I think St. Johns has been moving in a forward direction for a few years now. By forward, I mean it's a place where people not only want to live, but want to stay and play too. There's been a shift in the mind set that in order to be entertained we have to go to Lansing or Grand Rapids. Don't get me wrong, I love these places too, but it's safe to say that we have some great casual places to "go and do" also. Follow along with me as I take you through a casual weekend here in the heart of St. Johns.
Naturally, I booked my stay at The Nordic Pineapple Bed and Breakfast where all the suites are lovely, it is so hard to choose just one, but for this trip I choose the Pink Pumpkin because there is access to outdoor seating. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast is like staying in your home, except it's cleaner, it's way more charming, and you get a breakfast that you didn't have to cook. Once you go the B and B route, it's hard to go back to a hotel.
It's Friday, you are all checked in and unpacked, what do you do now? Go downtown of course! It's a few blocks to Main Street where the shops and restaurants are located, or if it's freezing cold winter months, it's a quick two minute drive. My first stop is one of three coffee shops. We have a BiggBy, but we also have two craft coffee shops each with a different vibe. I can't pick just one either I LOVE both of them. But for today I'm heading to Waypoint Coffee Company because it has quick access to the Rails to Trails and I'm going for a run. This trail is paved for a few miles and is great for walking, running, biking and riding your longboard or rollerblading. Do people still rollerblade? If this is still a thing, then I would definitely rollerblade on this trail.
Heading west on the trail, takes you under the Old 27 overpass and there is beautiful artwork on either side. When a town has art, it means they've arrived, right? Although the art under the overpass is not from our local artist Tracie Davis, who has beautified this town with her murals that you can find downtown and in the park, this art is still awesome. There are other talented artists in St. Johns too, and some of them sell their work at the art gallery downtown.
Oh dear, I digressed. Anyway, I'm drinking my matcha tea latte at Waypoint, they have other coffee and tea drinks, with yummy baked goods like ham and cheese twists, raspberry pop-tarts, breakfast cookies, and other items from a local baker too, but I don't need coffee right now at this time of day. After my run, more like a jog really, I am feeling like chocolate.
Oh Mi Organics is a few blocks away and I really want something that is gluten free, nut free, dairy free, and so on because I just ran 3.1 miles and I don't want to be too unhealthy (yet). I settle on the Neapolitan, it has three layers of flavor just like the ice cream, and it is a party in your mouth! You really can taste all three flavors, separately but all at the same time. It's crazy! They have so many flavors to choose from and they are always coming up with new and creative ideas. The Oh Mi story is one you need to hear, and owners Brent and Megen Hurst will gladly share their story with you. If chocolate isn't your thing, then check out Spun Confection for all things cotton candy.
I've got 6:00 pm reservations at the DIY pARTy place called Whimsical Party Gallery. There are so many projects that one person or a group can sign up for monthly, and tonight I'm making a framed wood sign. I'm excited to channel my inner artist and I hope I like how it turns out! Afterwards I am hitting up the BBQ restaurant, St. Johns Brewing Co. they have lots of different beer choices on tap, but they have their own seltzer too and that's what I'll be having along with the cobb salad, burnt ends, and sweetcorn nuggets. Yum!
After my feast I decide I need a gourmet cupcake from Cupcakes and Kisses. I get the ho-ho because it's chocolate and creme, with a cherry on top. Can you tell I like chocolate? They also have so many different baked goods to choose from it's a bit overwhelming to walk in and choose just one thing. Next on my agenda is to hit up a few of the local watering holes. There are plenty to choose from but my first stop is Bruno's. Bruno's is loud and busy, but I don't mind that, and you can always hear something good on the app controlled juke box. Bruno's is great for easy drinks and drafts, and they have a restaurant adjacent to it called Deano's that serves pretty great bar food. I make my way over to Siren's, a former fire engine garage turned bar to hear some live music, which I love. They also have a pretty extensive shot list, I choose the kamikaze because it reminds me of my college spring break in Acapulco! The live band is great, but I hear that some nights they have karaoke, line dancing, or a DJ. If it was line dancing night, I would first stop in to the downtown staple, Rehmann's, for a killer pair of jeans to go with my cowboy boots. They are mostly a men's store, but they do offer women's clothing too. After a night of dancing this princess is tired and I'm ready to turn in. I head back to my pink pumpkin for a hot candle lit bath and sleep. I am so glad that I ran because I definitely indulged today!
That's a wrap for day one here in the hear to St. Johns, check back soon to see how I spend day two!