Michigan's Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth was founded in 1845 by fifteen German-Lutheran missionaries who came to this area to teach Christianity to the Chippewa Indians. Today tourism and farming are the main economic income producers. The town draws over three million tourist annually.
People visit Frankenmuth to enjoy the great German food, architecture, festivals, shopping and the welcoming town. The calendar for 2016 lists 24 festivals. There are so many free things to do including "Go Gnome Hunting", take a walk across the historic bridge or visit the Silent Night Chapel at Bronner's. Just strolling along the main street of Frankenmuth is a pleasant experience.
We had lunch at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. It was founded as the Union House Hotel in 1888 and renamed Fischer’s Hotel. In 1950 the Zehnder family purchased it and toward the end of the 50's expanded the building. That expansion had an authentic Bavarian exterior with stucco walls, woodcarvings, flower boxes and other German accents. The new German entrees were served by "Bavarian" costumed servers. We were very pleasantly served wonderful German meals by wait staff carrying on that same tradition. The restaurant has 12 dining rooms and can serve 1,200 people. After our meal we wondered through the hotel shops and then along Frankenmuth's sidewalk, filled with a variety of shops.
We HAD to shop at Bronner's billed as the "World's Largest Christmas Store". Bronner's Christmas Wonderland shop is a huge draw for the town. It opened in 1945 and today over 27 acres of beautifully landscaped ground surround the huge store. Bronner's building is 320,000 sq. ft. (approx. 5.5 football fields of space), with the salesroom with 96,000 sq. ft (1.7 football fields of space). While shopping, we took a few breaks finding benches nicely placed throughout the sales floor.
Bronner's giant outdoor Santa towers 17 feet.
Coming up next Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan.