Michigan’s Little Barvaria

 

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WILLKOMMEN TO FRANKENMUTH

Founded in 1845 by fifteen immigrants form Franconia, Barvaria. Frankenmuth was intended to be a community exclusively made of Lutheran Germans who wished to retain their culture and language. As the settlement grew, farming replaced the pine forests. Craftsmen and businessmen ensued. Frankenmuth soon became known for its brewery and flour, wool and saw mills. With the development of the nearby interstate, Muth, as the locals affectionately call it, grew into the community it is today.

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Present day Frankenmuth is a charming, picturesque little town, albeit it quite touristy. Here you’ll find covered bridges, flower lined walkways, playful fountains, riverboat cruises, horse drawn carriages and world famous chicken dinners.

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One of the whimsical fountains is that of children dancing around a Maypole.

One of the whimsical fountains is that of children dancing around a Maypole.

The world famous chicken dinners is where I’ll begin. There are two restaurants in the heart of town that serves up those delicious family style chicken dinners, The Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s. Having dined here since childhood, Zehnder’s is our restaurant of choice. The all you can eat family style dinners come complete with all the fixings. The meal begins with homemade noodle soup (they don’t chintz on the noodles) and a variety of appetizers, usually cottage cheese, Zehnder’s own coleslaw and cranberry relish, along with crackers, spreads and freshly baked breads. The main course offers up a veritable feast of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, sage dressing, chicken gravy, buttered noodles and seasonal vegetables. Then, your choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet for dessert.  One really can’t leave here without partaking first.

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ZEHNDER'S OF FRANKENMUTH

ZEHNDER’S OF FRANKENMUTH

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The first chicken dinners to be served in Frankenmuth originated at this location just eleven years after the founding of the town. Originally the building was known as the Exchange Hotel. The name was changed in 1928 when William and Emilie Zehnder purchased the then closed hotel. After extensive remodeling, the present day Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth opened on Mothers Day 1929. And the rest is history.

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Visitors stroll up and down main street, popping in and out of shops offering sausages, cheeses, German beers and wines. There are the usual shops too that one inevitably finds in a tourist town, the candy shops, ice cream shops, tee shirt joints and junk shops. BUT, there is one very unique, very humongous shop that can’t be found anywhere else…….

WILLKOMMEN TO BRONNER’S  CHRISTmas WONDERLAND where it’s Christmas 365 days a year.

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One of several window displays.

One of several window displays.

Bronner’s bills itself as the world’s largest Christmas store and it very well may be. The store’s building is over seven acres in size, filled with everything imaginable for Christmas. Animated figurines, trees, lights, ornaments, nativities, Christmas towns and so much more.  The sprawling store is situated on twenty seven  beautifully landscaped acres. They too have bigger than life displays. Several nativities, Santa sleighs, snowmen and everything one can possibly imagine. In the evening Bronner’s half mile long Christmas Lane is illuminated with over 100,000 lights.

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Aisles and aisles of Christmas tree ornaments.

Aisles and aisles of Christmas tree ornaments.

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A multitude of nativities to choose from, this is but a small selection.

A multitude of nativities to choose from, this is but a small selection.

Likewise, the selection of Christmas towns available can be overwhelming.

Likewise, the selection of Christmas towns available can be overwhelming.

There are themed trees galore. This was Don's favorite. Can you guess why?

There are themed trees galore. This was Don’s favorite. Can you guess why?

Founded in 1945, Bronner’s attracts over two million visitors annually. It is a must see for anyone planning a visit to Frankenmuth. It’s guaranteed to bring out the child in everyone, even Scrooge.

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This year's Christmas Parade float.

This year’s Christmas Parade float.

HERE’S LOOKIN’ AT YOU KID………….

With Austria's permission, Bronner's built a replica of the Oberndorf, Austria, Silent Night Memorial Chapel, a tribute to the Christmas hymn, Silent Night.

With Austria’s permission, Bronner’s built a replica of the Oberndorf, Austria, Silent Night Memorial Chapel, a tribute to the Christmas hymn, Silent Night.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Michigan’s Little Barvaria

  1. I do love the fountains! And the description of the chicken dinner with all the fixings made me hungry! I sure hope we make it to Michigan one day…

    • I hope so too Gay. Don and I were born and raised in MI so we may be a little bit biased but we think it’s scenic beauty can rival that of any other state.

  2. We may be in MI next summer so I’ve made a note about this cute town. Thanks for sharing. Looks fun and quaint 🙂

    • Ingrid if you like lighthouses, clean sandy beaches, peaceful walks through pine & white birch forests, waterfalls & majestic bridges, then Michigan is the place to be.

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