I've always enjoyed Northern Michigan but never stopped in Frankenmuth, despite having heard great things about their festivals. I'm planning on making the drive to 80's fest with my wife, Sophia, in April if weather permits. However, it may be too young of a crowd, so I've been thinking about waiting until Summerfest.
While visiting YouTube to see if they had any coverage of their events I came across an enjoyable video of two young men who broke down in Frankenmuth. I'm going to tell my grandson about it, because it looks like he would have a lot of fun.
Here is the video:
I'm not too good with computers so I hoped this works and the information I found helps.
I won't name any companies, because I personally have never used this service, but I can say plenty of people do and it seems like a romantic and casual way to tour the village. There are many companies lining up and down Main Street, so there should be no problem in booking one. I would imagine this would be a beautiful experience during the holidays.
OK, OK, I know this is Michigan and not Europe. But this village is still pretty awesome, with wonderful european style shops selling fudge, arts and crafts, and every other touristy item you can image while still trying to maintain a authentic Bavarian village. Cool and walking distance.
Go aboard The Bavarian Belle for an authentic riverboat ride down the Cass River on a paddleboat for a relaxing and scenic way to spend an hour. The price is 9 bucks, which is ok, but kind of pricey, but probably worth it. An enjoyable way to see parts of Frankemuth you can't see by foot with the breezes of the water on your face.
If you need or even want Xmas decorations, then Bronner's is the place to stop. If they do not have it, then it does not exist, with regards to decorations.
Stay away from the "world famous chicken dinners" What makes it famous is the very high price for very low quality dinner. A place 5 miles from my home offers the same thing only ten times better for half the cost. I also found very little in the way of German food. Some is available but it is limited.
The town does have many shops, but is a typical tourist town, offering taffy, fudge, and souvenirs. Although the area had a very festive atmosphere, it lacked the traditional German Bier Garden.
I recommend staying downtown near the Bavarian Inn. That is the central location for most of the attractions. We stayed at the Springhill Suites and were able to walk to just about everywhere from there. But as for Bronner's you may want to take the car, if for nothing else, just to haul all the stuff you will buy.
The Chees haus is a relatively expansive country style cheesery. They don't make all or even most of their cheeses but they do feature a local style of colby called Pinconning. It isn't very good, has kind of a plastic texture and very little flavor, but it is truly local. The same can't be said for every cheese they stock. Some are really very good! I bought a horseradish swiss cheese that I found appealing but there are lots of others. they also have a good selection of beers and wines, including many dfancy bottles from Eastern Europe. Living in Chicago these were no big deal, but to someone who hasn't been exposed it might be worth the extra money (although cheap in Chicago, not here) to try them. Of course, like every place on Main St., they sell souveniers and funny t-shirts as well.
If you have an interest in the history of Frankenmuth, there's the Frankenmuth Historical Museum located right in the heart of Frankenmuth. Although we popped inside the gift shop, we didn't visit the museum as we had my young niece with us but maybe next time, the admission fee is only $2.
We didn't think we were going to be able to see the Glockenspiel but our lunch took a little longer than we expected and we were there at around 3 pm so we wandered across the street from Zehnder's to see it.
The Glockenspiel tells the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, a rather creepy story about a ratcatcher who strikes a bargain with the villagers of Hamlin to take away the rats in exchange for a fee. He lures them away with his pipe, the rats drown and he asks for his fee. When the villagers renege on their promise he leads all of the children away, except for one blind child and one lame child who go back to the village and tell them what has happened to the children. The children are never seen again.
You can hear the legend of the pied piper at 11 a.m., noon, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. each day at the Bavarian Inn. The Glockenspiel was built in Germany and installed in 1967.
The 239 foot long covered bridge that leads from the parking lot at the Bavarian Inn restaurant across the Cass River to the Bavarian Inn hotel is known as Zehnder's Holz Brucke. It's not as old as you would think, the Zehnder brothers had covered bridge builder Milton Graton build the bridge starting in 1979, it was completed and put in place in 1980.
The Bavarian Inn, incidentally, is run by the Zehnder family who also runs Zehnder's across the street. You could say they have a monopoly on the chicken dinner business in Frankenmuth.
The carriage ride was fairly expensive for what you got, I believe it was Fifty dollars for a half hour, non scenic drive up the streets. I probably wouldn't do it again unless you had more than two people to make it less expensive per person.
This is a delightful German-style town in the middle of Michigan. It has some fine shops, restaurants, and quiet streets. Like Holland, it's not quite the real thing, but close enough if you don't want to fly all the way to Europe. And be sure to try to local beer--the absolute best in the Midwest.
Bronner's is the world's largerst Christmas store. It's truly a sight to behold.
We visited with our 7 and 10 year old children who were completely enchanted by the store. (My husband didn't think it was all that exciting but it is shopping after all.)
Be sure to bring your camera because outside there are an incredible amount of lifesize (and bigger) Christmas displays. You could take a fantastic photo for your Christmas cards!!
The store is so huge, you are given a map when you enter. There is even a (small) cafeteria inside. As we perused, I kept telling myself that we would only look "around one more corner" but the store just seemed to keep on going, and going, and going....
There is a super cute section called Santa's workshop where kids can pick up a phone and get a message from Santa, too!! Great fun!!
Bronners, the Christmas store, is always our first stop. Fun to shop, but it's a good idea to eat first, as the little cafe inside is expensive.
Downtown. Enjoy a long walk and the wonderful shops on the "strip" as we call it. Notable places are the Cheese Hause, the Chocolate Shope, Wollen Mill, and of course the wonderful resturants, Bavarian Inn, and Zenders.
Riverwalk Shopping. Lots neat stores, and a nice layout. A bit over priced, but the coffee shop is not to be missed.
The joy of Christ's birth is celebrated all year at Bronner's - whose motto is: "Enjoy CHRISTmas, It's HIS birthday; Enjoy Life, It's HIS way."
Bronner's was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner. Open 361 days of the year, Bronner's features over 50,000 trims and gifts from around the world. Thousands of twinkling lights, shimmering ornaments and sparkling Christmas trees create this spectacular Christmas wonderland, which is the size of 5.5 football fields. Bronner's features a fantastic selection of ornaments, trees, lights, Nativities and collectibles.
Bronner's replica of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel is open for viewing during store hours. Year-round each evening, Bronner's half-mile Christmas Lane is aglow with over 100,000 twinkling lights and hundreds of decorations. It's a Christmas wonderland all year long. Over two million people, including 2,000 group tours, visit Bronner's attraction annually.
Its so hard to tell you whats it like. Its great! The artist lives in Colorado Springs, Co and he the other magical town is in CS, Co. and its bigger then this one but its still a great place to spend some time there.