Welcome to Holland
On Thursday afternoon we had some time off to relax and let our brains blow away the sweat. It was listed as free time so we decided to morph into tourists for a few hours. After stops at the local St. Arbucks for coffee and a mini-mart for a Dr. Pepper we headed into downtown Holland.
They didn’t call that town “Holland” because it was settled by Lithuanians. This town revels in its Dutch-ness. Strolling down the street in the busy shopping district there was plenty of both coffee and chocolate to be had.
My kind of town!
Moseying down 8th Street we also saw a number of shoe stores, but none of them offered Wooden Shoes. A disappointment. I guess that ethic marketing only goes so far.
The stores and the streets were already in full Christmas mode, a full two weeks before Thanksgiving. Decorations were everywhere, Christmas music tinkling in every store, and Bargains, Bargains, Bargains! At least that’s what all the signs said.
During the Springtime Holland is a big league tourist destination with tulips everywhere. In late Fall there aren’t any tulips to be found, just chiachkis of every kind known to Dutchmen. There were countless shops where one could buy scented soaps, candles, and potpourri. I even saw a bar of coffee-scented soap. I was tempted, but then I thought, “Do I really want to smell like a Mr. Coffee Machine?”
I even saw several items on store shelves that I had seen on the pages of some very strange catalogs – cutesy-poo little devices shaped like your Grandmother that are supposed to clean your microwave oven. I always thought that a paper towel worked just fine for that job. Why should I nuke my Grandmother?
Most of the shops on 8th Street were busy with holiday shoppers intent on buying enough scented soap to make all of Michigan smell like Lemon Grass or Coconuts.
One shop caught my eye as being truly unique and obviously the hobby of a well-to-do local trophy wife. I can think of no other reason anyone would open a retail store in a rather touristy shopping district that sold only “Oil And Vinegars.” That was the sign on the front of the store – “Oil And Vinegars.” I assumed that the “Oils” were cooking oils and not “Pennzoil,” although with the number of cars parked on both sides of the narrow street a quart or two of 10W-40 might do well. We didn’t bother going inside that shop. It was obvious what was on the shelves and we needed neither item. If I was planning on having a nice big salad for dinner – maybe, but, even then, I’m more of a Thousand Island kind of guy.
Our tourist excursion lasted for only about three hours. That was enough. We didn’t need any oil or vinegar, we already had shoes, and we had a couple of beverages sweating in the cup holders back in the Toyota.
Perhaps another time – in tulip time maybe – and we’ll come back to Holland, Michigan. We can go look at all of the flowers and then go downtown for a salad.