West Michigan Weekend Part III: Windmill Island Gardens

Thursday, June 19, 2014

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens | De Zwaan Windmill (via Wading in Big Shoes)

When you visit Holland (Michigan, in this case--although, the Netherlands would also apply), it just makes sense to immerse yourself in some Dutch culture. And that's exactly what Brad and I did during the first full day of our Memorial Day/anniversary weekend trip. Starting the morning off right, we made our way to Windmill Island, home of the famous De Zwaan windmill.

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens | De Zwaan Windmill (via Wading in Big Shoes)

Built in the Netherlands in 1761, De Zwaan was brought over to the United States in the 1960s and to this day, is the only functioning, authentic Dutch windmill in the country. We enjoyed a tour inside of the windmill, starting at the bottom and working our way up through the tower to see the ins and outs of flour-making. It's amazing how much engineering goes into something we use in so many of our basic foods!

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens | De Zwaan Windmill (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens | Inside the De Zwaan Windmill in Holland, MI (via Wading in Big Shoes)

After the tour, we meandered around the Windmill Island gardens, frolicking among tulips and admiring the lovely, little drawbridge. I even snuck up on these two sweet lovers:

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)

We stopped by some shops before heading out, where I got to enjoy my first wooden shoe trying-on experience. Maybe I was wearing the wrong size, but ouch--my feet were not meant for these things. I think for me, at least, wooden shoes may be best left to the Dutch (or painted and used as flower planters).

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Wooden Shoes at Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)

After passing by an adorable carousel and saying hi to some peacocks (all part of the gardens), it was back to cute exteriors and more flowers. I couldn't get enough of the colors that day!
Tulips, pansies . . . there were even several unique plants to admire in the Windmill Island conservatory.

West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)
West Michigan Weekend: Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan (via Wading in Big Shoes)

Can't you just imagine parking yourself at the gardens for an afternoon picnic or nap? Such a gorgeous place!

All good things must come to an end, though . . . and so we go on to our next adventure. Any guesses as to where we stopped next? Sound off in the comments below!

Check out these other posts from our West Michigan Weekend!:

West Michigan Weekend Part I: Arrival In Holland
West Michigan Weekend Part II: The Baert Baron Mansion
West Michigan Weekend Part IV: De Klomp Factory & Veldheer Tulip Gardens
West Michigan Weekend Part V: Eldean Shipyard


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