten than most flour (according to the person who was grinding the flour). They sell it in 2 and 3 lbs at the gift shop.

Here’s a view from the top of the windmill. Pretty nice, eh?

View from the top, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

View from the top, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Now, let’s take a look at some of the other areas. (Side note: In the spring, many people come here to see the fields of tulips.)

Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Bridge, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

View of the windmill from afar.

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View of the windmill, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

I saw these dutch shoes hanging on the wall in the gift shop.

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Dutch Shoes, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Well, I left the best for last (in my humble opinion) ~ the plants in the greenhouse. The greenhouse is an original Lord & Burnham design that was imported by Egbert Gold in 1915 for Marigold Lodge on the shores of Lake Macatawa in Holland, Michigan. The greenhouse was acquired and moved to the Windmill Island in 1965 for growing annuals. Ready to take a peek?

Let’s start with my favorite …

Pencil Euphorbia

Pencil Euphorbia

Jade Plant

Jade Plant

Unknown Plant Name

Graptopetulum  bellum

The Staghorn Fern was massive and hung from the ceiling.

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern

Take a look at the bottom of the Staghorn Fern. Quite impressive!

Bottom, Staghorn Fern

Bottom, Staghorn Fern

There were plenty more plants but these were my favorite.

I am thankful that I experienced so much beauty on this vacation week. It really helped to offset the news of my father’s death which I’ll discuss in a later post.  It’s taken me awhile to be able to find words to write about our travels. Me, speechless? Not quite, but enough to keep me blog-less for a few days.

More beautiful pictures of our travels soon.

Of Vacation and Death (2)

Of Vacation and Death (3)

Of Vacations and Death (4)

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