Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Here in Michigan - Frankenmuth

I'm still not much in the mood to talk about current events etc but I do want to talk about a community that exists not far from where I live. It's a town whose Bavarian roots are still proudly displayed in such a manner that it attracts over two million tourists a year.

It's called Frankenmuth, and while it's not a city that one would drive across the country to visit, if one is in mid-Michigan and has the time to spare, it's worth a visit.

I went there with my family for Mother's Day and also spent part of Saturday there with my brother who lives in Florida.

First off is my favorite place there. Bronner's Christmas Wonderland is a store that you could put a couple of football stadiums inside of that is dedicated mostly (99%) to Christmas but also includes other Holidays, Christian literature and merchandise, and Michigan college memorabilia. I like to say that Frankenmuth is a town where it's Christmas all the time and that store is why I say it. It's a store and just about everything there is for sale, but it has the feel of a Christmas oriented theme park.



What else is there?

Restaurants for starters. Now they vary considerably and in some of them you pay a lot for great atmosphere and mediocre food. The best known one is The Bavarian Inn which is seen on billboards clear through the state. It's not a bad restaurant but I don't think it's the best. On Mother's Day we took Mom to the Black Forest Brew Haus and Grill and the food was excellent, to put it mildly; it was a buffet that was limited in content but not so limited in quality as traditional German and American food were served side by side, cooked to perfection. A couple of weeks ago we ate at Zehnder's which is probably the second best known and is quite famous for its chicken dinners prepared a multitude of ways, though since someone else was insisting on buying, I went a bit conservative with my choice.

The Bavarian Inn is also noted for its Glockenspiel which is a clockwork that tells the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin through slowly moving statues. It's interesting, but it seems to need a bit of repair work, as one of it's tracks didn't run.

There are also museums, craftsmen with old style shops (though my old favorite, a wood carver, has been closed.) You can watch cheese and chocolate makers at work (though their craft takes a while so you won't see the product from start to finish) and this stuff is made the old fashioned way.

Oh, and if you like beer, Frankenmuth has several a couple of festivals for that as well.

It is admittedly commercial and mostly stores, but it is an interesting place to visit, see and eat if you just happen to be in that neck of the woods.

5 Comments:

Blogger Gayle said...

Michigan is one of the few states I've never been in,Shoprat, but if I ever do go there that sounds interesting. More importantly, I'm glad you took your Mother out for Mother's Day. Good on you! :)

8:05 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Willie Bronner just passed any this year. He was a real Christian! I was surprized that you did not mention one of his final achievements:the Silent Night Church. This is an exact replica of the tiny church in Austria where "Stille Nacht" was first performed in the mid 19th century. It is on the property of the store off to one side. I am always overcome with emotion whenever I enter it. Gayle, if you ever come to Michigan, you must go to this place. Yes, there is some crass commercialism, but you will feel like a cjild again two days before Christmas! It truly is magical. They have captured the Christmas spirit year round. Bronner's CHRISTmas wonderland.
Although our politics differ, we are of one accord on this.

As far as places to eat there, if you like really good German food, I'm going with Zehnder's.

12:42 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Tim I have not yet visited the chapel but intend to.

Gayle It is interesting.

5:39 PM  
Blogger benning said...

Sounds like a fun place to visit. Breweries? Eateries? All the things that I like! LOL

4:42 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

It sounds perfectly charming. We have a Bavarian village in northeast Oregon but I haven't been there yet.

9:03 PM  

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