The Road Back Home: A Winter Trip to Grand Rapids

Hitting the road to catch up with old family and friends is assuredly of my favorite things to do — although I do appreciate the hustle and bustle of NYC, it’s always nice to get back home. That’s the case whether it’s my adopted home state of Florida, the site of my last #menswear trip, or my native state of Michigan, which still plays host to plenty of beloved family and friends. Yes indeed, just as with a February 2017 trip back to Grand Rapids, I packed up my favorite winter style essentials this past weekend and got ready to see my brother and his family (hi, guys!), plus my lifelong friend (and groom-to-be), Mr. Chris Spyke. There was great craft beer to be had in Beer City U.S.A., to go along with rugged layering of pieces like my Grayers Edgeware Coated Cotton Moto Jacket and classic suede chukkas from Astorflex. It was certainly an early Friday morning getting out of NYC, but it was well worth it — and I did my best to travel in style, of course.

Getting there was quite easy, all thanks to my dependable Voyager Waxed Weekender — packed with plenty of travel style essentials — from Boarding Pass NYC (always a road trip favorite).  The classic, comfortable Langdon Slim Denim from Abercrombie & Fitch helped me stay comfortable and yet stylish through my flight, while Astorflex came through once again with comfortable suede chukka boots that managed to go from airport to airport and the Grand Rapids beer scene quite easily. To fight the cold (and stay on point in terms of style) the Grayers Edgeware Coated Cotton Moto Jacket proved a handy travel jacket — gotta love those handy front snap pockets — and teamed nicely with an easygoing-yet-sharp, classic men’s shirt from my pals at Todd Snyder. Seriously, you can’t top a tailored weekend shirt in a soft fabric — it works for travel, the office and yes, happy hour brews.  And on the watch front, my Timex x Todd Snyder MS1 Maritime Sport Watch was durable, versatile and travel-ready. When traveling on quick weekend trips, find pieces you love wearing — like classic slim denim and dependable chukka boots — and wear them time and again. Oh, and don’t forget the accessories — my reliable-as-always Huckberry Explorer’s Cap rounded out my ensemble for a laidback day hanging with my nieces and nephews (four in total!), plus catching up with Mr. Spyke and company  later in the day for the first weekend of the incredible (and well-timed) Grand Rapids Beer Month! An absolutely tremendous occasion, and a perfect way to kick off the weekend, complete with stops at spots like Mitten Brewing Co. to get Friday going.

As one might expect, Saturday proved an ideal occasion to break out some of my favorite winter style essentials, pieces that layer up nicely and work for on-the-go brewery-hopping (and some shopping). I layered up with my durable-as-ever Taylor Stitch Yosemite Shirt, a highly coveted piece that I’d recommend you snap up before it’s gone. I also simply had to break out the Taylor Stitch Slim Chinos for style that was polished and able to work all day long.  Again, Taylor Stitch consistently proves its value as a brand, whether grabbing brews in Beer City, U.S.A or hopping from the bar to a show in NYC. And on the watch front, it was easy to reach for the Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono, a consistent favorite that I find myself wearing more days than not — it can be tough to find a stylish leather watch at an affordable price, and Timex consistently delivers.

When you want to make it easy to pack your favorite accessories on the road, reach for a stylish timepiece (and other essentials) that you already love wearing.  Oh, and when it comes to getting around Grand Rapids, even in the snow? My CAT Footwear Abe Canvas Boots (as seen above) got the job done, blending durability with crucial style points. And we certainly had a busy day — there are absolutely some stellar spots you simply have to hit in Grand Rapids on a Saturday, from new brewery City Built Brewing to the Nordic-inspired Sovengard, an excellent spot for cocktails.

Sunday once again called for more citywide exploration, and a terrific brunch at soccer-themed bar SpeakEZ. I also loved the quiet tranquility of the city’s Grand Rapids Art Museum, always a pleasant weekend stop (and a nice way to relax on Sunday after a busy night out and about in GRA). We also grabbed coffee at the excellent Madcap Coffee, followed by beers at the always-tremendous (and continually growing!) Founders Brewing, a Michigan favorite. For a final day braving the G.R. chill, I again turned to CAT Footwear and the brand’s Chronicle Boots, featuring tough plain-toe construction and stylish brown leather that gets better with age. They worked more than admirably on a cold Grand Rapids day — I’d recommend similarly stylish winter boots enough for the remaining weeks (or months) of winter.

I had to complement my outfit yet again with a travel-friendly timepiece, the absolutely fantastic Timex x Todd Snyder MS1 Maritime Sport Watch, featuring welcome new design touches like a domed crystal case, INDIGLO lighting and a sporty NATO strap, calling to mind throwback diving timepieces. In short, it provided some nice visual interest when it came time to layer up for the day — I again threw on my Mission Workshop Bridgeman Peacoat atop a rugged crewneck sweater from my friends at Pistol Lake, complemented by my classic Flint and Tinder denim. The combo helped me kick back, relax and enjoy a few more hours in one of my favorite cities (and it’s not just because of the beer!). When you want to get around a favorite city in the cold weather, layer up with a tough jacket, a sporty NATO strap watch and expertly faded denim for comfort on the road. 

It was unfortunately time once again to head back to NYC — all too soon, if you ask me. I’m grateful to be able to hop a quick flight back to Grand Rapids to see my family and friends, all the while exploring and finding out new things about one of my favorite cities. It’s also a plus to be able to pack and dress in winter style essentials, from made-in-America denim to tough leather boots, a stylish casual watch and a warm thermal shirt.  It’s not all about the packing list, though — I also find that Grand Rapids has something for everybody, from excellent coffee to great beer to a cool shopping and museum scene. Add in great company and times with lifelong friends, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

Are you heading to Grand Rapids soon? Let me know via the comments below, and feel free to say “Hi” via E-mail or The Style Guide Facebook page!

Thanks for reading,

-Beau

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