Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thankful...Thanks to those who stayed at Ruth's

As we begin to think about season number two for Ruth's Retreat, it has been fun to reflect back on the last year.  One of the little details I had been excited about from the moment I knew I was buying the house was having a guest book - a real bound paper guest book!   Sure I ask guests to leave a review on Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) where most of our bookings come from, as I know it is those reviews and comments that really are helpful to potential renters.  However, I love a good guestbook and I always have.  As a kid when we would rent a cottage I always liked getting to sign it, to document "I was here too" and to get to read other peoples comments and see where they were from.
And so with that... some of the favorite phrases and memories created at Ruth's inaugural season!

"The cottage was wonderful! Spacious, clean and charming! Walking distance to great shops, restaurants and the boardwalk. Loved having the side yard for the kids! We will definitely be back!"

"We planned to go out for the evening for our bachelorette weekend, but we loved the house so much we decided to stay in - what a great time!"

"My ten year old grandson didn't want to leave, he said it was better than home!  Now that's saying something, thanks!"

"From the moment we arrived we felt like we were ar home, charming , comfortable and spotless. Well equipped with everything you need . We especially enjoyed gathering at the dinning table for breakfast lunch or dinner or playing a cards in the evening. Well located to Grand Haven's attraction within walking, in a quit neighborhood. A large deck attached to the house for outdoor gatherings or enjoying an afternoon just relaxing. A thumbs up for Ruth's Retreat. I would definitely come back. We had a great stay."

"We enjoyed the spacious deck for visiting and the large picnic style dining room table for family games! We were impressed with the neat, hospitable environment and would definitely recommend as a week or a weekend getaway!"
Excited to be back at Ruth's in just a few weeks to get the house ready for summer season and create some of my own sweet memories with family and friends too!  It is a bit of an odd thing to pour your time and money into a place you own but rarely get to spend time in, but it has been such a gift to see dreams of creating a space for others to love and create memories in come to life! So, to those of you who lived some life at Ruth's in the last year, thank you!  Thank you for coming to visit and loving my little house a little too!  And for the rest of you... come for a visit soon, and don't forget to sign the guestbook!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Grandma Ruth

Today would have been Ruth's 97th birthday!  Happy Birthday Grammy!
Birthday dinner in 1994
She was my best friend, side kick and spoiling grandma too for many years.  Thankful for the celebrations, memories and life lived with her!  Is fun to think about all the gifts that owning Ruth's Retreat has brought in the last year, know she would be proud! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Years from Ruth's

Hard to believe that we are in 2014, and while it might be cold, snowy and well not so summery for most of us we are thinking summer here at Ruth's and so should you if you want to come and stay this summer!  Well, I said back in November I would be posting some updates from the trip - better late than never I guess!

Upstairs got some new decor and wall decor, in addition to a new overhead light

Curtain divider for sleeping space upstairs - thanks for the suggestion!

Some renters said they wanted to know more about Ruth's Retreat namesake - Grandma Ruth's wedding photo on the left and a favorite candid photo of her with her father and uncle in Grand Haven on the right now are in the living room

One small but special new addition - my second cousin Cassie, Ruth's great granddaughter knit a blanket for the house!
 We may have worked hard, but we also played hard too!  We had the opportunity to host some dear family friends for the weekend, take in the fall colors, visit family and eat lots of fabulous Michigan apples too!!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanks for a GREAT first season at Ruth's!

I just got back the other day from another sweet visit to Ruth's.  My parents drove from Colorado and met me there for a week filled with projects, friends and family!  By the time I arrived my dinning room was filled with tools - because don't worry Dad brought everything including the kitchen sink (literally....and a laundry sink too!)

We hadn't been back since the summer rental season began - it was so good to be back and see the house and imagine the dozens of people who slept, ate and enjoyed their days at Ruth's over the last several months. The house also got a new roof and gutters this fall - sure looks good! 

Our week was filled with several updates and projects around the house - look for more on that soon.  For now thanks to everyone who came and stayed and took such good care of my sweet little house.  I am looking forward to another great year!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Win a Week at Ruth's!!

Want to spend a week at Ruth's next summer, going to the beach, farmers market, enjoying downtown Grand Haven, having coffee on the deck and gathering around the table to play games with your family and friends??

 You could spend a week for just $10 if you are the lucky winner of a raffle that benefits a sweet little girl who will be celebrating her first "heart birthday" after having a heart transplant at 4 months old.  Some of you might remember me talking about miss Hannah Mae in an earlier blog post back in April, if not go back and catch up - this little one has a pretty amazing story!  In May I had the privilege of spending 24 hours with Hannah, her 2 awesome big brothers and mom and dad in Seattle.  This little girl will melt your heart in about 2 seconds and keep you smiling all day long!
Hannah's friends and family are all coming together in Grand Haven next month for a fundraiser dinner, and a week at Ruth's Retreat will be featured as the grand prize raffle!  It only seems fitting - Hannah's aunt and uncle locally manage Ruth's - keeping the lawn looking great, house cleaned and ready to welcome renters every week.  Hannah's other aunt has a booth at the local antique mall and some of my favorite finds that you see in Ruth's came from there.  Hannah's grandparents still live in the house next door to the house Grandma Ruth grew up in.  Ruth's Retreat wouldn't be what it is today without the help of these dear family friends!
So I hope you will think about purchasing a raffle ticket or two - you might win a week at Ruth's, but regardless it is a win - as all the money will be helping Hannah and the unimaginable medical bills she has.  You don't have to be present to win - so if you are interested in purchasing tickets from afar please just contact me at or if you do find yourself in Grand Haven on September 24th you can even attend in person, click here for more info!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy National Lighthouse Day!

Yes... you read that right... Today - August 7th is National Lighthouse Day!

 The text for the original 1789 act...

It was on this day in 1789, that Congress approved an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys and public piers. In Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Act and the commissioning of the first Federal lighthouse, Congress passed a resolution which designated August 7, 1989 as National Lighthouse Day.

So I figured it was only appropriate to take a moment to celebrate my favorite big red lighthouse... found in Grand Haven!   My lighthouse love has grown over the years, but it all started here in Grand Haven as each summer visit didn't seem to really begin until we had taken our first walk out to the lighthouse.  I can only imagine the number of photos my family has taken of this lighthouse and pier over the years, the number of hours my dad and family spent fishing off this pier and watching storms roll in off the lake - yet each time I am back in town I find myself taking more photos!

I guess it is just in my blood, Grandma Ruth had several photos taken at the lighthouse in her prized album of her years in Grand Haven, like this one from a winter walk with friends when she was a teenager. 

 Grand Haven had its first lighthouse built on the beach in 1839 which was complete with a 5 room cottage for the light house keeper.  This lighthouse faced erosion issues and collapsed in 1852 leaving Grand Haven without a light house for the next three years while a new one was built on the bluff above the beach in 1855 where it guided seamen on Lake Michigan for the next 50 years.  The current pier the lighthouse sits on was completed in 1893, but it wasn't until 1905 that the 52 foot steel lighthouse was finished and put to use.  If you have been in Grand Haven this summer you have likely seen the bubble looking structure that lighthouse is enclosed in as restoration and painting takes place.

Check out the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy  to learn more of the history, preservation and to volunteer or donate to help keep this Grand Haven favorite looking its best!
A lot may change over the years, but what a gift it is to see generation after generation enjoying this Michigan landmark!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One Year Later

A year ago this weekend...
I got a great flight deal so I decided to go to Grand Haven for the weekend to visit family and friends, to enjoy one of my favorite places for a few days.
I soaked up the sun at the beach and walked along the boardwalk.
I spent time with family and friends...from great aunts and uncles to little babies .
I wandered along the beach to check out the sand castle competition.

I watched the musical fountain, ate ice cream and had a pronto pup or two.
I met with a relator in town for the first time and spent a few hours looking at houses. Some too big, some too small, some too far away,  some just too weird - but enjoyed looking and pondering more of what I was looking for or if I was even sure I wanted to buy a house in a state I didn't live in!

This weekend...
I wish I could be in Grand Haven...checking out the sand castles and
eating a few pronto pups!
I will have been the home owner of Ruth's Retreat in Grand Haven for almost 6 months - a house in a state I don't live in, but love dearly.
I will finish up details for a summer full of family's who will spend time enjoying Grand Haven and staying at Ruth's Retreat.  At this point over 30 adults and their 30+ little kids will spend some sweet summer days at Ruth's for vacation in Grand Haven.  Eating meals around the dining room table that my dad and I assembled - a table that celebrated it's first meal with dear family friends on a snowy evening back in February.  Playing in a yard that is being maintained by some of the same dear family friends - the same ones who Grandma Ruth played with and loved on over 30 years ago - just a few blocks away at her house in Grand Haven.  It has been the details I have loved seeing come together this year - down to the fact that my parents found the wind-chimes and front door decoration that Grandma had hanging at her house in Colorado and brought them out.  As the breeze blows off the lake, little sweet reminders of memories past drift by as new ones are being created.
I will marvel at how this has all come together in the last 6 months and be grateful!