After a three-day work week filled with teaching and parent/teacher conferences, Minnesota teachers had a four day weekend. Since we had not taken any sort of vacation during the summer, HubBub and I decided to take a mini-vacay. I placed my request that we visit Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is a town that was settled by 15 German immigrants who wanted to bring their religion to this country. Frankenmuth is called the Little Bavaria of Michigan. The entire town is decorated like a giant cuckoo clock, and as sweet as Bavarian creme frosting.
To get to Frankenmuth, we needed to drive across northern Wisconsin, then across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The weather turned craptastic on us, and we drove through chunky rain and mixed snow. We were going to make my first trip across the famous Mackinac Bridge. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the third longest in the world. It is just under five miles long and crosses the Straits of Michigan of Lake Michigan.
This was my first glimpse of the bridge. You can see the two suspension towers behind the trees on the left side of the picture.
The Mackinac is a toll bridge. This is how much it cost us to go across.
It was a bit tricky to get a good picture with freezing rain and the wipers going, but I managed to get a decent shot as we started under the first upright. You can see the second upright through the arch. I read that the bridge is designed to withstand high winds. The center of the bridge is capable of moving left and right 35 feet if needed due to high wind.
This is the view of Lake Michigan taken from the bridge. I was looking west and the sun was setting.
When we got to Frankenmuth, the first place we visited was Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store. It is the size of 1 1/2 football fields. It was really fun shopping there. The store is fantastic, with animated vignettes over all the displays.
This big polar bear was one of three in the first vignette we came to. Intricate animated scenes worthy of rivaling anything at Disney were in every corner and on every wall of the huge store. It was amazing!
Although the main theme of Bronner's is Christmas, they had other seasonal and home decor items. I thought this little guy was kind of cute. I thought my kids could do some fun stuff with Chef DiLightful, however I left him at the store.
This is how the Bavarian Inn looked as we were approaching. The clock tower is really interesting.
The four rows of bells chime on every quarter hour, and play a series of complete songs on the hour. After the songs are done, there is a recorded story that plays and figures come out of those black doors and rotate across the front of the clock. It is like the figures that pass across the fronts of some cuckoo clocks.
If you look closely, you can see the little figures here. They are the little children who were following the Pied Piper of Hamline. I thought it was pretty cool that this was the story we heard, since the kids went to Hamline University.
This sign talks about the history of the Bavarian Inn and its All You Can Eat chicken dinners.
This is a Bavarian Inn chicken lunch. A quarter of a chicken breast, a leg, coleslaw, and potato cakes. The potato cakes were mashed potatoes, mixed with cheese and parsley, and deep fried like tater tots. You can see my iced tea in the upper part of the picture. It was delicious!
This was Bob's Wonderbar ham and cheese sandwich which was served on pretzel bread with honey mustard.
Bob had one of their root beers in a frosted mug.
We were serenaded by a strolling accordion player as we looked over this carved sign in the restaurant lobby.
You could tell it was a gorgeous day through the dining room skylight. The chandeliers were lovely, as was the decorative painting.
The window box outside our table provided a view of red geraniums blooming, the fall leaves that were still on the trees,
many truckloads of sugar beets which were being harvested,
and the chicken dinner restaurant across the street.
The windows were quaint,
and soldiers stood guard at every door.
In the shops, you could get yourself a new pair of lederhosen,
or a fancy dress.
Next to the Bavarian Inn, was a covered bridge. It is used by cars and
horse drawn buggies.
We parked behind a very cute Leather and Handbag shop, which had many traditional details.
From the spire on the roof,
to the balconies at the windows,
and the murals on the walls; not a square inch was left undecorated.
I'll leave you at the little Leather Shop for this evening. I'll continue our tour of Frankenmuth tomorrow. Stop back in and see what's in store on our mini-vacay!
Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!