Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Grand Rapids, MI
We are spending a few days at one of our membership parks in White Cloud, MI to help justify buying the membership in the first place. Grand Rapids is reasonably close and this gave us the opportunity to take in a couple of sights we have wanted to get too and to visit one of Anneke’s favorite stores-specializing in imported Dutch goods.
The Gerald Ford Museum is located in downtown Grand Rapids, which was President Ford’s boyhood and where he started his political career. The museum is very nicely done and covers his complete political and personal life. For those of you who may be too young to remember, he served for 25 years as a congressman from Michigan before being appointed to replace the disgraced Vice President Agnew under President Nixon. Of course, not much later he found himself replacing President Nixon, who resigned over the infamous Watergate scandal. He became both Vice President and President without having ever been elected to either position.
His service as president was short, two and a half years, as he did not get elected when he ran his first presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter. It is generally held that his pardon of Nixon did him in. What a pity, as President Carter nearly bankrupted the government single handed. But never fear, we have another democrat in office that looks like he will be able to finish the job.
One of the best parts of the museum is a full scale model of the oval office. President Ford is laid to rest just outside the museum in a very understated garden. It reflects his simple and honest style.
We next visited the surprisingly large Public Museum of Grand Rapids, which not surprisingly covers the history of the city from before the white settlers through the current period. There are a lot of interactive displays for kids, a model turn of the century town and a great deal of history about its biggest industry-furniture. Well, worth the visit.
Finally, we hit the Vander Veen’s Dutch store; well know among the expats, where we stocked up on those hard to find goodies.