Frankenmuth, Michigan is beautiful any time of year (they spend nearly $250,000 a year on flowers alone!) but, visit the quaint Bavarian-inspired town in autumn and you’ll find yourself “falling” for it. Yeah, I couldn’t help myself on that one. From decorations to indoor and outdoor activities, here’s seven Bavarian-inspired ways to “fall” for Frankenmuth- Michigan’s Little Bavaria.
Roll on a River
Put me on a boat and I’m a happy gal. Put me on a boat when there’s wine and chocolate to sample and I’m vying for first seat! Frankenmuth FunShips Tasting & Tours was just what I needed to relax and tastes some locally made wine and chocolate. A one-hour tour filled with five wine/chocolate pairings (plus a full glass of your favorite at the end!), gorgeous scenery while cruising down the Cass River, and a knowledgeable tour guide (thanks for the flower stat!) is a fun way to sample local flavors and slide in some Frankenmuth history. The price is decent ($25 per person) and the experience memorable.
Warm Up with Wine Tasting
St. Julian Winery is the super star of Frankenmuth when it comes to its local wineries and its varietals are just as impressive. Offering both sweet and dry (my fave, Sweet Revenge, is so delicious! Definitely a super sweet red with the coolest label.) I loved bellying up to the taste test bar and sampling a few styles before committing on a purchase. The wine will warm you up so you can head out on Main Street and check out the quaintness of the town.
Beer Isn’t Just For Octoberfest
Happy to call itself the oldest brewery in Michigan, Frankenmuth Brewery is always packed with beer lovers that like traditional Bavarian-style brews and they even throw in some beer curve balls to keep you coming back.
Sure, you’ll work up an appetite sampling its IPAs and porters, so they’ve created a fun dining menu as well. If you love meat, go for The Sliders or Soft Pretzels.
60 Minutes of Escape Time!
I was elated to try my hand at puzzle solving at Great Lakes Escape Game on a recent visit, and never having been to an escape room before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My thought after visiting? I can’t wait to visit again! With two themes at present (a Speakeasy and a pirate’s ship) and one more coming soon plus expanding more in the future, I had to go for the Pirate’s Challenge. Up to eight players work together to solve the puzzles using clues in the rooms and it’s super fast paced as you only have 60 minutes to escape. Here’s what I loved best: everyone has strengths when it comes to problem solving so it’s super easy to work together to solve and escape.
Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early
One word: Bronner’s. If you’ve been to Frankenmuth before you’ve undoubtedly stopped at Bronner’s Christmas wonderland where it’s Christmas 24/7/365. If you haven’t, put it on your short list for your next visit. The store’s the size of 1 1/2 football fields and if you can’t find the Christmas ornament you’re looking for, you probably won’t. The store also carries additional holiday items (check out the Halloween Village if you love the spooky holiday!) and definitely take a drive through the parking lot when it gets dark so you can check out the thousands of Christmas lights complete with Christmas carols!
Stay in a Bavarian Lodge
Bavarian Inn Lodge in the heart of Frankenmuth is ideal in both location and style. I walked only a few minutes across a gorgeous wooden covered bridge to get to Main Street and back (snapping photos the entire time!) and couldn’t wait to get back to my European-themed guest room (there’s 360 of them- each with a different Surname!) and look out at the Cass River from the balcony.
The Inn has a cute indoor water park complete with tube slides, a Game Room for the kiddos and kids at heart, and a fun restaurant, Oma’s, that has THE best chicken pot pie. If you really want a sampling of Bavaria during the holiday season, head to the lobby where there’s tons of decorations to make you sigh happily. Free wifi and parking make the Inn affordable, too.
Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!
Ask a Frankenmuth native where they like to eat a traditional-style, family meal and you’ll get two answers: Zehnder’s and The Bavarian Inn Restaurant. I can happily say that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting both and my answer to which is better? They both taste exactly the same! The “World Famous Chicken Dinners” are served family style, are all-you-can-eat, and come with a happy smile.
Have you had the pleasure of visiting Frankenmuth in autumn? What’s you best tip for visiting during off-season? Please let me know in the comment section below!
Disclosure: I was hosted by the fine folks at Visit Frankenmuth to give you fine folks the scoop on why you should really consider a visit. All opinions and photos are my own!