Most Michiganders have been taken, willingly or unwillingly, to Frankenmuth at least once in their life. It is known as "Michigan's Little Bavaria" and boasts a German heritage, chicken dinners and a lot of souvenirs. It also features the Cheese Haus and Bronners, the worlds largest CHRISTmas store. (they really put an emphasis on the CHRIST!)
Mick and I are probably not going to be able to take a real vacation in the next 4 years, which is an easy trade-off for what Mick is going to accomplish. (Go Mick Go!) However, we have been feeling a little cramped and thought that a night away might be just the thing. So, the first weekend in August, we decided to go! At first we wanted to go to one of our favorite vacation spots: Niagara on the Lake. Unfortunately, our passports, birth certs, etc. are in the POD, which made Canada a no-no. I had just been up-North for the WAM so we decided to look for alternatives to that idea. Introducing Mick to the cheesiness that is Frankenmuth was just too tempting. To build the excitement, I began to speak in a German accent to Mick. "Ve go to ze Frankenmoot ya?"
The first challenge was determining where to stay for the night. We settled on the traditional Bavarian Inn. This lovely establishment is where you would typically stay if you had a car full of kids and wanted to occupy them for a weekend. It has 5 pools, an arcade and a putt-putt course. We wanted to stay there because if you are going to do Frankenmuth, you should probably do it right. My favorite part of the inn were 3 special television channnels featuring a Terry Bradshaw special about the Inn, a German music program that was filmed there, and a cheese-making channel.This is the outside of the inn:
Every room at the inn is dedicated to a local family that lives in Frankenmuth. Below, we see what is clearly a recent photo of the Claremunt family. See Wendy there with the large blond hair? She is the pride of the family as she was in the Frankenmuth beauty queen court in the 80's!
There are several kitchsy little shops and tourist traps in Frankenmuth, but we fell in love with this one in particular. Unfortunately it was closed by the time we found it. While I may be fawning over the fact that it has 50 kinds of cheese, this establishments real claim to fame is that it hosts Michigan's Largest Meat Display. Well, as you can imagine, that got me rather excited!
Now on to the main event: The "World Famous Chicken Dinners!" If you are going to have a chicken dinner, you really have two options: The Bavarian Inn Restaurant, or Zhenders. I have been told to avoid Freeway Fritz by all means. Bavarian Inn and Zhenders are directly across the street from one another and are owned by the same family. Being that we were staying at the Bavarian Inn, we decided to have dinner at Zhenders.
Zhenders atmosphere is a little brighter than BI and strives for an all- American theme. They also had a vegetarian menu which was a bonus for me. I got tortellini Alfredo which was actually quite delicious and Mick got the "family style" chicken dinner for himself. The waitress assured him that he would be receiving all of the sides even though he was the only one eating the chicken dinner. Sides included: Bread and preserves, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, buttered noodles (my favorite), green beans, pickles and dessert. Mick is pictured below with some of his dinner as well as his favorit part of the dinner: His own personal bowl of gravy.
After dinner, you just want to move. We made it as far as across the street where we promptly fell onto a bench just in time to watch the glockenspiel tell the story of the Pied Piper. I suppose that I had forgotten what a sick little story that is! That jerk lured all of the children from a town away with the exception of the blind kid and the "crippled" kid. How un-PC!
The next morning, we were going to head to Bronners, but we found out that Vinnie was in the hospital again. Amy told us that he was sleeping, so we decided that we would stop for breakfast and then drive to see him instead. He hadn't slept all night, so we had time before we should be there. I knew just the place: Tony's
If you are a trucker that has driven through Michigan, or a hunter on your way up North, or merely a fat-ass that enjoys a good side of bacon, then Tony's is for you. (Pardon my use of the term "fat-ass" This is not in my normal vocabulary, but as you will see, the term seems quite appropriate in this instance.) Tony's is also great for the outlet mall shopper that really wants to fuel up before hitting Birch Run Outlets directly across the street.
Tony's is quite literally known for large quantities of food. They do not boast quality, they boast quantity. And it is always packed! I decided to take Mick there, but did not tell him what the restaurant was known for. Little did he know that his side of bacon would consist of over a pound of bacon.
Here we see my half-order of french toast. Yes, that is a half order. 6 slices of Texas toast with homemade strawberry sauce. I must say that it was actually quite good!
I think that the way that we feel about Frankenmuth is really best summed up by this fantastic promotional photo:
As for Vinnie, they discovered that his poor levels and fever were due to the Parvo virus. He is out of the hospital and feeling great. When we showed up at the hospital, Uncle Mickey was the star as Vinnie grabbed him and they played video games for a couple of hours:
p.s. Thanks to Nhung for lending us her camera cord!