Since Maria and I don’t really want for much in the way of stuff, we often treat ourselves to experiences rather than presents during the holidays. This year, we gave ourselves a belated Christmas present and decided to take a weekend away in February. After having such a great time at the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, we decided to try and find another bed and breakfast to broaden our B&B horizons. We decided on the Prairieside Suites, which is near Grand Rapids, Michigan. This charming B&B is about ten minutes outside of downtown Grand Rapids and was a perfect spot for a weekend getaway.
Prairieside had several themed rooms, from Spanish Hacienda to New York Loft and a bunch in between. We stayed in the French Riviera room. It probably won’t surprise you that Maria places a high value on quality photography and the photos displayed of this room on Prarieside’s website really caught her eye.
Our room was very nice, but notably darker than we anticipated. Our room, unexpectedly, was in the basement of the Inn. Which wasn’t necessarily bad, but would have been nice to know before we booked it.
However, despite the basement, the room was still very nice. Every room at Prairieside has a jacuzzi tub and lot of other amenities that make your stay really pleasant. There are the usual suspects like wi-fi, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee pot. But we found some more unexpected luxuries, too. Like a heated tile floor, a towel warmer, and even a heated toilet seat. Yes, you read that right: heated toilet seat.
We arrived at Prairieside on Saturday in the early afternoon. After we got settled in, we had a couples massage to unwind from the drive across the state and then soaked in our jacuzzi for a while before heading out to explore Grand Rapids.
If you’ve never heard of Grand Rapids, it is one of the coolest cities in Michigan. Besides being our second largest city, it is filled with fantastic bars and restaurants, a great art scene, a clean and inviting downtown, some great museums, and the home of Grand Valley State University.
Since it was a little early for dinner, we first hit up the Downtown Market for some ice cream. We’re grown-ups, so we can spoil our dinner if we want.
The Downtown Market is a really neat indoor marketplace with lots of local vendors selling specialized and gourmet foods.
We made it to Love’s Ice Cream to pick out our scoops just in time; there was a line about ten people long by the time we were done.
Their ice cream was as delicious as it looks in that photo. We both got salted caramel because … salted caramel.
Once we’d had our fill of ice cream, we wandered around the market to see some of the other vendors. It’s a pretty neat place. Besides the grocery vendors and ice cream shop, there’s a bar, several restaurants, and cooking ware vendors, among many other things. I would love to have a similar market nearby, especially to purchase ingredients for some of our more upscale homemade dinners.
After we wandered around the market, Maria recommended grabbing a pre-dinner drink (for me at least) at The B.O.B., which apparently stands for “Big Old Building.” It is older, but it’s not so big compared to some of the newer buildings in Grand Rapids.
The B.O.B. has been converted into space for several different restaurants and bars on every level. It was really cool and pretty busy because of several events happening in downtown Grand Rapids that night (a minor league hockey game and a Young the Giant concert).
We headed inside and grabbed our drinks at a bar on the first floor. Besides being delicious, the beer also helped calm my nerves after driving in the heavy, unfamiliar city traffic of the city.
We got a late dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, HopCat. You may have heard about HopCat as they are a rapidly growing chain throughout the midwest. But they got their start with their first brewpub in good ol’ Grand Rapids, Michigan.
If you’re able to get to a HopCat, get their crack fries. They are just delicious and addictive. Seriously addictive.
After our appetizer of crack fries, I got some amazing chicken tacos and Maria got a southwest salad. We chomped down eagerly as it was pretty late for us and we were starving (despite the pre-dinner ice cream).
After dinner, our energy was totally spent, so we headed back to Prairieside Suites before we turned into pumpkins.
The next morning, our breakfast was delivered to our room, with scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and french toast casserole.
It was super awesome to eat a great breakfast in our PJs in our suite and not have to worry about getting presentable for other people.
After a very lazy morning, we decided to head to the Heritage Hill area of Grand Rapids to see the Meyer May House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
That house looks like it could be designed today, but Frank Lloyd Wright designed it in 1908, over 100 years ago. Steelcase, an office furniture company, bought the house in the 1980’s and restored it to its original construction and condition. They’ve graciously made it available for free tours to the public on Sundays.
The house was beautiful. Lots of bright windows, golden oak walls and furniture, with tons of natural highlights and greenery. I could have sat in the living room all day and been perfectly happy. (Except for the fact that we weren’t permitted to sit on the furniture.)
If you’d like to see more of the Meyer May House, Steelcase has bunch more photos and videos of the restoration of the house on their website.
The Heritage Hill area is really cool, too. Since it was an unseasonably warm and beautiful Michigan February day, Maria and I walked around to see many of the houses in the area. Heritage Hill is filled with houses from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and they are gorgeous. If you ever find yourself in Grand Rapids, I highly recommend taking a drive through Heritage Hill while you are in town.
After we toured the Meyer May House, we grabbed dinner at a nearby sushi restaurant called Maru Sushi. Turns out they’re a chain that just opened a location in Detroit, so we might be eating there again soon.
Since it was our first time at the restaurant, our waitress generously treated us a free appetizer of fried shiitake mushrooms with crab and cream cheese, which was super awesome of her.
Then our sushi came. Maria’s pregnancy places some pretty firm limits on the kind of sushi she can safely eat, so we stuck with pregnancy-friendly vegetable and cooked crab rolls. We kindly requested that our chef prepare our sushi with clean knives and cutting surfaces, which they graciously did.
The rolls were delicious and HUGE. We did not expect that much when we ordered and it was way more than we could eat. We did our best, though.
After sushi, we headed over to Furniture City Creamery across the street for some more ice cream. (Grand Rapids is known for making furniture, with Steelcase and Herman Miller headquartered there, among many other furniture companies).
This independent ice cream shop was amazing. The shop itself was classic and had these great chalkboard menus and the people staffing the counter were super nice.
The ice cream was so good that I’d eaten half of mine before Maria even had a chance to take a picture of our bowls. Whoops! #sorrynotsorry
After our ice cream, we went back to the inn so we could have a night in with some popcorn and a few DVDs. We’d spent most of the day on our feet and a relaxing evening was just what the doctor ordered.
The next morning, we had breakfast in Prairieside’s dining room. Outside of the rooms, the B&B has a very Victorian style, with lots of crystal, lace and other decorations. The dining room was no exception.
We each grabbed a cop of coffee from the coffee bar and sat down with another couple to eat fruit, muffins, the most amazing quiche I’ve ever had, and a delicious biscuit with ham, cheese and a tomato on top. It was an absolutely delicious way to cap off a wonderful weekend getaway.
We had such a fun time in Grand Rapids that I think we’ll have to go back. I’m glad we were able to have a great weekend getaway just the two of us before our family grows by one. I have a feeling that our trips in the near future will be a little limited.
Oh, and again a shoutout to our amazing little Sony point and shoot (affiliate link; we make a small commission if you make a purchase through an affiliate link). Every single photo in this post was taken with the Sony and Maria and I can never stop singing its praises. It does great in all kinds of light conditions, fits easily into a purse or small bag and (most importantly), takes just great photos. It’s made our travel photography so much easier and we highly recommend it if you are looking for one.