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Small Town America in Hastings Michigan
If you’ve ever wished to belong to a community that bands together for good times, then come and have a look at the small town of Hastings, Michigan! It has been named "One of the best 100 small towns in America", and for good reason. Let me share just a few things you will find when visiting this little town.
The old courthouse is sitting in front of the the new. The old one has the most beautiful wood finishing, all in highly polished Oak. In this building will be found the County Clerk and The County Treasurer’s Office. Finding the Court room with the current sitting Judge - Judge Fisher, just pray that you won’t have to go in front of him; if you do, that means a serious law has been broken.
New - 11-2-2010
As promised, I was able to get some pictures. These aren't mine (still not able to load them) but the Church took LOTS of great pictures and I wanted to shared them.
They had a 'Trunk or Treat' that was at the local funeral home with about 25 cars loaded with Candy and all those handing out were in great costumes. Someone generously provided Hot Dogs and drinks. I overheard one person say "These onions are cut to perfection!". We made our way in a line around the parking lot to each car then ended up at the camera man.
This seemed to be the starting point for trick or treating, once you went past this there were lots of house to hit. One nice family had coffee set out for the adults who were with the kids. There were plenty of adults this year. Another house had a mini-haunted area set up, as usual the people of Hastings went all out for Halloween!
There was even an officer 'keeping the peace', though his job wasn't too difficult, everyone was just having a good time.
Since we had little ones with us (the oldest being 3) we only made a small circuit around the block. Even as we left there were still plenty of trick or treaters coming around on all the streets. I'm waiting for the weekly newspaper to see if it was a record crowd this year!
Halloween in Hastings
At the time of this writing it is nearing Halloween, the entire town gets involved in this Holiday. The decorations on the houses are absolutely amazing! There is a contest every year to see who has the best. There is one wonderfully decorated home after the other to view in spooky form. Trick or Treating begins at 5:30 pm every year with children of all ages participating, some coming from other towns just for this very purpose.
There are volunteers to help the children cross at the proper points to avoid any accidents. Even the adults get all dressed for the occasion, for doling out the candy, and scaring the visitors. All the stores participate as well some keeping their doors open for these visitors. Because the town is so safe, with adults watching out for the kids, some parents from other communities feel comfortable in dropping off their kids, with certain pick-up times and places. Usually by 9 pm all trick or treaters have finished, there are a few stragglers making that last mad dash to doors for the candy so generously doled out.
After the Halloween decorations are put away, it will be time to get out the Christmas lights and the people of Hastings don’t skimp on that either. Those that didn’t win the Halloween contest, will have another chance with Christmas.
Festivals for all Seasons
With every new season brings a new festival in this town. Spring fest, summer fest, fall fest, winter fest and then there are the few odd activities thrown in for fun. The festivals have tents upon tents around town and on the court house lawn. Serious shoppers will have 2 ½ days to spend looking for that perfect item (Friday thru Sunday). Clothes, jewelry, and crafts are just a few of the items to be found during the festivals. Out of 'towners' are welcome to bring their crafts and items to sell.
Once a year they have the ‘Women’s Night Out’, the Bars, Pubs and restaurants welcome those brave souls who want to make a ‘Pub crawl’. The micro brewery right in the middle of downtown is an excellent place to start. They have a large variety of beer that they make right on the premises. If you aren’t sure which brew is to your liking they will give you a sample of several different kinds. The food that is prepared in this Pub is of the highest quality!
The shops throughout the small town will welcome you with open arms, and all employees are very helpful in finding what it is that you desire. Even if it means sending you to another store. They include a family owned Ace hardware that will have just about anything that you could imagine wanting, it’s not your average hardware store. It spans almost an entire city block, with 3 different entrances.
Canoeing-Kayaking-Rafting we got it all!
If you find water is to your liking, there is a Canoe/Raft rental just off of the main drag. For a nominal fee they will load you into one of 2 vehicles a van or Hummer and take everyone to a drop off point at the Thornapple Lake near the mouth of the Thornapple River. There is an arrow pointing to the direction needed to go to get back to your vehicle. Having made your choice of flotation devices, a canoe for 2 that has seat back, a regular canoe, a kayak or rafts will be available. It will take a bit of muscle on your part to get into the actual river, but once there the rowing becomes much easier.
The river winds around twists and turns with plenty of sandy areas for stopping and having a picnic if that is your wish. There is no time limit on how long you can be on the river, just as long as you get back by dark. There are a few over hanging branches with some deeper water for those brave souls who have need of a good soaking. Just beware of the bee’s nests that sometimes find their way into the trees.
Plan on taking all day for this, not wanting to miss anything along the way. There might even be seen a cow or two coming to the water for a drink. Once reaching the train trestle you will know that your day will shortly end, not being far away from your vehicle. There will be the city park that will be passed, unless the need to stop and have your picnic is desired. There are pavilions and play areas for the kids. Across the park the bathroom facilities can be found, should you have the need.
Once reaching the end of your trip, you will be assisted by the friendly people who took you to your starting point. They will help you out of the water and take up your canoe, raft or kayak.
No need to miss a good movie!
For your evening pleasure, if the Pubs are not to your liking, you may find taking in a movie is something enjoyed. Hastings has within their small town a Movie Theater that has 4 Movie screens. These are all first run Movies. Upon entering a friendly staff will greet you, that is efficient in getting your ticket and then snacks if desired. For those who are students, will receive a ‘student’ discount.
The most expensive ticket is $6.50, that is Adult evening tickets. Senior citizens are charged $4.50, and students $5.00. The Adult matinee is $5.00, so they not only have good movies but make it affordable as well. After purchasing your drinks once, the refills are free. Popcorn refills are a mere 25 cents (plus tax).
Let's hope you don't need it - but if you do, it's very good!
Should you have need of an Emergency Room, a quick visit to Pennock Hospital will get you fixed right up! For a small town they have the newest equipment and are always improving on their service. The hospital staff is very friendly and work their hardest to get you the needed care. If by chance, traveling up to the second floor you might just get to view one of Hastings newest residents! 4 of this writers grandchildren have been born in this hospital and they have done their absolute best in making sure that the health and well being of the children come first.
When passing through the West side of the State of Michigan, make time to stop and enjoy some of the pleasures that you will find in the little town of Hastings.