Reason for Return to Grand Rapids

Last summer, my family, two friends, and I went on a weekend trip to the amazing Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The few days that we visited were out of the ordinary as thousands more people than those who usually occupied the city piled in for the same reason we did - The Color Run! If you've never heard of this colorific 5K before, you can check it out here, and definitely be sure to sign up for the next one coming your way! The run was Sunday morning, and since we arrived early in the day on Saturday, we had some time to spare.

The first adventure that we embarked on, was the Frederik Meijer Gardens.  All 132 acres are filled with beautiful and exotic flowers and trees.  Dozens of sculptures, small and huge, are scattered throughout the site.  It was a nice place to wander around for a couple hours and literally, stop and smell the flowers.  A scorching day kept our visit short, however.

After the Gardens, we went to check into our hotel, the Amway Grand Plaza.  This early 20th century styled building backed right up to Grand River - not the road, the actual river.  The room we stayed in was large, clean, and comfortable; however, the extensive room service was what sealed the deal for me, even though we didn't use it - it just looked fantastic.  Restaurants, shops, a pool, a roof-top tennis court and exercise rooms were all added bonuses.

The lobby of the Amway Grand Plaza.

Later in the day, we went to go pick up our Color Run packets. The selected pick-up location was Calder Plaza, right in downtown.  The plaza was marked by a gigantic, metal sculpture that slightly resembled a big, red dog.   For the time being, the plaza was sparkling clean, but the next day it would be transformed into a yellow, pink, blue, purple, and green splattered, beautiful mess.  Seriously, you have to experience something like that at least once in your life.

It's been proved to be true. 

Catching a late lunch/early dinner, we headed to the Sundance Grill & Bar which prided itself on American food with a south-west flavor.  Keeping within my usual style, I was the last to order as I couldn't make up my mind between all of the tempting options.  When I finally decided, the lucky dish was a Bombay salad.  Including chicken, fruit, pecans and coconuts, it was definitely the right choice.  Although, everyone else's meals were the right choices as well because they were all delicious.

The remainder of the day was spent swimming, exploring the extensive hotel and getting in a pre-race run.  While breathlessly stumbling along behind my friends, I had the chance to see all the character that the city offered.  Being a Saturday evening, the beautiful, stone churches were dotted with weddings upon weddings, people were strolling the streets and the overall atmosphere was content.

Following the saying of "Life is short, eat dessert first," we headed to Kilwin's for some ice cream and then for an actual, late dinner.  We decided to go on a "blind date" with a restaurant, just heading down the street and dining at the first place that appealed to us.  Finding most places closed - as it was 9 o'clock - finally, we stopped at Marado Sushi.  Not knowing all that much about sushi, except that I didn't like it raw, I ordered fried sushi.  I know, I know.  Sushi is one of those things that shouldn't be fried...well, that's what I thought. Just like anything I ever blog about, it was indeed fantastic.  The meal came with free chopstick lessons from our animated waiter and we all become pros in no time!

Fried sushi!
Chopstick pro. 
Returning to the hotel, we relaxed and eagerly awaited the big day ahead of us. The Color Run was all I had dreamed and more.  As I ran through the color zones, getting blasted with powdery shades of what seemed like pixie dust, thoughts of actually enjoying running ran through my mind.  Coated with layers of color, the whole town seemed a little brighter that day.  Heading back to our new favorite restaurant, Sundance, we found what seemed like a couple hundred of our fellow Color Runners enjoying a delicious meal.  This time around, I ordered the Popeye breakfast scramble.  It was filled with mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and you guessed it - spinach.

Lining up, ready for the start! 

Pre-color blast. 

Post-color blast. 
Stuffed after our midmorning meal, we headed back to the hotel to wash all the color from our hair, hands, necks, feet, and just about everywhere else.  The car was loaded up and we were homebound.  And that was that.  Grand Rapids is a beautiful city and there will definitely be a breakfast scramble waiting for me upon my return.  

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