Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria. This is a magical place and it is like being transported to a Bavarian Village in Germany. It is quaint in its simplicity but there is nothing out dated or antiquated here. The main street is where all of the action is. Great shopping is around every corner and you won’t be disappointed with your finds. You will see everything from the basic touristy stuff like t-shirts and coffee mugs to beautiful, hand-made items such as Bavarian style clocks, artisanal jewelry and more. I got lost in these shops admiring the beauty of Michigan made products. I think our favorite stops were the hand-made candy stores where you can watch the mouth-watering treats being made. The kids in our group were mesmerized by the gentlemen hand-pulling salt water taffy and as their eyes grew bigger I knew we were not leaving without a bag or two of the chewy confections.
Frankenmuth is not short on places to feed your appetite and we set out to try as many as possible. You cannot come to Frankenmuth without trying the world-famous Zehnder’s family style chicken dinner. It is a little pricey for most people’s pockets but it is well worth it. You are shown to your table by wait staff dressed in Bavarian attire and your food is brought to your table in platter, trays and bowls for the whole family to pass around the table. The aroma in the restaurant is enough to make your stomach grumble in anticipation. The dinner consists of delicacies such as macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and rolls so light and airy they melt in your mouth. Once the dinner is done and you have had to unbutton a few buttons you will leave with a smile on your face and a full belly.
Just a little walk from Zehnder’s you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride down the main street that reminds you of a picture post card from long ago. Just across the street you can take a paddle boat ride down the river that is about an hour ride and the scenery is breathtaking. How many places can you go that offer a carriage ride and a paddle boat ride? I would say not many!
As we left the paddle boat everyone decided they wanted to browse one of the many cheese shops in town. Let me tell you these places are dangerous because I did not see anything that I didn’t want to buy. You will find cheeses, meats, butters and more in these shops. We left the shop with 4 different types of cheese spreads including one that quickly became by favorite, the jalapeno cheddar cheese spread. We also bought a box of crackers which was probably a mistake since we nonchalantly opened them both and ate them as we walked. Before we knew it both were gone and we were sad. The upside was it wasn’t long until we came upon another cheese shop and quickly replenished our supply, yay us!
Along our walk we saw a beautiful fountain that was just perfect for photo opportunities and many visitors took advantage of this perfect spot to take pictures that will become treasured memories. There are wooden cutouts in various locations throughout the town that the kids, okay even us adults, to place their faces and be photographed as any number of characters. During various holidays these cutouts are replaced by elves, witches and such and the kids just love them. We walked a little further and found a sign for the Frankenmuth Brewery Restaurant. Now none of us are very big beer drinkers but from all of the other visitors we met along the way, we knew the food was amazing so we just had to try it. The menu is about the same as any other bar and grill with appetizers, entrees, salads and more but I have never seen a bar and grill where you get to take a tour of the brewery and see how they make the beer. The tour is more for the adults and kids soon get antsy but if you are without kids, you will love this tour. The building itself is something to see. The staff is very knowledgable and helpful and the service was amazing! The food is really good but not much difference in the fare of other restaurants like it. Well worth the money and the stop. I suggest the pizza, it was delish!! Make sure you head to their website before you go and download their coupons! Make sure you head over to Frankenmuth’s website to get your visitors guide and checkout lodging options, dining and more.
By this time everyone was getting tired and we decided to head back to the hotel. The kids were anxious to get to the amazing water park inside the hotel, Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Water park. This amazing water wonderland includes a retractable roof and a whole lot of water filled fun. The kids ran, splashed and laughed for hours and I have to say I have never seen another water park like it. The hotel was equally wonderful with comfortable, well-kept rooms, comfortable beds and room to move around. The hotel is adjacent to Bronners CHRISTmas wonderland where you can buy holiday items 361 days a year. This is an establishment that is owned by a Christian family and you can see their faith in everything they do. Make sure you get a personalized ornament before you leave. We have made it a tradition.
Frankenmuth is a place where you can splash in a water park, browse shops and museums, take lazy rides down the river or just about anything you can think of but at a much slower pace. It is definitely a place that I think everyone should experience at least once. For my family it is a place we love to go as often as we can and a place the hubby and I like to sneak off to for a quiet, romantic weekend getaway. I promise you won’t be disappointed.