Michigan Road Trip, Part 1 (Frankenmuth, Michigan)

We had an uneventful ride to Frankenmuth except for the last hour.  Torrential downpour.  Thank goodness for rain gear.  I ride a Suzuki Boulevard which doesn’t give as much protection from the elements as Al gets from his Honda Goldwing.  Even though I had rain pants on over my jeans, my jeans were soaked to the knees from the road spray.

We arrived at our hotel after the downpour so were able to unload the bikes and trailer with ease.  Hotel room was ready so a quick stop to change clothes, have a beverage and we were out walking around town within an hour or so.

Frankenmuth bills itself as Michigan’s Little Bavaria.  Tourism seems to be the cornerstone of the town of about 5,000 people.

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Frankenmuth Brewery

Downtown Frankenmuth is a picturesque place.  It’s  right on the Cass River and has some nice viewing points.  The shops are mostly geared to tourists — a couple cheese and meat stores, lots of souvenir shops, a few clothing stores, several places to buy fudge and lots of restaurants.  We wandered around the downtown for awhile and ended up at the Frankenmuth Brewery for our dinner.

The Brewery is a very popular spot so we weren’t surprised when they said it would be 30 to 45 minutes for a table.  We opted to eat at one of the high top tables in the bar rather than wait for a regular table.  We hadn’t been seated very long before the manager came over to check on us.  He was concerned that we hadn’t been served yet so went off to find our server; he came back a few minutes later with our server and a complimentary flight of beer samples.  They have a very nice selection of beers and Al was able to find a couple that he liked.  We had a nice dinner of appetizers and called it an early night.

I haven’t been to the US shopping for a while so we headed into Saginaw for the morning and then to Birchrun outlet mall.  Back to Frankenmuth by mid-afternoon.

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FunShip

Our big adventure for the afternoon was a wine and chocolate cruise with FunShips Frankenmuth.  It was a nice little river cruise which lasted about an hour.  There were only 9 people on the cruise so it was very personalized.  Cruise included samples of 5 different wines with 5 different chocolates and a full glass of whichever of the 5 that you wanted.  Wines were all good; chocolates were even better.  Back at their shop, we were able to sample 2 more wines.  By that time, Al had switched to beer so more samples for me.

We had asked the staff on the cruise which chicken dinner place was the best.  Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn are both know for their home style chicken dinners.  Turns out that both are owned by the same family.  Although the accompaniments and atmosphere might differ, the chicken is supposed exactly the same.  Since we had been to Zehnder’s on a previous trip, this time we opted for the Bavarian Inn.  Lots of good hearty food — chicken, bread, soup, coleslaw, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles and home made ice cream.

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Bavarian Belle

I’d be remiss not to mention Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland even though we didn’t visit it this trip.  For anyone interested in Christmas decorating, this is the store to go to.

Another very popular attraction in Frankenmuth is the Bavarian Belle Riverboat.

All in all, I’d say our stop in Frankenmuth was a great way to start our trip in Michigan.

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