Shopping and Fudge and Wine... OH MY!

Frankenmuth Travel Blog

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The Bavarian Inn - try the family style chicken dinner.

We arrived in Frankenmuth and went straight for our hotel.  We stayed at the brand new (opened May 31st) Marv Herzog hotel.  This place had only 38 rooms.  We had a private balcony overlooking the Cass River, were only steps from downtown, free snacks and drinks in the evening (yes, beer and wine included • 2 per person were free), an AWESOME hot breakfast, a large room with 2 queen-sized beds (down blankets).  Needless to say, it was a GREAT hotel.  I’ll stay there again.  For you wondering “And how much did she pay for THAT?”  Ready, with my AAA discount, only $140 after taxes.  I know, pretty affordable considering the awesome accommodations.

First item of business was to walk uptown and shop at the neat little stores.

Downtown clock
  We found out that Frankenmuth is in the running for the most beautiful town in the USA, and it’s easy to see why.  It was simply gorgeous.  It really looks like you’ve stepped back in time.  The buildings are all Austria-inspired.  The flowers are breathtaking.  Everything is extremely well kept and just, magical.  We wandered in and out of homemade fudge shops, general stores, gift stores, and other novelities.  There are horse-drawn carriages giving rides throughout town.

River Place seems to be the place to shop.  There are your typical chain stores like Yankee Candle, there are unique stores like a pet store that sells all things pets (We bought a sign to hang in the kitchen that says “We got rid of the kids • the cats were allergic”), day spas, and your typical tourist trap t-shirt shop.

Visitor center at dusk
  It’s a beautiful place to just walk around.  There’s a laser light sown every night at 10 p.m.  The bead store sucked me in and I’ve already created necklaces from the beads I bought (which can be seen on my MySpace page • www.myspace.com/PhinsAndGills).

Across from River Place is the winery Chateau Leelanau.  For $3 you get one of their wine glasses and 4 tastings of wine.  We walked out of there with 7 bottles.  It’s Michigan wine and very good.

We carried the wine back to the hotel and relaxed.  We enjoyed our free drinks (more wine for me) and listened to the live music on the patio and overlooked the river.

The Bavarian inn
  It was a beautiful and relaxing late afternoon.

Time to eat!  Eating is very important in Frankenmuth and I highly recommend eating at either Zender’s or the Bavarian Inn.  They are across from each other and the center of downtown.  Get the family style chicken dinner.  For $19, you get (all homemade and German-style and unlimited): Chicken noodles, cranberry sauce, potato salad, different types of bread, ice cream, seasonal vegetable, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatos, bean salad, an entire plate of breaded chicken (which was moist and VERY yummy • and I’m chicken-picky), and a few more sides I know I’m forgetting.  If you leave hungry, it’s all your own fault.  They gave us little cakes for our many celebrations, too (we were celebrating 3 birthdays, a graduation, and an anniversary).  If I had to pick between the two restaurants, I’d pick the Bavarian Inn for the atmosphere.

River Place shopping center
  The food is equally good in both locations.

The next morning, we went back uptown a bit because it’s so pretty.  We had to go to a gas station and buy a cooler and ice for our leftovers from the night before!  Mom and Dad went to this really cool clock store while I stocked up on more beads.  Then it’s out to the World of all things Christmas.

Broner’s brags to be the world’s largest Christmas store, and I’ll believe it!  This place looks like Christmas exploded in one location.  The neatest part of the store is just outside the building.  There’s a dedication to the song “Silent Night”.  They’ve built a replica of the chapel in Austria where Gruber wrote the song on Christmas Eve.

BEAUTIFUL hanging baskets all over town
  My favorite part of the chapel are the signs surrounding the building.  They have the first verse (all 3 verses in Spanish, German, French and English) of Silent Night in hundreds of languages.  (I’ve included a picture of the languages they don’t have • if you can help them out, please do • I know it’s hard to see them, it was a small sign).  The chapel is really very beautiful.  It seems almost sacred.  They have the song playing softly both in and outside of the building.  No matter what time of year, it really sends chills down your spine.  Silent Night is (like so many other Christians) one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I always enjoy going to this chapel.

Time to shop.  Lo and Behold, Santa was shopping that day as well.  My favorite part of the store is the room where the founder of the store has his extensive nativity collection from all over the world.

Carriage
  They also have a nativity city set up where they sell the pieces.  I would love to have the money and room to set this up.  The one I took a few pictures of is not just Jesus’ birth, but all the major events in his life such as Palm Sunday, a few miracles, Easter, and his time in the temple.

Dan and I have the Dept. 56 Dickens’s Village and we purchased a building (Scrooge’s house) and accessories.  Mom and Dad bought some decorations as well.  We had some ornaments personalized (free of charge with purchase of the ornament) for gifts as well.  It’s really different to be walking through Christmas World in the middle of July.  We spent a few hours at the store.

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The Bavarian Inn - try the family …
The Bavarian Inn - try the family…
Downtown clock
Downtown clock
Visitor center at dusk
Visitor center at dusk
The Bavarian inn
The Bavarian inn
River Place shopping center
River Place shopping center
BEAUTIFUL hanging baskets all over…
BEAUTIFUL hanging baskets all ove…
Carriage
Carriage
From our balcony
From our balcony
The Bavarian Belle gives tours
The Bavarian Belle gives tours
There goes the tour boat, the Bava…
There goes the tour boat, the Bav…
Teh Bavarian Belle docked at River…
Teh Bavarian Belle docked at Rive…
Not an uncommon sight along the be…
Not an uncommon sight along the b…
The fountain in front of the visit…
The fountain in front of the visi…
Live music on the patio from our b…
Live music on the patio from our …
Outside one of the cheese shops.  …
Outside one of the cheese shops. …
Covered bridge in town
Covered bridge in town
Each room in the hotel is dedicate…
Each room in the hotel is dedicat…
Our hotel at dusk
Our hotel at dusk
The patio from our balcony
The patio from our balcony
River Place shopping area
River Place shopping area
Small replica bridge in the River …
Small replica bridge in the River…
My hanging baskets dont look this…
My hanging baskets don't look thi…
Dan and Dad walking uptown
Dan and Dad walking uptown
Me and the Welcome sign
Me and the Welcome sign
There I am with my second glass of…
There I am with my second glass o…
As seen on Route 23
As seen on Route 23
mill by the river
mill by the river
Move over Hollywood...
Move over Hollywood...
One of the wineries in Frankenmuth
One of the wineries in Frankenmuth
Outside the winery
Outside the winery
St. Julians Winery old wine truck
St. Julian's Winery old wine truck
Zenders
Zender's
One of the wineries in Frankenmuth
One of the wineries in Frankenmuth
This was over the driveway leaving…
This was over the driveway leavin…
Dan and I with the Belle on the Ca…
Dan and I with the Belle on the C…
Us outside River Place shopping ce…
Us outside River Place shopping c…
Us and the welcome sign
Us and the welcome sign
Beautiful visitor center
Beautiful visitor center
Waiting for a customer
Waiting for a customer
Frankenmuth Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
The number one choice of most visitors remains the "all-you-can-eat" Chicken Dinners which consist of homemade breads, butter and freshly prepared pre… read entire review
Frankenmuth
photo by: FishAtHeart