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Old 03-16-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Hernando, FL
749 posts, read 2,153,295 times
Reputation: 539

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
In your opinion-what are the best small to mid-size cosmopolitan towns with a bohemian flair? We would consider up to 4 hours away from GR but that is about as far away as we want to get. What we are looking for is a small to medium sized town/city with great schools, safe, access to a variety of restaurants (not just chains), live music, festivals, access to outdoor recreation, bookstore, movie theatre . . . . Not looking for a place filled with strip-malls and countless subdivisions. A place with an active downtown and older neighborhoods would be ideal. We have lived in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo and are not interested in heading back to either place at this stage in our lives. We love Traverse City but would love to hear others opinions. We would consider places outside of MI as well but again, not much farther than about 4 hours from GR area.
What about Paw Paw? Has everything you mentioned except a big bookstore. There's live music at Ski's, Roadhouse grill, Brewster's, some great local resteraunts. They always have events downtown on the holidays and the wine and harvest festival in September.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:11 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,884 times
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Definitely Holland, Grand Haven or Saugatuck.

Saugatuck is very Bohemian. It's an arts community, has a large gay population and really shuts down in the winter.

Grand Haven is artsy, waterfront, great library, decent downtown etc.

Holland has it all, it's an artsy, College town, has one of the best downtowns in America, (heated streets and sidewalks!), parks, waterfront, "real" neighborhoods, great library, theatre, symphony, dance companies, awesome farmers market, brewpubs, Irish Pub, galleries, etc.

Plus it's just a 30 minute drive to downtown Grand Rapids. Just be sure to target the city, not the townships. All the benefits of walkability, bike-ability and being right in the center of things is lost outside the city. It's one of the safest, best managed communities too. Taxes are moderate and the city is on the cutting edge of innovation and technology.
Check out: Move to Holland Michigan
and the high resolution video at: View Holland on Video! - Home
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:17 PM
 
60,493 posts, read 85,593,610 times
Reputation: 13297
Quote:
Originally Posted by allbusiness View Post
Definitely Holland, Grand Haven or Saugatuck.

Saugatuck is very Bohemian. It's an arts community, has a large gay population and really shuts down in the winter.

Grand Haven is artsy, waterfront, great library, decent downtown etc.

Holland has it all, it's an artsy, College town, has one of the best downtowns in America, (heated streets and sidewalks!), parks, waterfront, "real" neighborhoods, great library, theatre, symphony, dance companies, awesome farmers market, brewpubs, Irish Pub, galleries, etc.

Plus it's just a 30 minute drive to downtown Grand Rapids. Just be sure to target the city, not the townships. All the benefits of walkability, bike-ability and being right in the center of things is lost outside the city. It's one of the safest, best managed communities too. Taxes are moderate and the city is on the cutting edge of innovation and technology.
Check out: Move to Holland Michigan
and the high resolution video at: View Holland on Video! - Home
Holland seems like a nice smaller city.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:15 PM
 
172 posts, read 424,305 times
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How are the public schools in Holland? Do they have any charter schools, montessori or "alternatives" to traditional public school? Also, any State parks or trail systems within the city or very nearby?
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:08 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
How are the public schools in Holland? Do they have any charter schools, montessori or "alternatives" to traditional public school? Also, any State parks or trail systems within the city or very nearby?
Public schools are struggling, but I would say they're ok. I know lots of people going to Holland High and succeeding. Their swimming team, just as an anecdotal example, is fantastic, and full of kids with great college careers ahead of them.

The Black River Public School (a K-12 charter in the city of Holland) is one of the top 5 schools in the state of Michigan.
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:58 PM
 
60,493 posts, read 85,593,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suydam View Post
Public schools are struggling, but I would say they're ok. I know lots of people going to Holland High and succeeding. Their swimming team, just as an anecdotal example, is fantastic, and full of kids with great college careers ahead of them.

The Black River Public School (a K-12 charter in the city of Holland) is one of the top 5 schools in the state of Michigan.
What about West Ottawa schools?
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:31 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,270 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
What about West Ottawa schools?
Well, they're in suburban Holland.
The person posing the question was looking for a small town with a bohemian feel. I don't think you can get that in West Ottawa.

Other than that, they're fine.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:11 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,884 times
Reputation: 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
How are the public schools in Holland? Do they have any charter schools, montessori or "alternatives" to traditional public school? Also, any State parks or trail systems within the city or very nearby?
Holland Public schools are good or better than most: highly rated, but struggling with lack of growth (landlocked borders with no room for growth), some white flight, and typical budget problems. Yes there are charter schools, Montessoris, etc.

Holland State Park is rated the best (and busiest) in the entire state. Bike trails are everywhere; even inside the city there are many bike paths and bike ways,with a master plan encouraging more in the near future. They connect with those going north to Grand Haven, south to Saugatuck and even nearly connect with the Grand Rapids area. Plus the Macatawa Greenway is being developed to create access to the entire length of the Black River.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:23 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,270 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by allbusiness View Post
Holland Public schools are good or better than most: highly rated, but struggling with lack of growth (landlocked borders with no room for growth), some white flight, and typical budget problems. Yes there are charter schools, Montessoris, etc.

Holland State Park is rated the best (and busiest) in the entire state. Bike trails are everywhere; even inside the city there are many bike paths and bike ways,with a master plan encouraging more in the near future. They connect with those going north to Grand Haven, south to Saugatuck and even nearly connect with the Grand Rapids area. Plus the Macatawa Greenway is being developed to create access to the entire length of the Black River.
The state park is great, but I think there are others that are busier.

I've seen lots of ratings, but never seen Holland marked as busiest or best.

It's very nice though, I agree.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:04 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,963,242 times
Reputation: 16907
Holland is a great area, but the State park was the busiest back in 2004. Which doesn't automatically make it the "best" by default. Where did you find the latest rankings? I would really like to see them, because it was crazy busy at the Ludington State Park last year and looks like more of the same this year again. I would like to know what kind of numbers we had here last year.
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