This summer, I jumped at any chance to drive the hour and ten minutes to Holland from my hometown.

I love Holland.  I love the drive to get here, blasting Taylor Swift with the windows down. I love the glistening lake, the picturesque downtown, and of course the campus nestled nearby.

Here are five of my favorite things about this place I’m blessed to call home: 

1. Downtown

I’ve been a fan of the tv show Gilmore Girls since middle school.  Downtown Holland so perfectly matches the things I always envied about the small town Stars Hollow in the show. There’s a bookstore, ice cream places, and wonderful coffee shops.  People are always out and about shopping, with their friends, or playing music on the street corners. During Christmas-time, it’s wonderfully decorated and lit up with glistening lights.  In spring, tulips bloom up and down the main street.  Downtown truly is a wonderful place to be. 

2. Farmers Market

A popular walking-distance destination from Hope is the Holland farmers market on 8th Street.  The market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. It’s a place to find produce, flowers, and even cotton candy! The Farmers Market also changes seasonally, with pumpkins and cider in the fall and Christmas lights and hot chocolate in December.

3. Churches

Holland is home to well over 150 churches.  These vary in tradition and style, which allows students to find a church family that suits them.  A number of churches are walking distance from campus or offer free shuttles to Hope students, making them accessible to students without cars on campus. 

Last year, my friends and I tried many churches before settling on the ones we now attend. I am so glad we walked through this process.  It is such a blessing to attend church in Holland, engaging in worship intergenerationally. 

4. Coffee Shops

During my college decision-making process, I visited local coffee shops at each school.  I simply love coffee, and wanted to be sure my college would have a variety of places I could frequent.  Luckily, Holland excels in this department.  

This semester, I’ve studied at Lemonjello’s (LJ’s!) almost every day.  Other wonderful places like Ferris and 205 are a walking distance from Hope’s campus as well. I love doing homework at any of these places, never knowing who I’ll run into.

My all-time favorite coffee shop in Holland is KIN Coffee and Craft House.  It’s on Ottawa Beach Road near Lake Michigan (about 10 minutes off campus).  This precious coffee shop is tucked away in a farmhouse style building.  My friends and I discovered it by accident on a beach trip, and we’ve been obsessed ever since. If you visit, make sure to color your own postcard and they’ll mail it for you!

5. Lake Michigan

The lake is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite things about life in Holland.  When I committed to Hope, I had no idea how often I would go to the beach throughout the year.  Even in the dead of winter, my friends and I try to prioritize catching one sunset a week.  From Polar Plunging in March to swimming the first few weekends of the school year, I adore the lake. I can’t imagine my college experience any other way.

Wrapping it Up:

I truly love Holland.  It is comfortable and familiar, but the vast expanse of water keeps it from ever feeling too small.  I love going to church in Holland, being downtown, drinking coffee and going to the beach.  I believe it is the perfect place to do college and I’m so grateful for the life I have here.

Published by Audrey Wells

Class of 2026 Hometown: Portage, MI Majors: Communications & Spanish Minor: Social Witness Ministry & Global Health

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