Yesterday was my dad's birthday and we had plans to take him to dinner in Frankenmuth, Michigan (http://www.frankenmuth.org/). I believe they call it "Michigan's Little Bavaria". There are German restaurants, shops, baked goods, meats, tons of gift shops and a Christmas store called Bronner's which I think claims to be the world's largest. In Frankenmuth, it is Christmas all year round -- the decorations are always out even in the summer.
The weather Saturday was beautiful and perfect for our little trip. Frankenmuth is about an hour drive from our house, just north on I-75 and, as a bonus, there is a huge outlet mall (Birch Run) off the same exit.
When we arrived the Glockenspiel at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and hotel was playing it's music and telling a story. We then headed for an early dinner and although there was a small wait, it went pretty fast. This place serves thousands of dinners every year and is known for their chicken dinners. There is another restaurant directly across the street called Zehnders which serves basically the same dinners, the only real difference is in the "ambiance" and they are both good. I have been to Frankenmuth dozens and dozens of times...it is a tradition around here for a lot of people and it draws people from all over.
For many years, we stayed at Zehnders Splash Village hotel where they have a cute waterpark in the hotel that my kids used to love. Now, my kids have outgrown that waterpark and we have graduated to Kalahari (in Ohio). However, I do recommend Splash Village, particularly for the 8 and under crowd.
We had a great dinner and left "stuffed", which also seems to be a tradition...ugh! We then went downstairs from the restaurant and browsed the many gifts shops, toy store, wine shop, baked goods, etc.... By the time we left, the crowds were really picking up for the restaurant so we went outside, pet the horses (there are horse drawn carriages all around) , caught the 6 pm Glockenspiel Clock and opted to head home around dusk which is a great time to drive through the town and see the Christmas lights.
Although it is always tempting to stop at Birch Run and the outlets malls, we had a nice day and it was getting late. Plus, I much prefer to outlet shop without my husband (he hates to shop -- except Costco). This was a relatively quick trip for my dad's birthday. We did not take in all of the shops or the Bronner's Christmas store as we have all been there numerous times and still may end up visiting again sometime soon. I took several more pictures of the kids, but they may end up on our Christmas card....so I'm not sharing right now! Oh, the suspense!?
We had a great day with Grandpa -- we all love him (the kids (and me) think he's hilarious) and we wish he wasn't moving an hour away soon!
Happy Birthday Dad!!!!
Bavarian Inn Restaurant
Inside Bavarian Inn Restaurant
Megan, My Dad, Jacob (ugh!)
An Upside Down Christmas Tree
Jacob (tired of pictures)
My Dad and Kristin
Zehnders Restaurant (across the street)
Silent Night Memorial Chapel