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Old 07-17-2012, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Derbyshire
7 posts, read 12,185 times
Reputation: 10

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I previously posted about a potential move from the Uk to Grand Rapids & the responses were very encouraging. My husband & I are now further exploring the opportunity & have a few more questions.

Would really value some options/ advice on where to live. We are considering Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Holland. Factors that are important to us are living in a nice community with easy access to amenities. If we decide not to live in Grand Rapids then we would like to be near to the Lake. As we have a 19 month old toddler nursery and schooling is also a consideration.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
Maya
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Us
43 posts, read 49,649 times
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Hi, Grand rapids is an excellent choice, Grandville and Walker are some good suburbs just outside of GR to look into, but if you want to be on the lake, Grand Haven is very nice and for a town it's size it has quite a few things to do. Also Allendale is right between GR and the Lake, that might be something to look into as well. Sorry If I didn't answer your questions and if not others will.

Last edited by GreatLakesStateofMind; 07-17-2012 at 04:55 PM..
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:32 PM
 
Location: west mich
5,739 posts, read 6,046,101 times
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You mentioned 'amenities" - that would be Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo - much less so for other places, so it depends on your needs. East G.R. to Cascade/Ada are the upscale areas. West G.R. is more working class. Walker seems middle with some upper-middle along M-45. The GVSU university area is sometimes a traffic nuisance for me. The Standale area seems like a good choice for access to both the lakeshore and the city.
Grand Haven is fun, touristy, small, low on shopping amenities. The US-31 drawbridge is active during the summer. Allendale is small and peaceful.
That's my take.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:56 PM
 
157 posts, read 261,363 times
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East Grand Rapids has excellent schools, public libraries, and parks. It is really a lovely place for young kids and is truly walkable. Holland is lovely but very conservative if that is an issue to you. I think that there are some public schools in Holland that actually offer international baccalaureate at the elementary level which is great and very rare in a US public school.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:04 PM
 
157 posts, read 261,363 times
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I would strongly encourage you to live relatively close to work. While we have friends who commute from the lakeshore to downtown, you would be much much better served renting within a short drive from work. The winters are a challenge for those unfamiliar with driving in the snow and the lakeshore can have a lot of snow.

Given the age of you little one I would recommend East Grand Rapids if you like to walk to amenities or Cascade if you don't mind driving. Both tend to be a bit more expensive though.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:13 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,884 times
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If you choose living nearer the lake, here's my input:

My commute from center-city Holland to downtown Grand Rapids is 30-35 minutes every day -- just enough time to listen to NPR and local radio and clear my head either for the day ahead or to begin focusing on family and the evening to come.

I love Holland! But not the "northern suburbs" with all their McMansions and gated neighborhoods and the need to get in the car to get anywhere. I love living in the central city -- a walkable community with many beautiful homes, the best downtown in America, dozens of parks, a small college, two theatres, farmers markets, restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, churches, art galleries, antique stores and close-by doctors, dentists and other professionals. It is truly "Small town America!" Kind of a grown-up Norman Rockwell painting.

Holland also has great real estate prices, a wonderful historic district, extremely low utility prices (compared to GR and elsewhere) and terrific intrastructure (streets, bike paths, sidewalks, etc.)

Holland has it's own symphony, chorale and other major arts organizations. You can bike safely all around town without being on a minor highway. And you're just a few minutes away from Ottawa Beach or many of the other lake Michigan beaches (Kirk Park, Laketown Park, etc.)

And if you really need "big city" entertainment, sports, etc., Grand Rapids is only a short drive away.

Good luck with the decision!
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Derbyshire
7 posts, read 12,185 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all so much. I must say I an becoming ever more tempted by the lake options. I think I would prefer to commute to the city than to the beach.

Holland sounds lovely, thanks for all the info. We live in a village at the moment & I am fed up of having to get in the car to get anywhere. So a small town with amenities sounds perfect. I like the sound of everything mentioned in the previous post. Also perhaps a move from a village to a 'big city' might be a bit of a shock to the system.

How do people rate Grand Haven compared to Holland?

I'm getting so excited!
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:20 PM
 
Location: west mich
5,739 posts, read 6,046,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklymaya View Post
Thank you all so much. I must say I an becoming ever more tempted by the lake options. I think I would prefer to commute to the city than to the beach.

Holland sounds lovely, thanks for all the info. We live in a village at the moment & I am fed up of having to get in the car to get anywhere. So a small town with amenities sounds perfect. I like the sound of everything mentioned in the previous post. Also perhaps a move from a village to a 'big city' might be a bit of a shock to the system.

How do people rate Grand Haven compared to Holland?

I'm getting so excited!
Grand Haven is more lively, less politically conservative (or even politically oriented for that matter). Downtown Holland is quietly strollable during the day, and quieter after dark.
Regarding commutes - how do you like snow? Holland has a person's basic needs (mall shopping), but if you must drive to G.R. in winter, it can be a challenge at certain times.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:53 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,884 times
Reputation: 226
Holland's downtown has a snowmelt system. The downtown streets and sidewalks are clear and dry all year long. The mall on the northside of town -- not even in the city -- is nearly empty. Rivertown Mall in Grandville is 20 minutes away.

The only thing about Grand Haven I don't care for (although it's a wonderful town) is that in the summer it's a wall-to-wall beachtown and in the winter it's a ghosttown.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:20 AM
 
Location: Derbyshire
7 posts, read 12,185 times
Reputation: 10
Fabulous Thanks so much for the kind replies.
All this info will be food for thought when we visit the different areas during our stay.
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