We hit the road and headed to Michigan’s Little Bavaria, the town of Frankenmuth, located between Saginaw and Flint. Our drive north on Highway 75 was filled with breathtaking autumn foliage as only Michigan can present in October. Amazingly, this part of the state has yet to hit peak colors.
My one quarter German ancestory blood started dancing a little polka as we closed in on our destination. I briefly researched Frankenmuth the night before our adventure but found when we arrived that there really wasn’t any part of this town that would be a waste of our time. Our planned few hour visit was hardly enough to enjoy all the shops and sights.
Frankenmuth was settled in 1845 by 15 Germans, led by a Lutheran minister. The small band of settlers came to the area from Neuendettelsau, Germany, for the purpose of evangelizing to the Native Americans. They purchased 680 acres of Indian Reservation land from the federal government for $1,700.00.
The name is a combination of two words. ” Franken” represents the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, home of the Franks, where the original settlers were from. The German word “Mut” means courage; thus, the name Frankenmuth means “courage of the Franconians.”
I found that the pictures that I took just didn’t do this town justice. Here are a sampling – you be the judge…
We decided early on that our must do’s included visiting a shop with mass quantities of cheese and sausage, one with authentic German cuckoo clocks, and finally, enjoy one of the world famous chicken dinners at Zehnders. We accomplished all three, plus threw in several gift shops and a fabulous bakery.
Here are a few fun facts about Zehnders: Their neon sign in front is believed to be one of the longest continually used neon signs in existence. The restaurant has been around for 150 years, serving over 30,000,000 guests from around the world.
The beautiful Cass River meanders through town beckoning visitors to hop on one of the river boats for an informative tour.
As a horse lover straight down to my paddock boots, I’m not a big fan of horse drawn carriages. However, the draft horses pulling the ones in town appeared well taken care of and in very good physical shape.
We are beat and our stomachs are full. Another great road trip on a beautiful fall day in Michigan – high of 55 degrees! We’ll be back – we still have to visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, touting itself as the world’s largest Christmas store, the zip line park (yes, I said that), a few museums and dozens of stores that we didn’t have time to browse through. Oh, and most certainly devour another chicken dinner.
Gotta go. Bought some super comfortable slippers at the Frankenmuth General Store, and I’m going to wear these babies ’til there’s nothing left or until Chloe gets ahold of them …
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