Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vacation in Frankenmuth

Bavarian Inn waitress in traditional Dirndl uniform

Willkommen, Hamiltons in the Haus! I enjoyed a mini-vacation in the lovely town of Frankenmuth in the American state of Michigan (MI). Known as "Little Bavaria" and located 5 hours from Toronto (west on 401 & 402, north on I75) this U.S. town is constructed in the style of the German State of Bavaria.

German immigrants from Franconia settled Frankenmuth in 1845 along the banks of the Cass River and the atmosphere and attractions make a great tourist destination. Even with the cool and wet weather we had a great stay and I can recommend a visit to Frankenmuth. I kept looking for the Bavarian Beer Garden waitress and I was happy to finally find someone at the Bavarian Inn who was happy to pose for me (picture at top). Who needs Oktoberfest when you have beer and girls in dirndl year round.
Wooden covered bridge over the Cass River. The dock for the Bavarian Belle is under water, below.
The spring rains and swollen river interfered with boat rides (including the Bavarian Belle) that we wanted to experience so we did a lot of other indoor activities such as shopping along the main drag and in River Place or at the nearby Birch Run Premium Outlet Stores. and enjoying plenty of beer. Highlights were the Bavarian Inn, the covered bridge, the Frankenmuth Brewery and the Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. The Christmas Wonderland was a little overwhelming with so many shiny Xmas decorations, nativity scenes, festive lights and all other things Christmas like.
Our temporary home was the Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel which was on a slight hill on main street in the heart of downtown. The place was fantastic and the stay included a self serve breakfast which featured some yummy waffles that you cooked yourself. Shopping and restaurants were within easy walking distance so you can enjoy all that beer and wine,  without having to worry about driving. One thing I appreciated was that this town had very reasonable prices and parking was plentiful and at no cost. Samples were free or inexpensive and the people were very friendly and there were lots of free wifi hot spots.
We had to buy coats to survive the recent wet spell, drop in temperature and high winds. This time of year was a little ahead of the main tourist rush which probably starts with the Bark, Bike and Balloon Festival and the Great Lakes Hot Air Balloon Championship May 27th to the 30th, 2011. The fruit trees and potted flowers were in blossom so there was plenty of colour in the town.

See more photos after the jump.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

Bavarian Belle looking towards River Place
The quiet streets wait for the summer tourist season

The Birch Run Outlet stores were a grand grouping of strip mall type buildings as opposed to an inside mall shopping experience. We shopped at tons of places like Nike, Yankee Candle, Eddie Bauer and a half dozen shoe stores. This place is especially good in the rain. I also liked Birch Run because of the oil rigs spread around the area. There was one right near the mall and it had a drum with gas burning, it was interesting seeing one close up.

You could also enjoy a horse carriage ride from Fantasy Carriage Company, take a tour boat or paddle boat with Frankenmuth FunShips. For dining we experienced the famous Zehnders all you can eat chicken dinners (it was fun because they brought the buffet to you), they even had a Tim Hortons near the downtown core.

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1 comment:

llibka said...

Thanks for your visit and for sharing a blog post and pictures! Hope the weather cooperates for your next visit.
Lori Libka
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