_______ November 08, 2016 ________

Downtown! (an Adventure post)

It all started with BBQ.  I’m not kidding.

We were supposed to go on a mini-trip out of state, and because Brian’s leg muscles were screwed up, it didn’t seem like a good idea to keep that plan.  We’d also tossed around the idea of going to a train place an hour south, but then I saw they have camping, and with it being Halloween weekend (and the last weekend the trains were running for the season), the campground was booked up.  So I’ve bookmarked it for next fall.

But I’d been sitting home weekends for a LONG time, and was seriously, seriously antsy.  So I thought… “I’ve got a serious hankerin’ for BBQ.  Really, really good BBQ.  I wonder if there are any good BBQ places in Michigan.”  So online I went, in search of BBQ.  At ten in the morning.  Sometimes?  You just don’t want to ask.

Anyhow, I found out that there was ONE place in G.R. that had ‘the best’ BBQ… and it closed down.  The best in every other article was Slow’s in Detroit… but THEN I found out there’s a Slow’s in Grand Rapids, now, too – in the Downtown Market.  Downtown Market!  I’ve always wanted to go to the Downtown Market.  We’ve never been, and it could be a fun trip, no?  We went to Pike Place Market on our honeymoon, and that was what I was envisioning (silly me!)… and the kids could benefit from the experience, you know?

Photo from http://www.architecturalrecord.com

img_8542-555x326The Grand Rapids Downtown Market is rather new – only a few years old – and from the expressway, it looks pretty impressive.  We’ve driven by in summer, when the outdoor part was in full-swing… and honestly, I think that’s the part that has draw.  The rest of it, while impressive, is more of a wedding venue than a place people actually go to shop and hang.  Why?

Because it’s sterile, impersonal, and utterly lacking in ambiance and character.  It’s concrete floors and track lighting trying to be hip and trendy, but not appealing to the customers.  It is also – in reaching out to ‘progressives’ – expensive and ridiculous.  This is West Michigan.  We’re hometown people.  This is why craft bazaars have cars parked a mile radius around them, but this place (which costs $2 just to park), is hardly busy  at all, and the customers are metrosexuals and Kendall art school students.  This isn’t what normal, ordinary people want.

img_8550-555x336While we loved looking at the weird foods (“Look Mom, baby octopus!”), we were pretty disappointed in the lack of merchandise in MOST of the vendor stalls.  It was… well, kind of a let-down.  But at the same time, an experience outside of our own comfort zone… so there was that.

img_8545-356x444 img_8548-444x401

We ate at Slow’s, because… best BBQ in Michigan, right?  Except that we couldn’t afford the BBQ (and anyhow, it’s *only* ribs, so you’re basically paying for bones to throw away)… so we ended up getting brisket.  I need to learn how to make that at home.  No, seriously.  It was GOOD.  Brisket is goodThe wings were okay, the sides left a LOT to be desired, and the price… never again.  It was an experience, but not one to be repeated.  This was not good for us.  If any Michiganders have BBQ recommendations, I’m open!

Since we were downtown, I thought it might be fun to find the Fish Ladder.  My mom took me when I was so young I don’t even hardly remember (age six-ish?)… and I thought maybe there’d be salmon running.  So off we went!

img_8551-555x302When we go there, a LOT of fishermen were all along both sides of the river.

img_8571-555x416Because I like taking pictures of my children.

img_8572-555x281Watching the men out in the water.

img_8578-416x555There were so many!  I was surprised!

img_8582-416x555The Grand Rapids Fish Ladder is kind of an architectural ‘monument’ of sorts.  It’s very kewl.  The fish come in at the right, and jump from one pool to the next, levelling up as they go.  They’re fast – I couldn’t get a picture.  But we saw a good dozen jump while we were there.  It was a busy day for fish and men, both!


In case you need a visual on how fish ladders work.

img_8581-555x416From the observation decks.

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As we were walking around, I noticed a really nice looking bridge to the north.
“Let’s go find it!”  I suggested.  I’m lucky my man humors me.

img_8587-333x444When we got closer, we saw that it was seriously quaint.
And had walking paths along it.  Of course I was angling to cross!

(Angling?  Fishing reference?  Pun-nneeeee…!!!)

img_8590-444x361It’s all in your perspective.  ((wink!))

img_8597-333x444No, really.  Look at what happens from different perspectives!

img_8599-444x227I loved this bridge.  Other people apparently do, too.

img_8603-333x444Speaking of love, something unusual.  There are padlocks all along the bridge, with people’s names etched or written on them.  I don’t know if it’s kind of a ‘token of love’ thing, but it was unexpected and kind of romantic.

img_8609-555x416On the far side of the bridge was a small park.  Photo op!!!

img_8608-555x335 Unbeknownst to us, this is the longest, oldest metal bridge in Michigan.
An historical place, built in 1886!  Jut a little history!

So we had a good afternoon, just exploring a little in our own town. A mild adventure, fit for a man with a pulled muscle in his leg.

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1 Comment

  1. Locks on bridges is a common romance thing now. Very popular in Paris, Rome, London, and Japan… to the point it’s posed a real threat to the structure lol and officials have had to decide to remove or ban the practice. The best place for brisket though is always going to be a Jewish deli… it’s what we tend to do best downtown. In the south they like to do kosher brisket bbq too.

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