Thursday, April 25, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old...

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long, I will be your friend....
You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, We have each other....
Across the land, Across the sea, Friends forever, We will always be
Many of you might remember this old tune - I remember learning it standing in a circle with my fellow Daisy Girl Scouts in kindergarten.  While sing-songy and cute, over the years I have also come to see and live some of the deeper truth in the lyrics of this song.

So you might be wondering what friends old and new have to do with Ruth's Retreat?  They have A LOT to do with Ruth's - from the physical house, to prayers and encouragement in the process, to the reason I decided to start down this crazy adventure.  I always say... for an only child I have more "adopted" family that I can count, and which I am so very thankful for!

Each summer when we would head to Grand Haven with Grandma Ruth, there was always a long list of family and friends who we had to visit.  As a kid I enjoyed some more than others - otherwise known as some had toys and fun things to do and others were lovely lunches with other ladies (aka..."mom... may I be excused... I'm bored;))  We always had to spend at least an afternoon with Grandma's childhood friends Kitty and Ruth.  These women had been together for over 50 years and despite the fact that my Grandma had moved to the other side of the country in the 1970's I remember these 3 women having a connection that time nor distance could ever touch. I hope and pray I can be that blessed in 50 years!
Ruth V and Kitty in high school

Ruth K on one end, Kitty on the other with Sunday School pals out along the Grand Haven Pier

Kitty, Ruth and Ruth with their husbands and granddaughters - Ruth K got the baby doll instead!

The second was a family that lives in the house next to the one that Grandma had lived in until she moved to Colorado.  They moved next door in the 1970's as a young family with their cute young son John, who became Grandma's little shadow and best friend. John and Grandma Ruth baked, gardened, and played together, and he was sure to be found watching out the window for her little Volkswagen to come up the driveway between the houses.  John has many of the same "Grandma Ruth memories" I have - just a few years later and in a different state.
My first visit in 1983!

Our silly attempt at a partial recreation in 2011

One of my favorite stories is when Grandma climbed through the basement window of their house because John, his mom and new baby sister got locked out of their house, and Grandma was small enough to get through the window!   As a kid I loved spending time together... their youngest daughter is close to my age, so I always had a playmate. As an adult this house and these people have become even more of a second home and family.  They have graciously let me stay in their homes time and time again on my trips to Grand Haven - those just for fun, and for house hunting.  John and his wife Kate are locally managing Ruth's Retreat and their two adorable little ones have already tested out all the nooks and closets in Ruth's when they have been over.  Their son especially liked the closet under the stairs in the dining room - to which John remarked "this closet is just like the one Grandma Ruth is where she always hid the maraschino cherries!"  So don't be surprised if you find a jar of cherries in that closet - just for tradition sake!

In a few weeks I will have the opportunity to  meet another member of this family, the amazing almost one year old Hannah Mae.  Hannah's mom Jennifer is the middle child of the family and she and her husband, 2 boys and Hannah live in the Seattle area where I am headed for a friends wedding.  Hannah has a very rare heart disease known as Diffuse Rhabdomyomatosis. She is the only diagnosed survivor and had a heart transplant in September.  Follow their amazing and faith filled journey on Jennifer's blog or follow them at Hope for Hannah Mae on Facebook.

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long, I will be your friend....
You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, We have each other....
Across the land, Across the sea, Friends forever, We will always be...

Thankful for these lessons learned of lifelong friendship, for the fellowship, laughter and moments of just living life together!

Friday, April 19, 2013

June Events in the Grand Haven Area

June 1st - Spring Lake Wooden Boat Show
Love vintage boats? Head to Mill Point Park in Spring Lake from 9am to 3pm on Saturday for this 8th annual boat show.  Featuring more than 30 unique wooden boats, a boat building activity table for kids, live entertainment and a boat parade!

June 7th-8th  - Feast of the Strawberry Moon
Head to Harbor Island in Grand Haven for a weekend of living history – experience life as it was in the Grand Haven area between 1760-1820.
From a little later era - the early 1920's... But check out Grandma Ruth in the middle enjoying a day at the Grand Haven Beach!

June 8th - Grand River Kayak Race
Start your Saturday with Kayak lessons and races. 1/4 mile race for kids. 3 mile amateur race and 8 mile open race.  Head to Felix's Marina in Grand Haven between 8:30 and 11:00am
Check out for more information!

June 8th  - Vintage Camper Open House
Head north to P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon, MI for their 2nd Annual “Vintage Camper Gathering” and Open House from 11:00am – 4:00pm. You will find  over 60 vintage campers open for viewing.  You can walk through the wooded park to see the vintage trailers and visit with the owners…make a craft item or play an old-time game.  Come reminisce!

June 11th -15th  - Spring Lake Heritage Festival
Get ready for a fun filled week of events to celebrate the heritage of The Village of Spring Lake! Events include Tri-Cities Historical Society Village Walk, Dog Walk, Family Fun Night at Millpoint Park, Friends of the Library Book Sale, Car Show, Civil War History Presentation, Entertainment Tent, 5k Run/Walk, Pancake Breakfast, Pickleball Tournament & Clinic
Check out all the activities at get more information at

June 22nd - Tri-cities Garden Club Annual Garden Walk
Always wanted to see some of the beautiful gardens in town?  Tickets are $8.00 each for adults and 12 and under is free, you can purchase tickets at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, or at each home the day of the tour.
Check out for more information

June 22nd – The Grand Haven Open
Skateboard/BMX championships- part of the State Games of Michigan festival, featuring over 30 amateur sports, showcases the top skateboarders and BMX athletes in the Midwest! Head to Grand Haven Skate Park to check it out between 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

June 22nd -  Beach Survival Challenge
Love a good challenge?  Grab some friends and compete in the 10th annual Beach Survival Challenge at Grand Haven State Park. Teams participate in Sand Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Tug-o-war, and the Ultimate Beach Survival Obstacle Course. Pre-registration is required, so head to

June 22nd - Grand Haven Sand Sculpture Contest
Head to Grand Haven City Beach to check out some pretty amazing sand castles and sculptures along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

June 29th – 30th - Grand Haven Art Festival
The work of 150 of the finest artists in the country will be on display and for sale during the 51st Annual Grand Haven Art Festival & Family Fun Day. The festival will take place along Washington Avenue in downtown!

June 29th - Family Fun Day at Grand Haven Art Festival
Family Fun Day is held in conjunction with the art festival and includes all kinds of fun arts projects for kids to participate in and best of all, all activities are free!

June 29th – 30th  - Soccer in the Sand Tournament
Love to watch some soccer and go to the beach?  Head down and check out the Annual two day Beach Soccer in the Sand Tournament at Grand Haven State Park. Get more information at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Summer Traditions for Every Day of the Week!

One of my favorite things about Grand Haven is that numerous local events, something to keep you "busy" almost every day of the week!  This town knows how to make it easy to get plugged into local businesses, community and culture!  Regardless of if you are in town just for a weekend, a week or two, or are a local these summer traditions will keep you eating healthy, singing, dancing and enjoying life all summer long!

Tuesdays in the Park - Runs June 11th - August 20th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm and located at Grand Haven Central Park (only 1 block from Ruth's Retreat!!) Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and a picnic basket and enjoy listening to local musicians playing a variety of music in a beautiful outdoor setting of Downtown Grand Haven.
Out the door and one block from Ruth's Retreat to Central Park!
Grand Haven Farmers Market - can be found under the green awning at Chinook Pier (Harbor Drive and First Street).  Runs from 8am-2pm. Less than a 5 minute walk from Ruth’s! Enjoy local fresh seasonal produce, flowers, plants, baked goods and so much more. 

Dancing on the Waterfront - Head to Waterfront Stadium from June 12th - August 21st from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and get ready to dance!  Sponsored by the Grand Haven Arts Council the Big Band Dances are held every Wednesday evening in the summer on the Grand River! The bands are local bands that are from area, some from the High Schools, both Grand Haven and Spring Lake. Cost is $3 per person.

Spring Lake Farm and Garden Market - Need more fresh local goodies??  Take a quick drive over to Church Street in Spring Lake. Running every week from June 6th - October 10th, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Enjoy this open air market featuring seasonal produce, fresh cut flowers, plants, breads, garden items, and more!

Thursdays at the Point - Need more music?? Head back to Spring Lake for the evening to Mill Point Park in Downtown.  Running between June 14th and August 22nd from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and a picnic basket and sit back and relax while listening to local musicians playing a variety of music.

First Friday Gallery Walks -  Art, refreshments and a great way to start off a Friday night! This event is only the first Friday of every month and starts in May.  The event begins at 6:00 pm at C2C Gallery - 104 Washington   St, Grand Haven. Check out for more information!

Grand Haven Farmers Market can be found under the green awning at Chinook Pier (Harbor Drive and First Street).  Runs from 8am-2pm.  Less than a 5 minute walk from Ruth’s! Enjoy local fresh seasonal produce, flowers, plants, baked goods and so much more.
Can't beat fresh Michigan blueberries!
Art Market - Head back to the same location as the farmers market for a different assortment of local goodies!  Running every Sunday from June 2nd - September 8th between 11 am and 2 pm. The Sunday Art Market is a juried market showcasing established and emerging artists from West Michigan. You will find an ever-changing display of fine art, pottery, metal works, photography, glass and textile arts, jewelry and more.

Worship on the Waterfront - End your weekend down at Waterfront Stadium every Sunday evening between June 23nd - August 25th from 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm.  Worship On the Waterfront (WOW) is a free outdoor summer worship series held every year on the shores of Lake Michigan in Grand Haven, Michigan.  Sponsored by the First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, WOW has been a part of the community summer schedule for over 60 years.

Every Night!!
World's Largest Musical Fountain  - Close out a great day in Grand Haven with a summer tradition 50 years in the making!  The 20 minute synchronized water and light show accompanied with music of all varieties is a hit for all ages.  The show is best viewed from Waterfront Stadium; however the Fountain can be easily seen from 1/4 mile either side on the Grand Haven Boardwalk, and heard from even further away. The show starts at sunset, so times vary throughout the season.
10:00 PM on May 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, and May 24 through June 9
10:10 PM from June 10 through July 15
10:00 PM from July 16 through August 6.
9:50 PM from August 7 through August 17
9:30 PM from August 18 through September 1
8:30 PM on September 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21, and 27 & 28
The perfect end to a summer night - make sure to get your ice cream before the show!