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U.S.News & World Report has published it’s ranking of Top High Schools

in the United States  last month for 2010.  Of the 21,00 schools in the country

considered, Michigan was ranked overall in 26th place, with 864 schools


Of these, 324 were considered eligible for ranking and 75 made Gold,

Silver, or Bronze status.  Twenty were awarded Silver or Gold Rank in

the state and of these, Kent County  had 7 Open Enrollment High Schools

awarded Silver.  Fifty Five high schools in Michigan were awarded Bronze,

3 in Kent County.


forest hills eastern hs campus


Silver Award Schools:

City High-Middle School – Grand Rapids MI

Forest Hills Eastern High School – Grand Rapids – Ada MI

Forest Hills Central High School – Grand Rapids – Ada MI

East Grand Rapids High School – East Grand Rapids MI


Bronze  Award Schools:

Kelloggsville High School – Grand Rapids MI

Lee High School – Wyoming MI

Lincoln School – Grand Rapids MI


The authors of the this blog write about Grand Rapids Real Estate, the Greater Grand Rapids MI area, and what it is like to live in West Michigan. Grand Rapids Michigan is a vibrant, growing metropolitan area with a diverse business community, great medical research & services, numerous universities, plus lively arts and entertainment of all kinds.

We believe: Grand Rapids is a Great Place to Live!

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Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

                          Contact Terry   616-292-7263

I guess I am still a kid at heart. What a thrill to wake up and see the

white crystals of snow coating everything in sight! Needless to say,

with the amount of snow we received, it is a “Snow Day” for most

of the kids in Grand Rapids area.  While it is not inconvenient for me,

it is for most people. Roads are slippery, traffic is slow and commute

times are much longer than our normal speedy travel.

I took a few photos so you can see what we woke up to in GR this


front yard first snow

back yard first snow

winter morning view



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The authors of the this blog write about Grand Rapids Real Estate, the

 Greater Grand Rapids MI area, and what it is like to live in West Michigan.

Grand Rapids Michigan is a vibrant, growing metropolitan area with a diverse

business community, great medical research & services, numerous universities,

plus lively arts and entertainment of all kinds.

We believe: Grand Rapids is a Great Place to Live!

search for Grand Rapids homes Find Grand Rapids Home Value Grand Rapids Relocation Guide

Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

                          Contact Terry   616-292-7263

                       Where Something Good is Always Cooking   

                           Breakfast ~ Lunch~ Take-Out ~ Bakery  

The Real Food Cafe is THE REAL DEAL! We probably go there for lunch at

least once a week. They only serve breakfast and lunch but it is better than

my Mom made. Their breakfasts are almost legendary. They serve

breakfast anytime and what a breakfast…..the home fries are just too

delicious to describe.


Grill & Rosie at work



The pancakes are made with real buttermilk, fresh eggs and served with real

butter.  Below is the picture of my two eggs scrambled and home fries.


real food eggs & home fries

The home made soups are always delicious.  The burgers are 1/3 lb. of

Angus beef.  The sandwiches are huge and  definitely satisfying.

The omelets are mouth-watering.

home baked goodies real food cafe

The baked goods such as cookies, cakes and pies are all home made on site

and worth sacrificing the diet for.    The crew and wait staff are all friendly and

genuinely happy at work.  It just makes you feel good to be there. It is

always full of people eating “real food” and enjoying themselves.

Rosie at Real Foods


One of our favorite people at Real Food  is “Rosie.”  She has known

the chef, Frank, since  he was a little boy and is always busy seating

people, getting drinks, and generally bustling around with a friendly

word and smile to all.

They have recently expanded and added an additional location:

Real Food Cafe

at 5430 Northland Dr. NE Grand Rapids, MI 49525  



If you  like  “real food made with real ingredients by real  people,”

this is the place to go.   

 Real Food Cafe Grand Rapids Mi

       We are there often, so we hope to see you , too.   

The Real Food Cafe   2419 Eastern Ave.

Grand Rapids MI 49507     (616)241-4080



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Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

                          Contact Terry   616-292-7263

Grand Rapids Michigan is a diverse metropolitan area comprised of

many local cities and communities that surround the city of

Grand Rapids.  The Grand Rapids metro area is the second largest

“city” in Michigan with a population around 1 million.

West Michigan is a beautiful 4 season area of Michigan that has lots

of hardwood forests, rolling hills, Lake Michigan shoreline, hundreds

of  lakes and rivers, and a thriving, diverse work environment with

educated workers.  We have 25 colleges and universities in our

area, including the new Michigan State Medical School on the

“Medical Mile” in downtown Grand Rapids with a student population

of around 32,000+ students.

GR big map w tack

Getting To Know Grand Rapids:

Since pictures speak louder than words, we have links to photos

& videos of some of our local communities:

Ada Michigan is a small community southeast of Grand Rapids with

an excellent school system and lots of suburban homes.

Caledonia Michigan is a small suburban community that has farms

and a rural setting.

East Grand Rapids is a city bordering on Grand Rapids that has

lovely older homes, an excellent school system, and excellent city services,

including community events, and over 100 miles of plowed city

sidewalks in the winter.

Kentwood Michigan is a suburban community southeast of Grand

Rapids with businesses, such as Steelcase, one of the nation’s largest

office furniture manufacturers and lots of suburban housing subdivisions,

both new and established, plus rental communities for housing options.

Lowell Michigan is a small community east of Grand Rapids with a

vibrant business community, excellent school system, and a mixture of

older homes and newer subdivisions, all centered around the Flat River.

Rockford Michigan is a small community north of Grand Rapids

on the Rogue River.  It is home to the global shoe manufacturer, Wolverine

Worldwide [Merrell, Patagonia, Harley Davidson brands], but has a small

town feeling with unique boutiques, shops, and wonderful restaurants.

Many newer homes, established subdivisions and older homes populate

the Rockford area.

Quality of Life in Grand Rapids:

Grand Rapids Michigan Rated 5th Most Affordable Housing in US

Aug 21, 2009 – CNN Money has rated the top cities in affordable housing.

Top Schools in West Michigan – 6-15-2009 – Six West Michigan public

Schools were rated in the top 1500 schools in the nation by Newsweek.

Spectrum Hospital Ranks in Nation’s Top 100

Restaurants in the Grand Rapids Area:

Good Eats – Marie Catrib’s in the East Hills Neighborhood of Grand Rapids offers

unusual fare in a friendly atmosphere.

The Thornapple Daily Grill in Ada, Michigan – March 9, 2008 –Nestled in

heart of downtown Ada near the Thornapple River, this Gilmore

Restaurant is a favorite with local patrons for lunch or dinner.

More than Tacos at Taquitos Mexican Grill – Aug 1, 20009 – Located in

the old Herkimer Hotel, no dark and dingy digs here.

First Choice for Chinese in Forest Hills = First Wok – Dec 4, 2009 – Located in

the heart of Cascade, this Chinese Restaurant is one of our favorites.

The Grille Restaurant at Watermark Country Club – March 9, 2008 –

Serving fresh local foods when possible, this restaurant is always

busy.  Whether you stop in for a business lunch or have a quick

meal after you play nine holes, you can’t go wrong here.

The Monterey Grille in Caledonia – March 9,2009 – A great local place

for breakfast or an after work get-together at the sports bar.

Recreation in Grand Rapids:

Art Prize – Sept 24, 2009 – Planned to be an annual event in Grand Rapids,

Art Prize took the city by storm this year with over $250K in prizes,

artists from all over the world bringing their art creations to GR.

Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey – May 11, 2009 – A Night at a Griffins

Play-off Game

White Caps Baseball Signals Spring – March 15, 2009 – Opening day

for the local AA Team is much anticipated in Grand Rapids.

Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture ParkThe Sculptures;

The Conservatory ; The Children’s Garden ; Butterfly Exhibit

Meijer Gardens Summer Concert Series 2010 – April 26, 2010 –

16 concerts held at the Outdoor Amphitheater.

Grand Haven – Aug 24, 2009  – Coast Guard City is a great destination for

tourists and Michigan day trippers, like ourselves.

Golf in West Michigan –

Roselle Park – Nov 6, 2009 – Natural Habitat Refuge on the Grand River

with an observation tower, viewing deck, canoe/kayak launch, miles of

walking trails.

Grand Rapids Golf – With over 900 courses in West Michigan, it could

take a few months to play them all.  A few local golf course articles &


Real Estate Information for Buyers & Sellers:

Which Mortgage Do I Choose? – Key questions to ask yourself and

lenders before you finalize your mortgage.

Buying Foreclosed Homes is NOT FUN! – May 6, 2008 –

A few buying tips on foreclosed properties. Be Aware. Be Prepared.

Use a Seasoned Buyer’s Agent.

Are you Looking for your Grand Rapids Dream Home? – May 13, 2008 –Lots

of internet searches for the perfect home are being done right now.

Sellers Beware! Avoid 11 Mistakes That Could Cost You Hundreds, even
Thousands of Dollars!

The difference between a profitable, seamless

transaction and a break even, miserable experience is often a fine line.

Top Ten Questions You Should Ask Before You List Your Home – Crucial

areas of expertise your Realtor should possess.

Homes in Greater Grand Rapids Area:

Grand Rapids Michigan Homes  Search

Ada Michigan  Homes Search

East Grand Rapids Michigan Homes  Search

Caledonia Michigan Homes Search

Cascade Michigan Homes  Search

Kentwood Michigan Homes  Search

Lowell Michigan Homes  Search

Rockford Michigan Homes  Search

Wyoming Michigan – Search for Homes

Search Luxury Grand Rapids Homes

Grand Rapids – Condos for Sale

Kentwood Condos for Sale

Waterfront Homes for Sale

Would your kindergartener come home and ask for a bowl of cereal

in Mandarin Chinese?  If you live in the Forest Hills School System

in Grand Rapids Michigan, this isn’t as far fetched as it sounds.

The Meadowbrook Elementary School is home to the Forest Hills

Chinese Immersion Program.  This program is the first of its kind in

West Michigan.  The program just received a Federal Grant of $238,000

for the first year.  If all program objectives are met, it will receive

additional funds for the next 2 years.

fhps meadowbrook school entrance

Leaders in Forest Hills educational community decided to add Mandarin

Chinese Immersion to their bilingual offerings with the assistance

of Michigan State University’s Confucius Institute.  Currently 2

Chinese teachers are  on the school faculty to give students in

the program an early start in bilingual education.

The Forest Hills District is continuing to expand Mandarin language

courses at middle and high school levels.  With 55 percent of the

world’s population speculated to be from Asia in the year 2025 and

5 percent from North America, being fluent in Chinese will be a real

asset in the future business world.

Forest Hills also has a Spanish Immersion Program running at the

Ada Vista Elementary School.

Additional Forest Hills Schools Articles:

Forest Hills Schools Get Face-Lifts This Summer

Forest Hills Schools Update 2009

search for Grand Rapids homes Find Grand Rapids Home Value Grand Rapids Relocation Guide

Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

                          Contact Terry   616-292-7263

No one wants to get ill and end up in the hospital. But life happens.

We get sick, we get in accidents, we fall off ladders and break bones,

we have babies.  When this happens it is very comforting to know

you have an excellent  hospital in your local area that will be able to

care for you until you recover.


WestSide skyline GR2005

Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan we are very fortunate to have one of the

nation’s best hospitals to care for our citizens in need of health care.

 Spectrum Health has 7 Hospitals and more than 140 service sites.

Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members

and 2,000 volunteers are  a major part of our community and our economy,

providing $98.6 million in community benefit during its 2007 fiscal year.


Spectrum Health has earned more than 50 national awards during the

past 10 years. A recent study recognized Spectrum Health as one of

the best hospitals in the country for the sixth time in 10 years.

Spectrum Health was included on the list of Thomson Healthcare’s

100 Top Hospitals for 2007.

The winners were announced in the March 17, 2008 issue of

Modern Healthcare magazine.

The 100 Top Hospitals have higher survival rates, keep more patients complication-free, and have lower expenses-all while maintaining financial stability. Thomson Healthcare estimates that if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those in the 100 Top Hospitals winners:

  • more than 120,000 additional patients would survive each year
  • nore than 138,000 patient complications would be avoided annually
  • expenses would decline by an aggregate $6.2 billion a year
  • the average patient stay would decrease by more than half a day

If you are planning on relocating to Grand Rapids Michigan, you can rest assured your medical needs will be in good hands.

Spectrum Health facts taken from Spectrum Health website – press releases

Roselle Park in Ada Michigan along the Grand River is  247 acre park that is

a dedicated Natural Habitat Refuge.  On a rainy Saturday a few weeks

ago, we stopped and took  a few photos.  It was cold and windy but

the fall colors were great.  We walked on one of the trails along the Grand

River. A very peaceful place to visit. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

Silos at Roselle Park

These silos were left from the previous owner of the property. The one with

the stars on top has been made into a 9 story observation tower.


view east from silo

View from the observation tower toward the Grand River

leaves on path

On the walking trail along the river.

river at park

The Grand River, the longest river in Michigan. It starts near Hillsdale MI and

winds it’s way north then west, eventually emptying into Lake Michigan.

This spot is just north of the confluence of the Thornapple River at Ada MI.


Additional information on  Roselle Park:

Roselle Park Nature Preserve on the Grand River

Roselle Park Flood Stage Spring 2009 Video

Roselle Park Photos


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If you are looking for a home in the Grand Rapids Area, we service the following areas: Metro Grand Rapids, Ada-Cascade, East Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Kentwood, Lowell, and Rockford. We have assisted Grand Rapids buy & sell homes for the last 35+ years. Call 1-616-292-7263 to talk with Terry or email him at:

For MLS access to the homes for sale in the West Michigan Area,visit: Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate for a free search.  Your search can be saved and modified as you view homes, with no obligation.

Thinking of selling your home?  We offer one of the most extensive marketing campaigns in Grand Rapids with a major online presence for your home.  With over 85% of buyers looking for homes online, this is where we concentrate our efforts.  Click here to view Terry’s Realtor profile.

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Scheduled to open in the fall of 2010, construction has started on the new

elementary school at the old Ottawa Hills High School plot, formerly Iroquois

Middle School.  The Grand Rapids Public School system sold the land and

buildings and the old Ottawa  High School building was torn down this summer.


Major construction is now underway for the new school by Grand

Rapids Christian Schools.  This is what the site looks like now:

Construction Christian Elem school GR MI

Grand Rapids MI Christian Elem School construction

Grand Rapids MI Christian Elem School construction

And a site map of the future facility:

                      Grand Rapids MI Christian Elem School construction



Home for Sale 1 block from this new GR Christian School


Westbrook Realty ~ Search Grand Rapids Real Estate

Copyright 2009 all rights reserved

Call 1-616-292-7263 or email me:

The Grand Rapids Art Prize 2009 Finalists have Been Announced…. drumroll…

The winners are as follows:

Open Water #24 Art Prize 2009 winner

Numero Uno: $250,000 Art Prize goes to: Ran Ortner for OPEN WATER #24

This painting will be on display at The Grand Rapids Art Museum through

Jan 2010 if you missed it during Art Prize. Saw a mention online that it

has been sold!  Sure hope it stays in our community.

This painting is over 18 feet long…as Michigan is surrounded by water

and going through rough water economically right now, a fitting winner.


Imagine That Mural on GR Children's Museum

Number Two: $100,000 Art Prize goes to: Tracy Van Duinen for Imagine That!

This large outdoor mosaic mural by Tracy Van Duinen covers a portion of the

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on the front.  It is a permanent installation

and a wonderful, whimsical touch to one of our area’s attractions.  Interactive

in many ways, this mural will teach, enchant, and educate all of us about

art for years to come.


Eric Daigh Portraits

Number Three: $50,000 Art Prize goes to: Eric Daigh for Portraits

These portraits are 4 x 6 feet and made of plastic push pins on boards.

Eric uses about 50,000 push pins for each portrait.  You have to admire

the creativity and unusual medium of this artist!


Grand Dance sculpture in Grand River by David Lubbers

Number Four: $ 7000  Art Prize goes to: David Lubbers for The Grand Dance

Sculpture.  A stunning sight in the middle of the Grand River with lights

and motion.


The Moose sculpture by Bill Segunda

Number Five: $ 7000   Art Prize goes to: Bill Segunda for The Moose

We haven’t seen this yet but  would like to.  Bill constructs his life size animals

using up to 60,000 nails welded on metal frame as fur.  Hard to see in this picture

but it makes you appreciate the work, vision and creativity that went into this



Nessie project on the Grand River

Number Six:  $ 7000   Art Prize goes to:Thomas Birks for The Nessie Project

This is just such a fun entry, who doesn’t love Nessie on the Grand River?


Field of Reeds Sculpture

Number Seven:  $7000 Art Prize goes to: John Douglas Powers for Field of Reeds

This is a kinetic sculpture that measures 14 x 10 x 4.5 feet high.  The 1001 reeds

sway back and forth to create a rhythmic motion & sound.


The Furniture by Sarah Grant

Number Eight:  $7000 Art Prize goes to: Sarah Grant for The Furniture

This oversize table and chairs placed on the pedestrian Blue Bridge in

 Grand Rapids was a favorite of many. With Grand Rapids’ Furniture City

past, it hit many people as not only fun, but indicative of GR’s past, as

evidenced by its full title: Furniture City Sets the Table for the

World of Art.

The Scarlet Empress Balloon Sculpture by Jason Hackenworth

Number Nine:  $7000 Art Prize goes to: Jason Hackenworth for

 Ecstasy of The Scarlet Empress

This fantasy sea creature made up entirely of balloons was stunning

and unexpectedly realistic.  There were also people interacting with

the crowds wearing balloon costumes created by Jason.


Wind Dancer 2 sculpture

Number Ten:  $7000 Art Prize goes to:Michael Westra for Winddancer 2

This welded kinetic sculpture moves with the slightest breeze.

It certainly charmed the voters who saw it.


That is the Art Prize Finalist line up for this year, 2009.  We were all

excited and pleased with the community reaction and participation in

viewing and voting for their favorite pieces of art work. 

Grand Rapids is looking forward to next year!

All pictures except Nessie, Furniture, and Scarlet Empress are courtesy of the Art Prize web site

Movie-making has been going strong in Grand Rapids,

Michigan this summer.  We have been on a movie set

as extras in a major motion picture filming here in

Grand Rapids and Lowell.

The generous tax incentives that Michigan has offered the

film industry to make their films here is starting to pay off.

Local caterers, local actors, and local crew are being hired

for the filming of The Genesis Code, a hockey themed

movie starring Academy Award winners, Ernest Borgnine

& Louise Fletcher ( Nurse Ratched fame), and former

Presidential candidate, Fred Thompson.



Follow the yellow sign


The production company needed a hundred + extras for

a scene in a church.  We are in the pews, singing (actually

miming the words only) and listening to the sermon. 

Not tough work, for sure, although it was a warm summer

day, no air-conditioning, a church full of people & lights,

and we  were dressed in winter clothes for a Christmas scene.

The magic of movies.  We noted fake snow around the

small pond, too, when we walked out for lunch.


The whole production was fascinating to observe.  We were

made comfortable in a nearby lounge at Calvin College,

until we were lined up and put in the chapel pews.  The art

of film was evident at close inspection.  Stained glass windows

were in the front to the chapel.  The art dept had made paper

to fit the side windows that matched the stained glass up front,

mainly to control the amount of light coming in.


The crew and production staff were always busy and

bustling around.  Everyone seemed to have a walkie-talkie

and an ear-bud to keep connected and keep the production

flowing smoothly.  They all seemed to possess the talent of

listening and talking to more than 1 person at a time.


About an hour of filming the same scene each time, from

different angles, and 10 hours later, we were done!  Our

scene will probably be about 3-4 minutes in length.  I have

a whole new appreciation for a film crew and what it takes

to make a full length feature.

We were given a box lunch and treats in between.  No pay

but we might just make it through editing and be in a major

motion picture.

Here are a few pictures from our seat in the ”extra” spot. 

I don’t imagine the film crew gets their picture taken very often.



We might be going to one of the hockey arena shoots this

weekend.  It is nearby but they are filming from 5pm to 5am.

Not sure we can make it through that time frame – even if

we sleep in our seats!!


Copyright 2009 all rights reserved

Grand Rapids Photos


August 2020