Soup’s On @ God’s Kitchen…

Today, I picked up a special recipe book that was given to me as a gift several years ago. These recipes are about more than just good food… This book supports the work of God’s Kitchen, a volunteer soup kitchen in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Entry on 365 Tweeters on…65tweeters

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Shawmut Hills…A Seasonal View of a Northwest Grand Rapids, MI Neighborhood

The Shawmut Hills neighborhood is a small residential community located in the northwest section of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It is bordered by Lake Michigan Drive and Leonard St. NW and extends east towards Covell Ave. and west towards Collingdale Ave.  It’s one of my favorite northwest communities.  The homes in the community are a nice mix of older estates, newer custom built homes and small to mid-sized homes perfect for first time home buyers.

The tree lined streets and well maintained homes make it a great community to walk or jog in. In fall, the colors are exquisite. The area also has several schools which include, Shawmut Hills School, Covell Elementary, Oakleigh School and on it’s eastern boundary, Union Highschool. 

There is also a nice local park, ShawmutPark and several area parks such as Millennium Park, Johnson Park and John Ball Park are within 5-7 kilometers.  It’s close proximity to the expressway, make it ideal for commuters who need to get to downtown Grand Rapids, (5-7 minutes) or catch I-196 going east or west. 

The Shawmut Hills which is partially in the city of Walker, also  includes a small business district on Lake Michigan Drive which features a local grocery store, the Family Fare, a Honda/Kawasaki dealership and various smaller shops and restaurants.  One of the best pizza places in town is Marinades, a gourmet pizza shop that creates innovative pizza recipes in a brick oven.  Patrons can order their pizzas or dine in. Another very popular local haunt is Shawmut Inns which shares the same parking lot with Marinades. 

Shawmut Hills is a community which offers the best of city living.  It is close to stores, access to the expressway and about 30 minutes from Lake Michigan.  However, it maintains a nice, quiet, residential feeling where you can enjoy the sight of deer and other forms of wildlife in your backyard if you’re lucky. 

Looking for Homes for Sale in the Shawmut Hills Community of Grand Rapids, Michigan…

If you’re looking for a home in Shawmut Hills community in Grand Rapids, Michigan or a nearby area, there is quite a selection.  The range includes moderately priced residences to executive style homes.  This list is updated daily, so check back often.  Click here to access list of homes in Shawmut Hills, Grand Rapids, Michigan and surrounding communities in Walker, Michigan.

You Just Never Know Who’s Reading…

I’ve been blogging for since November of 2006.  My initial blog on Real Town Blog has expanded and my blogging efforts have grown to include:

Grand Rapids Real Estate Musings…the blog you’re cureently reading.

Active Rain Blog…Real Estate blog

Localism Blog….Local/Grand Rapids MI focus

Facebook…Social Networking which also uploads my blog feeds

Twitter…micro blogging in 140 characters or less

LinkedIn…Largest Network of Professionals in the world

Flickr…Photo Blogging


A snapshot of this past week reveals why the Internet continues to be such a powerful platform.  There were:

2  new website inquires for real estate services,

1 listing appointment who wanted information about our method of home marketing 

3 professional contacts exploring future business opportunities, 

8 new contacts from individuals I had lost touch with on Facebook,

3 comments from visitors to Flickr and a discussion about a local condo project  

1 Neighbor in my community who spoke to me about reading and enjoying my blog.

3 comments about a Brand New Listing w/in the first hour of posting it.

On a combined basis, the totals for the visits to the sites have been extraordinary.  The Active Rain Blog has logged over 1 Million hits since I started blogging there and many leads.  The visibility for listings has risen significantly and we now place Google This Listing Signs on all our listings.

I’ve learned to be more effective with my communication tools.  I’ve used my blog posts for Marketing pieces and to respond to inquires on specific topics.  I’ve found that different readers prefer different sites, so cross posting similar material reaches different audiences.  I’ve also learned about the power of images.   A picture is really worth a 1,000 Words!

This year, I’ll be speaking to real estate agent outside the Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area to share some courses that I wrote about Blogging and Ethics.  These courses have been approved by the State of Michigan to train agents on using new technology.  (Blogging Basics for Real Estate Professionals K1061 & Blogging Ethics for Real Estate Professionals K1062, Sponsor Code K355 both approved for a total of 4 hours of Continuing Education Credit)

Today, our listings are exported through sophisticated virtual tours across the world.  Home buyers and Home Sellers have an extensive array of articles online to assist them in understanding the market and preparing their homes for sale.

All, this would not have occured without our exposure to the world of online marketing, blogging and social networking.  During a period of time when many agents have gone for 6 months without closing one single transaction, we remain grateful to God for His guidance and wisdom and look forward to continuing to serve our clients with the most innovative tools available to our profession.

Grand Rapids, MI Downtown Contemporary Condos… Icon on Bond…

Icon on Bond...

Icon on Bond...

Renaissance Tax Free living is available in these classic, contemporary condos which start to retail at $185,000.  The Renaissance Tax program is one of the best ways to invest in the up and coming neighborhoods emerging in the Grand Rapids, downtown area.  The Icon on Bond also offers leasing options.  I took this picture going down the highway.  No…I wasn’t the one driving.  The other stunning cool highrise building which towers over the Grand Rapids skyline is the River House.  Check out these pictures.  Anticipated to be completed later this year.

Penzeys …A Spice Sensation For Every Tastebud!

Penzeys Spice Rack in Grand Rapids, Mi 2901 28th St Location

Penzeys Spice Rack in Grand Rapids, Mi 2901 28th St Location

An impromptu meeting at the Fresh Market Gourmet food store, recently became the occasion for an improbable introduction to one of Grand Rapids Best Spice Selections.  I struck up a conversation with a fellow shopper who shared  her passion for the Penzeys Spice Collection.  After 30 minutes in engaged discussion, I determined that I would have to seek out this shop.

Passion is a great way to describe how Penzeys Spices customers feel about this shop.  You may actually miss the store, currently located in a small mini outlet mall close to Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Over the past 5 years, the customer base has grown largely by word of mouth.  And folks have been attracted to the shop like I was…because someone raved about it.

From the moment you step into the shop, you know that service is an important part of this family business.  I had the opportunity to talk extensively with Michelle, the Store Manager.  They are preparing to move into a larger space on the northwest corridor of Alpine and 3 Mile later in the year.  The New Address will be 3150 Alpine, Comstock Park, MI in the Greenridge Square Shopping Mall.  The new location will greatly increase their space and the decor will be modeled to resemble a country kitchen.

The Midwest is generally not known for adventuresome tastes when it comes to unfamiliar spices, but there is an emerging renaissance in Grand Rapids as a number of new restaurants and their chefs have added a more cosmopolitan flair to their menu offerings.

Variety is what sets Penzeys Spices apart.  For instance, there are 4 different kinds of cinnamon, and an extensive array of different sea salts and peppercorns. You will enjoy savoring the aromatic selection of curry flavorings and all sorts of spice blends which are custom blends, unique to Penseys.  It’s the sort of place in which you could spend hours.  And what’s great is that the staff are knowledgable and willing to help you find that perfect match for your recipe.

It’s that family, service oriented feeling that propelled Bill & Ruth Penzey Sr. when they started their first store 52 years ago.  Today, there are stores in at least 24 different states!  In addition to their instore offerings, Penzeys Spices has a marvelous catalog loaded with recipes to try out. 

Now, for the best news!  These spices are amongst the freshest smelling creations that I’ve ever sampled.  And…you can sample and sniff to your heart’s content in the store.  And…their prices are Excellent!  They sell most spices in a variety of sizes, so if you’re not sure about something, you can just pick up a small sample and try it without being out a lot of cash.

If you’d like to check out the store, it’s located at 2901 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI  49507.  Telephone number:  616-954-7077.  Tell Michelle you heard about them online at Grand Rapids Real Estate Musings…

White Pine Along the Rogue River…

View of Rogue River from White Pine Trail in Rockford, Michigan

View of Rogue River from White Pine Trail in Rockford, Michigan

The West Michigan area enjoys close proximity to Lake Michigan and several larger rivers including the Grand River and the Rogue River.  This shot is taken along the White Pine Trail from the deck of Reds on the River, a newer restaurant offering in the West Michigan area.

Picture by Lola Audu