Travel + Leisure (USA)
Tulip fields and a massive windmill have turned Holland, Michigan, into a European-style summer getaway.
POPULATION 33,027 FLY IN TO GRAND RAPIDS (GRR) KNOWN FOR DUTCH DELICACIES PERFECT FOR EUROPHILES STAYING STATESIDE
YOU DON’T HAVE to sail across the Atlantic to get a taste of the Netherlands. Instead, look for the fields of colorful tulips, a giant wooden windmill, and delicious Dutch food in Holland, Michigan. Founded by Dutch settlers in 1847, the town has maintained its historic roots thanks to a remarkable number of family businesses that have been passed down through the generations. After a 30-minute drive from Grand Rapids, crossing the Macatawa River into downtown Holland feels like stepping into another country—especially once you see the 125-foot De Zwaan windmill. De Zwaan, Dutch for swan, was brought over from the Netherlands in 1964, and is the main attraction of the Windmill Island Gardens (cityofholland.com). Tour its four levels and admire the sight of 150,000 tulips from the top deck (peak bloom is in May). Continue along Eighth Street, which is lined with dozens of small shops, like Bowerman’s on 8th (realblueberries.com), legendary for its blueberry doughnuts. For Dutch treats like stroopwafels and saucijzenbroodjes (sausage rolls), head to Deboer Bakkerij (deboer bakery.com). Owner Jakob de Boer and his sons are still using recipes that date back to their family’s arrival in America in 1956. Stop at Neli’s Dutch Village (dutchvillage.com) for dishes like metworst (pork sausage) and erwtensoep (pea soup). The theme park is also home to folk-dance shows and stores selling delftware and custom-made clogs. Holland has one more thing in common with its European counterpart: beautiful beaches. Fifteen minutes away, Holland State Park (holland.org) is the place to feel the sand between your toes while looking out over Lake Michigan.