This past weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Saginaw, Michigan for a wedding video shoot. While on the job, I became friends with two of the wedding photographers. Asking them what I should see before I went home, they insisted on me seeing the small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. They told me it was a town like something out of Europe, making you feel as if you left America upon entering it. I decided to take their advice and check it out.
Instantly feeling lost after exiting the highway, I continued to drive through the countryside until the town magically appeared as I drove on its main street. The street, lined with stores and restaurants, was busy with people walking all around. Further up the road, I passed the well known brewery there and the wooden bridge that led to the River Place Shops. Intrigued by the commotion and the Bavarian-styled buildings, I parked my car, excited to experience the essence of Frankenmuth.
The River Place Shops
Walking into the shops, German folk music filled the air with bright colored buildings, flowers, and decorations all around to see. The River Place Shops are filled with over 40 shops and attractions that each have their own unique theme such as a mirror maze, an enchanted forest fantasy land and a Paris-styled creperie. There is something there that would appeal to every personality and taste.
While enjoying the shops at River Walk, I met up with one of the photographers named Lori and her friend Rosie. Natives to the town, they decided to show me everything worth while in the town, including the biggest Christmas Store I have ever seen, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
Started in 1945, the massive building holds more than 50,000 Christmas decorations and gifts. It has been noted as a tourist destination, attracting more than 2 million people a year from all over the world. It was fitting on this particular day, May 14th, to travel to this wonderland as the cold temperatures and snowy weather swirled around me. Greeted by friendly employees as I walked in, I was amazed at the size of the store and the Christmas attractions all around it. Be sure to grab a map, because you could get lost without one! Strolling through the store, Christmas carols play and bright lights shine. There are 16 sections with their own specific category of decorations such as occupations, animals and pets, and around the world. You can definitely find anything and everything you ever wanted for Christmas at this store.
Our next stop led us to the restaurant, Tiffany’s. This restaurant had a hometown feeling different from other aspects of the town. We decided to order their famous and original Pasta Pizza, and yes I did just say Pasta Pizza. We ordered two kinds, the tortellini pizza and the chicken marsala pizza and boy did they not disappoint. The tortellini pizza was flavorful with different cheeses, Italian seasoning, and homemade marinara sauce. The chicken marsala was as equally delicious, covered with spaghetti noodles in a wine and mushroom sauce. A must try, upon visiting!
The Harvest Coffee House
The perfect way to end my visit was getting a delicious latte from The Harvest Coffee House. The menu was exciting with a wide variety of unique drinks and flavored shots. I ordered the cookie dough latte with a hint of cinnamon. It tasted like a warm snickerdoodle cookie with a glass of milk.
Frankenmuth is a small, intriguing and inviting town that stays true to the German culture. It is a must see if ever traveling by, with its wide variety of things to do for every age and personality. A true gem, near the thumb of Michigan’s mitten.
Hannah Marie Tree